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11 February 2007 @ 05:14 pm
Just in case you are wondering, based on my research so far, this is the most gorgeous house that ever lived.

It's on the block behind mine. It is in fact exactly behind the apartment complex two doors down from me where all the kids live.

It's funny because I was playing with realtor sites, fantasizing about all the pretty houses that I could buy when I got a job and then a mortgage from NACA, and I got tired of all of them showing me the same listings. I was all, I want to see pretty fancy listings! And I remembered that Annie and I used to look at some site that had crazy gorgeous houses built around trees, and things like that. And I remembered that it was someplace I found because I was looking for a house I'd seen for sale off of Piedmont that was super-pretty. And then I asked the internet and it was all, "Oh, the Grubb Company does most of the houses in Piedmont." And I guessed the url on my first try - and the first super-pretty house I saw was this one - and then I was all, hey, that's right by me. HEY, that's right behind me! HEYYYY, it's open house there for nine more minutes!

And I ran around the corner. SO PRETTY. So more than I could pay for not-a-duplex. I want the universe to show me a place that is that gorgeous in that way, and is a duplex, and... well, would you like to see my list of What I Want In A House? Of course you would.

My House Needs:
A coat closet.
A linen closet.
A broom closet. (Annie just pointed out that an armoire would solve that as well. Touche!)
3 or 4 bedrooms in at least one of the units.
Wood floors.
Solar power (I assume I'll have to add this).
Central heating?
A fireplace. A WORKING fireplace.
Yard space which is or can be an awesome overstuffed explorey garden.
Sauna? Hot tub? (More likely these will be things I can think about adding.)
Great colors of paint. (Also clearly something I can add myself.)
Tile/marble in bathroom, kitchen (counters, I mean).
A really great kitchen. (This place had an old Wedgewood stove. I like those a LOT. Or fancy brushed-steel stoves. Or... whatever, just something that qualifies in my mind as a "really great kitchen.")
Huge bathtub(s). Clawfoots especially.
Lots of windows, lots of light.
Back door that leads straight to the garden (because there is, like, a psychological block that prevents me from going left and down a huge stairs to get to it).
Front door that goes straight into house - not like mine where you go up and turn right. No turning right!
GIANT washing machine, so that I can put my rugs in it without it defuzzing them.
Built-ins: art-deco/craftsman-style windows and overall architecture outside and in. Built-in bookcases and china cabinets and....
Double-glazed windows (but if I can't have that AND artsycraftsy windows, I'll take the pretty windows).
Great insulation.
A place for chickens.
A place for a pygmy goat.
Window seat(s), preferably in bay window(s).
A creek within easy psychological walking distance. (That's an unculverted creek, not "oh, there's a creek under the street somewhere," about which I obviously do not care.)
A balcony would be good.
So would a porch swing.
And it must have a really awesome porch.

here are some pictures i love of house stuff. lots of pictures!Collapse )

Next step: get a fabulous job.

It has to be within a reasonable commute (I'll do up to half an hour, for the right job); it has to involve work that I am passionate about (educating people about abuse, most likely); it has to be with awesome people and only awesome people; it has to pay $42,000 a year or more. Also, I would like the working environment to be nice, I have to get lots of sunlight while I work, I have to be able to do an awesome job and be totally respected and adored for the awesomeness of my work, good benefits would be good, and.... that'll do, I think, probably.

I went to two job interviews last week, which will soon be "the week before last." At the domestic violence one I believe I totally kicked ass. I mean, on top of everything else, there was a written portion at the end; of the two questions listed, one of them was about gender roles in domestic violence, and the other was about how I would increase the organization's cultural competency. Okay so: gender! And: I had just finished talking to her about whether they worked with agencies that served other linguistic commuities!

She said they would be doing interviews into this last week, and that they would call people for second rounds after that (where applicable). I am hoping they do, but I'm also trying to remember that I don't need THIS JOB, I need whatever the best job for me is and I don't know or control whether this is that.

The other one, I kicked less ass and I realized later that I didn't want to work in the kind of office it was, and then they called to let me know that they hired someone else who had a shitload of experience in the area. Then I applied for a couple more case manager type jobs that were more local to me, this last week, and I have a couple more places to apply to right now. Including a writing job and a web design job for UCBerkeley that pays a shitload of money, and which although I qualify for, I kind of assume I will be beat out for by the tons of people who have way more fancy web design experience. But you never know!
10 February 2007 @ 06:09 pm
  • Individual summaries of the outcome of the year's work.
  • Dream miracles.
  • Job application updates.
  • What having fun means: introducing the new year's resolution.
  • The marble method.
  • Workaholics Anonymous.
  • Dating again.
  • What else?
    30 January 2007 @ 09:49 am
    Now I have an interview for this awesome positionCollapse )on Friday!

    The woman who called me had a little bit of an Irish accent going on, which I consider to be a bonus.

    I saw, while I was pasting it here, that it does say how much it pays and it is within a good range for me (although it's no $45k! it's $41,641.60.) and my first reaction to that was to assume that I had applied to some job that would not be a good fit just because it paid well, and then to feel scared about the interview as a result. But in fact the opposite is true. I was worried that the folks tomorrow would offer me a job because then I wouldn't get to work at any of the other places! Because I'm only applying to jobs that sound awesome and (as far as i know from the ads) fill all my needs! And why don't I get to do ALL of these awesome jobs? Hee.
    29 January 2007 @ 10:06 pm
    AND I went to my meeting with a NACA counselor to work toward getting approved for a mortgage. No money down, fixed-rate, one point below the average interest rate whenever I get it, and sensible people who explain everything to me. Plus they insist on things like coming in with a spending plan and not spending more than 40% of my gross income on mortgage payments. Hell yeah.

    So, I'm working on that. First step is to get a job. And I got a job interview!

    It is for a Community Engagement Specialist....Collapse )

    I'm all, make presentations about abuse? That's what I DO!!!

    Huh. I didn't get no Application for Employment to complete and bring to the interview. That's funny. I asked if there was anything I should bring, too, and they said no.

    I keep playing with numbers and with this salary calculator, trying to figure out whether I can settle for $36,000, which is my comfort zone. I keep wanting to talk myself into it because there are lots of jobs that make $33-$36k that I know I can get, it would be easy, I could just take something that makes just about enough money and doesn't really give me any respect, just like I always have. Tra la la. Keep sucking it up because it's EASY, and there are no What Ifs.

    But in fact, no. I need and deserve to make a whole hell of a lot more than that. I am GOOD at what I do. I have incredibly fabulous skills and recovery to bring to the table. Anyone should be ecstatic to pay me, say, $45,000. Even if I have to turn job offers down to get it!!!!

    So I feel like I am standing at the edge of this high-dive. And I know I can dive, and it will be fabulous, and it will be a total change of pace and scenery and environment and living. Into the water! This leap of saying "instead of renting from lunatics and never allowing myself to have what I need or take on jobs that I deserve and would be great at, I am going to ask for tremendous abundance. I am going to ask for a house and the means to pay for it and a job that gives me everything I ever wanted."

    And I realized today in my COSA meeting that I don't have to be afraid up on that high-dive. I can just experience this as a moment of getting ready. I can enjoy this little pause right before I leap.
    11 January 2007 @ 12:04 pm
    So, it's been frustrating to do East Bay Energy Therapy in some ways, because I don't earn the money to do the marketing that would bring in the money I need to do marketing - or anything else - and also, I realize, because it's not exactly what I do.

    I had a little adventure at the Mills library last week. annathebean had a book on her truck that she had already processed, that was all ready to go out on the shelves, called Working Happy: Making Changes, Dodging Bullets, Finding Joy. And I was like, that is my exact new year's resolution this year, of course I need to look at this! And then I looked it up in Minerva to see what subject headings it had (lord, I'm a nerd. An awesome nerd!) and I went to see what else was under things like "job satisfaction" and "employee morale" and "quality of work life."

    And I saw a book called the Intuitive Businesswoman, and I was like "I totally need to look at that! That is so what I need in my life!" And then I went to find it, and I discovered a very funny and readable book by Barbara Ehrenreich where she supposedly investigates "the shadowy world of the white-collar unemployed." Which was weird because I assumed it would be people like me who make, I don't know, $50k and below doing office work (or in my case, hover in the low to mid 30s doing unappreciated and unrespected work that is underpaid, which I fucking plan to end soon)... but it's all stuff that people would get paid like $100,000 for. And all kinds of weird corporate mindfuck about how to fit into the corporate culture and network and crazy shit. Which I am not totally convinced is necessary to make that money or do those jobs - but even if it is, it seemed like she was making the same mistake I've made in the past, of hopping from one strategy to another (image tooling! networking! career coaching! resume sending!) without really giving any of them time to work.

    But anyway. That was just for fun. But then along with that, there was a book called Dancing Naked: Breaking through the emotional limits that keep you from the job you want, which I thought would complement all of the work I've done to break through the emotional limits that kept me from making my business work and promoting myself.

    And I flipped through it at home and saw this little story about a bigshot in the wine industry. And he retired. And then he really missed all of the talking to people about wine and being important and respected and all of that. Nobody listened to him as much. And he thought, well, I'll go get a little bitty wine job. And then he got fired from that because he wanted to talk to the customers more than to sell them bottles of wine. And he was shocked! And the book explained that it didn't work because he wasn't being aware of where he was, of what was going on with him, of what he really missed and wanted to do. And eventually he got into viticulture and grew vines and was important there and talked to people there and he loved what he did again.

    And it made me realize that I need to do what I do. Not what I think I should do. Like, there are things that I am passionate about and drawn (or driven) to do. Writing. Exploring and teaching about recovery. Workshops. All that shit. All the shit, in fact, that my little business kept evolving toward. I never really, really wanted people to come over into my house and have EFT sessions with me. I never created workshops that just taught people EFT. No, when things blossomed they were like, here is a series of workshops about recovering from abuse and letting go of fear - some of which incorporate and teach EFT. Working with people one-on-one or running a whole community clinic and having to use it on everything, that seemed very exciting but it also scared me. And not in the way where I wanted to do it even though it was scary. In a sort of pinched-shoe-that-doesn't-fit-me way.

    And also, I want someone to pay me. I don't want to have to be responsible - at this point - for making enough money in my business to pay myself a salary. I want other people to be like "Wow, you are so awesome, let me shower you with money. Let me organize everything for you so that you just have ONE job that you do, instead of having to be the CEO and the marketing person and the admin assistant AND the practitioner." I could do any one of those things. But for the love of god not all of them at once with barely any income! If I could hire someone to do the structuring and organizing part while I did the practice, that would be fine. But then, I'd have to start out making a ton of money first, wouldn't I?

    So I realized that what I WANT to do is write my books, and work to get my books published, and work toward making a shitload of money doing that. And create and perform my workshops, and work to get people to pay me for them or at least host them in some way, and work toward ... honestly, I'd do that for free, but I DO want to make at least SOME money doing that.

    And then, get a "real job" - this time meaning a job that not only pays me as much money as I want, but where I am respected for doing WHAT I AM GOOD AT BESIDES SEALING ENVELOPES. I refuse to do any more data entry unless I am worshipped for doing it and paid about $56,000. For fifty-six thousand dollars and total adulation, I will type all day long. No fucking less than that.

    I insist on doing what I am DRAWN to do, in all areas of my life. So I went to craigslist and looked around.

    All the entertaining job-lookingCollapse )

    So besides that, I did my fear workshop at Mandana this week. That's the one where if they like me, I get to do workshops there where I charge actual money! And I TOTALLY KILLED.

    I went in without a script. The other time I did this workshop, at the CoDA miniconference, I wrote a whole script and I read it while I went. This time, I was like, you know what? My understanding of how to let go of fear has changed so much in the past three months, this script no longer applies. So I wrote down a couple of notes about what I could use from it and then what else I wanted to say, and I just totally winged it. And it was so great!

    Here are ALL the comments from my feedback forms:
    Everyone checked off "Very helpful" and "I found this presenter knew the subject well and gave an excellent presentation/workshop" and that they would recommend it to others if it were offered again. And then they wrote:
    (What did you find especially helpful?) "Practical doing of tapping, etc. Feeling fear level actually lessen."
    "Sound content! Good presenter. Practical tecniques. I felt this was very beneficial. Enjoyed and benefitted."
    "The actual practice of the tapping techniques - very relaxed, humorous, supportive demeanor of the presenter."
    "Good presentation of background experience and personal experience using techniques."
    "Her own experience; her credibility."
    "Her good sense of humor. Relaxed manner of leading us. Patience, acceptance of us and our questions. Kindness. Good leading of EFT. Her recovery."

    (What could be improved?)
    "Would be great to have an ongoing Reiki class with Dani."

    And it is SO AWESOME! Because you know what the message here is? The message here is that *I'm* the value that I bring to my work. Like, all of this is about getting paid and appreciated for just being myself. And that's exactly how it should be! I bring my patience and humor and compassion and relaxed supportive demeanor and my recovery to everything I do and that's what makes it good! Otherwise, it would be like so many other workshops I've been to - some good content and a lot of awkwardness or bad handling of questions or boring parts or wildly offensive statements that start an audience fight or whathaveyou!

    And that's true everywhere! And it's the ideal! Like Annie said when I told her about it, it's the most natural thing in the whole world. And it's so about all the work I've done here over the past year, because now I can bring confidence and compassion and a relaxed demeanor - and therefore humor and good pacing and patience and all the rest of it - to what I'm doing and be present for it while I'm doing it! And believe in it!

    Isn't that AWESOME?!?
    Current Mood: excitedthrilled
    28 December 2006 @ 08:38 pm
    As a direct result of being fearless I can stand on my head!!!

    Because when I took my yoga class in college, a bunch of times, she showed us how to get into a headstand, but I was too scared to really try to get my legs up without someone holding them or standing there to catch them. I could tell that I was capable of it, but I was scared in class and I was even more scared to try it on my own after I stopped taking yoga classes.

    And then I was doing Wai Lana Yoga, which is a totally awesome yoga tv show that I love that I TiFaux (record on my DVR all the time) so I can do yoga on my own. Which is another miraculous thing in my life but it's more part of working on recovery at large than fearlessness - except that doing yoga at home is part of working for myself which is part of being fearless. And Wai Lana is very brisk - when the show starts, she's not all, now let's sit around breathing or stretching or hearing about what we're gonna do. She's all, bend over, put your arms here, put your legs out, lean your head over, blah blah blah, all these little bitty right-away steps and before you know it you're upside-down or backwards or both! It's VERY exciting.

    And she did one where she went upside-down! In a headstand! And I was really scared of doing it. I thought that I was mostly scared that if I kicked my legs up, I would keep going right over backwards and break my spine or something. I moved close to a wall. I figured that would make it okay. But then I was still scared.

    I was determined to stick with the fear and feel it. It seemed like every new position I moved into as I moved toward getting upside-down brought up new kinds of fear, new waves of feeling. I kept on determinedly feeling them and waiting all the fear out. Then I got this sudden insight, this message from the universe: this is exactly what I do with work, too. I don't make a distinction between times that I should go into my feelings and explore them and times that I shouldn't: I do it no matter what. This seems good, but it deprives me of the opportunity to have boundaries with myself around my feelings. I don't NEED to do these extremes of either repressing them or almost wallowing in them - I can explore totally different possibilities, like just experiencing them and moving on instead of exploring them all the way down as far as they go. Acknowledging them and seeing what I need to learn from them. Thinking about what to do in response. Et cetera.

    So work moves very slowly, because I think I have to slog through and process completely all my fears about, say, promoting my business and talking to people about it and handing out brochures in person and going door-to-door and meeting total strangers and what they might think or do or say in response to me, before I can, say, go down the street telling people about what I do and inviting them to make an appointment - which I haven't done, because I haven't processed all of that! And then I can't, say, do a headstand, because I think that I need to process, deeply explore, every single feeling and reaction that comes up about it every step of the way.

    So I decided to try one more time, and see what it would be like if I just set all my fears aside, detached from that completely, turned that all over to the universe and just went with doing the things that would get me into headstand, as Wai Lana told me to do them.

    And all of a sudden there I was, upside down!

    I totally squealed and threw my legs back down. And then I did it again! And again! I can even do it without the wall if I use the wall first, like swing my legs against the wall and then move them away and balance. And soon if I practice I'll be able to do it without ANY WALL AT ALL! I did it five times and it made me dizzy for the whole next day (the internet said it was fine) and then I did it to show my family at Xmas and it was so much fun. I love being upside-down!

    I can't wait to show this off at Burning Bowl 2007.
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    28 December 2006 @ 08:21 pm
    So, I was thinking about where fear still holds me back. And I was thinking about how much more present I could be in my life and how I shrink back from that. I'm afraid that my own emotions and experiences would be too intense and too overwhelming and scary for me if I really felt them full-on, in the moment.

    And the basic rule of thumb that we've been using here, little handy tool kind of thing, has been that fear is remembered pain. And I was like, well, I can see that this is just how I learned to survive my childhood, by dissociating to some extent most of the time (back then it was all the time) and it's actually fine now. But I still didn't want to let go of this fear and try something different. And I realized that fear is also a kind of control. I'm trying to control what I get to do and experience by clinging to this fear.

    So, that's fun, huh? I am actually happy that I don't have anything more to say about that, because usually I don't journal about this stuff until I have it tied up in a neat little bow. I don't really know what I'm going to do with this, to get to being more present or letting go of it - and hey look, I totally am trying to control it and plan it out. That's the SAME as the fear. So....

    OH my god. I just shared this with annathebean while she was reading me our horoscopes. Then she went to the bathroom and I typed it up. Then she came bak and read me mine for Virgo and this is what it said:

    Try not to let your desire for a calm environment motivate compromises you might later regret. Yes, the immediate future is uncertain—but that’s always the case. And what makes that tolerable is our ability to stay grounded in the now.

    And then she read me Libra and Scorpio, which are what most of the rest of my chart are. It is crazy. It is like it just started talking to me and went right on:

    The trick is not to make everything “better” but to find the serenity to accept some things as they are. Keep your optimism realistic, and you’ll be able to approach each situation with wisdom.

    It’s a trust exercise, never an easy challenge for you, dear Scorpio, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed in this quest. The secret is being generous at the same time you’re learning to believe in abundance.

    Just before she retired from therapizing!

    I was talking about how I was too crazy to date anyone, and she said, "Why?"

    And I looked at her. And she was like, "What is it about you that makes you unable to date anyone?"

    And I was like, "...."

    And, you know. The scales fell from my eyes.

    And then I gave her all the reasons that I rely on that aren't true about me anymore, you know: I pick abusive fucknuts but not anymore, I don't have any boundaries but I do now, I get mad and act out at people but now I have tools for not doing that, it's scaa-ary but now I'm doing things that scare me.... She said that the real reason she heard was that it was scary, and she was like, yes, it is scary for most people!

    Not that I'm going to go out on dates or anything anytime soon. After she said that I was like, "I should! I could! It would be exciting and different!" and then I decided that I would be too judgmental to date... oh right... I'm not supposed to think like that huh. But I just kept imagining myself going out with total strangers from OkCupid or something and obsessively taking each one's inventory and figuring out exactly which 12-step groups each one of them needed (in my wild opinion) to be in and not being able to enjoy it. Which, I realize now that I'm telling you about it, is just a reaction to fear. Well, I continue to learn and grow....
    Current Mood: confusedconfused
    10 December 2006 @ 09:12 pm
    I ganked this meme from maeve66 this year round! It is the first bits from all our entries here this year!

    January: For New Year's Day we went to siriosa's house for Burning Bowl! And it was so great!

    February: Happy Imbolc! Practically.... I noticed a funny thing today. I've been excited because I've been eating less - not because I think it's bad to eat a lot, but because for me it's... this is hard to explain.

    March: I'm trying to be present with how it feels to be at work. I need to actually experience it and accept it if it's sucky so that I can choose better things for myself somehow.

    April: I did a great job last week! Wait till you hear! John was really really drunk and sitting on the edge of his mom's yard across the street singing easy listening loudly. Wow. That was one hell of a sentence.

    May: Yesterday I was totally stressing out about work. I was freaking out about coming in to clean out my desk, and about talking to HR, and about ever having to see Jasmine again much less have her (I imagine) sit around watching me pack everything up.

    June: My mother forwarded me this. His phone number's at the end if anyone wants to call him! Ha ha. What a funny joke I just made.

    July: 1. I can touch my toes! for the first time! I couldn't even do it when I was little because my knees and hips were so tense.

    August: So, I decided that I don't need my glasses anymore.

    September: we were first on the docket, but then they got to spend literally an hour reading and discussing the papers that i didn't get to serve them, in the hallway, while i waited. like, what the hell is so interesting?

    October: I got free lunch, which is always nice, and the food looks actually good which is not always the case in these situations. And I got to do four EFT mini-sessions with people, and that was a lot of fun, and they got a lot of relief from their problems, and in a couple of cases we talked about what the process would be like if they came to me for other more complicated issues that they had identified. I even met someone else who was in a ton of twelve-step programs, because I was like, you know, we would work on this this way, and also there are twelve-step groups that are really good for it, and she was like, yeah!

    November: I found the music video (aka the clip from the movie) of my favorite song from Dil Chahta Hai!

    December: I ganked this meme from maeve66 this year round!
    20 November 2006 @ 12:54 pm
    Okay, even though I have some tiny remaining fear about it, I am going to call Bananas and say something like, "Hi, I'm a workshop presenter with East Bay Energy Therapy. I have a great workshop that teaches tools for dealing with bullying, nightmares, and other childhood problems, and I would love to talk to someone about presenting it at Bananas."

    Actually, that sounds like something I could do EFT on!

    There. I did a round of EFT, and then I called and was suuper-professional-sounding, and they took all my info and are going to have someone call me about it. Tra-da!

    I am rapidly running out of fear and shame and guilt to deal with. I am completely out of controlling assholes, too! Where on earth did I put them all? They are all gone!

    Also in case you did not already go be friends with eft4peace, I am going to start... wait for it, this is so fucking cool... doing a weekly PODCAST THINGIE. With video! I do not even know what that is called! I am going to put it on YouTube and everything! And there's more!

    So I figured this. Mondays, I will do a little video that shares some wacky little tip or trick with EFT. Wednesdays, I will post ... Wait, I think that's backward. I think it's that Mondays I will post an exercise people can do that week, Wednesdays I post a related video, Thursdays I share some kind of insight or a recovery essay or some shit, and Saturdays I post one of my favorite articles from emofree.com. It is going to be so fun and interesting, your eyes might blow up!

    That'll be my new slogan.

    Also, I have the best most awesome new destroying-shame exercise.

    So I was letting go of a ton of shame last week through EFT, which I should share about separately, and I realized that one of the ways that I shame myself is that I'll look around the room and note every single thing that's wrong with it - OCD is good for that - every paper that's out, everything I haven't cleaned yet, everything that I am not done painting or wanted to decorate but haven't, all of that shit - and then I feel bad about it, and about making myself live in "squalor," and just all this crap. Boom! Like a crap bomb inside my head! Don't think about that image too hard, okay?

    So, first of all I am trying to consciously look at the room and notice all the GOOD things I've done in it, everything I like about it, everything I've improved or cleaned at some point. And that makes me feel more joyous and appreciative of myself.

    But also, I decided that every day I am going to spend an hour (in bits and pieces, usually) working toward "living like a rich person." Embracing abundance instead of things that make me go "squalor" and feel ashamed and deprived.

    And it is so much more awesome! It makes me feel better about cleaning because instead of just cleaning, it's like, "I am moving myself closer to living like a rich person! I am removing the things that make me feel bad!" And it's fun because I get to take all the wacky ideas in my head about how rich people live and take them for myself instead of arguing with myself about them.

    It's also educational, because when I list some of them off the top of my head, it's like, "A rich person would have a clean fridge! A rich person would have a car that was clean inside! A rich person would have a swept floor! A rich person's room would be the color they wanted it to be! A rich person would have a clean desk!" Like... really fucking basic stuff. And also, I get to commit to keeping on doing it through and past the basic stuff, doing an hour a day and getting more creative until I can be like, "A rich person would have that fabulous couch I've wanted for two or three years!" and actually be able to get it. There is no limit to what I can do if I keep raising my standards for myself! And also, it's really awesome to have a set amount of time I do it per day, because then I don't feel bad about still having dirty dishes or whatever - I can just be like, yes, and I worked on cleaning things for an hour today, and I will do more tomorrow.

    I highly recommend it. I don't recommend starting at an hour necessarily!
    08 November 2006 @ 06:59 pm
    I totally figured out how to make just one cell of a table padded! And thus, we have one new little padded cell... hm... on our fabulous East Bay Energy Therapy website. Ta-daaa! It has lots of great new stuff, including slideshows of all three cats!

    This is also a note to say that all info and news about East Bay Energy Therapy that isn't specifically about overcoming fear and stuff will now be taking place at eft4peace. It's new! It's exciting! It's geeky! Go look!
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    07 November 2006 @ 08:59 pm
    I have become aware lately that I spend a lot of time subconsciously shaming myself and that it takes a big toll on my life. It drains my energy, it makes my body feel ill, it holds me back from doing a lot of great things in my life and really truly loving myself. It is like a slow poison left behind by the abuse.

    Well, I am working on my 8th and 9th steps and I need to make amends to myself for this constant shaming. I tried turning up the volume on the shaming thoughts in my head, only to find out that there are way more of them than I thought and they are scarier to me than I thought! So I wrote about them for a while....

    I am afraid of being a joyful, exuberant, free person because then someone might notice and rape it away from me again.

    (The usual survivor misbelief because NOW I have all the power in the world that I care to grasp, and the knowledge and wisdom and boundaries I need to protect myself - the whole reason they preyed upon us as small children was that we didn't have that. The reason we were reabused as adults is that we didn't have that. Now we are saying NO to abuse of us and have successfully been doing so for a long time!)

    I see myself as small, miniature even, young and inexperienced and worthless (so clearly a picture burned into my mind and heart when I was small - and was very distinctly being treated as worthless, see above) and then I think/believe that I need to shame myself as if the shame were reins that I could use to control myself and keep myself from "making a fool out of myself" - from, gods forbid, doing anything wrong in my inexperienced and youthful state.

    (Again, this is from the abuse - I was treated as if I had to do everything perfectly or else be shamed, screamed at, hectored, even physically threatened, choked, or hit - internalized those ideas, that treatment of me, and grew up to direct a silent torrent of shame and negative, self-limiting ideas at myself almost constantly, so quietly that I idn't even know it! I don't need this, it didn't help or teach me then, it only damaged me - it's certainly not saving me or helping me now! It only scars me further and keeps many of the old wounds from healing. Hurting myself is against my recovery!)

    It bothers me that so many of these statements are so obvious when I can look directly at them. I feel like I should already have known them and that knowing them should have fixed them instantly - and erased all my abuse history! That is me shaming myself again - I "should" know or do or be something different. Where I am is not okay or valid or justifiable. That's crazy! I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I deserve my own love and compassion for every ounce of this - the healing that I accomplish and the wounds that haven't healed quite yet.

    Things I Feel Ashamed Of:Collapse )

    Not not not. Why are these all negatives? It's like I don't do anything wrong, I just don't think I do anything... right or at all.

    Like not having called places or visited them to set up workshops or blah blah blah. Which the Goddess hasn't even assigned me to do - but then, I haven't always been listening - argh! You see!

    It suggests almost that if I let go of the reins and just was myself and lived my life to the max, I wouldn't have anything to be ashamed of - but of course not, because I would have let go of the shame - but it's like my shame wants me to go full throttle and totally be myself. But not to do it shamelessly - to do it only in very specific areas, with very tightly controlled boundaries. Fuck that!

    We have the same end goal, but one of us (hint: it's the shame!) wants to control everything along the way, as much as possible. Like some kind of internalized parent. Hell no. Bye bye! Enough of that! Time's up! Game over!

    Other shame messages I have: This looks bad, I look bad, I'm too hairy, I'm too ugly, my voice is too male and rough and not passable as female, I sound congested, my house is a mess, it smells bad, I have terrible self-care. All about appearance as self-worth. What am I "supposed" to look like? My mother: put together, professional, in control, clean, hairless (I remember her using Nair or something on her fingers even!), skinny, angry, judgmental... I am doing it wrong, wrong, all wrong, by deviating from that - it's not even a question of being myself, its just about my belief that I need to be her. How very peculiar! Like a baby duckling imprints on its mother, except INSANE.

    I remember being deeply convinced that my parents would want me to follow in one of their footsteps, as a child. Eventually they corrected me on this. But I definitely thought that I had to emulate them in order to make them like me. Maybe if I did it well enough they would stop abusing me. There's also not much more going on in RA than monkey see monkey do, at a certain level anyway. Boy howdy.

    I wrote this all last week and since then I've made all my phone calls, cleaned a lot, and done a lot of work on my finances. But I still need to do the assignments I gave myself:

    1. Write a bio being proud of myself and describing who I am
    2. Do EFT on "Even though I don't think I can let go of my shame/this won't work/I deserve shame/I need shame to survive/I am worthless/I need to be tightly controlled...." Test it by looking at how I feel about all those "nots" up there.
    3. Do EFT on "Even though I am small...." (I have a whole sheet of aspects of this issue written out already.) Test it by looking at how I feel about seeing myself as a businessowner, as a therapist.
    4. Do EFT on "Even though if I am totally myself and exuberant, joyous, shameless, and free, someone will rape it from me...." Test by looking at the shaming ideas in my mind and my fears about being totally powerful.
    07 November 2006 @ 03:37 pm
    I found the music video (aka the clip from the movie) of my favorite song from Dil Chahta Hai!

    A few lyrics to get you interested:

    Let people say, let them keep saying how very insane we are
    This world is ours to kick around, so what do we care?
    While there's breath there's a voice, so why hesitate?
    We'll sing the melody of our hearts
    The world may quarrel; let it quarrel
    The world may fight us; let it fight
    The world may struggle against us; let it struggle
    Just keep singing your madness
    The world will sulk; let it sulk
    Ties will be broken; let them be broken
    Some will leave you; let them go
    Don't worry yourself!
    We're the new way of the world; why should we keep with the old one?
    Lightning is in our eyes,
    a storm in our breath
    What is fear, and what is defeat?
    We are strangers to them!

    It will motivate you to take on the world! Or wear very shiny disco pants! OR BOTH!
    I wonder if I still have those shiny rainbow holographic pants....
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    31 October 2006 @ 05:38 am
    I've been driving myself crazy all day.

    I haaaaaaaaate this shit where I only have to do two things each day for work. Like, today it was to put my database into Address Book and then to print out and put together this big mailing I'm doing. I had collected addresses for 47 clinics and therapy centers and the like last week, I had finished the workshop catalogue brochure, all I needed to do was put all the addresses into one program and then insert them into the letter I had already written and print them out. And print out and fold a ton of brochures to send.

    It was supposed to be fun. I could clean while I printed. I could watch TV while I folded.

    Instead, I made myself totally frantic. As usual, I decided that the list wasn't anywhere near long enough, and I spent all this time trying to do other stuff. I added a bunch more organiations to the database. I tried to add all of them that I could ever possibly want to add, but fortunatey I stopped somewhere around the letter A. (I had found a rREALLY long list of mental health organizations in the bay area that I could proably spent a week grabbing)

    I'm also driving myself nuts going back and fixing EVERY SINGLE TYPO that I see in this entry as I type it because everything I do has to be perfect. So from here on, I'm not changing anything. So there. My computer has decided to be really slow abd it's not worth it. That's why it's not worth it, not because, you know, it's damaging to be obsessively perfectionistic and detail-oriented and judge every single tiny thing I do on some level. Anyway.

    And then I read this blog for a local businessand decided that I totally needed to be promoting myself obsessively and doing a ton more work - and the blog wasn't even about promotion, it was about all the work they had to put into permits and shit to open their store, which has nothing to do with me right now - and instead of printing stuff while I did something healthy, I printed stuff while I obsessively tried to find places to announce my workshops online besides what I've already done. Which drove me crazy and is a completely separate task from what was on my list today. It is not a small task. but I was convinced that if I didn't do it NOW all of a sudden, nobody would come to my workshops and that therefore I would die in the gutter. Because it's just that simple and concrete.

    And I've been shaming myself all day. I did this really cool EFT thing in the bath, where I was listening to iTunes and it started playing this EFT teleclass on money that I downlaoded, and I tapped along with it, and it felt really great and freeing and exciting. And then I exprfienced a backlash of fears around it, or maybe just didn't really finish dealing with the fears that the class dealt with. I guess I can learn from that - that when I do classes and workshops that are similar, i want to give peoplesome information about noticing what comes up and making sure to check in with it at the end. Or that when I want to take - I mean, when Ido take, these classes, I need to pay more attention to whether all my fears are getting resolved or whether I'm burying some of them under the stuff that does get addressed.

    So anyway, it was all about changing your - my - financial set point, which I've done EFT on before and written about here and which is great and stuff, and I got a lot out of it. And also, it really ended up with me reaizing that I am afraid of succeeding in my business and of how other people would feel about that, a very codependent issue, and then just beating myself up all day about how I can't possibly do this. Finding all these ways of arguin that nothing is ever going to happen and I won't be ready and I'm not ready for success and I'm doing a shitty job and blah blah blah blah blah.

    This weekend I presented the short version of the Fear worksho - now renamed Freedom From Fear - at the Codependents Anonymous miniconference. It was rad; people came to it (which, funnily enough, was not the case with the workshop that we were actually on the schedule to do! About 15 people came to the fear one, three came to the one on Sponsorship. OF course, there were three or four other workshops on Sponsorship on the schedule.) and everyone seemed to really like it and get a lot out of it. And I was very well-behaved in not promoting my business or workshops at all - because that would totally violate the 6th tradition of the twelve traditions that the program is built on, tra la la et cetera. I can't go to a CoDA event and be like "you should totally give me money and use my services." But i got the impression that when I do it :for real" at other venues, people will be interested in private sessions with me as a result. Which is eaxctly what my higher power has been telling me - that this is how I will build a private practice and stuff.

    What is my point here That no one has signed up for the workshops at my house? Yet? That ... oh I know whta it is.

    So, the really cool thing was that normally, I would have ben sweating buckets and totally scared durin the whole workshop. And obsesing about everyone in it and whether they liked it and what they thought I ws doing wrong and what I should do to make them like me and think I ws doing a good job. Which I did do some of - but mostly, I Wasn't scared! I was able to be really calm and secure in what I was doing! And that's such a great display of the work that I've been doing this whole year.

    And at the end of the workshop, we did a ten-minute visions meditation about what our lives would be like without fear. And I wasn't even thinking about imagining what my life would be like without fear, I was just thinking about how I hadn't been afraid, and it made me feel really srene and calm like I wrote about last week. And then I realized that I could totally choose to look at all the little dregs of fear, all the things thatI don't even thin kof as fears even though they plague me, like all the moments I spend obsessing about what what other people want or think of me or all the things that bug me about myself and my life that I don't want to think about eough to recognize as fear.

    And I think that's really what's going on for me today: that the universe is happily saying, "Okay, here they all are!" That now I've chosen to consciously face them, an they're scary, and I'm like, "why is this scary?! i thought they would stay as smal-seeming as they were when I Was minimizing them and ignoring them! no fair!" And you know, now I get to keep learning how very much it does not serve me when I get all caught up in old controlling patterns instead of just really doing what my higher power says, and trusting that, and I get to deal with the rest ofm y fear, and this is all great. It just feels scary!!!
    29 October 2006 @ 06:33 pm
    Is this not a bitching craigslist ad?
    I also paid the Thumbtack Bugle people $60 to distribute 100 of the flyers... and now I'm wishing that I had asked them things like how they decide where to distribute them...! But I can still ask....
    And I found 47 clinics of various kinds and put them into a spreadsheet so that I can send them a letter, flyers, and brochures, Real Soon Now. I still have to make a brochure about the Many Fabulous Workshops We Have Available, but I finished one about the Idora Park Peace Program the other day and it is FAAAbulous. Which also means that I could print and fold it and distribute it around the neighborhood myself, and will pretty soon.

    And then I'll advertise the workshops more online, and finish the EBET blog and myspace page.... and go around posting more flyers myself.

    So anyway, I love EFT. Last week I had a sore throat and I felt like I was getting sick, and I did EFT on the sore throat and everything was fine. Like, the sore throat went away completely after less than two rounds, and then I felt really tired all of a sudden and took a nap and I never did get sick.

    And then a couple of nights ago I was slicing stale bread and I cut my thumb with the bread knife. And it was bleeding, and I was sucking on it, and then I got tired of the taste of blood, and it hurt, and it wouldn't stop bleeding even when I held it above my head and tried the old girl scout pressure-point trick like tourniquets use, and I finally did EFT on it and during the second round it not only stopped hurting, it felt good. And I don't mean in some getting-off-on-the-endorphins kind of way, I mean it didn't hurt at all and it felt like a happy thumb on a normal day!

    And then the other morning I woke up early freaking out about money and whether anyone would come to my workshops and whether I had already spent all my money and whether I would check my bank account and find it magically overdrawn because I hadn't looked at it recently, and a lot of similar stuff that I couldn't do anything about right then and had no reason to be scared of. And I did EFT on that (I was half-asleep, I don't even remember doing the EFT but I remember THAT I did it, if you know what I mean) and in the course of doing that, I ended up feeling really, really good and stable and calm and happy inside. And a lot of the time when I feel like that, it's like... a table top that isn't connected to the legs, like if I push on it it'll flip up and smack me and fall apart.

    But this was different, totally solid and there was nothing I could do to budge it! Serenity. It was very very cool.

    And then the day was still hard because I was trying this new thing. See, usually I just work 9-5 and pack in as much stuff as I can every day. And my higher power has been trying to point out to me that this isn't working, and that it means that I overwork and get sick a lot and that I get caught up in all these little things that my brain tells me to do and I don't end up doing the big things that actually move my business along. And finally she said that she wanted me to try not working 9-5 and instead just having two specific big things to do every day, no matter how long or short they took.

    And that was scary to me! And that was the first day that I tried it. And it was like, I was done with the two actual things by like 3, and I was really tired, but then instead of just stopping, I kept trying to find more things to do. And it sucked! And I spent so much of the day messing with my own head and just discounting every single thing I was doing as "not work," like nothing I did "counted" because it wasn't hard enough or didn't put money in my pocket immediately or something. And it was like, aargh!

    But the good thing was then I finally stopped the crazy by going to the ABA meeting and getting to talk about all the crazy in my head, and I realized how much I really got done and how much better my day would have been - and how much better it would have been for me - if I had just done things the way my higher power said to and stopped when I was done working. So in a way, that was a good confirmation of what I was trying to do. But it was hard getting there!
    Current Mood: accomplished
    27 October 2006 @ 11:39 pm

    SO much gorgeouser than almost any myspace page ever. Especially if you scroll down a little so the banner ad doesn't show. Shout-out to fairybluebird, for fucking sure.

    Also, today I have filed the small claims case against Daniel, written those four workshop descriptions, finished the workshop catalogue, made a pretty logo, and battled with three separate graphic programs to find one that would let me fix two images on the myspace page. And done yoga, which included putting my legs all the way over my head to touch my toes on the floor (full plow pose!) AND shoulderstands - several times each! SO AWESOME. And the whole time, I was questioning my ability to get things done and thinking that I wasn't working enough and blah blah blah, and then I look at it all!

    Of course, what all that questioning really means is "I'm scared of myself because there are so many times that I've failed myself in the past, where I've decided to something this awesome and then totally flaked out on it and never followed through, and I'm scared I'm going to pull that on myself again." And when I can appreciate what I'm actually doing and forgive myself for the past, there's no more fear! Only proudness and excitement!

    Also, nanowrimo starts next Wednesday and I am TOTALLY DOING IT again - for the fourth time - now that I don't have a job that actually sucks at my soul. Who's with me?!
    27 October 2006 @ 08:49 pm
    I wrote descriptions for four more workshops and made a brochure for all of them!

    The Childcare Workshop introduces participants to handy acupressure techniques that can be used to heal childhood fears, colic, temper tantrums, bedwetting, bullying, nightmares, and many other common (and uncommon) problems, Great for teachers, babysitters, foster parents, nannies, daycare providers, grandparents, other family members - anyone who cares for children!

    Participants will learn and practice basic EFT techniques on themselves; will learn playful ways to introduce EFT to children; will complete roleplaying exercises with a partner; and will share different situations in which they would like to incorporate this helpful material.

    The Kids’ Workshop teaches children of all ages basic EFT tricks and techniques using games and fun exercises. Participants share common troubles and practice using these tools to heal sibling rivalry, test anxiety, junk food cravings, and scary memories.

    Participants will learn basic EFT techniques. Younger children will listen to a story about common childhood problems and learn how to use EFT to resolve similar problems in their own lives; teenagers and pre-teens will discuss what angers and scares them and learn EFT techniques for dealing with these issues. Everyone will have the opportunity to discuss different tools for self-care around food, family, feelings, and other fun stuff.

    The Transgender Workshop addresses many common fears in the transgender community. Participants explore common bonds across the community and learn to release fears of all kinds - from the drag king’s stage fright to the common codependent fears around passing - and reclaim the power they so richly deserve in their lives.

    Participants will share their experiences in their gender journeys; explore their own investments in what other people think of them in public and personal relationships; and practice easy EFT techniques and other tools for releasing their fears and embracing their true selves.

    The Health Workshop teaches the history of EFT, basic EFT skills, and coaches participants through applying EFT to achieve relief from simple health problems like migraines, colds and fevers, cuts and bruises, and tension.

    Participants will learn how EFT was developed; learn the basic EFT procedure; be guided through practicing it on current physical problems; and discuss simple tips and troubleshooting techniques as well as other potential applications.
    19 October 2006 @ 07:59 pm
    Annie, out of nowhere: "Dude. Physical abuse is a kinesthetic reinforement of low self-esteem."

    She wants me to specify that she's including sexual abuse within physical abuse.

    Let me see. I want to write more about what the point of each of those workshops is to me, so that I know what I need to include in them.

    They're based on my theory of the six things that people absolutely need in order to recover from abuse. Maybe if I brainstorm here about what that involves I'll get what I need:

    FEAR: This is the flip side of recovery. It is our fear of how much we have harmed ourselves and others that fuels recovery at first. As we grow in recovery, we grow out of fear.

    Every effect of abuse boils down to fear, one way or another. The better we understand our fear, the easier it is for us to leave our fear-based ways of living and move into loving, joyful lives. It is only by facing our fears that we can escape their dragging weight and soar.

    This workshop is unlike the others because instead of teaching us to work its subject into our lives, it teaches us to face and then release it. Becoming able to release fear makes it much easier to take the brave, life-changing steps that all of us need in order to have the incredible lives we deserve.

    HOPE: This is the absolute most basic thing that people need to begin recovery. They need to be able to believe that it is possible for things to change for them. They need to be able to imagine that things can be better. Recovery is like anything else: people need to hear at least some kind of argument that it is a Good Thing before they are willing to start working on it.

    Even someone who is suicidal every few weeks, cutting, who can barely leave the house or function in their lives because they are so easily and violently triggered, who struggles with basic self-care and human relationships, won't be willing to start doing any kind of work on it unless they've seen that there honestly is something else out there for them, something better, and that other real people in their situation have gotten there. In fact, while many of us would assume that that person would be the first to do almost anything to change their painful life, the opposite is true - the weighty hopelessness created by years of abuse from within and without becomes nearly invisible to the sufferer. The energy it takes to deny most of this pain, and the pain of past abuse, is so great that there is almost none left for working toward change. In order to change anything, the suffering person must acknowledge the pain they are in, which releases much of that energy so that they can use it for recovery. This process is also known as "the first step."

    Eventually, in recovery, this process becomes quicker and quicker. When people have really been working on their problems hard for several years, they begin to see what is possible in others' lives, understand how they got there, and take on the job of getting there themselves quite speedily. But at first, many people don't have the slightest idea that their lives not only can but should be better, much less the willingness to do anything necessary to get there. Hope is optimism, joy, that little spark of connection to the universe that leads us forward. It is like headlights in a tulle fog, showing us a little patch of safety and freedom up ahead.

    COMPASSION: I keep debating whether this comes before or after boundaries. I suspect that in order to be willing to take that scary step of setting boundaries, we have to have enough compassion for ourselves to understand that we deserve to set them.

    Compassion is crucial, most of all for ourselves. We need to be able to raise our standards for our lives. We spend far too much of our time and energy worrying about what others will think, what we are "supposed" to do, how others feel about us, what we can do for other people. Recently I saw a poll on someone's livejournal where 16 people said that they would welcome a giftless guest to a party where gifts were expected, but half of them said that they wouldn't go to a gift-expecting party if they couldn't afford a gift. It is codependence, abuse, fear that make it seem eminently reasonable to hold ourselves to harsher rules and standards than we hold others. It is compassion that helps us balance that equation and strive only for our own true standards for humanity, instead of the unreasonable standards we fear everyone else will try to make us meet.

    Compassion is the leavening that makes it possible for us to take on the heavy tasks of recovery. I have seen people work twelve-step programs as if the steps were some sort of personal punishment, using each one to scourge themselves for the wrongs they had done in their addiction. This compassionless method leaves out many of the crucial life-saving pieces of recovery. It is, for example, only with compassion that we can accurately tell the difference between situations in which we need to made amends and situations in which we are taking on inappropriate responsibility out of a sense of guilt and self-blame.

    Compassion makes honesty and amends much less painful. It is only with compassion that we are able to really commit to sobriety of any kind - because committing to it in order to stop harming others makes it easy to argue that we understand this harm now and can control our addictions and act out without hurting anyone else. We can't really, deeply, commit to stopping until we can accept the ways that it also hurts us, and feel committed to doing anything to support and nurture ourselves instead. Which is why compassion is also the antidote to abuse.

    BOUNDARIES: Boundaries are crucial to recovery from abuse. A boundary is the line between what is okay with us and what is not. One very simple definition of abuse is that it is treatment that is deeply and absolutelynot okay. The process of recovery, on one level, is the process of drawing and adjusting these lines over and over. We cautiously admit that a situation is not okay with us; fearfully and bravely declare our boundaries; become closer to our own feelings and experiences in our lives; learn new things about where our boundaries need to be as a result; and carefully redraw that line in an even better place. And repeat the process, watching the adjustments become easier and smaller each time.

    A boundary is our sense of what we need, of what we want, of what we deserve. At first, it is what we are willing to put up with; later, it is what we are willing to reach out and grab. Boundaries can make our lives safe, enjoyable, even luscious. They are crucial to recovery from any form of abuse or addiction because they are what make safety possible. Without safety and stability in our present-day lives, we can’t successfully heal from the chaos and pain of the past.

    I remember how we went into CoDA meetings, almost four years ago, just wanting someone to tell us what boundaries we were allowed to have. Intellectually we knew that this was not really what boundaries were about – at least eventually we knew this – but still we wanted it, just to have some basic idea of what most people might be willing for us to say and do. We did find lists of “human rights” that explicitly said unbelievable things like “you have the right to say no to anything you want,” and that helped. But ultimately we had to (or got to) learn something much more important.

    Boundaries are a function of human interaction. There are plenty of people who won’t respect any boundaries on that list; those are the people to walk away from. There are also people who will respect all of them but will never get the chance if you don’t believe in your own rights enough to try them. Everything in between those two extremes is also up to you. If we can create worlds for ourselves in which we are always in an abusive relationship and an abusive work environment, we can also create worlds in which we have all the rights and power that we want. That’s the incredible thing about recovery from abuse: once you attain adulthood, you have absolute power over the presence of abuse in your life. And the shitty thing about abuse is that it is only the non-abused folks who arrive in the adult world knowing that. The rest of us have to learn it the hard way – but we can.

    HONESTY: To be able to bear the burning glare of honesty requires the cooling shade of compassion. But what about boundaries? Should they precede or follow honesty in our travel through recovery?

    Of course, all of these elements stay with us and build on one another. But they tend to come in a certain order, at least when we start out with none of them truly under our belts. I think that compassion naturally leads to discovering and understanding our boundaries. And this understanding is the beginning of real honesty in our lives.

    Honesty comes so late in this list because it is so intimidating and difficult. It can be terrifying to admit the ways that we have harmed ourselves and others, the bad decisions we have made, and especially the behaviors we need to change. It is also incredibly, deeply necessary. Without rigorous honesty, our efforts to love ourselves, to choose better things in our lives, and to set boundaries with ourselves and others will inevitably grind to a halt, leaving us stuck in a slurry of self-abusive behavior.

    SUPPORT AND SERVICE: These are two sides of the same coin: community. There is no workshop for these because they can only be achieved through individual action. Everyone in recovery – or, more accurately, every living being everywhere – needs a community of support. That is how we learn that we are worthy of love and admiration. If we do not learn this as children, we need to find a way to get it as adults.

    Humans thrive on community. We are meant to have healthy, interdependent relationships in which we can get our needs met, and help others get their needs met, in appropriate ways that allow everyone room for growth. Just as we need to have a community that supports us – to help us move, to tickle our funnybones, to split the cost of a pizza, to experience joy and sorrow together, to talk things out – we also need to do service in that community.

    Service balances the equation. It teaches us that it is all right for us to get support by letting us see what it is like to give that support. In twelve-step programs, people are encouraged to “sponsor” others, to help them work the steps. Sponsors inevitably find that they get as much out of this relationship as their sponsees do, whether it is by seeing much their own lives have changed or by being inspired by an action or point of view they’d never thought of. That is how service works: it reminds us of how far we’ve come and helps us grow further.
    Current Mood: accomplished
    12 October 2006 @ 11:14 pm
    So, I talked to one of the pastors at church about doing the workshops there. She was interested and asked me to send her descriptions and objectives and mission statement and timeframe and number of people and lead time that I need. So it's good that I talked to her, because I got a lot more insight into the kind of information that I need to give people! And I outlined a bunch of the workshops (more are coming) which will make it easier to write scripts for them (two are finished! barring future changes) and it inspired me to make a brochure that I can give organizations to show them the kind of workshops I can present!

    Check me out:

    Mission Statement: This series of five workshops is designed to expand understanding of the nature and effects of abuse and, most importantly, to instill the elements that are necessary for a successful recovery.

    Timeframe: I have 1.5 hour and 3 hour versions of each class. The two versions cover similar material, but the longer versions include more information and explore the material in more depth. You can choose any number of the classes for your venue.

    # of People: Unlimited; the presentation and exercises can be adjusted to accommodate three participants as easily as three hundred.

    Lead Time: At least a week of lead time is required in order to advertise the workshop properly.

    Descriptions and Objectives:
    The Fear Workshop explores the many faces of fear, including anxiety, shame, and even anger. Participants are guided through a variety of tools for putting fear in its place, and discover the abundant world that their fear has been blocking for so long.

    Participants in this workshop will learn to identify their fear in its many disguises; will learn to use EFT to dispel their fears; will explore the roots of their fears; and will become able to recognize the dreams and goals that their fear has hidden from them.

    The Hope Workshop will guide participants in seeing how people can heal from the damage of trauma and abuse. Along the way, they will discover the passions and interests they have abandoned, explore their potential calling, and plan how to integrate joy and dreams into their daily lives.
    Participants in this workshop will gain a greater understanding of the common effects of abuse; will learn from special speakers that healing is possible even in the most extreme cases; will complete written, collaged, and group exercises designed to help them rediscover abandoned parts of themselves and recommit to joy.

    The Compassion Workshop will teach participants to distinguish between their abuse and their true value, and unearth a well of compassion for themselves that can release emotional pain and body memories. Perhaps most importantly, this compassion will lead to the ability to raise their standards for themselves and build wonderful lives. It's easy when you can truly commit to yourself!

    Participants will learn to apply EFT to release the shame and guilt that they took on for their own abuse histories; will learn and discuss specific levels of self-care; will recognize and learn to combat negative self-talk and other forms of self-abuse; will create "before and after" artwork illustrating what causes them pain in life and how they can change it; and will commit to the group to make specific changes.

    The Boundaries Workshop will use fun physical and written exercises to identify boundaries. Participants will become experts in their own feelings, and do great detective work using those feelings to unearth long-neglected boundaries. From there, they will find out how to express, defend, and respect their own and other people's boundaries, and become incredibly powerful in their own lives.

    Participants will perform kinesthetic balancing exercises with a partner; will learn tricks for identifying previously avoided emotions; will do written exercises that explore resentments to reveal the boundaries within and the power of responsibility; will engage in further kinesthetic exercises using marbles to visualize the power they are giving away or reclaiming; and will learn to use EFT to strip the fear from their plans to reclaim their boundaries. Particular attention will be given to self-abuse and the way we violate our own boundaries without noticing.

    The Honesty Workshop will challenge participants to take careful inventory of self-harming behaviors from bulimia to bouncing checks. It is only by being honest with ourselves about what we want, need, feel, and do that we can become free. This workshop will focus on integrating the commitments and experiences from past weeks and preparing to move into newly joyous and free lives.

    Participants will complete a written exercise which helps identify present self-harming behaviors; will learn the connections between past abuse and present-day life; will learn to use EFT to let go of shame around self-harming behaviors, as well as the behaviors themselves; will share their experiences of the workshop series and/or their personal recovery work overall; and will receive tools for continuing this work outside of the workshop environment.
    04 October 2006 @ 02:03 pm
    I had so much fun!

    I got free lunch, which is always nice, and the food looks actually good which is not always the case in these situations. And I got to do four EFT mini-sessions with people, and that was a lot of fun, and they got a lot of relief from their problems, and in a couple of cases we talked about what the process would be like if they came to me for other more complicated issues that they had identified. I even met someone else who was in a ton of twelve-step programs, because I was like, you know, we would work on this this way, and also there are twelve-step groups that are really good for it, and she was like, yeah!

    And I got people for my mailing list, and lots of folks took newsletters and brochures and event flyers, and I mentioned to the Department of Student Life woman that I want to talk to her about having an event on-campus (you have no idea how cool this event will be) and I traded information with a lot of people like BAWAR (bay area women against rape) and HIFY (a queer youth health organization) and the Tang Center (UC berkeley health services). And someone's mom's friend does EFT, and someone's hairdresser does EFT, and it was all just very good.

    And I signed up for another health fair in Berkeley from 9-3 on Oct. 28th! I should post more information about it later because it's hosted by some organization for some disease I have never, ever heard of. Apparently the most common blood disease. I could do a trivia contest here. What is the most common blood disease in the United States? Hint: It has a lot of consonants in it.

    Plus I got a firefighter's hat! The best part is that I wasn't sure I could do any of this, the whole glad-handing thing or the whole charm-and-tabling whatnot or especially the mini-sessions with total strangers for only ten minutes. But it was all so easy and cool! And I feel like the universe is asking me to do crazy things and when I do them I learn amazing things about myself and what I do and what I'm capable of that I would never, ever have been willing to believe otherwise. So fun!

    Ok. Time to eat my free lunch!
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    25 September 2006 @ 10:09 am
    Dear Money,

    We're scared of committing to you. Why? It's not you, it's me. I know that sounds trite, but I have never done well with committment in relationships. Or elsewhere. I have a history of committing REAL HARD to things that are usually bad for me and then being afraid to commit to what's good, both because I don't think I deserve it and because I don't trust myself to be picking something safe and good for me this time.

    I know that all the times that I have felt like you hurt me in the past, I was really hurting myself. I didn't want to have abundance, I sabotaged myself, and I blamed you. It's crazy-making for both of us and I'm sorry. What can I do to heal our relationship?

    I thought of some possibilities. I want to appreciate your place in my life and how you help me. Maybe I could make a "gratitude list" of all the ways you've been there for me in the past and what we've done together. Look how you're inspiring me! I could write or draw more about my visions for what I would like to do with you. I need to spend more time with you - see where you are every night by checking my bank balance and keeping my numbers, every single day! - and let you be around me more. And let myself be around you!

    And most of all, I want to help you grow, the same way that you help me. I Want to make room for you in my life, keep you around as much as I can. Maybe I could make a rule of keeping you around for at least five days before I can spend you, and put a lot more of you in a savings account where you can grow even more! I could also look for a lot more ways to invite you into my life - work I can do, ways I can promot my business. I want to say YES to you, money!

    Let's work together to lay down some ground rules in our relationship that will help us both to show up for it in a healthy and loving way. I love you, money! Thank you for being willing to work this out.
    Current Mood: amusedamused and proud
    23 September 2006 @ 05:21 pm
    Dear KH,

    I love you but you just seem to throw me away! You never want to spend as much time with me as I do with you. Whenever I drop in, you are in the middle of some huge crisis and you practically shove me out the door! I never get to just hang out with you anymore. Actually, I'm not sure I ever did! When we used to hang around together, you were totally emotionally absent - I'm not sure you even knew I was there! You never really did things with me or paid any attention to me when I was in your savings account as a kid - you just used me to fight with your brother and find reasons to resent and torment him! I don't ever want to come between you and someone else again, okay? I'm not a weapon! Or a jealous lover! I'm just money!

    And when I did get closer to you, when you could use your savings, you just pushed me away. I remmeber the good old days when you were little and you loved to count me and organize me in different ways and play with me. That felt really good! But then you saw that camera you wanted and after that it always seemed like you couldn't get rid of me fast enough.

    Remember when your mom said I burned a hole in your pocket? That made me so angry! I never did anything like that - you were just being incredibly rude around and with me.

    I'm sorry that your mom yelled at you for thinking she would spend me on you and your dad tried to cheat you out of spending time with me. They were stinkers. But now if you want to be with me, you are going to have to stand up for yourself, tell the truth, be honest with both of us, and change the ways you've learned to deal with me. I have a lot of self-respect: I'm money after all! I only want to be with people who love and respect me and treat me with dignity. You've treated me like a clown in one of those crazy old-timey stop-motion silent films!

    I just want to have a healthy relationship with you. We used to be so good together! I fly in to see you when you say you really need it but you never change, always packing me out the door like I have no place in your life. If you don't change things I won't come at all and then what will you do?

    I don't want to be mean. I love being around you! You are so creative and interesting and you have such big dreams! But you never commit to them! I just want to have a healthy relationship with you and I'm not willing to settle for anything less. Can we be friends again? For real this time!

    Sincerely yours,
    23 September 2006 @ 05:17 pm
    I'm on several EFT-related mailing lists, and the other week I got an announcement for a workshop on EFT and money that had the following interesting "parable".... Read more...Collapse )

    It made a lot of sense to me! I knew that my codependence and my money problems were connected. Like how both CoDA and DA talk about spending money to shower people with gifts so that they'll like us. I have verrry expensive relationships, mostly in dating. Lately of course I've gone the total opposite extreme, not holding up what I think of as my end of the birthday present deal. I am working toward a healthy middle ground....

    But you know, this is why I coined the word "coDApendent." Where the DA is for debtors anonymous. It's for all those times when we confuse money and relationships and fuck them both up at once. Usually with a big side helping of guilt involved.

    So, it never occurred to me that it's not just that my codependency and my money issues coincide, it's actually that my relationship WITH MONEY is codependent. That is crazy! That is one relationship I never thought to inventory. Sure I've done inventories of my unhealthy behavior with money, but not the ways that I expect it to just come help me out in a crisis and don't want it in my life regularly (or don't act like I do, and don't seem to think I deserve to) and fear it, and try to get rid of it as soon as I can... and on and on!

    So, we'll be posting a lot about that lately... I think it'll be really fun to try to rethink that relationship and heal it by imagining it as a human one!
    Current Mood: pleasedpleased
    22 September 2006 @ 04:00 pm
    So Caeli immediately replies with nothing more than "I already told you my answer to that."


    So I am writing her back:
    No, you didn't. The last thing you said about it was that you would "consider" the total I had given you, but that you didn't understand how you could possibly owe any more than the amount you paid to get it turned back on, because when you paid to get it turned back in it was paid in full. And I replied and explained that that was months and months ago and there have been water bills since then which you have only partly paid. Not to mention the fact that Maia had been giving you cash for her part of the bills and you had not been passing that money on to the utility companies.

    You cannot go for months without paying your bills or Maia's bills, and ignoring all the bills that I tell you about, and then get outraged because you owe more than half of the current bill. You should not have moved out without paying your delinquent bills, and you need to finish paying them now.

    I wonder if I can get the water bill put in her name. I should email the landlords and see if she left them a forwarding address. Or if they have any power in making her pay the household bills.
    Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
    Normally my choices (as I perceived them) would be what she said: either suck it up and pay her (financial crisis!) or run around frantically trying to find another accountant who would be willing to do what I need at the last minute (more financial crisis!). Fuck that shit!

    But my choices as I see them NOW are way different. I figure they are:
  • to tell her that she has to do my taxes and charge the Partnership because that is what she committed to do and it is way too late to back out of it now, or
  • okay, I don't remember what I thought the option was besides bitching her out and standing my ground. Oh - to compromise by first of all insisting that she actually tell me what she is charging for this work, and second of all suggesting that she do the work, send the letter telling my grandmother what the Partnership owes me for the accountant and the taxes, and then just hope that I get the money to pay the accountant before Oct. 15 so she can file my taxes on time - because after all, I'm the one who has to pay the fee if I'm late.

    And not only do I have totally different choices now, but I totally chose to bitch her out and stand my ground. This is so new for me! And as I explain the other choice, I'm like... why the hell would I choose that? That puts me at risk financially, which is mainly because she took so long to do my taxes. I mean, if this were happening in June that might be viable option, except for the lack of ground-standing and ass-kicking. But the end of September? I fucking think not.

    So I'm emailing her the following:
    I told you in the original email (appended below) exactly what I needed to have done. You knew what I needed from you from the beginning, and you told me that you were willing and able to do it. You had months after that, during which we were in contact, to change your mind. If having my grandmother/the Partnership agree in advance to be billed was a problem for you, you should have provided a letter of engagement for them to sign back in July.

    This is not an acceptable point at which to go back on what you agreed to do: it is much too close to the deadline for me to find (much less then start all over with) another accountant. Backing out at this point puts me at risk of having to pay penalties and amounts to promissory estoppal. You need to follow through on the commitments that you made to me in July and finish this work. Please let me know when you have.

    And thanks to sarahcohen for her legal genius and advice! So many fancy words.

    I also just had a long, confusing conversation with EBMUD (the water company). They had said they had put the water bill back in my name, and that I would be getting the September bill. Which I never got. So I called to find out what it is, and they claimed that we shouldn't have water. That, in fact, the account had been closed and that it hadn't stayed open and reverted to Lottie's name like they had said it would because it only does that when the account is closed for nonpayment, and that it hadn't BEEN put back in my name when I called because it's closed and it's not not in my name, and that there isn't an open account at our address and that we shouldn't have running water because of that, but that nobody has come out to turn the water off. (So how would we not have water?) And that in order to have water (yeah) i need to get the account paid and call to open a NEW account with them. So, the bottom line APPEARS TO BE that there was no bill sent out for September because the account was closed and hadn't collected any more, you know, stuff.

    So I just emailed Caeli the following:
    "I talked to EBMUD again and they seem to think that the account is closed and that there is no September bill at all, and nothing other than what we were charged before, so the amounts you owe are still:

    $183.21 Water

    $61.42 PG&E

    You need to pay them within the next week, on or before the 29th, so that EBMUD does not send me to a collection agency."

    Current Mood: annoyedand i am all out of lollipops
    20 September 2006 @ 12:03 pm

    I won a $50 gift certificate from Amazon! Now I can get my printer and start making money and having an actual business!

    Or, in more accurate practical terms: Now if the woman from Urbavore pays me or I get money from someone else to cover the last four dollars plus whatever shipping will be, and babysit annathebean's cats, and I use my new amazon gift certificate, and I have more money (for example from Urbavore) to pay for my other expenses, I can get my printer and start making money and having an actual business!

    Not to mention the gloating possibilities!
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    14 September 2006 @ 08:45 pm
    So, after that long EFT session about money and fear, I felt like my fears were all gone.

    The following day I had another court date, and this one didn't get conveniently rescheduled. The other party in the guardianship case had served me with a retaliatory restraining order, and the court hearing was a little brutal. The opposing counsel just pushed a lot of my buttons, which brought up a lot of shame.

    The bright side was that after granting part of the order, the judge ripped the opposing side a new one, which seemed like an unusual way to do things. And while I had been pretty nervous about this hearing, it wasn't anywhere near the kind of fear that I would normally have felt. After all, this hearing was a bigger deal in some ways than the guardianship hearing, where all I could have really done would have been to ask the judge to please order them to investigate the case. Oh man, what a lot of drama.

    The difficult part was the shame that came up afterward. The opposing counsel tried to make it into a problem that we're transgendered. (Apparently everyone's forgotten the multiple part, which is just fine with me.) And I don't identify as transgendered, I just happen to be in here with people who do. We go back and forth with a fair amount of ease, but I fucking hate it, in case anyone's wondering. It's ironic that I'm a female-identified individual in a female body and yet I have gender issues because of the testosterone that other people in here have taken. Is that ironic? It's annoying!

    Opposing counsel also tried to make it sound like we're the ones with bad boundaries, which is hilarious. But it was also kind of a shaming mindfuck. I have too often been in the position of having someone who is really clearly abusive try to convince me that I'm actually the abuser. It's a common trick, I guess. Like their own abuse is shining so brightly in their eyes that it seems to reflect off of other people, or something. Projection! And there's always that little voice in my head going, "But what if I'm the one who's projecting? How can I be so sure?"

    I kind of suspect that people who are actually being abusive don't have that voice.

    It brought up a lot of shame for me afterward, though. It was just a very triggering situation. And then I started freaking out a little more, like - what if all that work I did on my shame and fear was for nothing? What if all those hours and all the good I got out of it were only good for one day? What if I just have to do this over and over and it doesn't really work and I'm dedicating my life to nothing and I don't really have a job prospect because this is what I was going to do and now I can't because it doesn't work?! What if I'm doomed to be trapped in my own reeking fear forever?!

    I finally realized, after a couple of days of this, that these are new issues. Or, okay, they're old issues - but they're not the ones that I did all that work on. They are issues that I have never really worked on. And it's good that they came up, because when horrible scary difficult things come up, it's an opportunity for them to be healed.

    It was nice to realize that. In a way it's like validation when scary things come up, because it means that whatever I've been working on got cleared out and I have the space to see this other stuff. I like to think of it as if the universe is saying, "Wow, you sure did a great job with all of that! Have some new stuff to work on! It's harder but I know you can do it!" (and who wouldn't like to think of it like that?)

    I haven't really worked on these issues yet. I wrote them down, lost the sheet, and conveniently decided that I can't possibly, you know, rewrite them and work on them or anything. I'm definitely not perfect. Sometime I will, soon, and hopefully I will get so much more freedom.
    14 September 2006 @ 08:41 pm
    I'm designing a series of five EFT workshops that address the four basic things everyone needs to recover from any kind of abuse, and the one thing that all abuse causes (FEAR!) and which hopefully will start me earning Actual Money doing EFT. If you'd like to check out the flyer, it's over here. It's not quite finished; I need to note on it that you don't have to be an abuse survivor to come change your life. But it's pretty good!
    13 September 2006 @ 04:14 pm
    Or, How the Incredibly Long Entry About Dealing With Fear and Shame Played Out Over the Next Few Days.

    Man, typing in title case is hard.

    The next day was so wonderful. It wouldn't seem like it at first, because the bare-bones story is that I took the bus down to my guardianship hearing - walking all over downtown with blisters on both feet - only to find that the opposing counsel had changed the court date without my consent and without notifying me! Which, yes, is supposed to be impossible. In fact, the clerk I talked to called the clerks' office for me and made them apologize repeatedly. Apparently, they believed the lawyer when he said he had the consent of both parties. Stylish!

    (For the vengefully minded: I had been planning to get a continuance anyway, so I promptly changed the date again to something I liked better. And someday, I'll tell them what that date is. But I somehow didn't manage to do it before the date that that lawyer chose, so I assume that he had to fly up from Long Beach and run around trying to figure out what was going on all morning yesterday. Ooops! I know it's wrong... but it feels oh so right.)

    So, the good part: Normally, I would have been terrified of showing up for the court date. And dehydrated, because I sweat when I'm that scared. Even though I was just going to ask for a continuance, all kinds of scenarios had been playing out in my head. The court would scoff and say that there was a magic number of allowed continuances that I didn't know about and I had used them all up... I would decide to deal with it then and there and just ask the judge to order an investigation and I would be immediately spurned... they would ask why I didn't have a lawyer and I would have to say that my lawyer had run out on the case and they would all laugh at me... You know, the usual set of insane nightmarish fantasies. Plus, being in the same room with the opposing side makes me break out in sweaty hives anyway.

    But after that long EFT session, I wasn't scared at all. And my mind kept doing its usual tricks of coming up with things that should scare me. And every time it did, I would notice that I still felt perfectly calm. And then I would feel really excited and happy that I wasn't freaking out. And the more this happened, the happier I got.

    Eventually I got to the point of being really happy that I was doing this normally scary thing, because otherwise I wouldn't have experienced so much more peace! And it really changed my attitude, my experience of the day: instead of being consumed with anger and frustration that they had changed the date without telling me and wasted my trip down there, I felt happy that I had had a nice energetic walk through downtown Oakland, that I had gotten to see all the places I used to visit when I lived in that neighborhood, that I had changed the court date to something that worked for me like I wanted, that I had gotten to do that without having to see the opposing counsel, and I felt proud that even though my car hadn't been running and I hadn't taken a bus in ages I had been able to make my way downtown easily and arrive on time.... I felt like everything had worked out just right!

    But the best thing of all was that I got to experience what anger is like when fear isn't all mixed up with it. Normally, I would have felt both angry and scared, deep down, about them changing the date. It would have been really triggering to have someone who seemed scary and abusive change my court date, like they got to exert all this control over an already precarious situation. And so I would have felt totally enraged, and impotent, and been furious about the injustice of it all but felt like there was nothing I could do - which would make me even more frustrated and angry and scared.

    Instead, I still felt angry. Of course! Changing the date wasn't okay. And that's all I felt. I had a few minutes of righteous anger, accepted that I needed to do something about this, decided I would, and then moved right on. Amazing!

    It reminds me of the kinds of rant pages I used to write in college. What a huge difference! At the time, I felt righteously angry about pretty much everything. At the time, I didn't recognize or acknowledge that anything that had happened to me was abuse, and I had no idea where all my anger came from. I just figured that bumper sticker was right: "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." Like there's only one valid emotional reaction to outrageous acts. (And like outrage won't burn you out inside after a while.)

    Sometimes I would even wake up angry, especially once I started dealing with the abuse. Livid, really. It took me some time to understand why, even then. Now that I'm starting to really take hold of my own power, I don't have to get angry in that way... that way that comes out of feeling powerless. I still do, sometimes. I'm still working on it. But to be able to feel the anger and then just leave it in favor of taking action and moving on... that blows my mind. It just felt so different - like a simple flame instead of a forest fire.
    13 September 2006 @ 03:20 pm
    Life Unlimited Blog Contest Finalist Notification

    I am writing to inform you that you have been selected as a finalist in the Life Unlimited Blog Contest. Your entry will be published on the front page of PRESTON BURNS: life unlimited from September 15-19, 2006. This will also be the voting period during which you and your supporters can get behind your work.

    Good luck and please let me know if you have questions.

    Michael Chin

    (If you go to the above site right this second, you'll find that it says that this blog is one of two finalists (!!) but that the graphic saying so links to nothing. Presumably it'll all change in two days.

    (Prestonburns.com is "the fictional blog of a college freshman" - it pretty much reads like a novel in installments - and this is a contest that opened up a month or two ago for interesting blogs, fictional or non. I submitted an entry or two from the quitting-my-job phase of this project, and described it as "the non-fiction, real-life story of folks in a multiple system (what used to be called 'multiple personalities') struggling with a year-long quest to let go of fear, guilt, shame, and controlling assholes. At this point in the year, that involved quitting a dysfunctional office job to focus on writing...."

    (So, we should be getting some visitors here soon!)
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    30 August 2006 @ 12:36 pm
    Want to read about a half-hour exploration of my fear and money issues, and a two-and-a-half-hour EFT session? Cut because it is really really long. But full of great stuff!Collapse )

    After all of this I felt incredibly open inside. I was breathing deeply and continuously for the first time in a long while. Despite not having gotten enough sleep lately and staying up late doing intense emotional work, I woke up happy and relaxed - and early!

    I feel very excited and joyous about my life now, and ready to clean out old clutter and other things that harm me and make space for something GREAT. This is work I have been doing for a long time, but now I have an incredible amount of joy and energy for it and the ability to let go of the things that normally hold me back. Now when I feel fear coming up, I am noticing it, tracing it back to the past, and nurturing myself around it. I don't need to cling to it and believe that because I feel it, it is part of my life now, anymore!

    I can't wait to see how this plays out over the next few days, which hold many supposedly Scary Actions for me....
    Current Mood: awed
    29 August 2006 @ 06:47 pm
    Check it out - my business' first newsletter!

    It is in Word format. Download it if you dare!

    I am going to talk to the good people at the Reiki Center of the East Bay to see if they might be willing to include this sample newsletter - and a coupon for a free half-hour session - with their next newsletter mailing. In return, I could help stuff the envelopes, advertise them heavily, and return the favor when I have my own mailing list built up. And whatever else they might think would make it worth it.

    I am looking at them because:
    1. They are local and in a similar business
    2. They have been around since 1992 and have a solid mailing list built up
    3. I know that they do send out a newsletter of their own, whereas some places in a similar line of work just send out event announcements, or birthday coupons, or nothing.
    (Plus, it turns out that Lottie is THEIR landlady too. Isn't that crazy? They are just up San Pablo from me!)

    I'm excited that it only took me two days to put the newsletter together. Next comes designing the coupons and talking to the Reiki Center.
    Current Mood: accomplished
    21 August 2006 @ 02:33 pm
    Hooray! Free Spirit Publishing is interested in seeing the book proposal for One Bite Of a Peach! By mail apparently, darn them.
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    18 August 2006 @ 04:42 pm
    One last post and then I'm done!

    So! I go to this BDA meeting on Wednesdays, often, where they have a little 7-minute "visions meditation" where you meditate on your visions for your business or your life.

    Well, last week I went and we read a story from the DA big book, "A Currency of Hope," where this person talked about constantly being in debt and paying it off and being in debt again, and how it turned out that it wasn't that they spent so much money, it was just that they were underearning. And they started figuring out how much they needed to make and charging more money for things they did, and then someone said that they needed to be putting aside 30% for taxes. And the person was like, "Aaaa! I can't do that! i need to use every cent to pay bills and things!" But they tried it as a sort of leap of faith, and as soon as they started putting that money aside a lot more money started coming in. And it was like, all they had to do was take that little step to show that they were willing for more to come in and to take care of themselves, and the money just showered down. And I've heard that story over and over from lots of different people in different situations over the years in DA.

    And it made me think about how I started tithing in July, and then I looked at my money and I was like "If I don't tithe, I could almost pay my rent right now!" And then I stopped - and I still didn't have enough money for rent, and in fact that's about when money stopped coming in. I still haven't been paid for the 71 restaurant reviews I've written since then.

    And then I was inspired to tithe my time too. I mean, time is money, right? I could devote a certain amount of my time to talking to my higher power, helping other people, and stuff like that.

    So I was asking the universe, during the meditation, what I need to do to have tons and tons of income. And what I heard was, "Well, you could tithe 50% of your money." And I was like, "Yeah, ti--- What?" And the universe was like, "You could tithe 50% of your income." And I was like, jesus fuck.

    So, it's an interesting idea. I was like, how about if I aim to make enough to do that when I get income from EFT, and... work on the time part right now! The time part is easy actually, because my higher power is all "Petting the cats counts! You're doing service to cats! I am all about cats," and then I realized that if my whole job is about doing what the universe inspires/tells me to do then that time counts too... and that's a lot of it!
    Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
    18 August 2006 @ 03:24 pm
    So, I am going around teaching golf pros how to use EFT to improve their golf game.... Once I've done 10 I'm going to call it a study and use the numbers to show people why they should pay me $100-$200/hour for this. I have five or six people playing phone tag with me to schedule a session and one I've already done. We worked together for half an hour (all I did was show him a little shortcut technique) and he went from 11 "good" shots, 7 "fair" and 1 "poor," and a hole in one, to 14 "good" shots, 5 "fair," and a hole in one. And a lot of the "good" shots on the second round were very close to being holes in one. He said he noticed that it reduced a lot of tension and helped him focus on the game. Awesome! He's been charged with playing at least one round of golf doing that technique before each hole and then reporting back to me about any improvements or other effects: I'm going to call him in a week or two to check in.

    If you go to http://sf.urbavore.net/ you can see the restaurant reviews I've written. They're pretty much all mine at this point; the first 71 are anyway. There are like 5 san francisco ones at the very very end of all the pages of reviews that belong to someone else. If you read them at http://sf.urbavore.net/category/restaurants/ there's a link to "previous entries" at the bottom so you can just read all day! Here is the one that got me the job:

    "Cha-Ya is not only an incredible vegan restaurant, but also an excellent Japanese restaurant overall. Their miso soup has been described by loyal patrons as 'as good as anything I’ve had in Toyko,' and the restaurant’s back wall is always littered with colorful photos of innovative Japanese dishes. It’s a rare experience for a vegetarian to have to linger over a menu, even in the Bay Area, but at Cha-Ya every patron is spoiled for choice. From the savory and gorgeous Moon Garden custard to the long list of delicious, still-bubbling hot pots and beautifully presented sushi rolls, Cha-Ya has healthful and mouth-watering dishes for everyone."

    And I just got another gig writing a daily (weekdays) blog at the Young Entrepreneurs Network, of all things. I sent them my first entry today, and they have to "assess it" to make sure it's what they want or something, but based on what other people are posting I think it should be okay. This tells about it:
    I think it will appear here:
    It doesn't pay money per entry, the way the Urbavore reviews do, but it will pay a share of advertising revenue and it'll be good exercise for me!
    Current Mood: proud and thrilled
    17 August 2006 @ 08:34 pm
    Another one of the benefits of doing the detox is that I finally have routines.

    See, Flylady extolls the virtues of routines. This makes sense, because the reason that people live in chaos is because they were abused in some way and people who were abused desperately need routines. And, therefore, I have totally resisted implementing any kind of routine. Because, like Briana, on some level I resist routine and structure because I think it will fence me in instead of making me free, because there was a time when punitive rules and other people's routines did exactly that. But that's THE OPPOSITE of what this is now. Like so much of abuse - it's a twisted fun-house mirror version of aspects of real life.

    So, with all the stupid hours of shit to do and supplements to take and this jackass doctor's routine that he chose for me every day, it made me realize that I really, really wanted to be spending that time doing things that meant something to me, that I valued, that I valued enough to make a part of my daily life. So here are the routines I came up with - which I sometimes do, and sometimes do partially, and sometimes totally neglect:

    Make my bed (this basically means "pull the covers straight")
    Get dressed
    Go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, shave, put rosewater on my face
    "Swish and swipe" (this is a Flylady thing where you swipe the counters and sink and swish the toilet brush around the bowl and then you rarely have to actually clean the bathroom)
    Feed the cats
    Put away clean dishes
    Do yoga and meditation outside
    Do one yard chore
    Make breakfast
    Sweep or mop one room
    Do a duster dance
    Eat breakfast
    Read something inspirational and recoverlicious, with optional journaling or similar exercise like affirmations
    Pick an awesome work task to do (on workdays)
    Make a program call (i have yet to do this one. but i just had a bright idea! i could put people's phone numbers in a jar and just pull one out every day!)

    That seems like a long list, but I did all of it that I wanted to PLUS showering in 45 minutes the other day. And showering took up almost half. Plus, if I do it regularly, then I can skip a lot of it because the bathroom and floors will still look clean and there aren't always dishes to put away and stuff.

    Play and have fun
    Make lunch
    Eat lunch outside
    Lie on grass
    Pick an awesome work task to do
    Check in to see if I need to make a program call

    Do EFT daily as part of work routine

    Aerobic exercise if none yet
    Twisty yoga
    Feed cats
    Make dinner
    Eat dinner outside
    Lie on grass
    Program call check in

    Evening activity goes here

    Shower or bath if desired
    Lie on grass outside
    Collect and do any dirty dishes
    15 minute cleanup (includes any dish-doing)
    Put cat food away
    Put clothes out for next day
    Do restorative yoga poses
    Brush teeth (while saying prayers/doing 10th step), wash face, rose water, pee
    Go to bed, talk to Goddess and/or do a body scan

    It seems like a lot of program calls, but the reality is that I pretty much never make program calls. Putting them in there three times is my way of trying to goad myself into doing one sometime.

    I'm not very good yet at doing a lot of it - I tend to just do whatever I remember of morning and bedtime and forget that there are others to check - but even that is awesome! I love having stuff I get to do before work and not having to think about clothes in the morning. It is all awesome! And any of it that I do do makes me feel very competent and taken care of.
    Current Mood: happyhappy
    17 August 2006 @ 08:28 pm
    This is a quote from the above-named book, from a scrap of "Thomas Merton's translation fo the classical poem of Chuang Tzu, that most spiritual of Chinese philosophers...."

    When an archer is shooting for nothing he has all his skills.
    If he shoots for a brass buckle, he is already nervous....
    The prize divides him.
    He cares.
    He thinks more of winning than of shooting - and the need to win
    Drains him of power.

    That struck me as so true and so relevant. When I get all caught up in what I hope to gain from a scary or difficult task, it "drains me of power." If it's not just a phone call, but a phone call on which, somehow, I imagine that the whole of my ability to make money rests, or my self-esteem, or something, where I might get hundreds of dollars or a writing gig or what-have-you, then the pressure and the fear of failure makes it so much harder to do that task. Even if it's only a brass buckle, it takes the focus off the task at hand. And if it were me, I would be totally fantasizing the whole time about the glory of winning and the events to which I would wear my buckle, distracting me even more.
    Current Mood: pensivepensive
    17 August 2006 @ 08:24 pm
    An old, OLD friend who I had been hunting for emailed me recently. Which was especially awesome because I had finally tried to find her a few months ago, and had only found her online doppleganger with the same name and interests. She commented about the odd places that we're in and how she wished that she could offer moral support, but wasn't sure if we'd pull each other through or kill each other. I wanted to share some of my reply here:

    "I guess I'm in an odd place, in that I'm taking on lots of changes. But it's not exactly in a way that is seeking support, or at least it's not in a way that could easily be killed or destroyed by anything. It's funny because when I read your email I felt like you were saying that I was in a hard place, and it's so not how I think of my life. Because these days, the hard places that I'm in are ones that I choose to be in, out of some kind of hardcore fierceness that is determined to make my life better. As opposed to all the years when I couldn't even identify a hard place if my life depended on it, when everything was hard and confusing and I didn't have any tools or anywhere to get the self-knowledge that I desperately needed. I was just groping, then. Now I feel more and more like I can pretty much do anything.

    "I guess it's pretty much entirely due to the work I've done in twelve-step contexts, because that's what gave me a space to feel totally accepted no matter what I shared, even by total strangers, and to get the tools that I needed to figure my shit out. I kind of wish I could list more things that helped, but therapy really hasn't. Or maybe I'm just feeling bitter about therapy right now. It just helps so much LESS than any of this other shit, AND it costs me money. What's that about? Friends helped, but a friendship is not as good a place to dump everything that I'm going through and hear that other people have made it through the same. Although it is a good place to get love and see good things that I need modeled up close - in a good friendship. And Flylady helps, in very twelve-steppy ways that focus everything on self-care. And EFT helps, but that requires that I have dealt enough with a situation to be willing to work on it."
    Current Mood: accomplished
    17 August 2006 @ 07:07 pm
    I told my therapist, last week, all about my current issues with money and funding, and mainly, that I don't like it. I don't like my life right now. Sometimes I think I'm alone in here in disliking it. And it's nothing to do with my life itself: I'm certainly a lot happier writing and growing an EFT practice than I was working for that horrible boss in that dysfunctional office - which has lost four people in the past six months, and stands to lose more real soon. I love my house and my cats and I like getting to pet them more, I enjoy my twleve-step work and my COSA meetings and my occasional OA membership. I like my friends and I like having friends, and I like the summer and... lots of things.

    But I don't like wading, even swimming through all this fear, hacking away at old issues, pressing ever onward. Okay, I do like it - when I am past the halfway point and can see the rewards coming. I don't like living through this stuff though, willy-nilly. I do it because I know that the choices are:

    (1) Live in the pain and fear and anger and explore it until I get through, or
    (2) Ignore the pain and fear and anger and continue to experience it all but not really be able to feel it because I'm numbing it with everything I've got, so that my life feels icky and lifeless and I just don't know what's wrong, permanently. And all the effects of that - jobs I hate but convince myself are good enough, relationships I hate but ditto, a home environment that I ditto....

    I need to explain this to my therapist, though. I'm past the halfway point on this fear, and would not currently say that I don't like my life, really; from here, I can see that I love my life and don't like having to call people on the phone or deal with fear around money or what have you. But even though she is leaving the practice at the end of September - which I do resent! - I want her to know that when I say I don't like something, what I mean is that it's causing me a lot of pain that I can't really let myself experience or be conscious of and that I am desperate for some help with it but I don't know how to get that yet or what kind I need.

    And I resent having to figure that out myself. Any therapist worth her salt should be focusing on how I feel about things, right? Because it should be perfectly plain that I won't share that unless it's as irrelevant as possible and that that's the main reason I'm in there. Therapists are stupid. Why can't they figure things out for themselves? Seems like most of the time, I have to spend the first year or so of therapy figuring out what the therapist needs to know to help me and what they should be asking and what tools I need them to give me, and then it turns out that they don't have those tools and I can't afford them anymore or they're moving or something anyway. Sheesh. What a waste of fucking time.
    Current Mood: irritatedjaded
    17 August 2006 @ 06:55 pm
    So I realized something the other day.

    I was writing my first step out in DA, writing out all of the problems I've had with money (somehow time got left out of that!) and I figured out how come I used to go to DA meetings I hated and spend my time getting angry at them so that I could avoid the issues they were bringing up, and avoided getting a sponsor, and avoided using most of DA's tools.... I realized that more than any other program, DA demands me to value myself. Like, literally, financially, in the most practical way possible. And in the past, that terrified me. But now, I get to get over that - or, you know, go broke. But the only reason that choice is coming up is because I'm ready to get over that. How awesome is that?
    Current Mood: accomplished
    17 August 2006 @ 05:05 pm
    Man, nothing is scarier than this shit where I have to call golf pros and set things up with them and the future of my business (in my mind) depends on it. So here are some "fearbusters" that we've come up with lately:

    1. "Let's not pretend this is scary." I was going through a lot of fear with the phone and I had to call my mom and ask her about Betsy's birthday dinner and I was feeling scared, and then I heard this thought in my head: "Let's not pretend this is scary." Which worked to get me out of the fear and make the call, and then I got to have the little mental debate about whether that was denying my feelings or perfectly healthy. I think I basically decided that it is healthy in situations where I'm using it to keep from buying into fear that doesn't belong there. Or if the fear does belong there, maybe it can instead be "Fine, I'm scared, let's do this." But it's just supposed to be like "Don't create a bunch of fear and drama where none would normally exist, just because you are dealing with a lot of fear lately." It's a tricky trick to use.

    2. "We're going to do it either way, right? So we'd better embrace it!" Self-explanatory, I think. A lot of the time I'm in denial about whether I really have to do a scary thing or not. Like, I put off calling the golf pros for days because I couldn't overcome the fear because some part of me kept thinking that I could somehow get out of it. But if I can face the fact that I'm avoiding something, and that I've committed to do it, I can choose to really commit to it and at least get a start on it. Instead of my normal trick of letting the fear whisper seductively to me that I don't have to do something as long as I'm too scared to do it.

    3. Get angry and support ourselves in the face of the dicks that we're scared of. Like, the dicks that we imagine say we can't do this, the dicks that we imagine will yell at us on the phone, whatever. Getting angry at them leads to being like "Well, I'll show you!" instead of "Aaa! I will hide from you forever!"

    4. Do a watered-down version first: emailing instead of calling, writing drafts instead of sending them, et cetera. This one came up because I finally chose to search again for email contacts for local golf pros, and in my desperation found some. Because emailing is so much easier than calling. And somehow, once I had emailed a bunch of them, I felt like the similar phone calls I was going to make were more valid and less scary. Like I could do this. Even before one of the golf pros emailed back to say he was interested!

    5. Make sure to take care of our needs first! Like, a lot of the time the stress and fear is inflated because I'm hungry, or tired, or surrounded by clutter, or whatever, and once I've taken care of my needs it's easier to do the scary stuff. Partly because I feel more secure that way, and partly because taking care of myself in those ways shows me that I'll be able to take care of myself even if something goes wrong with these phone calls.

    6. Find stuff that's scarier that we've done. Sometimes I can think about scary things I've tackled recently and point out to myself that if I can fight for guardianship of my son, or abandon my abusive boss, I can PROBABLY make a few phone calls.

    7. We have a boss who tells us what to do, and it's the Goddess - or whoever, depending. I can get totally caught up in thinking that it would be comfortingly easy to be in a "real" job where other people get to tell me what to do and when, that I could do this stuff if I were in that situation, but how do I know what to do here, and what if this is wrong, and maybe I should just go get an office job, like I'm so happy there - and forget that I'm listening to my higher power to figure out what to do next in my job, and that I DO have a boss, in that way, and I don't need or get to listen to myself waffling about the scary stuff I'm doing, because I'm not in charge there. Of course, this one requires some kind of relationship and connection with that higher power, inner wisdom, gut knowledge, whatever.

    8. Experiment and report back. If I think of the scary task as an experiment, not as something that my Entire Financial Future rests on (which is the ludicrously inflated place my mind goes with it) but just as something I'm doing to see if it works for me, it's much easier. That way, I know that if I call one or two or ten people and they snarl at me and tell me how crazy I am, I get to stop and do something different, because I've learned what I needed to know.

    9. Go outside and meditate. This is another one like #7 - if I go outside and lie on the ground and talk to the Goddess, I can step out of the fear and remember that I'm safe and that I have lots of choices and lots of time, and get guidance about what's going on.

    10. Don't obsess - leave!! I can so easily get into crazy obsessive loops about what I'm doing without actually doing it. And crazy obsessive loops to avoid what I have to do. Like, I'll decide I'm just going to look something up before I make the phone calls, and then I'll find something I have to correct, and then I can't figure out how to log in somewhere to correct it, and then I have to email someone, and just on and on with more levels down into the obsessive unnecessary thing that is making it so that I can't get to the phone calls yet. IF I can notice that this is what I'm doing, I can walk away from it and figure out what I need to do to calm down. Often, I don't notice until afterward, until something interrupts me. But I'm getting much closer to consistently noticing it.

    11. Bookend. This is a kind version of "Just do it," straight from DA. Calling someone before and after I do it gives me the opportunity to talk about my fears and to get support beforehand, and then to have someone waiting around for me to finish so I know I need to do it. And then I have someone to celebrate with and talk to once I've done it, and something to look forward to.

    Comment and share your own!
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    17 August 2006 @ 11:28 am
    It's funny how many people I know who are scared of the phone.

    I know people who screen all their calls. I know people who can make calls, but would prefer not to ever have to. I know people who hate talking on the phone, even to their close friends.

    When I was growing up I talked on the phone constantly. If a friend was confused about this, I would blithely explain that I just called to talk, and then proceed to talk to them for about two hours. Longer if possible. And I tend to be the one, in any group of friends, who is called upon to make the phone call to the pizza place or the movie theater because nobody else wants to. Sometimes it even comes down to either I call, or there's no pizza, because nobody else is willing to.

    And yet, I'm totally scared of the phone. Actually, when I look back at all of this, it seems to me that I don't have a problem talking to my close friends on the phone... or to total strangers when we have a defined relationship and a sort of script to go by, like when I'm a customer calling to get store hours or order food... the problem is when I'm calling a stranger with no script.

    Why is this? Why are so many people afraid to talk on the phone?

    I have worked out some glimmerings of why it's a problem for me. I think the big problem is that I can't see them. See, I can show up in an office to get information and be more than happy to talk to everyone there and be passed from person to person like a wooden nickel. Somehow, the fact that I'm there and not being thrown out makes it feel valid. Maybe it's the fact that I have a role there, in my mind: the role of person-who-came-in-for-information. Not just a role, but one which in my head has a long and rich history, with many people having successfully done exactly what I'm doing.

    But on the phone, all of a sudden that image disappears. For all I know, nobody has ever called them for this kind of information before. For all I know, everyone else in the whole world knows that what I'm asking or the way I'm going about it is entirely inappropriate and they're ready to yell at me and hang up with a crash. That's a big part of it: when I'm on the phone, it brings up all my fears that there is a set of unwritten rules that EVERYONE knows about except for me. Rules with harsh consequences.

    This is a common fear among abuse survivors of any kind, because tha's what childhood seemed like. Because the consequences for things were so out of proportion to what was happening, and because horrible unimaginable things could happen at any time. We must have broken some rule we didn't know about, right? We'll believe anything to make it seem to make sense.

    But when I'm making a phone call to some stranger with some request that seems strange to me, I forget all of that. I can remember, if I think about it, that no matter how weird my request might turn out to be to them, they don't have the right to yell or call names or slam down the phone. And they probably won't. But when I have to call fifteen golf pros to ask them if they would like to take part in my study of EFT and golfing, that "gorilla switch" gets flipped. I try to defend myself in advance by imagining all the reasons they could be mean - I imagine that they'll think I'm in competition with them and stealing their business, that I'm interrupting their day, that I should be contacting them by letter, that they'll think I'm scamming them, that my idea is just stupid, on and on.

    And the phone is dark. I mean, sure it's bright where I am, but when I envision the conversation I'm having on the phone, all I have is the person's voice, as if we're in a dark room. There's no feedback from facial expressions or body language. And dark rooms are scary. Anything could happen in there. So it seems a lot scarier than talking to them in person, even when that would be scary too.

    And it's too bad, because phones are so useful. Often, finding things out over the phone is a lot faster than over the internet. And that's saying something, because I put a lot of faith in the internet. They're great ways to talk to people far away, and you get a lot more of them than when they are just words on a screen. Someday, someday soon, I'm going to be a phone whiz, and I'm going to just look my fears in the eye and laugh at them while I dial.
    Current Mood: accomplished
    17 August 2006 @ 10:40 am
    I don't fucking recommend the "Detox Box" that we used, but doing a detox had good results. It's like, the program was mostly fine, the literature and instructions left a whole lot to be desired. Personally, after talking to my sponsor, I recommend doing a detox with a nutritionist like she did, so that you have someone there who can tell you if things are normal and how to adjust it for your own personal needs. It sounded like her nutritionist was pretty cheap, too.

    So annathebean and I made lists of the positive effects of the detox:
  • Getting clarity around toxic silence and dissociation
  • Dealt with longstanding issues around being sick
  • Dealt with issues around asking for help
  • Adults had first "real" (emotions and physical sensations at once) memory of the experience of being abused (& should post about that)
  • Can smell better
  • Clarity around workaholism - how it feels and what it affects to work extra hours in desperation and fear of deprivation, or to just keep working after 5 just because there's more that could get done
  • More clarity around feelings and activities
  • Having more interesting fun!
  • Clarity around reading and dissociation
  • Understanding relationship to books
  • Naps are awesome
  • All the baths make me much cleaner
  • Much poopin' joy
  • Dissociating less
  • Started work around vision issues
  • Got to eat more food than usual
  • I know more yoga I like
  • I understand the effects of yoga on my body more
  • More relaxed

    Some of those are transient... like the baths and the naps and the food are part of the program and require more work to keep them going afterward. But by and large the clarity remains, and that is awesome.
    Current Mood: proud
    17 August 2006 @ 10:09 am
    OMG. In the detox there was no reading-for-fun (reading FLUFF, HE calls it, stupid MAN) and no watching tv. Only reading SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTING things. Spiritually uplifting my butt! HE doesn't know!

    I really really really really really wanted to read Invincible Louisa. I got it from themultifarious and then I never got to read it! I wanted to read everything in the whole bookshelf! And I couldn't read any of it!

    It made sense in a kind of way because it made it very obvious that we only read to dissociate, like, books were just for escaping our feelings or escaping whatever was going on and escaping into a whole nother world of better things. Or more exciting things. But also WHO CARES if reading is an addiction. I WANTED TO READ!

    Also then fairybluebird said that it was totally codependent how we read and that that was crazy, like, because, right, we're not just reading a book, we're getting TOTALLY WRAPPED UP in other people's crazy lives, right, and totally living everything that happened to them to the point that we weren't feeling anything that was happening to us? It makes sense but it is crazy!!

    Eventually they decided that maybe if we could read MINDFULLY, like, be able to feel what it was like to be reading and pay attention to the story (cause also we just skim until we find stuff we like) then that might work.

    So I got to read part of Invincible Louisa and you know what? It is terrible!!

    The writing is so bad, like, she just says things and she does not explain how she knows them and then she just make these big leaps and it is stupid, and then I think she said Negro and I was done, I am not reading that book anymore. It was from 1939 or something but that is stupid. I do not believe that this copy is from then!

    The good thing about reading "mindfully" is that I get to read all the words in a book and if I am not then I know that I need to stop reading and figure out what I am looking for and get it from the right place instead. And also if I don't just automatically read or watch TV whenever I have free time then I get to take more naps and play more and do stuff that is more fun than living other people's lives for them. I still read a lot, just not ONLY. And now I don't have to be like "I never have time to do anything fun!"
    Current Mood: accomplished
    I just got into such a distracting loop about feeds. I wanted to insert a way to search this blog on the info page, and then I found that while I could do that, Google doesn't have it indexed, so nothing shows up when I search... so I looked up how to get it indexed, and you have to have an XML or similar feed to have Google index your blog... and then I found a service that shows updated blogs all over the place that looked like it would function the same way... then it turned out that you have to manually tell it you updated, or hook it up to your feed... so I looked up what a feed was, finally, now that they've been around for several years, and do you know what I found out?

    "All accounts on LiveJournal have an Atom 1.0 feed, a FOAF file, and a RSS 2.0 feed. Both you and Bots can read these files for information on your public recent entries, friend relationships, and interests."

    I also finally understand what a feed is, and why I never got it before! I never understood what it was because I use Livejournal, where the friends pages (which is why I use LJ in the first place) basically function as feeds... but only of your friends on LJ.

    I esurprised myself by being able to explain it to maeve66: "It's like, when you're not on something like Livejournal, there's no way for people to know your blog was updated unless they remember to go to your blog and look. But if you have a feed, and they use a feed reader or a website that lets them subscribe to different feeds, they can essentially make their own 'friends page' a la Livejournal, but for blogs all over the place."

    I think that's right. That is a whole lot damn simpler than I thought it was.

    So, the RSS feed for this journal would be http://beingfearless.livejournal.com/data/rss. Now I just have to figure out what the difference is between XML feeds and RSS feeds.

    Ohhh - there is none! Wikipedia says, "The RSS formats provide web content or summaries of web content together with links to the full versions of the content, and other meta-data. This information is delivered as an XML file called RSS feed, webfeed, RSS stream, or RSS channel. In addition to facilitating syndication, RSS allows a website's frequent readers to track updates on the site using an aggregator."

    Well, now I know everything!
    Current Mood: excitedexcited
    21 July 2006 @ 11:01 am
    I want to belatedly - very belatedly! - say that the one-on-one for my church class went fine. It wasn't what I expected; I thought we would get much more into a personal discussion of different things, and my partner in the exercise approached it much more as just having a list of questions to answer and blazing through the list. He kept expressing uncertainty about how we were supposed to do it, and I do wish that I had taken the reins more. I think we were "supposed" to get to know each other first and foremost, and the questions were just supposed to help us along. But on the other hand, getting through it really fast was also fine with me!

    The class, though, is not fine with me. Let me read you the description from the church newsletter. Well, there are two. One from the page on Ministry Teams and how to get involved:

    Freedom Train Newcomer's Class - An 8-week exploration of faith and life for all interested in membership at First Congo.

    And from "Happenin's":

    Freedom Train
    New Class starts in September
    The Freedom Train is for anyone who's interested in membership at First Congo, or wants to explore the mystery of faith with friends. 8 weeks, each class begins with a potluck fellowship dinner.... Here's what people who've taken the class have to say: "Great way relationship to God in a non-judgmental setting." "You will enjoy yourself!" "This class truly made me a more faithful person and has pushed me lovingly on my journey. I loved this class." "Try it, you'll like it!" (Italics are theirs.)

    I figured that the class would involve talking about what we believed, at least some of the time. There was maybe one exercise where we did that, when we had to rewrite Psalm 23 in our own words. Here's what I wrote:

    The Goddess created me out of love,
    made me with love,
    to be loved, to be worthy of love.
    Who can challenge her?
    She seeks to guide my feet with every step,
    my lips and pen with every word.
    She enfolds me in her love
    when I am happy or sad,
    feeling powerful or being abused,
    wherever I am.
    She is the sun and the moon and the stars
    the neon signs and the power lines
    but mostly I see her in the trees.

    I was scared to share what I had written, that maybe people would be like, "I don't know about the rest of you but I am here to worship God, not some made-up hippie chick! You need to redo your homework!" But they were very nice about it, as if it were a perfectly normal assignment. I guess that makes sense in a way; we were all being vulnerable by sharing something about our faith. And this church is very clear that it includes "God as mother," and there's a women's group that people call "the Goddess class," and so on. But I also felt disappointed by it, because it was so simple. I wanted us to do more than read this one example of what we believed: I wanted to talk about it as a class. I wanted to hear people share stories from their own lives that inspired their psalms. I wanted to know where people were coming from, and I wanted to be able to talk about and explore where I was coming from.

    I got that need filled a tiny bit, in a sort of twisted and stunted way. I mean, I got to think a lot about why the class was so hard for me, on my own, outside of class. That's about it. And it's not very helpful to just do it inside my head. I didn't feel like I knew anyone in the class enough to talk to them about anything that personal, yet, or the pastor, or in fact most people.

    I want to talk about it here, separately. But first, I want to talk about the other reasons the class was so hard for me, the reasons that have to do with the actual class.

    Many things about it damn well piss me off. (That wasn't very convincing swearing, was it?) I mean, look at the last class session. Oh wait - we haven't had it yet! Because even though we've had all eight weeks of class, we spent so much time just fucking around that the pastor didn't get to everything she wanted to cover, so she decided to have an extra class session!

    The only reason I'm willing to go to it is that I want to see my friends Chris and Edward again. Chris was my one-on-one partner, and Edward decided he adored me from pretty much the first day, and they haven't been at class in weeks. I think they pretty much disappeared after they renewed their vows in front of the whole church on their one-year anniversary in June, but now that Pride is over they are around again. But I really, really don't want to go to an extra class just because the pastor, who I otherwise love, has lousy time management skills.

    Lord, it is hard for me to type that. I'm like, what if she sees it? It's so judgmental! I don't want to be mean! But also, at least in the context of a class that routinely ended late and went weeks over schedule, it appears to be true. And it's horribly ironic, because the last class session that we actually had was the one where we had finally done our time and money management homework assignment, writing down everything that we spent time and money on for a week, and we somehow didn't have time to discuss it at all. Probably because we spent the first hour of class having an awfully stereotypical conversation about women's sex drives, and how men just do it and women worry about relationships and somehow about how there are not many young people in the leather scene because they just don't know about it and, ultimately, how the difficulty of finding a long-term partner in the gay male community backs up these statements about how men only care about sex. (Which was the point at which people started objecting, which was way too late for me. I objected only a little bit earlier, but very firmly at least!) And I wanted to bring up the homework, but I also wanted to trust that we would get to everything. Specifically, that Pastor Ama would direct the class in a way that got us through everything in our two and a half hours.

    Our church has a very big, deep-rooted problem with time. Service is supposed to go from 10:30 to noon. Normally that's too long for me, but our services are so fun and filled with so much music and dancing around that it flies by. Longer than noon, however, is too long for me, especially because by then it is lunchtime and I am hungry. And our services routinely go longer - it's not that uncommon for us to hit 12:30. Our Freedom Train class should go from 6:30 to 9, and routinely goes later; even when one of the members said she had to leave exactly at 9, we went over because the pastor didn't leave time for our closing prayers - and the member stayed too. I met two of the folks in the class when I gave them a ride to the first class at the last minute because they had waited till then to call the pastor and ask for a ride.

    And my favorite example: when the pastor told us our homework was to write down everything we spent for a week, the guy next to me completely freaked out and started going off about how stupid that was, how his grandmother had some sampler in her kitchen with a little rhyme (which he kept repeating but which I don't remember) about how you should never, ever try that, bout how it is impossible to remember anything because it already happened.... I am not kidding. That was his argument. He kept interrupting other people to reiterate this. Pastor Ama finally explained to him that he didn't need to do any of the homework assignments (hey! we each signed a pledge to come to class every week with our homework in hand!) and then he started saying that he was just not going to spend any money for the next week and that's how he would "do" it. Then she finally got to go on to say that we also had to write down what we did with our time, and he started saying he was just going to sleep all week too. It made me so mad. He was monopolizing our time and pooping all over our homework discussion. And it was such scary statements. You can't remember what happened because it's in the past. That's probably the creepiest, most dysfunctional-dissociative-abuser statement anyone has ever said.

    But here is the cherry on the sundae. You have to take this class to become a church member, which is why I am doing it. I may not get to share anything about my faith or learn stuff on that level, but I did get to learn really great, interesting things about Bible translations, and what this church believes, and what its goals are in the community, and stuff like that. And the process, as I understand it, is that we take the class, and then we have one-on-one talks with Pastor Ama, and then we go through some kind of ceremony at a "New Members' Sunday." I saw one once, and I think that they basically all stood up there and had to be introduced to the congregation and say some things about why they wanted to join the church and about themselves, and, you know... let's just say for starters that I would like to know what is going to happen up there ahead of time. We had had it scheduled so that the last class was in the beginning of July and "New Members' Sunday" was July 9... and then we added a class and "New Members' Sunday" didn't happen.

    Well, I think it was at the class session before last that Pastor Ama asked us all to call or email her with some times that we could meet one-on-one. And it was after the last class session that I actually did. And here's how it's gone: I emailed her last Friday. She called later that day and left a message about rescheduling the final (extra) class, asking which of three days would work for me. Nothing about my email, which I guess she had not received. I saw her on Sunday and told her I had emailed her. I called her a few days later and left a message asking for someone's phone number. She called me later that day and left a message asking about scheduling the final class. I stubbornly did not reply about the class, because I did not want to have an extra class just because we had been so badly scheduled and I did not want to tell her so. She called again yesterday and said she had just received the message about Jody's phone number and here it was and that I hadn't told her when I could do class. Then I got a creepy message from some woman I don't know who sounded about twenty years older and Southern and yet introduced herself as Pastor Ama - something like, "Hi, Rose, this is Pastor Ama calling to remind you that your last class is Saturday July 22 at 6:30, bring your favorite dish to share...."

    And then I read the weekly church email announcement and it said:

    This Sunday July 23

    Worship Celebration at 10:30 a.m.

    Rev. Ama Zenya preaching:
    Body and Mind in Christ

    And new members will be joining the church!

    I am so livid....

    I am, at this point, probably not going to join the church. Which makes me really angry too. I feel like there's not much difference in practical terms between being a member and just going; the only difference is that members have a vote and non-members can express themselves but can't vote. And I don't currently go to anything where voting is an option anyway. But it was important to me to have a place where people shared some of the same beliefs and where I could learn interesting things from other people's ideas about faith, and be supported, and get involved in fun ways, and I can't put my faith in a community that doesn't fulfill its commitments. I can't commit my self to place where there's so much dysfunction, even when there is a big commitment to challenging addictions - because I don't see any acknowledgment that this is dysfunctional, harmful, addictive behavior. I don't want to go to services where someone will give a cracking sermon about stepping up to healthy behavior... that goes twenty minutes into lunch.

    I still want to go to services, because I get a lot out of them, and I would like to talk to the pastors about this problem rather than just give up without speaking up. But I can't join a church where they would schedule "New Members' Sunday" without telling the new members, much less doing the one-on-ones beforehand. Maybe she got to do one-on-ones with everyone else who wanted to join, I don't know. But for me, this does not work.
    Current Mood: angryfurious
    17 July 2006 @ 08:42 pm
    So, we're doing a THREE-WEEK DETOX.

    It's kind of crazy.

    It's three weeks of eating specific, organic food, doing yoga, avoiding toxic behaviors and situations, taking specific supplements, doing hydrotherapy (alternating very hot and very cold water in the shower) in the mornings and detoxing baths at night, and exercise. Yeah, besides the yoga. And naps, fortunately.

    You want to see the sample daily schedule?Collapse )

    He says that people might feel more tired than usual the first few days. He is such a dick. ("He" is the doctor - allegedly! - who put together The Detox Box. I don't think any REAL doctor would say "vertebrae by vertebrae" instead of vertebra.) First of all, I think that the whole thing is too brief - let's leave out information so it can fit into a box! - and that he should really have talked about why people might get tired and what they can do about it, instead of just being like "oh well!" Like, I always assumed it had to do with the toxins being flushed from the body, or something. But actually, a lot of me being tired has to do with (1) having to do a ton of extra stuff in the morning and at night, and (2) not getting to dissociate, and instead actually having to pay attention to what's going on at all times.

    Do you know what we can't do? READ. or WATCH TV. I mean, according to the little guide book, reading something that feeds your soul or whatever is fine, but not reading fluff. And I really, really want to read fluff. And you know what we're learning? Apparently, when we want to read "fluff," it's because we're really tired or because we want to escape something hard. AND IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY! I've taken three naps today, which I'm sure is good - one was a mini-nap - and all three times I totally wanted to read instead. And I'm sure it's better to take the nap. Maybe I'll get to a place of actually wanting to read for a real reason. But whyyyyy can't I just escape in an unhealthy, not-totally-restful way that avoids anything I might be feeling?

    And what am I going to do if I can never read again because I never want to read for a healthy reason? I mean, sure, I might want to read for fun, and that seems okay - until I realize that a lot of the things that I do "for fun" are totally unhealthy because I only want to do "fun" things when I'm tired or have some other need that isn't getting met. Like when I eat chocolate because I need fun. Or watch TV. And what am I supposed to do if I can't eat chocolate or read? What will people give me for my birthday if not books or chocolate!? (Actually, remarkably few people give me books or chocolate.)

    And I keep learning things. I don't want to learn any more things. Like, earlier I learned that I can totally deal with emotional memories that come up. For the first time! I was feeling sad and lost in this way that totally came from high school, and I thought about what was happening when I started feeling that way (I had been talking earlier about my dad telling me that I had to stop taking voice lessons because I had "the worst singing voice he had ever heard," which is ridiculous, and also I was thinking really negative things about my body in the clothing store we were in) and then I did some EFT on those feelings and on the fact that I make up really negative ideas about myself and my body. And I was able to come up with good things to believe about myself, and move through the old feelings. And then I realized that I can totally manage my emotional memories! So cool. I should write about those the same way that I am writing about body memories lately, or trying to anyway.

    And of course I'm learning about my relationship with books. And I learned something when I kept working after 5 because I didn't want to stop because I imagined that I would have nothing to do, and then at 6:30 maeve66 came to take me to the store and I suddenly realized that I could have been doing all that yoga and taking a walk and hydrotherapy stuff that I'm apparently supposed to do before dinner but am not used to. I guess I learned that I use work to avoid things and that I'm avoiding being alone with myself so intensely that I don't even check to see if I would really have to.

    And it's only day 3. (It feels like day 1 though, because the first two days were weekend. Work highlights the schedule and the tired more.)

    Oh yeah, and I'm posting this here not just because I'm Learning and Growing, and Learning Scary Things, (maybe those should be tags!), but because the whole idea of doing this detox was really scary to begin with. Oh yeah and the CLAY.

    So it was really scary to think of doing a detox, like, what's going to come up, what will it be like to not do all these habitual fun things, will it be expensive, what will it feel like, et cetera. And it was scary to start doing it, because I don't like people telling me what to do all throughout my day (another reason not to work in an office) and I don't like some guy who doesn't know me telling me to do yoga and eat weird things and do hot and cold showers and stuff.

    But ALSO, the bentonite clay.

    I called annathebean three times on Saturday morning, being all, how much is a gram of vitamin C with the stuff we got, and how are you supposed to eat the clay, and blah blah blah. She's doing the detox too. We split the box. Sort of. She has to tell me how much I owe. So I sit with the clay for like an hour and a half, trying to eat it. It's this very fine powder. And we're all, it's DIRT. He is telling me to EAT DIRT. This is not okay with me.

    And I sort of lick it, and it tastes okay, sort of vanilla-y and then... like clay. And that's fine. Except, two tablespoons is a lot. And I just can't eat it. And I finally get maeve66 on the phone and I get her to go "Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!" And I still can't do it because I'm laughing too hard. And she finally says she's going to do "Chug!" 25 times and if I haven't just tipped the powder down my throat or whatever by then she's done. And I take a big spoonful of it and chase it with the psyllium water (which is a little glutinous itself) and I manage to swallow a little and the rest immediately turns to big clay lumps stuck in my mouth. And I totally have to run to the kitchen sink, trying not to gag, to rinse it out, and I totally throw up anyway but I've only had vitamin C water so far so it's not really anything, and I have to scrub the clay out of my mouth with a toothbrush because I can't even get it out with my finger. And that was just one little spoonful.

    So, I'm never taking that shit again, and he's a horrible person and I hope that someone forces him to eat the Detox Box and he dies.

    The rest of the program seems good though.

    Oh yeah, and then Annie called while I was on the phone and left this message that was all, "I'm surprised there wasn't an 'after' call with the bentonite clay." And I call her and she says hello and I go, "THERE WILL NEVER BE AN AFTER CALL WITH THE BENTONITE CLAY." And she says, "Why, did it make you throw up?" And I said, "YES," and she said, "ME TOO."

    So, he's a double bad man. What kind of idiot is all, "Consume this very fine powder MADE OF DIRT twice a day" and doesn't even bother to tell you how? I mean, fine, straight with gooey water, but he needs to devote a lot more discussion to this topic. If they had just given 25-50 people the box and said "here, do the program and tell us about it," they could have gotten ride of all the typos, grammatical errors, and idiotic places where they have you eat dirt and then puke.
    Current Mood: indescribable
    17 July 2006 @ 11:44 am
    ...twelve days ago! And never typed up. Maybe I'm scared of starting them :)

    1. The next thing I need to do is to stop using my fear muscles to do things cause that is not the right muscle for any activity - I need to let go of the fear instead of doing things with fear. (This is like when in yoga annathebean's teacher apparently says to let go of the tension in your shoulders because if you tense them up then you're trying to do the pose with your shoulders. So when I try to do things even though I have a lot of fear around them, I tend to do them with that fear - like tensing up with fear will help me make a phone call or whatever.)

    2. I need to accept my fear, not try not to be afraid.

    3. I need to try waiting for a clear message, instead of expecting asking my higher power something to be as fast as asking my brain every time. Sometimes it takes time to get out of the way.

    4. I need to stop and feel my feelings when I get scared.

    5. Of course my brain yells at me when I try to do the brave and healthy stuff of listening to my higher power instead of the dysfunctional fears in my brain - it's threatened and emotionally abusive and so of course it reacts by yelling stupid scary things at me. Which is self-abuse!

    6. I want to write out affirmations/facts about stuff and put them up to consult/remember... e.g. my higher power is taking care of me, I have more money than I can spend and all my needs are met (that's an affirmation I found in a local book about starting an alternative health practice), I can trust what my higher power says to me, I am safe, I can experience this moment.

    7. When I freak out I can experience the moment and see what is true in it.

    Now I just have to learn all that stuff on a gut level....
    Current Mood: impressedimpressed
    12 July 2006 @ 02:22 pm
    After taking the massive leap to stand up for myself and hold my boundaries and cancel the check and the "work" that the garden people were doing, I checked my bank account today and lo: the $200 check AND the $18 canceled check fee were both in there.

    I totally freaked out, and then I went to a DA meeting, and that helped a lot. Hah. When I shared about the bank thing everyone gasped in horror. And when I stopped by my bank to deposit money and ask them about it later, the woman said, "The check WENT THROUGH?" But she says I have to call the 800 number to make them deal with it.

    I did the visions meditation in the meeting and heard my higher power tell me that as long as I keep my hands open I will keep receiving. I was all "aggh! aaagh! aaaagggh!" and she was all, "I'm here!" and I was like "aaaaagh!" And then she was all, "Let's brainstorm!" And here are the visions that came out of that:
    1. I need to do the rest of the work to get my taxes done (calling her now... left a message with the info she wanted)
    2. I need to just start asking people to be my BDA sponsor until I find someone, preferably today
    3. I need to get a little bit more on it with interested EFT clients
    4. I need to actually advertise - in more places than Elephant and church, more frequently on Craiglist, and talk to people with experience in running their own businesses about how to spread the word
    5. I can support myself doing EFT if I advertise better
    6. Call Damien's mom to track him down so I can garnish any wages he currently has
    7. I need to fill out the form to host a class on EFT at Elephant Pharmacy (doing that now.... )

    What is your healing philosophy? (40 words)
    I think that most physical and emotional diseases have simple yet powerful psychological causes, which often go back to unresolved traumas in our pasts. Many of the best tools for relieving these issues are cheap or free, but not well-known because they don't fit into our society's ideas about healthcare.

    Please list any credentials you have and from where you obtained them.
    I am a certified Reiki Master Teacher, and received this certification from HCH Institute in Lafayette. I have also been studying EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, an acupressure-based method for relieving emotional and physical pain) for five years through the World Center for EFT in Sonoma County.

    If you feel it is relevant, what other forms of study have you practiced that add to your background and learning?
    I have three years' experience in peer counseling using a cognitive-behavioral and twelve-step-based approach, which I'm now incorporating into my EFT practice with great success.

    If you have written a book, please list the title(s).
    I am in the process of writing two books: Facing Abuse and One Bite of a Peach. The latter is a workbook teaching kids (of all ages) how to use the twelve steps to resolve problems in their daily lives, and it is currently under consideration at Hazelden. (Keeping my fingers crossed!)

    If you have written any articles, please list the title of the article and where it was published. (You can also include website links to articles online, if you wish.)
    I have an article I wrote about Reiki on my energy healing website, http://eft.fabglitter.org, and have been writing a series of articles on abuse, addiction, and recovery at http://recovery.fabglitter.org.

    Please describe what kind of class you would wish to teach:
    I would like to teach a class on EFT. Participants would learn about the history of EFT, the "basic recipe" for practicing it, and how to apply it to simple problems like headaches, congestion, stress, and aches and pains. They would leave with handouts reminding them how to do EFT on themselves and resources for further education.

    Why do you want to lead a class at Elephant Pharmacy?
    I love Elephant Pharmacy! I think it's a great community resource for education on alternative healing. I think that EFT is an incredibly powerful and simple tool that everyone should get to have in their repertoire, and that Elephant would be a great place to introduce people to it.

    Anyway. We'll see what happens....
    For fuck's sake. They said that I put the wrong check number, and that they put it through even though the check number didn't match the name, date, and amount which were all from the correct check, because they only have to go by the check number to be all legal and whatever. And the check number that I put, which was one digit off, was my RENT CHECK.

    I told her so and she says that it doesn't look like they've attempted to clear that check and that she'll take the stop payment request off of it. And then she was like, okay, is that all, and I brought up the fact that, again, all the rest of the information I put in was for the correct check and I needed this check to not go through. And she gave me the same long-winded explanation again about how they go by the check number, and if they went by the name instead then they could cancel the wrong check to that person, and I was like, I'm not suggesting you go by the name. I'm suggesting that somebody should be checking the information. And she babbled for a while about how when someone deposits a check at their bank, it goes to a clearinghouse, and then to my bank, and then to a clearinghouse, and then back to their bank, which had nothing to do with anything.

    And I asked to talk to her supervisor, who sounded like he was about 23 and who made the relatively reasonable point that they couldn't have known who the check was made out to. Except that eventually they would have gotten both checks and someone should be checking that the one they stopped payment on was for the right amount and to the right person. And so I asked him what would have happened when my rent check was deposited and it was to the wrong person and for the wrong amount, and he said it would not have gone through. Which is pretty fucking lousy security, if you ask me, and I thought banks were supposed to have better security in this day of identity theft and shit.

    So now I have to call that dick that I made the check out to, and say "you know how I said I was canceling that check, well the bank put it through and so you need to refund me that money." And if he won't, I'll take him to @#$%!%! small claims court, which I haven't actually done with anyone yet but I am sick of contemplating. I hate all these assholes who think they can take advantage of me and walk off with my money.
    Current Mood: annoyedannoyed