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National Hug Your Caregiver Day Initiative

Dec. 5th, 2008 | 09:23 pm
mood: ecstaticecstatic
posted by: hugurcaregiver in joyousfreedom

National Hug Your Caregiver Day Initiative
November 21st

Caregivers are the backbone that supports our society. They come in many shapes, sizes, and focus in many different areas. Everybody knows caregivers. They can be parents, spouses, family, friends, healthcare providers, massage therapists, chiropractors, nanny's, babysitters, pet sitters, or anybody else who has taken care of another living being.

Caregivers are also some of the most ignored and taken for granted people in our society. These people dedicate part of their lives, if not their whole lives, to caring for others. And yet, they are often touch deprived and feel under/un-appreciated.

Started in 2008, the National Hug Your Caregiver Day Initiative is trying to raise awareness about caregiver appreciation. We are helping people learn to show their appreciation for the caregivers in their lives.

Join our yahoo group at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hug_your_caregiver_day/

Use this blog to share your stories about caregiving, or to share your stories about a caregiver who is special to you. 

The website is being created and will be going live by January 2009. 

"Smile! You're getting hugged!"

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About Emotional Abuse

Sep. 14th, 2008 | 11:08 am
posted by: abusoemocional in joyousfreedom

If you need help or know of someone who might need it, check our new site: http://abusoemocional.ning.com/


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What Do I Do?

Aug. 7th, 2008 | 08:04 pm
mood: chipperchipper
posted by: niseema in joyousfreedom

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the second tradition

Mar. 24th, 2008 | 09:27 pm
posted by: kaleidescope in joyousfreedom

I just learned a huge amount about the second tradition!

I was really inspired to explore the traditions when we read about the first tradition in one of my meetings. And so I was thinking on the way home about what it would be like to work the second tradition and I realized I totally am. Maybe more than anything else.

So the second tradition is the one that says "For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving higher power as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern." And the big deal here, for me, is that it means everyone is equal in 12-step programs. It means that the secretary is not the boss of anyone, and the literature person is not the boss of anyone, and I'm not the boss of anyone. These are some pretty big deals.

First of all, I think it's both perfect democracy and perfect anarchy in action, in different ways. That everyone has an equal voice, and that there isn't anyone making anyone else follow any rules - any meeting can be like, "Well, we think the traditions are trash and the steps are trash and we're going to do whatever we want!" It probably won't work that great, since the traditions and the steps are things that we know have worked to keep people and meetings healthy for decades and everything else is kind of up in the air, but they are welcome to do it if that is what they all decide they want. They can even try to convince everyone else in the whole program that it is a great idea, and if it is and it's the right time for it then everyone can totally change everything.

But on a personal level, I realized that I've really internalized the idea that we are all equal. I even had to go out and get a job in the recovery field because of it. Because like, at my last office job, it didn't make sense to anyone else that I (or they) might have good, useful insights about anything beyond our tiny administrative tasks. Like, we weren't supposed to have opinions about the same things as supervisors did. And it didn't make sense to ME that I (or they) WOULDN'T have equal insights and opinions about things. So I needed a job where people could respect each other's boundaries and equality and listen to each other and things. I mean: I think we're all equal to the point that I had to get a different JOB because of it.

And that strikes me as some kind of miracle. I mean, do you know how far I was from thinking I was as good as or smart as or worthy as anyone else? Pfshaw. It was insane to me. I had to work my ass off on the steps, and be around all these principles in meetings, for ages to internalize this. I think it had a lot to do with the fourth and ninth steps, with getting see where my boundaries were and where I was giving away power and where I was not respecting other people's boundaries. Because along the way, I got to see how much I tried to put people on pedestals or make myself better than them, and how much we are all the same and all have these same issues and struggles. How, in reality, nobody is a huge abusive giant who gets to slap me down and make me less-than.

And I realized that this tradition is so fundamental to recovery from abuse, and the codependency it causes. It's all, "Hey! You don't get to keep living in cowering fear of everyone's superior strength and power and worth and fury. That stuff is an illusion. It doesn't work if we act like that and live out the memories of what it was like to be abused. We get to and have to accept that we are equally awesome and worthy and important to this meeting and this program." And then the 12th step says that "Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps," like in accepting our own worth!, "we try to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all of our affairs." So I CAN'T just accept that I am equal to everyone else in a meeting or a 12-step program. I have to accept this principle, that I am equally worthy to everyone else, everywhere I go in the world. Pretty crazy huh?

I think the other excruciatingly important part to this is the higher power piece. Part of it is getting that whatever we do, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Finding meaning in things. Like how people always get just what they need from a sponsoring relationship, even if it turns out that what they needed was to have the experience of firing their sponsor. And part of it is that it means that when we vote on something, we can go to that connection with our higher power - our gut, our inner wisdom, whatever you want to call it - and look for the right thing to say or the right way for us personally to vote. And that totally translates to the third step in everyday life - the practice of looking to that connection regularly, following it to the next right action. That's something I am still working on, more and more all the time. In fact, it is the step I am on right now!

I just am consistently blown away by the traditions. They always seem kind of confusing and opaque and boring. And I get that they are insanely important to meetings and programs, but I don't always get how they are important to me personally. I thought that the "principles of the program" were the 12 traditions AND a bunch of ideas that floated around that came from people's experiences in recovery - like that we're all equal. And the better I understand them, the more I realize that those principles come right from the traditions and the steps. They're not boring - they are just not as widely studied in the meetings I go to. They are so cool!

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thoughts on the third step

Mar. 15th, 2008 | 11:43 am
posted by: kaleidescope in joyousfreedom

[A new sponsee of mine left me a message this morning, and mentioned having "found herself" getting back with her ex which she did not want to do. I wrote her this response (in part) and I liked what I said so I wanted to share it here!]
i loved when you said that you "found yourself" getting back together
with your ex. I think that is how you put it! It's such a great step
one kind of place to be in. I have felt the same way so many times -
like this stuff just seems to happen, like I am at the mercy of unseen
forces - I "ended up" getting back together with someone, or not
paying a bill on time, or I just suddenly realized that I had spent
more than was in my bank account, or I found myself agreeing to do
something I didn't want to do, or whatever.


And it is just so amazing and awesome how clear the powerlessness in
all this stuff is. Like, of COURSE we are at the mercy of unseen
forces. We're at the mercy of all the crazy abuse shit in our
backgrounds. I am on the 3rd step again in my various programs, and I
read the 3rd step in the ABA big book last night (i started keeping a
bunch of different big books in the bathroom so i would actually read
them sometimes!) and it said all this stuff about how our "will" is
our thinking and our "life" is our actions, so we are just turning our
thinking and actions over to a higher power. And I was thinking this
morning about how that's scary to me because I confuse my thoughts and
actions with myself, and sometimes I am willing to turn everything
about myself over to my higher power and sometimes it terrifies me!

And it occurred to me that that's not really what's required of me
here. It's like, there's me. And then there's what is currently
shaping my thoughts and actions in addiction, which is abuse: all the
shame and fear and negative messages about the world and about myself
that tells me that I need to hit the chocolate if I feel triggered or
stay up really late to be safe or do whatever it takes to avoid
feeling my feelings. And then there are the areas in which I've
already turned some of those behaviors and ideas over to my higher
power, and seen how much more awesome and joyful it is - not just to
have those things lifted, but to get to trust that I have consistent
emotional support from a loving universe, which is SO THE OPPOSITE of
how it felt when I was growing up. And all I have to do is ask my
higher power to take over shaping my thoughts and actions, in the
areas where my abuse still does it. And I can do all kinds of things
to help that, like noticing where stuff becomes unmanageable or where
I am trying to control everything or where I know I am doing things
that don't work for me, and choose to (or ask for help to become
willing to) let that shit go.

I am excited about exploring this and working the third step ever more
deeply in my life. I would love to hear other people's experiences
with this stuff!

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New Website for Women, By Women

Feb. 26th, 2008 | 06:27 pm
posted by: lendingwings in joyousfreedom

Hey everyone, (I hope this is okay to post here!)

Power for Women is a new non-profit website and community aimed at bringing information on domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental and physical health to all women. Additionally, we go over dating tips and relationship advice, or how to survive as a single woman in this world. PLEASE go visit and register at http://www.powerforwomen.net/forums/  in order to meet people with the same goal as you: to help others. There are discussion boards of all types currently open.

The forums contain discussions on family and parenting, sexual health and discussion, advice, a bitchfest, and other types of forums. It is an open community with the single goal of connecting women worldwide as the Power for Women website grows more and more.

I really appreciate it! Any and all help is welcome. I hope to see you over there :)

X-posted for more involvement.

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when "principles before personalities" works... the hard way!

Nov. 8th, 2007 | 03:51 pm
posted by: kaleidescope in joyousfreedom

Well, I had the craziest conversation EVER last Saturday with a woman who WAS my new sponsor in another program. details behind hereCollapse )

The ironical thing is that the whole reason that I asked her to be my sponsor is that I was doing "whatever it takes" to get recovery in that program. Like, I went with the idea of principles before personalities, that the program works no matter who you do it with, that you will both always get what you needed out of the sponsor-sponsee relationship (or whatever you are doing) even if, sometimes, what you needed was to have the experience of having to "fire" that person. Or being "fired". Like, I went to a meeting and asked the first person who seemed to have something good to be my sponsor, and then the very next day I went to another meeting and asked people to be my PRG. But I don't need to convince any of you people that I am working my ass off around money stuff. (Actually, even if you didn't see me talk about it all the time, I wouldn't need to convince you, because what other people think of me is not the point. But sometimes it's hard to let go of!)

So, I got some great things out of this experience:

1. I got to see that I can really stay focused on reality in very triggering conversations. I got to sit there and know that what she was saying about and to me was not reality, and hold on to what I wanted to say instead of losing it to adrenaline and dissociation, and keep on fighting and showing up until I got to say it.

2. I got to experience how different it is to have that kind of conversation now that I am not buying into what the other person is saying by default. Like, instead of part of my brain being all "Maybe she's right! I don't know what is true! I should just defer to her and do what she says and then she'll be nice to me!" I got to be like "This is ridiculous. Did she seriously just ask me if Guerneville is far away? And tell me that I don't want it bad enough if I am not willing to spend as much time driving there and back as meeting with her? What the fuck!"

3. I also got to experience how much the same it is to have that conversation. Like, I got to see how much people can just ride the waterfall of crazy sometimes, and also, how now when those people enter my life and I see the waterfall, I can quickly know that it is time to kick them right back out. I actually almost hung up on her at a couple of points in the conversation.

4, 5, and 6. When I thought back on the conversation, I got to learn so much about how much more I get to learn and grow. Like how I wanted to have reacted, how I will automatically react someday. And also, how all the different things she said and did were emotionally abusive. I got to learn more about what emotional abuse looks like, be reminded viscerally of how it feels, and learn more specific aspects of it as I thought back over our chat. For examples:

* The Bait and Switch. In this case, saying that she would come up with a central location, then choosing a place right by her and browbeating me at length when I asked her to change it.

* The Repeating Rant. Repeating her problem with me, or her argument, over and over and over. Especially when paired with:

* Stonewalling. Shutting someone down completely when they try to talk. When paired with the Repeating Rant, you could call this The Filibuster. Making up names for things is fun!

* Projecting. Casting someone in an old role and dumping all the baggage from that relationship on them. Especially when refusing to allow them to be anyone else (like themselves). Like by pairing it with The Filibuster!

* Boundary Rejecting. Like... the whole conversation started out with me saying that this location wouldn't work for me. That's a boundary. She did the exact same thing that my abusive qualifier used to do when I said I couldn't have our kid some specific extra night: keep asking me why not, and keep arguing with every reason.

* Changing the Rules/Changing the Story. All of a sudden, I can only get recovery or work the program or have her as my sponsor if I am willing to go meet at this one place and time. (I'm throwing time in there because she kept picking Tuesday at 4 even when I was like, please can we do any non-work time? She never said anything about that being a good time for her or the only time for her for any reason - it was just the time she picked that it seemed like she stuck to specifically because it symbolized a way to challenge me.) All of a sudden, the story is that I am challenging her, or that I don't want recovery, or that I have blocked her a thousand times. It's usually a bad sign if you have a story you've made up about something that's going on and you're still in the middle of it. Like, you've been talking to someone for two minutes and you suddenly are introducing a brand-new story about how they are resisting you and they don't want it bad enough and crystal meth addicts and the first step and they should do this and that or else nothing? Maybe come back to the present. You know. Just for a minute.

* Make Crazy Stakes. If I stuck to my guns, my abusive qualifier would respond by telling me that she didn't want people around our kid who weren't supportive of both of them so if I wasn't willing to support her by having him that night then maybe I just shouldn't get to see him anymore. Ridiculous for a number of reasons: she had a lot of other support people who would take him, I was already being plenty supportive by providing him his own bedroom/meals/clothes and even paying for a third of his preschool tuition at one point, and also just because it's emotional blackmail. It's a stupid imaginary zero-sum game: if you're not willing to do this small thing, then you get NOTHING. If you're not willing to do everything that I say, down to this small level, then you lose EVERYTHING.

My erstwhile sponsor was doing the same thing by spinning it to seem like if I wasn't willing to meet wherever she said, I wasn't willing to do whatever it took to get recovery. That if I was going to continue to object to that meeting-place, she might refuse to be my sponsor at all. That if I was refusing that, I was refusing recovery itself and might as well, I guess, go do some crystal meth for some reason. It's taking it very quickly from the smallest detail to the biggest possible level to totally bewilder people and throw them off guard. If you can convince them, even briefly, to go with you into this insane world where that is at all a reasonable way to look at it, then of course they have to choose to do what you say. I don't visit that world anymore. Also, I like how if you substitute Guerneville or New York as her meeting place it becomes blatantly obvious that it's ridiculous to insist that it is that one place or nowhere. I'll drive to El Cerrito on a weekend. But right after work and then back? After a full day of work that I had to start what would really be an hour and a half early, in traffic?

And all of that in twenty minutes. And probably more things that I didn't name. There were certainly plenty of small warning signs before that, but you know, I've known a lot of people who had a ton of recovery to share who also still had some warning signs hanging around that let me know that I shouldn't just buy everything they said wholesale. But they had cleaned up all the big shit. Most of the stuff I saw before this I think was just fine, except for her bait and switch (and terminal vagueness in giving me just the google earth link) with the location and her refusal, several times, to hear me when I was telling her things about having recovery. And ignoring all my emails and most of my messages. (Actually, there's something about the way that she sent me just the google earth link and the way that when we first talked she told me to google her email address instead of just giving it to me that is like... it's partly just being geeky but there's also a weird vibe about it, like that she doesn't want to just tell me things, she wants me to figure them out for myself. That doesn't sound bad. It's the kinds of things that she's hiding. There's a weird culty aspect to it. Especially since googling her only turned up one, really old email address that bounced. My girlfriend pointed out that there is something very borderline about it being all about her - like, she won't just give me the information, I have to want it, I have to pursue her - which is exactly what she was doing with the location too! She won't just meet with me, I have to "pursue" her, want it bad enough to go to the "right" place and time, which is whatever she says it is.)

My gf says that "it's all a bunch of distraction techniques. It's all about getting the attention away from where it belong and being like, 'All eyes over here!' Getting the focus away from the reality of the situation and on to whatever it is, basically onto the person - the crazymaker." It's like a magic trick! It's like a psychological sleight of hand and misdirection, and, my gf adds, subterfuge.

So: SOMEDAY, before too long, I am going to be able to not just stay in reality while those things happen, but name those things when they happen and stop them in their tracks. Like, I could have:

* Objected right away when she changed the location (bait and switch)
* Objected on the phone like I did, but recognized the smokescreen of boundary rejection and refused to answer her questions, and instead stuck with "That location does not work for me"/insisted on finding a time and place that works for both of us.
* Insisted on talking when she stonewalled me; even told her point-blank that it is not okay with me and that we will not be having any kind of relationship if she does that again.
* Recognized wanting to hang up on her, thought about why, and set the boundary that I wanted to set.
* Called her on the crazy stakes, like "It sounds like you're saying that if I am not willing to meet at the place you picked out, you're not willing to work with me" or "if I can't meet you there, it means that I don't actually want recovery."
* Recognized the repeating rant and instead of waiting it out, come up with something out of left field like suggesting a place between us myself, suggesting that I email her a list of three places that are actually central to both of us and let her pick one.
* Noticed that her response to me saying yes Sunday was to go back into the filibuster and stopped her to ask again about Sunday. Or responded to it by ignoring the filibuster and just saying, so, are we going to meet on Sunday?
* Asked her flat-out what Guerneville or New York had to do with anything; actually, I did this a number of times. There were several points in the conversation where I asked her to clarify what she was trying to say.
* Or my favorite: just told her that if she is going to react to me rescheduling by browbeating me (or whatever) then obviously this relationship is not going to work, but thanks anyway click.

7. I got to recognize things I used to do. Like, I remember when conversations felt the same way to me that this one seemed to to her. When I was the one who was stuck in this fog of vagueness and not being able to track what either of us really said until later and projecting onto the other person. When getting triggered meant that I would project onto them and/or get freaked out and argue a ton over nothing, instead of meaning that I stick to my guns and stay aware of what is going on but don't call the person on what they are doing until they have done a good handful of fucked-up things - and then learn from it. Or later, when getting triggered meant that I would look for ways to control the situation like staying in and arguing with the person some more, which I also did not do this weekend.

8. Another thing I got out of it is that she said she thought I should call her every day. Which sponsors sometimes do. So most days, I called and either talked to her or left a message. And it helped me take action on some stuff I was avoiding, like calling the landlords. But also, I discovered that when I "had" to call her every day, my fear/avoidance of calling other people miraculously disappeared. I got to use the phone for all kinds of things! This is especially true of program calls. Normally even if I notice that I could deal with something by calling someone in some 12-step program and telling them about it, I immediately try to find reasons not to. Instead, I was seriously coming up with reasons to call people. Awesome!

9. There are lots of places I can recognize in retrospect where I noticed that something was wrong but didn't act on it. Like the bait and switch, or like when I wanted to hang up, or like at the end when I normally would have asked her to tell me when she would get back to me, but I suspected that she was just going to use this to ditch me and I wanted her to so I didn't ask. Putting personalities before principles! The more I notice that kind of thing, the more I learn that those are times when I need to take action, and the more I become willing to make different decisions. If I had asked, I wouldn't have to worry about this:

The fun part is that I expected her to call Sunday to let me know if we were meeting that day. I mean, if she was going to call at all. (I also half-expected her to just call me at some point to say a bunch of ridiculous shit like that she just didn't have the energy to take on someone like me right now who didn't really want this. Ha.) And she didn't. And while I haven't articulated this to her, I don't call her on Sundays. My higher power led me not to and maybe this is part of why: I got to just not call her today. But I realized that if I am waiting for her to call me - basically acting like she is still my sponsor until we say otherwise - then I "should" be calling her every day. And that if I don't, it seems like doing the same thing I suspect she is - just avoiding my way out of the relationship. So I think I have to actually call her and tell her that I am not interested in meeting with her or being her sponsee, and probably I should just flat-out tell her why. And I don't know what to say yet! That should be really interesting though. I don't think I've ever exited a fucked-up relationship (of any length) AND told the person that it was fucked-up and that that was why I was leaving. I told the HR department why I was quitting at Mills, but that was different than telling my boss that she was fucked up and I wasn't going to take it anymore.

So 10. I get to have that experience now too.


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three more higher power stories

Aug. 17th, 2007 | 08:07 pm
posted by: precisegirl in joyousfreedom

My higher power is so good! i had been obsessing about WHY i couldn't write, for hours, because i was thinking about writing things all day, and i finally got that i was tired and that being tired was why i couldn't write AND that it was "legitimate" for me to be tired because i walked all over the place all afternoon. It is frustrating that I don't give myself compassion or support around being tired unless I know why I am tired and think it is "legitimate." Maybe that is something that I can turn over.

And i was having the same problem with getting around to working. I just didn't want to do my work, and I had a limited amount of time left to finish (or indeed start) it. And then i did start and my higher power gave me a huge pile of the easiest tasks imaginable. Like, I didn't even have to think. I've never seen work so easy before.

And then my addict brain, the super-controlling negative voice from the abuse, was all, "you should do more now! since you can! to show you are grateful! and to pay them back for you being able to do the work fast!" And I decided to do ONE more thing, and I saw that there were none of the super-easy tasks left - there had been just exactly enough for me to finish all my work, no more or less. It was awesome! And the more that I turn work stuff over to my higher power and ask her for help, and the more that I use program principles in my work life instead of overworking and judging and criticizing and shaming myself, the more I notice things like this happening. Things like getting just the right kind of work for me each day, and like not having to worry that I put off working and now I am tired because no matter what my needs are going to get met.

Also, I was trying today to find this new ice cream place. And first I went too far in the wrong direction and it led me to my cat food store, and I got to remember that I hadn't bought catfood yet and that I had enough left over to buy ID tags for my cats. And I wanted to second-guess myself and obsess about whether it was okay for me to get ice cream or whether I was trying to binge-eat or binge-spend or something - but I kept seeing signs, literal signs for ice cream, and parking spots right in front of them, and I figured my higher power was letting me know it was okay. That critical abuse-related voice is all "oh sure, that's convenient," but I know that it's not a rationalization because I have years of practice exploring the ways that I communicate with my higher power (which other people might call finding the next right step or listening to their gut or any number of other things) and so I know the difference for me between obsessive rationalization and actually getting heathy helpful messages.

And then I was trying to find it in the other direction, and i couldn't, and i got a local free paper that told me it was at College and Ashby. And I'll explain first that one of the ways I get messages from my higher power is through coincidence or "shout-outs," and one of them lately has been ads for this particular car sharing place called Zipcar that my girlfriend and I used on our vacation. So i had decided that Ashby was farther down and that i was at Alcatraz, so i walked back to my car, and i passed a zipcar ad! and it was like, you are in the right place! and then i drove a little farther down and realized i had gone too far, and i turned around IN A CITY CAR SHARE LOT! and it was like, this is city car share not zip car, so you are NEARLY in the right place! It was like the Goddess was playing "hot and cold" with me. "You're very hot... now you're just warm!" And I found it and did not binge-spend and just bought the amount that I wanted that felt appropriate and it was really good, and I was able to experience eating it and enjoying it... as opposed to just mechanically eating it because I'm dissociating, which happens especially when I am eating from what my brain thinks it wants when my body wants something different or nothing at all.

And the third thing is that - coincidences and motifs again - my higher power, out of nowhere, has started showing me instances of great parenting. Normally what I see other parents doing is acting out with their kids, and I get to struggle with how and whether to say anything. And then last night in the bookstore, I saw a mom with these two little kids. And I guess they had to leave and they weren't getting all the books the kids wanted, and one of them was going "but I want this book now!!" kind of thing. And before the mom could even say anything, the other tiny little kid chirped, "You can always get it ANOTHER time!" And it was such a healthy voice, you know - it has taken me years to be able to accept not getting everything right away and waiting until ANOTHER time, because I never got to feel like my needs were met as a kid so I never felt safe waiting for anything I wanted. It all felt very desperate and NOW NOW NOW.

And then, as if to prove where the kids were getting this healthy stuff, the mom said, "Come on, my beautiful boys, it's time to go!" I was like, wow, I never hear people being that nice to their kids! Shouldn't she be "laying down the law" unnecessarily about which books they are getting and yelling at them for wanting more and for slowing her down? And then they went and found their dad, and she explained to him that they would be coming back in five days to get these other books. Even more amazing! She had actually let the kids know when they could get more books, and made a commitment to them, and now she was communicating it to her partner! And then one of the little kids was talking a mile a minute to the dad about every page of this book they were getting, and the dad was actually listening! And then she told the kids to say thank you to the store owner but the kids got stuck in the revolving card rack while playing in it while the mom bought their stuff, and instead of yelling at them to prove what a good mom she was to everyone else or ignoring what was going on with them and yelling at them to say thank you some more, she just laughed and helped them! And then they did say thank you on their way out.

It was crazy! And then today at the ice cream store, this mom was in line at the ice cream store and her kids came and the older one had the poutiest pout on her face. And the mom NOTICED and asked her what was wrong NICELY, and the kid was all, we wanted to do another thing with the parakeet! And the mom asked what, and the kid got all excited about how they were going to build it some kind of tree, (I did not understand this story at all), and the mom totally was like, that sounds great! we're going to get ice cream and after that we can go back to the parakeet and do more things! I was like, why isn't she getting upset because the kid is ungrateful and spoiling her plans?

It was amazing. I want to see more of these people who can actually nurture their children and rejoice in them and value them and meet them on their own ground!

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Joyous higher power stories to share!

Aug. 6th, 2007 | 09:22 pm
posted by: precisegirl in joyousfreedom

I heard two awesome stories and shared one myself tonight, and I wanted to share all three of them here.

So I was talking to someone after a meeting in another program. She had a "God Can" that someone had made. And she told me about how she had looking for some kind of "god box" for a while, and she had been writing down things to turn over to her higher power and stashing them in pockets and bags and corners all over. And she realized that she hadn't really turned a lot of them over - she was literally still hanging on to them! And then she came to the center where our meeting is and found this "god can", free - and not just that but it is one that you can't open, you have to REALLY turn things over and not see them again when you put them in there! I was really impressed with this as an example of getting exactly what you need, of really being heard without even meaning to say anything. I love that kind of thing.

So then I told her my story from last week. I was hanging out before my meeting and I was thinking, you know, maybe I don't HAVE to go to my meeting. Maaaaybe what I am supposed to do will turn out to be to go to the bookstore and write and look at cool books instead! That would be a good thing to do, right? And I was fully planning to stop and ask my higher power what I should do, (maybe even for long enough that there would be no point in going to the meeting at all so I'd be sure of going to the bookstore!), but I found my feet carrying me right back to my car to go to the meeting. So I'm walking to my car, mentally kicking and whining and dragging my heels all "I don't wa-a-a-aa-aa-aaaant to go to the meeting! I wanna go PLAY!" And I get in and turn on the radio and it starts up in the middle of this song that is going, "They tried to make me go to rehab! I said NOOO NOOO NOO!" I was like, you are hilarious!

And she told me another one I liked. She was struggling with the idea of her higher power and just "praying the help prayer" over and over ("help! help! help! help!") and there was a bible nearby. So she decided that this time, that would be what she would use, and she grabbed it and told her higher power, okay, I need a sign from you, okay, a very clear sign, a clear sign, right here, right now, I need a clear sign! And she opened the bible up right to something that said, "You will not get any signs from me"...! Like, "I am here, and I am not one of the things that is in your control!"

This exchanging of stories was also really helpful to me because while I've been having a great time noticing shout-outs from my higher power in the form of a lot of synchronicity, I have been having resistance to asking for what to do next. And I realized that today, and that if I could notice when that was happening I could try making quiet time to feel what that was like for me and ask for help around it. And then I got some good reminders about what talking to my higher power is really like!

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Powerlessness inventory

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 11:52 am
posted by: todd_lemon in joyousfreedom

What are some patterns or situations which are not working in your life?

Oh, great, now I have to think about what my life involves.
Well I guess I have a pattern of isolating even from close friends, which makes me question whether I can call them close friends. And as someone who is multiple, I basically try to hide from everyone because I feel like it is so obvious when I am particularly the one who is out. And at the same time, I want to be seen and noticed and appreciated as being who I am, and of course even if people know that I am out they aren't necessarily going to acknowledge that and it is terrifying if they do. So, none of that works for me. My fear of people and of myself doesn't work for me. I guess my relationships with food and money and my body aren't working for me either. I'm not sure what is working for me. Okay, I guess my willingness to be honest with myself and others about this stuff now is working for me. And my relationship with a higher power who I can listen to and ask for help from is working for me, even if I'm not really using it a lot yet. But like, I can listen to the dreams I have and the messages I get from the universe in them, and come here as a result. And that works for me. So far.

What have you tried over and over to change or to stop doing, with no success?

Binge-spending. Binge-eating. Binge-hiding!

What are the patterns or situations that you have no idea how to change, although you have very much wanted to?

Well, I really want to change this thing that I talked about where I have all these dreams for what I want to do with my life, like selling truffles I make or like food writing, and instead I start them and then run from them. Or don't even start them, just get ideas and fantasize about them and then run from actually doing anything. And sometimes I binge-spend on books or supplies and THEN run from it all, which REALLY doesn't work for me. I guess that doesn't actually work for me any less than the other way, but it's a little more expensive.

Where in your life do you find yourself acting out of anger or fear?

What? Everywhere! I guess there are ways where I act out of myself and my dreams, tiny little moments like a seedling reaching out for the sun... And then I clomp down on myself with my fear. Anger, I don't know so much. I think that I am so guided by my fear that it is hard to notice or express anger. I have a lot of anger about the abuse, but it is all somewhere under the surface. Fueling my fear.

What do you find yourself doing that is harmful to you?

Hey wow, this list went a lot faster than the other one. Um... Not doing my chores, not paying attention to my life, not paying attention to my food or my body, not talking to people, not doing or saying the things that I feel drawn to do or say, not living my life, avoiding everything, being a relationship anorexic and a life anorexic, buying into my fears, spending money that is outside of my budget just because something shiny that I really want is in front of me. Oh, I just got that. I avoid all my dreams and my life so then when something shiny that I really want is there, all of that pent-up energy explodes and I am like, I NEED this. When what I really need is everything it represents to me. And then I get it and I read it or use it occasionally or eat it and I never get what it represented to me or what I really wanted or needed and plus it throws my whole spending plan out of whack. Maybe if I set aside a certain amount of money and/or time that I HAD to spend pursuing my dreams each day or each week. That would be a really cool start!

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