Sunday, March 27, 2011

Powerless or Empowered

My life was so unmanageable for so many years that it was just normal for me to not sleep, and to feel stressed.

As I started moving my self away from that, and seeing that I needed to make some serious changes to keep not only me emotionally safe, but my children as well, I started seeing more and more of the chaos that we were living in.

I was trying to control things, and keep things afloat, in much the same way as bailing out a sinking boat with a dixie cup!

I was powerless to stop it!  I was powerless to change anything inside that situation.  I came to the point where I knew that things had to change drastically, for my sanity, for the good of my children, for a million reasons that I cannot even express.

This was my empowering moment.  When I realized that it was not my responsibility to fix it.  It was not my responsibility to change anything but what I was doing.  It was not my responsibility to continue to accept the situation.  It was the first time that I set a boundary and did not take it back down again.

I was empowered.

So many years later, I still struggle with expressing my boundaries healthily to others.  I find myself withdrawing when I don't feel like I have the right voice and vocabulary to express my needs.  So, I am back to being powerless, but never as powerless as before.  And now I have healthy tools to help me refocus inside myself, and regroup, and rescript, and try again.

Sometimes it takes a long time to process, and sometimes it requires me bouncing words off of people that help me feel safe, until I feel empowered and comfortable with saying the newly discovered boundaries out loud.

Powerlessness to me feels like I am being controlled by my fears and anxieties.
Empowerment feels like I have found my healthy voice, and am using it to share my needs in a way that respectfully expects that they will be met.  Empowerment feels to me like other people cannot hurt me because I am safe and secure in my own self, in my own feelings and understandings.  Empowerment allows me to accept criticism with a positive energy, even when it is delivered negatively, and I can use that information to understand myself better, and mature myself, and nurture and grow the me that I am still becoming!

I still feel powerless more often than not, but in a much less debilitating manner than ever before in my life! And that is also empowering!  Powerlessness and fear and anxiety are loosening their controlling grasp on me.  They will always be part of me, part of my history.  But there is no place for them in my future.  I am empowered to not allow them to follow me there!

Seek out your empowerment, by being honest with yourself and facing one of your fears.  Have a little conversation with it!  Tell it that it no longer has place in your life!  While it may linger around for a while, much the way neighbor kids do when you tell them it's time to go back to their own house, if you go on about your healthy business, and keep reminding it to leave every time you see it try to sneak closer to our healthy activities, it will eventually loose its power and go slinking off!

Be your wonderful, empowered self today in one activity! And then tell me about it, so I can cheer you on!

Live Well!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Defining a Dream

I was challenged this morning to define one of my dreams.  To write it down, and to put some detail with it.  Thankfully, the challenge is focused on putting it in one statement, and choosing one action to move in that direction!

I have several big life goals!  I want to work through my anxiety, and my codependency, and grow as a woman.  I want to travel! To see beautiful places and photograph them. I want to travel and use my healthcare skills to serve people. I want to improve my photography skills! I want to sing in a band! I want to create more crochet patterns, and get my pattern book published.  I want to write a book that uses my photographs and my writings to entertain and inspire people.

However, I thing that really hinders me from doing any and all of that, is financial. Therefore, my primary goal is to be debt free!  I was once; before my son broke his arm, and my former husband became ill and unable to work.  I worked hard, and made some huge progress, then lost my job, and went back to school, so what I had paid off was replaced with student loans, and what got added as unemployment did not quite cover my expenses.  Fortunately, my debt is manageable, and I can afford to pay more than the minimum balances, and still eat!  But I want it gone! It's very presence reminds me of the bondage I once lived in, and is a form of bondage in and of it self!

When I lost my job, I had to spend some time weighing the budget issues.  I knew that I did not want to remain in the industry that I had spent the previous 8 years in.  But I also knew that in order to return to health care I would not only have to take on student loans, but also take a significant pay cut.  I knew that if I stayed in the industry that had been feeding me well, and helping me to raise my family, that I would make more money, and have more financial security, but I also knew that I had no drive or passion for it, and that it was a job, not a career.  My youngest son was a junior in high school, and I knew that earning a pay check was necessary, but it was time for me to shift my focus from the pay check to my personal satisfaction.  I knew that was better for my overall health ... we all know that stress is so unhealthy for our bodies, in so many ways!

My plan?  1. I have a very strict budget that I follow carefully.  2. I am very very careful with how my money is spent, and if it is not in the budget, it does not happen.  3. Funnel any extra money, such as the tax return, to debt reduction.  4. Take a second job and direct that pay check toward the debt reduction.

What are your life goals? Have you written them down? Have you defined them?  Have you shared them with anyone?  Tell me about one of them!

And Live Well!
Love Suzi~Q

Monday, March 21, 2011

Financial Affermations

First off, I have to let you know that I CAN send little posts "via email" from my phone! The down side is that any pictures I attach do not show up, and there are a bunch of empty blank "boxes" that fill up space unnecessarily, until I can get home and delete them out! But, at least I can get the thoughts out of my head, and feel a little more productive doing it!

I told you that I was working through some new financial planning and debt reduction activities. Well, to be honest, I have been putting more thought into it than action recently!  I am supposed to be keeping a notebook and doing each of the 21 daily activities in it, but I have not. I read them, and ponder them, and mull them over.  But I have not documented them! Geeze!  That really is part of the commitment to making the program actually work!  As the country song goes, "A little less talk and a lot more action"!!

SO!  The activity that I need to DO is choosing a Money Attraction Affirmation.  They suggest things like :
  • I am free of all credit card debt.
  • I am living within my means.
  • I am happily debt-free!
  • I am a Money Star.
  • I feel secure and confident in my financial affairs.
Or making up my own.

I think I like "I have my freedom in living debt free!".  So, I am supposed to say this to myself, out loud if it is an appropriate situation. Write it on a note card so I can see it.  I used to be debt free. I know I will be again!

How are your financial plans? If you don't have any then I recommend that you make some! Don't think that you can just "let things work them selves out", because money does not happen that way!  Have a plan. Know your plan. Be confident in your plan. Be safe in your plan!

I have counseled several friends in budgeting, and planning. I do not touch investing with a ten foot pole, that is not my area of expertise! But I know how to write and follow a budget that is so good even professional financial counselors confess to not writing them as well!  My primary issue is my income level is not high enough to knock my debt down fast enough to suit me! But I have some ideas on the back burner that I hope will help resolve that element of my plans for my future!

Plan Well, so that you can
Live Well!
Love, Suzi~Q

Times are a Change'n

As a follow up to my last post, I think I have discovered how to publish mini articles from my cell phone (which is not a smart phone). So this is a test run for this option discovered almost accidentally as I was finishing my previous post! I put my concern out to the universe in my last post, and before I was done an answer was returned! Had I continued to internalize and fret over my delema, I would not have found my answer! Love your input, feedback and comments! Keep em coming! Live Well!! Love Suzi~Q

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Observations on Time Management

Time. I don't have enough time. Time to excellently pursue all of my creative interests. I want to sing, and read, and write (my blog, and greeting cards for my photography, and letters, and a book!!), and photograph, and crochet, and design crochet patterns, and teach, and send care packages to my daughter (who lives 835 miles away from me now!) and to soldiers.  And I want to write share all of this with the world!  I have been working on my Co-Dependent recovery, but not writing and sharing that much as I had wanted and intended to, and as I had promised I would.  I have been working on my budget and financial plans, and making some improvement (there is ALWAYS room for improvement!!), but have not written about it, and posted it.

I am sure there is an element of poor time-management involved.  Maybe not POOR, but at least I can admit to it needing some improvement and formal organization if I am going to make sure that I get to productively touch on all of my creative interests on a regular basis!

When we were in Hawaii, I really realized that I could so totally live what i would call and artists lifestyle! Being able to move through my days, creating and sharing with other people as I am inspired, well, inspires me! Currently, I will feel inspired or have a creative burst of energy at the most inopportune moments! Say, right in the middle of clinic!  I cannot just stop what I am doing and pull out my lap top and start writing!  Sometimes I can slip into the bathroom and send myself a text or a voice message, but usually by the time I get to a place and time that I can build on it, the momentum has passed.

I felt so inspired in Hawaii. Inspired by the gentle and relaxed spirit of the people that live there, and the lifestyles they have.  I realize the cost of living is much higher there, and that many of them might have other alternative income options in addition to the creative outlets that allowed me to interact with them.

For the time being, I need to earn a regular pay check to support my current life style, and continue the financial recovery process from my previous life experiences.  I love my job, and am so glad for it! I get to work in a healing industry, and I learn things every day, and I am also in a situation where I am (gently) forced to really work through some of my past emotional hurts, and strengthen those of my weakened interaction skills!  This is the place that I belong, at this point in time, but I can see that it is not my "forever" and that it is a (perhaps long term) learning place for me.  I KNOW that it will provide vastly valuable life and professional skills to build upon where I currently am , and help me to begin a new foundation for where I will be at the next level!

I am always open to your comments, and suggestions!

Get out there and open your heart and your life and 
Live Well,

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Waiting for the Tsunami

March 11, 2011 Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

We had been vacationing here since Saturday.  It has been a wonderful week full of amazing adventures!  Thursday evening we went out for a wonderful last night dinner at Duke's, and had a delightful time walking near the beach.

Back at the condo after dinner, we were relaxing and reading while listening to the sounds of the waves breaking on the beach outside our balcony, when my sister in law came out and said we needed to watch the news.  We turned on the TV and saw that there had been an earthquake of 8.9 in Japan just a few minutes before, and it triggered a tsunami that was heading toward the Hawaiian Islands.  As we watched the news and discussed our course of action and contacted the villa office for evacuation information, we watched as the tsunami washed ashore in Japan.  They had little warning, and sadly so many lives were lost and so many more are forever changed.  I have friends with friends and family in Japan, and are still waiting for work from their loved ones and here it is four days later.

We decided that we would not wait for the sirens to go off.  We packed our luggage, and all of the food and water bottles we had. Not knowing if the waves that would wash ashore would be as predicted at six feet or better, we also took blankets, towels and pillows from the condo.  We figured worse case scenario was that it would hit hard, and they would not care that we took a few pillows, and best case, we would be back in the morning to return them, and check out on schedule.

We all agreed that it was best to stick together, but take both of the rental cars, that were dangerously low on gas. The Shell station was right across the street from the designated evacuation location we had been directed to, and there were about 12 cars in line in front of us, so we went to the end of the line and waited.  The staff at the station were doing the filling so that it would go faster. we filled both cars, and made our way over to the school parking lot.  We were amongst the first dozen or so to arrive at King Kaumualii Elementary, so parking was choice, and we selected our spots next to each other.  The my boyfriend and his brother decided to walk across the street to the 7-Eleven, and us girls hung out.  The principal of the school came around a few minutes later and let us know they would be opening the cafeteria in a few minutes and setting up some televisions and making coffee.

People continued to arrive. Mostly tourists, and a few locals.  Most of the locals have Ohana (family and friends) on the island, and have homes on higher ground they can go to.  We spent our time cycling between resting and dozing in the car for 15-20 minutes segments, then going back inside to check the news and chat with people from all over the world.  The staff kept the coffee coming, and all of the people were calm and congenial.  Even the children were awesome! People were sleeping on the sidewalks, and on gym mats on the stage, and in their cars.

While not exactly how I had envisioned spending my last vacation night on Kauai, but our overnight stay at King Kaumualii Elementary as a refugee from the impending tsunami was quite a pleasant adventure.  School staff, FEMA reps and the Red Cross have were amazing, and so helpful. It in no way felt like a scary situation for us. I felt safe and relaxed, and so very thankful that if I was going to go through a serious, world recognized, natural disaster, I was with the man that I wanted to be with.  He was so calm, and so pulled together.  His packing and planning were so well thought out.  He impressed me, yet again, with his natural and instinctual abilities in stressful situations. I knew, that no matter what happened, be it the worst, or non-incidental, I was safe, and there was no one better for me to partnered with.

This further enforces how I feel about this man as my life partner!