Today as I sit here contemplating my life, I seriously feel like hopping a plane to a far away island and never looking back. I am so sick of the bullshit. I have far too many responsiblities, too many open ended situations with almost no answers for any of them. On top of this I’ve had the flu for a week, and am still dealing with the remaining cough and feelings of exhaustion. The week prior to that I was racing around preparing for my grandma’s 81rst birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma! 81 is pretty amazing! The two weeks before that found me waiting for test results to see if I had cancer. I do not. I am beyond grateful.

Today I’ve had enough of the bullshit. I am tired of being responsible for so many situations. I’m equally tired of waiting for the ellusive answers I need on more fronts than I care to think about. There are questions, so many questions, more concerns, and some very real wall scaling challenges in my life. Today I feel like packing it in, heading for the airport and saying that’s it. I’m done; I want off this freaking carnival ride.

We have all had that moment when we want to drop the phone or computer out of a five story window and watch it explode into a million pieces because we are so fed up with it we can’t bear another second. Today is my day for feeling that about my phone service. Verizon customer service to be exact. I just spent 54 minutes on hold with Verizon to disconnect my service.

For a company that professes to have the biggest network of support in the country I would say something is severely lacking when a customer has to wait 54 minutes on hold and then speak to three different reps to finally get service disconnected. Finally after 30 minutes I went online, hoping I could disconnect the service that way. I made my way through several screens searching for something that allowed me to discontinue service. Finally I found it, clicked it and got a message that said please call verizon to disconnect service. Sweet Jesus…that is screwed up! I have to say that everyone I spoke to was very friendly and helpful. But seriously how far does that go when one is ready to toss the phone off a cliff?

I kept my cool and was actually really nice to them, probably because they sincerely seemed interested in helping me and were trying their best to make sure the service was taken care of. Of course some of my frustration came from listening to their FIOS bullshit advertizing for almost an hour. It’s pretty pathetic when you’re trying to advertize your services to those of us who aleady have them! Give it a freaking rest! In the end I have actually disconnected service and received friendly support while doing it. Would I recommend anyone else calling Verizon today… not a freaking chance!

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Sunset in Dunedin, Florida

Caring for ourselves is essential, and many times we put caring for ourselves last on our to do list. How many of you are saying amen to this? I have been down this road a few times and have learned the hard way to pay attention to my body, spirit and intuition.

When my mother was dying I put forth tremendous energy toward supporting and loving her. At the time she learned she was ill I lived in Hawaii and she lived in Indiana. Not only did I fly back and forth three times in a three month period, but I called her nearly daily and sent her either a post card, card or letter every single day. The amount of energy, love and time I focused on my mother and helping her get through her illness until her death was extraordinary.

It took a serious toll on my emotions and my life. I found myself at times so desperately exhausted and out of sorts that I realized it had been far too long since I had taken time for myself or anything that approached fun. After a few short weeks I found myself overcome by the strain of my mother’s illness. It was a constant battle to keep my spirit focused and my every day life on track, I realized at that point I had to make time for myself in order to be the support she needed. What comes to mind is the statement that all flight attendants make during the safety demonstration. In an emergency put your oxygen mask on before assisting your child. Let’s be realistic, you can’t help another if you can’t help yourself first.

So if you are currently facing a similar situation what can you do to help yourself when you barely have time to make it through every day?

First, realize that you’re days will flow smoother if you are in a better mental space. Realistically you’re going a through a roller coaster of emotion due to the extreme situation you are facing. But there are things you can do to make it a little better. Below is my list of ten things that will help you bear the unbearable in these painful times.

1. Find time for silence, prayer or meditation. Even if you take only 15 minutes to focus your mind, pray or meditate it will help you maintain a calmness that can help you through the rough moments.

2. Focus in short spans of time, or on single event/tasks. This helped me so much after losing my mother. If I had used this technique during her illness it may have helped me. By keeping my focus on what I could do in a single half hour, rather than worrying about the dozens of things I needed to do ithroughout the day I was more calm and actually better able to deal with my day and was far less likely to lose it. Focusing on a single task allows a calmness that we cannot get when we are springing from one task to another and are split in ten different directions while dealing with the emotional upheaval that comes naturally from dealing with the serious illness of a loved one.

3 Find something that brings you pleasure and MAKE TIME FOR IT. It can be something as simple as the ritual of taking a long bath with candles and prayer. It can be a walk with your dog. It might be a late night comedy DVD that makes you laugh deeply and allows a release of emotion and pent up pain.

4. Sleep is key, get adequate rest. This is essential in helping you maintain your strength and emotional focus during a painful time. If you think I’m kidding, go back to the flight attendant rule for safety. Put your oxygen mask on before attempting to help another. You aren’t capable of helping others if you are not first taking care of yourself.

5. Find a friend and share your pain. Share your fears and allow your friend to be there in your darkest moments. I cannot emphasize this enough. When my mother died my friend Tammy was my life preserver. She allowed me to cry, yell and release my pain anytime I needed it. Ten years later I still remember the depth of her friendship and how much of a support she was to me in one of the most painful times in my life.

6. Remove yourself from the situation at least once a week and do something very normal like going to lunch with a friend. Go for a beautiful drive or walk on the beach. Take time to breath and rejuvinate yourself.

7. Gratitude.. I know that during a family health crisis is the most difficult time to think about being grateful, the depth of pain we are experiencing is so tremendous that we feel life as we know it is over. Yet in this time, we need to keep our focus and remember there are at least small things that we can be grateful for. Gratefulness changes our energy and our allows to focus for a single moment on the positive.

8. Create a network of care givers. This is so essential in not becoming overwhelmed with the care of a loved one or friend. Create a chart of mornings, afternoon and evenings when various people can be available. Another list can be created for friends or family to cook meals. Cooking is absolutely impossible when situations demands us to care for a loved one.

9. Create an email or phone chain. This way time and effort are shared. This way one person is not burdened with the effort of keeping everyone updated. Having access to email helps tremendously in keeping friends and loved ones far away in constant touch with a family crisis and offers them a small comfort in a painful time.

10. Reach out to your loved ones and create an umbrella of love that enfolds and surrounds all of you through the difficult and painful time. The support of the whole will help in the most painful moments.

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Indian Rocks Beach Friday night BEFORE I ditched the cell phone.

This weekend became an R&R weekend for me. I knew by Thursday night after seven constant days of home projects behind me and more ahead that I had to just STOP THE MERRY GO ROUND, step off and say no more. I knew I had to care for my body, my mind and my spirit.

I was so far beyond exhausted that I could hardly get out of bed on Friday. When you are 44 years old and you feel 90 there is something wrong. I listened, I loaed up my jeep, I did a load of laundry and I headed for my favorite beach area. For the past 48 hours I have done nothing more than sleep, read good books,nap, watch a Basbeall game, walk the beach three times and eat healthy food that I cooked myself. It has been amazing, necessary and a real eye opener for how hard I have been pushing myself these last months. I unplugged from the internet for 24 hours, and stayed away from my cell phone for the weekend except to check in on my 80 year old grandma, especially leaving it behind when I went to the beach.

I feel good again, not fully rested but a far cry from the woman who was dragging her ass to drive to the beach on early Friday afternoon. This morning as I finished my beach walk I could take a deep breath again, I could feel joy and relaxation filling my body. I had found me again….what a relief. I knew as I walked the beach again this morning that selling my house and moving to the beach has been the right decision for my life. I just underestimated the time, energy, money and effort it would take me to reach completion.

I’m still not there, but I’m feeling much closer and it’s a damn good thing, because I’m in need of a lot more R&R and a lot less home projects, less boxing up belongings, less donating things and selling things. I am really over it all. Now I understand my friends who have sold most of their belongings and moved overseas….I really have a much better understanding of where you each were when you made those decisions. If I had known what a ride this would be….WOW…I might have been to afraid to embark for the journey. But, hey I’ve made it this far and I won’t look back now. A few more R&R weekends and I may be my real, natural self again. This one was a fabulous beginning.

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my origami paper tea container with it’s exotic flower and fruit tea.

Recently I feel like life is continually biting at my heels. No matter how much effort I put forth or how much time I spend on projects, preparing the house for sale or boxing things up and working on the yard…THERE ARE ALWAYS SIX MORE PROJECTS WAITING in the wings silently heckling me, reminding me I can’t stop. Well today I’d had ENOUGH. After working most of the three day weekend on these projects, and most of Tuesday as well late this morning I finally melted down. I called a girl friend, cried on her shoulder and she promptly told me to get out of my house and do something fun. FUN? What is that?? I used to live for that word…know it well….revel in it…lately that word conjures up a blank space in my mind. I have no idea what fun feels like. Lately fun is reading a good book in the late evening, petting my cats, going for a quick walk or stealing an hour for lunch at my favorite Thai restaurant. Those are not exactly what I would place under the fun category, but lately they are all I get.

Today I listened to my friend Tammy, realizing she was right. I drive myself much too hard. I am too much of a perfectionist, expecting myself to keep this house in perfect order for show, keeping the yard looking like a showcase and my stuff in order for the moment the house sells… where does that leave my life? Pretty much in the dust.

For a break I went to a matinee of Underdog. I loved it, it made me laugh, it was cute happy movie. Exactly what a girl who needs a laugh and hates violence enjoys watching. After that I wandered the mall and window shopped. I did buy some exotic flower and fruit tea at Teavana, my favorite tea shop. Now when I look at the beautiful origami tea container I will remember there is life outside this house. I will travel again, and I will find much more time for pleasure in the near future. That beautiful origami tea container and the exotic tea that I’m now sipping are my reminder….there is life beyond selling a house and I need to spend more time making it fun!