musings on life, love, and the world in general

Peter Wells’ book was a real find. I discovered Peter here at Word Press and his short stories touched me. He has a style that is a bit disarming. He writes things that leave me wishing life were kinder, or happier, or more…. complete. I almost always want to hear more. But it is a huge part of the charm in his style.

I read “Living Life Backwards” in just a few days. I was caught up in the story, wanting to know what was going to come of the variety of characters in that sleepy community where they lived. I loved the insights into the mind of Bill, the main character. He was so measured in all of his actions. Everything he did had a purpose behind it and the way he processed his thoughts made him so very real to me. I felt for him and the life he lived. His life lacked so much of what we all seek, he had a sense of desperation that was sad and small. I so wanted him to have more, be more, feel more.

The story takes several unexpected turns that took me off guard, made me wince. But it made for a good story. A story that held my interest all the way through and ended too soon for me as Peter Wells’ stories often do. I liked the book a lot and especially enjoyed the work that went into developing the characters backgrounds, emotions and motives. It was a novel that was worth every minute it took to read.

m.

Yay…

Group was hard tonight. Out of the seven people in the room, five of us cried. Not that crying is bad, it just shows the difficult week we all had. I struggle with the knowledge that I feel like I am not really allowed to feel the grief I do. I feel as though it is not my right to feel bad about the things I do, when others have had those they love die, or lost something that is somehow seen as relevant or normal to grieve for. I beat myself up for my sadness and the waves that wash over me with no real warning. I want it to be over, to feel the relief of healing or of numbness, but that is not really healing. Sometimes I think it would just make it all settle for a time, give me a sense of happiness again. I have times of that too, but they are hit or miss right now.

I am grateful to have people to journey with, to share with, to grow and move through hard times together. Things just feel in flux. I am in a time of uncertainty and I want to know where I am going. It is hard to let go of control. Many of those in the group have lost their cheering section with the loss they have suffered, and I understand that feeling. I want a cheering section, someone to be my cheerleader, my support system. I think I have it, but perhaps I do not know how to believe it. To trust that they really are cheering for me. Do I have my hands over my ears as they chant my name as I run toward victory? I maybe just need to listen harder, to lower my hands and let them hold mine as they help me run the race. Believe they want me to win, to succeed, believe they think I can. I need that.

Reading

I just started a new book, “Living Life Backwards” by Peter Wells. He is someone I discovered here at WordPress. His style and voice really captivates me. Makes me feel so many things. I think this book will be a journey worth taking.

Tension

The balance between tension caused from excitement, happiness, and joy is so hard to distinguish from the kind that is brought on by fear and anxiety. I am walking in the tension, discovery and movement in directions that are uncertain. It is both exciting and scary. I remain open. Open to the experience, to the blank page in front of me. But I so want to putĀ  words on that page. To write what is coming next, to script it in a way that is comfortable and familiar. The problem is, I have done that in the past and it leaves me wanting, knowing there is more for me to do. So, I will allow the story to write itself, to fill the page as I live it. Let the story surprise me.

From hurt to healing.

My evening was filled with feelings. I attended the group I joined a couple of weeks ago again tonight. We start each week by by listening to a speaker, Tonight the speaker touched me greatly. He reminded me of the gratitude I have for my 25 plus years of sobriety and to reflect upon it with thankfulness to my God, the God of redemption, the God of second chances. I am blessed to have been given second chances. The talk lasted almost thirty minutes and then broke for us to join for our small groups. My group is looking at grief. It is an emotion that is not honored appropriately in our culture. The sharing and work that book is inspiring is bringing insight that is sometimes painful for me, and it seems, for all of us in the group. However in the pain there is healing, and hope.

One man shared his journey of the last week and I found his depth of compassion and thoughts inspiring. He spoke of suffering, of the way we run from it, try to seek comfort and pleasure, but that in the end, suffering can bring you closer to your God, closer to the truth of what it is that makes us human too. He shared a wonderful reading that was so inspiring and made us all just sit in awe.

I listened to another who was grieving the death of the mother she helped through the illness that ended her life. I listened to her pain over her thoughts that the way she cared for her mom was not sufficient. Was not good enough. Tears filled my eyes as I remember my father’s illness that took his life. I remember seeing the way it was for my mom as she was with him while he died, as she cared for him and had to watch him die. It is painful stuff, this remembering, this sharing. Painful and healing.

Grief and mourning are separate. Distinct, and in order to heal and integrate grief into our lives the act of mourning is essential. It can be done in small doses so it is not as hard, so all encompassing. But for me it is a necessary process. To open up and express the grief outwardly, to mourn losses and feel the pain of them. It is not something to “get over”, it is something to walk through and allow it to integrate into my story. The story of me.

What is all the talk about?

I have been listening to the various conversations sparked by the release of the 50 Shades of Grey movie. The talk ranges from the BDSM community who dislike it for placing them in a false or negative light, to the conservative Christian community that thinks all the openness of the sexuality will bring us down in a ball of flames. I like to think that somewhere in the middle there is something to see and learn from all of the hubbub. It must say something about our culture, ourselves, and our relationships that the series created so much stir. There have been books like this out there forever! Literally, look at the Song of Songs in the Bible. It is one of the greatest works of literature of all time, and it is full of erotic imagery.

One of the problems with all of the talk is that much of the opinion comes from people who have never even read the book. Wow! Never read something and yet you are an expert. Another problem I have is with those that have read the series and are full of indignation and declare it kin to pornography in the same context as xxx-film and sexual addiction. I must say the main difference is this does not involve real people. No one is being subjugated or abused or hurt or placed on screen as an object or taken advantage of, in any way. No one. It is make believe. A story contrived in the mind of an author and told for the enjoyment of an audience. Even in the film, it is not any more pornographic than any other television program or R rated movie shown on late light TV. Wow the things that get on TV today used to be X-rated. Who is shouting so loudly about all of that?

I wonder why this one book is getting all of the attention. I enjoyed it, I always like a love story. But it was poorly written, it was juvenile and had a lot of errors in the editing which was distracting. It certainly was no work of literary genius. I have read many better written and more entertaining novels of erotica both before and after. I have read novels of Stockholm syndrome and D/S books and love stories of rockers and cowboys and vampires and a whole host of others. I also read children’s books and young adult and historical fiction and fantasy and the list goes on. Some are great and some not, but none are not getting the attention that our Christian Grey got. Why?

I believe it is not about the dominance, not about the submission, or about the fact he was gorgeous and she a little plain, and yet, still got the guy. What I do believe it is about, is the element of desire that was displayed between the characters. The desire that was consuming and held them enthralled with each other, and that desire enthralled us too. We want to feel that, even a bit of that. So few ever get to feel that they are desired at all, much less the desire that engulfs you, fills your thoughts and your mind to the point of madness. It is dizzying to think you might be loved like that, even in a small way, even for a moment, just to have a taste of what it is like. That is what drew people to this series. It drew men and women, it drew many who ache to be seen and felt and to feel. It drew me and it still makes me think and ask questions and want to feel and know and ache to be known, loved, needed and desired.

I will remain open to the experience and listen when something touches me. Open to the possibility of learning the hidden meaning behind why things make me feel. Perhaps that is the point of the conversation about this book. Perhaps that is what we should ask all of those shouting so loudly for or against, what is it in you that makes you shout?

m

I have attended two weeks of my grief group. It is seemingly just what I need. The group has 4 men and three women and I do believe the mix will be a good fit for me. Those attending are fairly diverse and they seem to want to grow. I am filled with excitement and think there is great promise for discovery. I am learning that grieving is not all about the loss of a loved one. It can reveal itself is a variety of ways.

So, one chapter into the new book and I am already seeing things that have been holding me back. Tying me to my comfort zone and keeping me hostage to the mediocrity of the status quo As I openly discuss the fear and sadness I have felt for some time, I have brought it back to the the time when I left my home town. I was talking about the joy I had in my job, in being known, in feeling the acceptance of people seeing me for who I am and that they liked that person. I was so comfortable with who I was, where i was and what i had accomplished so far.

After several moves and many years of struggling to find out who I am and what I am meant to be, I am, realizing that much of my identity was tied to the sense of security I found in being known. Over the course of moving, many job transitions, going to school and a major illness, I had to re-invent myself. I knew no one and wound up closing myself off from so much of what it was that made me unique. I put my mask securely in place and lived in a way I thought was acceptable. I was not sure who I was anymore or what I might have to offer. I often wondered if I was even worth knowing. I felt disconnected and looked for ways to find fulfillment. Some worked for a time, but ultimately were not the answer.

I am finding some answers finally. Finding them in self discovery, spiritual work and opening myself to the risk of being known. I met with my therapist earlier this week and she heard strength and direction from me. She told me I sounded more focused and confident in just the short time I have been going to her. It is encouraging to hear that others are seeing me move in such a positive direction. I am working so hard to be authentic and true to myself. It is scary to open up in this way. Scary to be so vulnerable. When I was hiding behind a facade, it was not so hard to have failure as it was not so much me being rejected. Now however if I do not make connect to people, if I do not move forward with my dreams, it is all on me. It is all on me. ~Deep Breath~ I know I can succeed.

I am taking steps to move toward goals I have had for years. In spite of the fear that I may not succeed, I know I must try. I will attend a speaking conference in the spring. Training and looking at goal setting. I want to reach out to others with the insights I have gained through my journey. Share my unique vision. I am happy and excited to learn and grow and share with others. Life is good right now, at this moment, and sometimes that is enough.

m.

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