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Monday, August 26, 2013

Get Stuff Done

Wow. So much has been happening so fast that I don't have time to sit and write about it. You know how I started the year establishing myself in new places with new things and new people, being very mindful of how much time I need to process new experiences. I sought to limit myself to "one new thing per day, and no more than one new thing per day." I'd remind myself often because it was hard. New stuff was being thrown at me all the time (the essential oils and financial crises) in addition to the stuff I'd planned ... which is why some things got put off until next week, then the next week, and then the next week until I finally couldn't wait any longer (like the bikini wax and the chiropractor). Now lots of things are piling up and I'm feeling the need to just get stuff done!

So I did. This weekend was crazy, but I'm so glad the weather was nice and I had the energy for it. I planned a pretty tight day in NY on Saturday. I signed up for Servant Evangelism at Washington Square Park with The Journey. I've never been there before. I wouldn't go into the city just for that, so I planned to go back to Lululemon to pick up my pants and get there early for the yoga class at 9! I was pretty exited, but because of the trains I didn't get there in time. That's okay because 1) at least I got to see it 2) Eastern Mountain Sports is right across the street and I needed explore that.

So exciting! I've been shying away from store jobs until Friday when I discovered a bigger purpose. I need to finish out my ashram prep list with hiking boots, trail sneakers, snow pants, a ski jacket, a new backpack and other warm things - each of which could cost over $100 full price. There's no way! unless I find a store that has it all and I get a job there! I did a little research and landed on EMS. Today I visited both locations and got lots of positive feedback. It's looking good.

I didn't realize it until later that I was on my feet all day. Once I got home and got comfortable, I realized just how much they hurt. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go back for another day. But Sunday morning the sun was shining and the sky was blue, and NYC was calling. I went to church and I'm glad I did. They were wrapping up a preaching series, and I really do get a lot out of going there. It's a good place for me now. Afterwards, I went to the gym for an easy workout. All I did was warm up my legs and stretch them. It felt really good. Then I ate my sandwich and headed down to the Vedanta center. I arrived early for Satsang, which allowed me time to read Chapter 2 of Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy.

Product Details

This book was given to me last year when I first arrived at the ashram. I wasn't ready to read it then because it was just too much. I started it last week, brought it with me on Saturday, and accidentally left it at home on Sunday. I wanted to read the chapter on Satsang before doing it again.

Oh wow. It felt so good I can't even explain it. I've been craving to meditate all summer. Even after months of a lousy diet and chaotic environment, I could enter that spiritual space and say aaaahhhhhhhh... feeling the buzz in my body that I still don't understand... I can breathe again. I'm home. I was so happy to be there.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Yellow Yoga Pants

I didn't want to miss my Al-anon meeting, but I even more didn't want to miss the Journey field day. It's like a church picnic but, because the church is all young people, they organized games and told everyone to bring their own lunch. Mom and Ron had plans to go to Bethlehem PA with the seniors from their church - not for the arts and the Amish, not for Jesus - but for the Sands Casino. I don't know... there's something about Catholics and gambling. While I was making my sandwich, mom reasoned that she's only going to support Ron and his business; I get it. I needed a bag to carry my lunch but didn't have time to look too hard. "You're gonna bring a Victoria's Secret bag to a church event?!" You're right. So I grabbed a plastic one from the dog bin and rushed out for the train. I said, "Have fun on the senior bus!" She said, "Have fun with the youth group!" We laughed and hugged and said g'bye.

I had to leave super early to get there on time, and since I had so much fun exploring I let myself be late. It was my first time at Riverside Park and I kept singing Billy Joel in my head. I love how different groups bring me to different parts of the city. Its so exciting. Sonia texted me last week to see if I'd be there, and as we talked over lunch I got the impression that the only reason why she came was because I said I would. She was very tired because of her job and her roommate drama. As she carried on about her problems I was happy to listen. I knew that when I met her last month, I met myself. 

I walked with her and her bike down the path before saying g'bye. My plan for the afternoon was to find the 72nd Street Mosque that I read about in The Faith Club. Then from there, I'd spend some time in Central Park before heading back home, maybe... see where the wind takes me. Well, as I turned to leave Riverside Park, someone noticed my bag from Pet Central. She was selling ice cream for dogs, and she's trying to get her product in that store. She told me about their nearest location at 76th and Broadway, so that's where I headed. Sandy needs more SmartBones.

That was the adventure. After finding the 72nd Street Mosque and talking with some Muslims outside, I went to find Pet Central. Along the way I found The North Face, and then Lulumon. Never been in their stores before, and wow, so exciting. I found stuff for the ashram. I wish I could have spent more money. I only got a KleanKanteen with a cafe top from The North Face, and at Lulumon I found **cue the choirs of angels** yellow yoga pants. I'm astounded. They were on my wish list though I wasn't sure they even existed! I got them in my size! and at the correct length! because Lulumon does complimentary hemming. And I got it all on sale! It was the most amazing thing.

Now, "on sale!" means they were cheaper than they would have been if I bought them full price. Full price would have been $99. I paid $70. That's when it hit me: I really believe in this... that this is supposed to happen. If I'm going to live at the ashram for a good amount of time, I'll be living in those pants and I'll need them to hold up for me. God led me here through a series of events as an answer to my prayers to get stuff done. I have to believe it because, otherwise, it's a lot of damn money for a pair of sweat pants.

I walked up Broadway to The First Baptist Church on 79th Street and ate my sandwich on the steps. Rethinking the length, I went back into Lulumon to try those pants again. Then I found a yoga towel to cover my mat, something I'll need for classes at the Vedanta center. It was $40, but I bought it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


I can't remember the last time I saw the inside of a ballpark. When I was 8yrs old our uncles took me and Bobby to a Mets game. I remember because they bought me a pink t-shirt with sparkly blue letters on it that said Mets. From there I was forever a Mets fan because I didn't care about scores. That was the only real baseball game I think I've ever been to.

Last night Ron took me and Mom to the Somerset stadium to watch the Somerset Patriots with the Rotary Club. They got a box suite. This is the first time I ever learned about minor league baseball. I thought that Minor League is what you do in high school when you outgrow Little League. I had no idea it was a real thing, with it's own ballpark; a small community ballpark where families... meet, I guess? Hang out? Have a good time? This is a foreign land to me. Everybody looked so happy! I can't imagine... It's not just about the baseball game, but all the little games that happen in between. For some families, it defines their lives and shapes the children. For us it was all about church and music, arts and crafts, yelling and screaming. Ball games were something we never, ever, did together as a family. I didn't even know this stuff existed! I was baffled by the carnival environment. This place has "Sanguine" written all over it. It surprised me how I was thinking about Tom all night; This is his kind of place. Some people would say it's a waste of time - and at some point it can be - but here is where you get socially connected. Not having had much of this in my life, I can appreciate that. Fun for the sake of fun on a regular Wednesday night. It's healthy, especially for kids.

I was feeling reclusive so I sank into a chair and played Candy Crush on my phone. I looked like a teenager, I felt like a teenager, I might as well let myself act like a teenager... especially because when I was a teenager I couldn't be. I was feeling emotionally raw, insecure and vulnerable from yesterday's battle with mom. Ron pulled me aside and told me how one of his mentors explained long ago that when you go to social places with your colleagues, you should never ever talk about work. I've heard that before. Corinna was there, and I guess he wanted to prepare me.

After half a Heineken I finally got up the nerve to talk to her. I started by saying, "Sorry I dipped out on you today..." She replied, "Oh that's okay. My supervisor changed the date of our meeting, so we have a little more time..." to finish a project. "Good, thanks for letting me know. I was going to work on it tonight." I proceeded to share my current steps in trying to take a class. When I said "online courses" it reminded her that the Red Cross now sponsors a rate reduction for employees at places like the University of Phoenix, and I qualify as a volunteer. It's new! Huh, what else can I get? I've been wondering if they would give me a stipend to cover the cost of transportation and meals for the days I go there. We talked about that once before, and she said it still looks grim. "I'm trying to get you a job!" she exclaimed. Then she said, "I don't mean to talk about work" and she excused herself. "Yeah me too, sorry I brought it up!" Did I really?

After that we didn't talk about work again. We had some pretty good conversation about her upcoming party and her recent trip to Canada, but I still felt socially awkward, emotionally raw, self-conscious and bitchy... but at least I looked good! I was happy to pass the night without talking to anyone else.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

College Visit

I said we had a plan. It was not a well developed plan before I cancelled with the Red Cross. I was supposed to go to the college with her to explore my educational options while she worked, and then she would take me around to different offices and introduce me to people who she thinks could help me. She even had this little bird brain idea that I could have an informational interview with someone in the fundraising department.

I couldn't sleep. As the night grew on I felt more and more anxiety. What is it that I actually agreed to? I'm about to let my mother spin me into a frenzy to appease her desire to "help" me, parade me around campus as her pathetic daughter who will do anything to get a job. No! Then, after all that, she'll probably want to go to the grocery store after work, throw dinner together before rushing out to a Rotary event with Ron? It's too much.

Why do I have to go to the college with her, anyway? Everything I need to do can be done online. This is not the 1990's when you have to actually go to the school to pick up a course catalog and talk to people if for information. And just to prove it to her, I went downstairs at 2am, made a bowl of oatmeal and started my research... hoping she'd wake up so I could tell her before the alarm goes off at 6am. I was anxious about that. I knew she wouldn't take it lightly. She has all the best ideas and if I disagree, I'm some kind of stupid.

At 3:30 am I got relief when she did wake up to go to the bathroom. I was very nervous about speaking up, but I made a logical argument for why I shouldn't go. I told her all the information I found online. I told her I'd feel embarrassed with her dragging me around campus. Of course she got angry and said something I haven't heard her say in a while. "I think you're being distracted by the devil." Yeah, the devil is keeping me from doing what I need to get a job.

It's been a long day. I slept until 10am, which means I got a full night's sleep but woke up tired and stayed tired for the rest of the day. Exhausted. And we still have this event tonight. I feel like I could just collapse and cry. I spent all my teen years feeling like this. Sometimes I actually did collapse and cry, and people would just stand there and look at me. No one could understand. My mother is not an emotionally safe person for me to be around. Some have suggested recently that the only answer is to move out of my mother's house, but that's not true because I've lived on my own for 15yrs and it didn't solve the problem. There's something else that has to happen, and that's what I'm here to figure out.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Toxic Parents

I don't know how I feel about the Patricia Evans book. From the preview it seems very informative and very well-written, but like most abuse books, it's written from the angle of the woman being victimized by the man in a romantic relationship. I have to strain my brain to apply the case studies to my family of origin. I want something that's easier to read, that speaks more directly to my experience. So this morning I downloaded the preview to this book: Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward.

I've had it on my Amazon Wish List since I got home last October. It's just one of many. I guess I'll preview a bunch of them - like I did with the dating books - before deciding which one to buy.

My day turned out okay. It started out painfully, as I woke up with a dream that I witnessed a murder - not graphic or violent - but that I was talking with the villain who murdered my mother and brother. I was filled with incredible frustration and anger. As I gained awareness I could feel the muscles in my lower back burning like they've never burned before. I didn't know if I was in the mood for a yoga class this morning, but I didn't care because I had to do yoga to release the depression chemicals running though my body.

This evening when I got home, Mom found me sitting in the living room and said, "can we have a talk?" Huh, wow, this is rare. I closed my computer and let her settle in before I said anything. This month marks one full year since I left DC, and she wants to know what my plan is because, lets face it, I can't depend on her forever. We talked about my volunteering, looking for a job, taking a class in something, etc. She wanted to know if there's anything more she could do to help me. "Well, you can start by talking nice to me so I can have some self-esteem, and from there I could probably figure out the rest." I know from experience what happens when I say things like that, so I just let her talk. She had some practical suggestions that I already considered, and even some new ideas.

Then the conversation took a turn. She said, "I see how you put a lot of energy into your social groups, your yoga, your support groups, and you're spending all your resources on these things." She also pointed out how I isolate myself and I sleep a lot. "I get really depressed," I said. She replied, "I know. I see you getting stuck, a lot...." and (hang on!) "... it makes me feel frustrated..." Wow. It's moments like this that make me believe she might be getting counseling. In a most sincere tone, she started giving commentary on my personal growth and I was like - no, I'm not gonna listen to this. Must. Change. Subject. "Yeah, I think I could look into courses at the college. I wonder if I could even get a Pell Grant!" From there we made a plan.

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Verbally Abusive Relationship

I didn't give my supervisor a schedule last Friday because I had a full weekend planned and didn't know how I would feel on Monday. I'm so glad I didn't make any promises because it would have been a real strain to fulfill them. I was very depressed today. As soon as I woke up I read the preview for this book: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans.

I've had this book on my Amazon Wish List since February 2010. This morning, I downloaded the preview to my Smartphone, rolled over and started reading it. Ron was home so I cooked us breakfast. I took a shower, walked the dog, cleaned my room, applied to jobs, said a rosary, did my laundry - all in slow motion. I was so grateful to not have a job today because, if I had to go to work it would have been a heavy day. I'd be unproductive, socially awkward, and I'd make a lot of mistakes. I get like that when I'm depressed. I felt bad about not going to the Red Cross and staying for yoga, but tonight I needed an Al-anon meeting more than a yoga class.

I got back home around 9pm. I could hear mom yelling through the door. As I walked in, I strained to figure out what it was about. "Who put the bread in the freezer?! I left the rolls out so we could have them with dinner and I wouldn't have to defrost them!" She was m-a-a-a-d. Ron cleared himself, "it wasn't me" and then without even saying hello, "Did you put the bread in the freezer?" "I always put the bread in the freezer." I would have left the rolls out, but because of her ungodly mess all over the counter there's no place to put stuff, so the bag got burned by the toaster... remember? Mom kept screaming, "She doesn't do what she's supposed to do, but she does everything else!" What? What does that mean? I just shrugged and walked away.

This is exactly what we talked about in Al-anon tonight. It was a topic meeting on feelings, but there were many comments on the trivial things that are treated like catastrophes in an alcoholic home. You dropped an ice cube? Oh my God you dropped an ice cube! How could you be so stupid! "Now I tell my grand kids, 'you dropped an ice cube? That's okay, we'll just pick it up." Another woman talked about how, just today, she was washing dishes and accidentally broke a glass. That would have been a really big deal, but this time she just picked up the pieces and threw them away. Rod talked with me a little after the meeting. He is married to a woman who is just like my mother. I am so grateful for Al-anon because it's the only place I can go to validate my experience.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Zen Place

I had it perfectly calculated to go to the zen place today, just to check it out since I've never been there before. Then I agreed to go to a Rules Group meeting and a singles event, but then those plans got cancelled. So I had to adjust and readjust, which left me feeling a little off balance going into the day. I had a leisurely morning, which led to an unfortunate clash with mom and Ron trying to leave for church around the same time. I dared to comment, "Why are we all trying to make breakfast at the same time?" Mom replied,  "You've been up for a whole hour!" So this is my fault? We ate separately and then I went into the bathroom. I don't like being rushed, but I knew I had to hurry. When I went overtime, tempers flared. Ron is not much of a yeller, but mom gets him going. I had to finish my hair and there was no other place I could do it. Mom got all pissy like usual. She even went as far as to say, "this is bordering on abusive already."

Abusive?! I'll tell you what's abusive: barreling up the stairs screaming and yelling and expecting everyone to scramble when you think it's your turn to use the bathroom. Every week. You don't care about being on time for anything. Even if you had a bathroom all to yourself you would still be late because chronic lateness is about control, and that's what you do. That's abuse. All my life I'm waiting for mom, waiting for mom, waiting for mom, and the once-in-a-while she has to wait for me she has a hissy-fit. I hate this shit.

I tried really hard to retain my serenity. I had a very important day ahead of me. I was about to walk into the yoga center that will further prepare me for an extended stay at the ashram, and where I could possibly meet my husband. It's very profound and I wanted to be present with it. But I felt the weight of depression slipping in as I wrestled with my mother inside. Why does she always do this to me? My work here for the past few months has been to gain emotional separation from my mother - and I know I'm getting better at it, but she still gets to me. At least I can say this wasn't as bad as last time.

I left Journey Church and went strait to St. John's's to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for emotional healing. I've been slacking on that; it's very important and I need to not forget about it. I also read a chapter of the Bible because today's sermon reminded me (once again) that I should be doing that too. Being at Journey Church was comforting and fulfilling as I could raise my hands and sing in prayer and praise. The Catholic church was comforting for the familiarity, the symmetry and the beautiful art. When I finally felt consoled, I headed out to find the Yoga Vedanta center.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

To Follow God's Lead

It's a beautiful night for a garden party and I wish I had a date... and a garden party... but I'm home with my parents for another weekend and it's actually not so bad. Last Friday, I (once again) searched for amateur sports teams where I could be more social, but I couldn't find anything accessible...But that's okay. If it's meant to happen then it will. I get the impression that's not my purpose here. My purpose here is to learn my mother. Life is easier when I accept that and keep the focus.

God has me involved with some very important things right now: Al-anon, The Red Cross, the [yoga studio], Journey Church, Bally's, and also The Rules... all of which are in line with His purpose for me right now. I'm building good habits and good relationships here. He is also giving me a lot of rest. I need to reconnect with my essence so that a man can fall in love with it; break through this layer of shame and relearn how to connect with all people. I need to learn how to go with the flow, be present and receptive. I need to strengthen my body and strengthen my will, as they have gotten weak over the past ten years. That's what I'm working on right now. I am preparing myself body, mind and spirit to go back to the ashram and stay there long enough to bring this work to completion.

I pray that God will have mercy on me financially while I follow His lead and do this important work - work that He has called me to and given me the means to do. He's given me the time and the tools, but I always worry about the money. I said how my unemployment benefits were cut to $300 a week, but that's before taxes. I have to put aside 10% to pay back next year, in addition to something for savings. I decided to start playing different lotteries. If God wants me to have a job, I pray that He makes it easy - easy to get, easy to do, easy to keep and easy to leave - and that he put me in a place where I can nurture the relationships I've been building. I pray that He not interrupt my momentum to thrust me back into the rat-race.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bally's again

Excited about my newly resolved gym membership, I went to Bally's yesterday for my workout.... only to find that new dues were not paid up. Really?! You've got to be fucking kidding me. I was stopped at the gate. The notes indicated that they recently refunded me $656. Really!? Because I did not receive $656; I received $346. The attendant let me through anyway and this bullshit fueled my workout.

Today I called the 800-number because that's all I could do. Like usual, I waited a whole half hour to actually talk to someone, and then I immediately asked to be transferred to a manager. "I'm pretty sure I can help you, ma'am." To which I replied, "I'm pretty sure you can't. This issue has been going on for months now and no one at your level could help me. I need to speak with a manager." He put me on hold for just a little longer until the manager picked up. He didn't say much. He actually fell silent as he reviewed my account, and then finally spoke up with an apology. With the stroke of a button he corrected the errors, and then he extended my membership for an extra three months as compensation for all the hassle. And with that it was done. It was that easy.

Why does God want me to have this gym membership through September of next year? I doesn't make sense, especially if I'm going to be away at the ashram. Does this mean I won't?