Utopia

So yesterday I was feeling a little blue, nothing major. Cause undetermined but I’m near onset of menopause so anything is possible.

Then, my boyfriend was down. He just goes silent, but it makes me sad and wondering if it’s me contributing to it. So I leave him to his own thoughts.

Icing on the cake is when my daughter is on the couch sobbing. Nothing hurts worse than when your kids are hurting and you can’t fix it. Even worse for control freaks like me who want to work it all out.

Of course all this makes me worse and I go to bed sobbing and praying for one day of total happiness for myself, family, and friends all on the same day. Utopia for a day.

This morning I wake still thinking how nice a day of Utopia would be. Then it hits me.

Utopia is heaven and heaven is Utopia…. and it’s forever.

I’m not ready for it yet but it was God’s reminder of the blessings that await.

Did Ally McBeal go to Al Anon?

I’ve been down this road walking the line that is painted by pride.  I’ve made mistakes in my life that I just can’t hide.  I believe I am ready for what love has to bring.  I got myself together and now I am ready to sing.

I’ve been searching my soul tonight.  I know there’s so much more to life.  Now I know I can shine the light to find my way back home.

One by one the chains around me unwind.  Every day now I feel that I can leave those years behind.  oh I’ve been thinking of you for a long time.  There’s a side of my life where I’ve been blind….”    (Searchin My Soul by Vonda Shepard).

I think it’s been twenty years since I watched the Ally McBeal show on TV.  I have hardly ever watched much TV, but I watched that.  It wasn’t until recently that I was reminded of the show, and so I watched an episode or two.  And I cried.  Not because the show was sad.  She was me and I was her.  She was smart but insecure.  She was successful yet uncomfortable in her skin.  No wonder I watched the show.

Too bad we couldn’t bring back the cast and do a 2019 version of the show.  I could tell them what Ally would be like now.  Ally could go to Al Anon meetings.  Ally could teach her kid how to break the cycle of the family disease.  Ally could heal.  Ally could rest easy.

 

 

Material detachment came next for me

When I was married to an alcoholic, I did lots of things to avoid reality. I focused a lot on helping others. I stayed busy….really, really busy. And I was a bit of a control freak. I couldn’t control his drinking but I tried to perfect everything else. (I didn’t realize any of this until after divorce.)

Before I started educating myself on the disease, and before I had entered an al-anon room, I had detached emotionally. One of my first meetings, I remember a discussion meeting about detachment and thinking how different I was. In reality, I was wondering if I could find a way to “re-attach” if he stayed sober. Most others were trying to detach to care for themselves. I got it. I understood it. I had done it really well.

My ex did not stay sober, so I never had to test out whether I could re-attach my emotions. We are both better off apart.

When we were married, he got moments of happiness through purchasing things. I remember how giddy he was on “new bike days.” He even suggested that the days he got new motorcycles were some of the best days of his life. 😳. Umm…wedding day? Birth of our child? Hello?!?!?

Again, I wasn’t able to see it for what it was until removing myself from the situation. He really was so numb emotionally that it took “things” to excite him. And this still continues with him to this day. He trades in titled Motorsport vehicles when they still smell new just to get another happy high.

When we separated, I asked my daughter if she wanted to continue living in our same house, or if she wanted to simplify and make memories instead. I’m so relieved she chose the memories.

I bought a small house that was 1/3 the value of what we left behind. I sold my gas guzzling 7 passenger high class SUV and bought a used car. The list of simplification goes on and on.

When I lost my job unexpectedly, I felt so blessed to have simplified. I didn’t have any of the financial worry or burden that I would have had otherwise. I was SO grateful.

Then two weeks ago at church during the homily, the priest encouraged “material detachment” as a description for the situation Jesus praised a disciple for in a bible verse. I was so taken back by hearing detachment separately from alcoholism that I couldn’t help but engage. Then,to hear him describe finding happiness by removing focus from material “things” gave me complete reassurance that God had walked me through so many decisions over the last couple years.

First emotional detachment and then material detachment.

I am so blessed. I am grateful.

Music is the language of love….and pain, and anger, and joy, and memories

I was so unaware at the time of how blessed I would be when B started therapeutic riding with me.  I’ve given riding lessons for twenty years, but had really never dealt with the “handicapped” because I didn’t have equipment or training.  B’s mom didn’t care and asked that I work with her anyways about 6 years ago.  And so began a mutual relationship of learning, growth, emotions and MUSIC.  B is relatively non-verbal.  She has been diagnosed with various ailments including autism.  While I could write a book about our experience, my point now is to emphasize the power of music.  For years, I knew she loved music.  Early on, I realized that her amazing brain held the titles and tract numbers of hundreds of songs from multiple artists.  She rarely spoke, but frequently we would sing song verses together.  She can’t share feelings, but her body sometimes shows her emotions.  It was not until last year that I realized that she was using songs to communicate.  We all do really, but for her, it is one of the only ways she can.  When she is feeling a certain way, she goes through the vast jukebox in her mind to a song that represents how she is feeling.  If you are patient enough, she’ll find a way to tell you what that song is.  If you listen to it, you unlock her mind.

All of us have songs that stimulate feelings in us.  I think they fall into two categories.  Ones associated with memories, and ones associated with feelings.  I’m sure we have all experienced the memories music capture.  Like when you are shopping in a department store and there is music in the background and a song that you haven’t heard for years comes on and you are instantly: in a middle school cafeteria for a school dance, or on the beach at a Spring Break party, or praying in church with your grandparents.  Those memories pop up as the songs tied to times that were meaningful, and hopefully allow us to reflect on moments that built us.

The other category, songs associated with emotions, are generally found when the words of a song speak to a strong set of emotions that we are grappling with.  We typically listen to the song over and over again.  Sometimes we share it with people to help them understand our thoughts.

When my ex and I were still married but struggling, I know he shared a song with me that was deeper than I was able to process.  I’ve never been a great literary or lyrical analyst.  It made me sad that I couldn’t understand.  I remember I shared a song with him by Harry Styles, Two Ghosts.  The song still makes me sad.  “we’re not who we used to be, we’re just two ghosts standing in the place of you and me.”  There was not analysis needed.  It was very clear what the song meant.  It was my period of sadness that our marriage had come to that point.

But with divorce comes a full range of emotions, and sadness ended up being replaced by anger.  I was so angry that alcoholism had captured him and wouldn’t let go.  I was so angry that he couldn’t overcome it.  I was angry that the “life plan” completely changed.  And while the song has meaning for many people with various challenges, Fight Song by Rachel Platton became my outlet.  I can’t tell you how many times I put all the windows down in my car and took off driving with that song playing as loud as possible.

“This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I’m alright song”

That song helped me stay focused on a very rough and challenging course of action.  Thanks Rachel.  And it didn’t take me long to realize that the album with Fight Song  actually had several other songs that related to things happening in my life, including Stand By Me and Better Place.

What are your memory songs?  What are your emotion songs?  The blessing for me is that I’ve passed thought the cycle of emotions with divorce, so my current emotion songs are generally happy.  Happy music, and peaceful music promotes serenity.  If you haven’t already tried that, give it a go.

My riding student B, who nearly always listens to country music, introduced me to a new world recently.  We had just finished a GREAT lesson together, and she started saying Bear and Blue House.  I don’t have any young kids these days, so it took me time and patience to realize that she was talking about a kids show called “Bear in the Big Blue House.”  After I figured that out, she said “Goodbye” and “Song”….well here it is…here are her thoughts, captured in the jukebox in her mind:

Hey this was really fun

Hope you liked it too

Seems like we’ve just begun when suddenly we’re through

Goodbye, goodbye, good friends, goodbye

Cause now its time to go

But hey, I say, well that’s ok

Cause we will see you very soon I know