Self Compassion

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Learning to live again is serious and exhilarating.  I’ve recently stepped back from the precipice of self-annihilation and am now experiencing a newfound compassion for myself and appreciation for life.

Coached and coaxed by friends and therapists, I engaged in any activity that held even the most remote possibility of pleasure.  I  took jewelry making classes, boxing lessons, studied the Kabbalah, went faithfully to therapy and of course, experienced the joys of my body’s ability to stretch and exceed my perceived limits at the gym.  Naturally I was employed as soon as I embraced myself.  And for this I am deeply grateful.

However, I realized with horrifying clarity, how serious I was about suicide after I’d been employed.  I’ve survived the death’s of my parents, my sister, my beloved. and precious pets.  I’ve withstood severe emotional abuse, abandonment and physical exhaustion that almost took my life when my appendix burst.  Still I could not imagine withstanding losing my New York apartment.  My sense of security resides in the luxurious home that I’ve created on the Upper East side in close proximity to a group of dwindling but essential friends.  I could not embrace the exigencies that I felt were forcing me to flee New York in search of more economical accommodations.  Somewhere, deep within, I had accepted suicide as a rational and reasonable alternative.  Leaving my h0me, the last bastion of security and familiarity, was something that i could not bear. God heard me at the penultimate moment of my despair as I trudged through the last of my savings before ravaging my “retirement” fund – about one year’s worth – if you don’t count my co-op.  Salvation was granted at the moment that I’d accepted my mortality.  And for that, I am deeply and profoundly grateful.  Perhaps there is an ultimate plan, perhaps my existence has not been conducted in  profound vanity.  Maybe I’m still here for a reason.

I’ve now trained in two new jobs, though I feel that my nascent self-compassion will allow me to relinquish one of my three jobs and live with lesser means for the sake of my sanity and life balance.  I was profoundly grateful, at the end of my first week as a digital sales manager for a thriving website, when I was told that they were amazed at what I accomplished during my first week.  Yet the hunger to share my success with a significant other lingered and I was disappointed as the plans with my x devolved into a parry and thrust about whom had given more in the relationship and had I appreciated all that he’d done for me.  I felt that this was conveyed in a bullying fashion that forced me into a manipulated confession of lasting gratitude which did not allow me to express my true feelings. The best defensive is a good offensive.  I’ve never forgotten that.  As my friend informed me that he would not be able to spend the holidays or my birthday with me, I was coerced into receiving this information with grace and gratitude for what he had done.  And I am grateful.  Truly.  But the holidays are about family.  If, after 15 years, he doesn’t consider me family, I am recusing myself from the equation.  There is nothing left to be said, shared or debated.  I received this information with an unexpected sense of calm and proceeded to make some jewelry which gave me pleasure.  I chose life. I didn’t engage in self-destructive, self-effacing behavior.  I’ve spent birthdays and holidays alone.  But the reality is that I have friends who have asked to spend my birthday with me and I have sisters with whom I can spend the holidays.  And even had I none of those, I have myself.  And that is something wonderful – finally – at last – I can count myself as friend.

I’ve learned that when I let go, something comes in.  I gracefully extricated myself from the laborious debate with my x and responded to a man who’d been calling me for the past few hours.  I invited him to my apartment for a celebration – for I felt that I deserved that – and allowed myself the pleasure of reveling in his admiration.  We sipped wine and sank our teeth into freshly baked bread and cheese.  I felt appreciated and respected.  I allowed myself to accept my situation and to find gratitude in the midst of accumulated blessings.  Perhaps it is as simply difficult as I’ve heard.  Close one door and another opens.  But one has to be prepared to walk into the unknown before the unexpected can arise.  I had to face the void of non-existence before I could embrace my life.  There are mysteries and paradoxes and the simplicity and joy of being.  And for this, I am deeply grateful.

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Beading my destiny – one colorful strand at a time

Reinventing myself, I find, is not as complicated as it seems.  It’s worse.  I’m at a skull and crossbones crossroad in my life, deciding whether I should follow the path of the skull or the other sign indicating poison.  Not pleased with either choice, I will allow myself to play.  I may be fiddling while my world is self-immolating, but at least I can listen to some wonderful music as I take the fall or jump to new heights.  Think of Pink’s superfab F’n Perfect.  Go to this link, dance and love yourself, because you are, I am perfect. http://tinyurl.com/cfu27pb

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So with more time on my hands than is emotionally healthy, I am avoiding rummaging through the trunks filled with memories, the shadows of regret, and clearing a space for self-expression.  I’ve been an opera singer, but stopped singing in an amazing display of self-sabotage, after my divorce.  I’ve written a paranormal romance series which I hope my brilliant agents will sell.  Recently, I added jewelry design to my toy chest.  I am passionate about personal adornment.  My accessories, the colors, shapes, textures, that I place against my skin please me far more than the men that I’ve been meeting, and the jewelry elements have more character and interest as well.

So while I am exploring supplemental employment opportunities, and thinking about opening myself to an integral relationship that has yes, integrity, passion, a kinetic intellectual attraction, spiritual resonance and the ability to communicate honestly and openly (anyone see the unicorn running down fifth avenue with the golden horn?); I am also trolling through jewelry supply stores.  I am choosing beads that please me.  I imagine the story that each bead conveys.  I feel their texture, individual energy and shape.  I mentally place them in a pattern that tells a story that I want to tell.  I am in love with violet hues, red-violet, blue violet.  I want to create designs that have an impact.  I am often complimented on my accessories and feel that they express my inner warrior priestess.  I am attracted to pieces that have an impact.  They make a statement, as do I.  My personal statement has not attracted the situations or men that interest me, so I will create another world.  I can create a destiny with each piece.  Each element, color, texture, will co-exist with another until a personal parable is realized and executed through jewelry.

Validation is perhaps the most basic, primordial drive.  We receive this through community, family, relationships, work associations.  I’ve annexed myself from the family portion of the primal program.  I work from home as an independent contractor. And community is fleeting in New York, a city so vast, and with such a rapacious appetite that one feels as though they are eternally running with the bulls

A brief foray into online dating has elucidated another passion – boxing.  Yep, my experiences have been as disheartening and disgusting as swimming in a polluted pond.  But, I am admittedly picky.  Of the hundreds of men that I’ve dated, I only hold one or two in my heart and memory.  My ex-boyfriend repeatedly chastises me for being so picky.  I don’t think that I am overly selective, just discriminating.  I know what pleases me and thankfully, no longer have to apologize for my preferences.

I will construct my beaded bracelets like strands of destiny whose colors and stories will delight.  In this, at least, I have control.  To view my new store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/beadeddestiny/

Day Five: Sixty Days Job Searching or Losing My Sanity which will come First?

The right brain cells collided at the right time and voila! – cognition.  A large company, think affiliated with Richard Branson- I can say no more – has viewed my polished resume and cover letter, has sent me a psychological test and upon satisfactory completion, another test – a small version of a GMAT or some such – and I passed.  I have been escorted from the void of anonymity and ushered  to the heady realm of possibility.  I scored an interview for Monday morning.

Remaining positive is crucial, essential.  Searching for a job and a relationship in New York can erase the hard drive of the most dedicated and stalwart individual.  I will grasp and savor my victories where I find them. It is essential that I ignore the voices that chatter about running my own company at this point, fame as an author, and of course, can I seriously still not have met a man that I can tolerate?  Seriously?  I did divorce 12 years ago.  Surely these drek ridden years slogging through first dates, blind dates, unexpected sightings at neighborhood places and the attendant blasphemous expectations that demoralize the best of us – surely – I should be further along.

The facts are that these are the worst of times.  Many people are suffering, struggling and losing ground daily.  I am still ensconced in my comfortable UES apartment.  I still afford some trinkets that lighten my mood and my wallet.  I have some friends who are seriously rooting for me or will just be happy when I’ve stopped complaining.   I can get to the gym and punch a bag with my pink boxing gloves.  And I enjoy the Bravo “Reality” shows while I cycle furiously on the stationary bike.  My insomnia has been offset by my ability to sleep in and post my resumes later in the morning.  My cats assure me that they enjoy spending more time with me.  And I can share my experiences, strength and hope with you, dear reader.

I comfort myself with the belief that the sheer enterprise and vast dynamism that defines New York puts me at an advantage.  There is an employer who will value my humor, dedication and experience.  And dare I believe, even a man who will understand my gypsy soul, though it has long been grounded.  How does one compete with some of the best, brightest, youngest, most cutting edge talent in the world?  My answer – by believing in yourself.  I take a lot of media meetings as a sales woman, and I have a part-time job which has kept me from slipping over the edge.  I see people who are enjoying careers and advancement.  I believe that I have a similarly impressive skill set.  I’ve earned millions for my employers, surely I am employable and worthy of worthy companionship.

At an age when most people are settled and bemoaning the corrosive familiarity of their lives, partners, careers, I am forced to reinvent myself.  Just at the time that I want to kick back and troll travel sites with my partner and plan our next vacation in Vietnam or Venice, I am counting dollar bills and eating tuna fish sandwiches for dinner.  Now that I want to roll over in bed and stroke the chest of the man that I love, I inhale sweet warm cat breath and snuggle with my Persian cats.  Life is unexpected.  So I choose to expect the best. I’ve tried the alternative and almost wound up in Bellevue.  I have a choice, and I choose to face this challenge with confidence and courage.  I choose to grow strong at my broken places.