ALICE AND ACCEPTING RESPONSIBILITY

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I don’t believe that I have always taken responsibility for my life, and I think most people have times during their lifetimes when they feel victimized by circumstances. But I have come to know that taking responsibility for yourself and your life is one of the most liberating and empowering things anyone can do for themselves.

Even when circumstance seems random and challenging, owning that circumstance gives one the feeling of being in charge of the outcome. We are, each of us, never powerless, unless we abdicate that power. And standing in your power takes courage. Make no mistake. It is never easy to say, “This situation is mine, and only I can make the changes necessary to make things better.” But once you come to the realization that the power to alter circumstance comes down to you and you accept that, you are suddenly at the helm of your life. It will be a most freeing moment. Relish it for what it is. A release of being the victim.

Once you set victim-hood free, you can act. As long as you remain in victim mode, life will feel static. There will be no flow. You will think you are inextricably stuck. You will blame everything and everyone around you for something that is really of your own making, coming down to the choices you have made. When you are able to let go of being the victim – or  should I say, playing the victim, because it is really a role one takes on – you can suddenly move forward.

Accepting responsibility for your life is an act in defiance of the victim mentality. And as such, it flies in the face of blaming, whining, feeling “Woe is me”, and gives you the sense that you have been set free of shackles that held you down. I know for myself, the moment I took my life back and accepted responsibility for my role in circumstance, I felt like I could do anything. I felt strong, empowered, alive once again. And I realized what a living death I had been in. I could feel the breeze against my skin, the sun on my neck, the stars came out for only me, and I was connected to the Universal flow again. I had a unique sense of belonging to something greater than my self, and while I felt my singular-ness, I felt at peace in my oneness with the All. It was a moment I will never forget. It brought me back from the edge of the abyss.

I still must work at accepting this responsibility every day that things do not go my way. I played the victim for a very long time, and even though that was aeons ago, old habits and patterns sometimes insist on rearing their ugly heads. But the work is no longer that difficult anymore. The rewards of owning my life surpass everything the old habits gave me. The freedom one feels is too sweet to want to to go back.

A big part of me died as a victim. But I have rediscovered and reclaimed it, and feel more whole than I ever thought I could.

ALICE AND BEING DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

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The pic above has a light at the end of the tunnel. That is not always my experience. But right now I am whirling down the spiral and feeling out of control. As ever, when I get this way I leap into action and take all the steps I know of to fix things. I am taking an extra antipsychotic, have called my psychiatrist, and am seeing my therapist later this week. Only my BFF, Kimm, knows how I am right now. I struggle every day to squelch the thoughts and delusions that are plaguing me – to get the volume down.

When it’s turned up like it is, it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything. The best I can do is watch Harry Potter, and even that is going over my brain. In one ear…

I hate when I get like this. It is a reminder that I am not cured, but managed. Yes, I am better than I used to be. Lots better. I have tools now, and the awareness to be better able to deal with these episodes. But it is my illness tapping me on the shoulder from behind saying, “I’m still here!”. That drives me to distraction. Just when things feel calm, it shows itself. Years and years ago when I was living alone in NYC and trying to cope, I bought graph paper to see if I could chart these episodes, figure out when they occurred and how. It proved to be a waste of time and paper, but at least I had the presence of mind to search for answers.

I know these episodes have triggers, but for the moment I am at a loss as to what has triggered this one. Maybe with my therapist we can shed some light. But I do know that I am free-falling and can only go with it. Often it’s the resistance that makes it worse. I can only be where I am and what I am.

I realize, deeply, that this is only a part of who I am. I know it is not what defines me. I am aware. But when you are in the midst of it, you feel that this is all you are, that there is nothing else. I fight with my head to remember my own wisdom. It is exhausting.

Each time it is different. The environment changes, the people around me are different people. My ability to try to use cognitive techniques to create a strategy for coping is better. I can still laugh, even at myself. I am not curled up in a ball. I didn’t make my bed or meditate, but I did brush my teeth. The little things bring me back to center.

This is just another color along road that is my journey. It no longer takes me off the path or turns the lights out altogether. I don’t isolate myself like I once did. I don’t hide. When you hide you believe you are alone, but I know now that I am not. While no other can know what it feels like to me, I know I am loved. And I can still feel that love. That is how I know that Andie is not gone.

ALICE AND HER SISTER

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I am the oldest of 3 siblings; I am 3 years older than my brother and 8 years older than my sister. That being said, I am the only one of us who has led an unconventional lifestyle and relied on the generosity of my family for assistance even to this day. And it is my little sister who has done the most giving. When I returned from England in 1989 and went right into the looney bin, it was my sister and her husband who took on the parental roles, as my mother and father wanted little to do with me. Basically, they wanted me to go back to the UK and didn’t care how that happened. But my sister and brother-in-law stepped up and took care of me and my finances.

I have always had a special connection with my sister. We are very different, and chose extremely different life-paths, but we were always close. We joked that if we weren’t related we probably wouldn’t know each other, and that is still true. But maybe not completely.

I was too ill to manage my life, and my sister did that for me. For a very long time, she paid my bills, took me to lunch, and gave me a feeling of belonging. She and my brother-in-law gave me a weekly allowance, had me for sleepovers, treated me to dinners out and in, included me in their very busy lives. It was nothing less than a god-send.

My craziness made me extremely self-involved – somewhat oblivious to what was going on around me –  and so showing appreciation for all this generosity wasn’t something I did. I think my sister knew I was grateful, but it would have been nice for her and her husband if I had expressed it in some way from time to time. I was unable.

Sadly for me, and perhaps for my sister as well, I still need her assistance. But happily, I am well and can be there for her too. There is a much greater reciprocity between us, and she is aware of how much she means to me. I am very able to express my gratitude and do often. She is quite an extraordinary person. Loving, generous, compassionate, smart, funny, and understanding.

Since my move to New Mexico 15 months ago, she and my brother-in-law have let me know quite emphatically how proud they are of what I have accomplished, and are so very happy that I am happy. My sister and I Face Time every 2 weeks or so, and she and her husband are coming to visit Kimm and me in September. Just yesterday, she deposited money in my bank account because I became overdrawn, yet still was able to tell me that I do give her something back. That made me so happy. I may not be able to give her money, but I can give her myself whenever she needs me. She helped me realize that that counts for a lot. (So did Kimmie, by the way.)

As the big sister it is difficult to be needy financially every now and then, but my sister doesn’t make it harder for me. To be honest, I am the one who makes it hard on myself. But I owe my sister a lot and I feel that very deeply. The reality is that each of us does what we can for the other, and perhaps, one thing isn’t really better than the other. I hope that is true. I love my little sister more than anyone.

It could be that our differences and the separation that we experience now make the relationship even better. Whatever it is, I feel more close to her now than I ever have. I feel how proud she is, and how joyful for my joy. I know she has embraced Kimm as part of the family and that means so much. And I hope she knows how much I wish for her, for her wellness and her happiness. My love for her can still bring tears to my eyes, and I miss her so much. But we are actually in touch more now than when I lived in Florida where she is. It is thrilling to me that my other sister, my Kimmie, has gotten to know her and considers her family too.

My sister has been to hell and back with me, and it was very tough on her. For a while it affected our relationship for the worse. But we have come out the other side. I am grateful for my sister and know how very blessed I am to have her in my life. It is my great hope that she feels some of that too.

ALICE AND “ENOUGH ALREADY”!

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Leonard Nimoy died yesterday. Mr. Spock. “Live long and prosper.” An era of my life just passed along with him. And I feel so tired. Why? I don’t really know. I can’t really complain about anything. I have a house, food, clothes, a fire for warmth, love in my life – all the essentials for survival. So why?

My phone service is being suspended because I can’t pay the bill – again – and I am tired of living this way. I am about to lose another tooth(which hurts like hell)and I fear I am going to need dentures really soon because I can hardly chew anything. That doesn’t make me feel old, but it’s a damn inconvenience. And pain is tiring. And even with all that there is yet to do for this blog and for the iWonderSisters enterprise, I feel purposeless.

I am tired of the struggle of living without “having”. I know Kimm is as well, but I think she rolls with it a lot better than I do. I mean it is what it is, and until something changes for us it will be this. I fret and worry, and sometimes my head is full of only numbers. It’s exhausting. Yeah, I work on it, search myself, meditate and try to let go, but I can get pretty anal on the odd occasion. And today is odd.

The feeling of loss is strong. Not just because of Mr. Spock, but because I feel like I am fighting too hard and still treading water. I know myself, I love myself, and I respect all that I have accomplished in life, but today it isn’t enough. I would love to stick my head in a thick cheesecake and go into a sugar coma. I would love some marijuana, some hard bubbly, something to relax and numb me. I am feeling too much and I feel very vulnerable. I can’t cry and don’t really want to. But I feel low and stuck in it and that I have had enough.

I know that Kimm and I can move mountains and any obstacles that are in front of us. But today I’m not feeling it. However, if the truth be told, tomorrow I know I will feel different. I won’t be so tired and fed up, change will be imminent, and I will feel renewed. It always happens this way. I know myself so well.

The good news is that I live in a fucking paradise that takes my breath away all the time. There may be too much cold in the air, too much snow on the ground to be anything close to mobile, but I am among the Universe’s blessed ones. I adore my BFF and the people in my life that love me so much. I do not feel alone in this. I feel “together” and “with”. I have a beer on this table, and the animals amaze me always. There is fun here too. We laugh long and hard. We joke about the things that trouble us, which lessens their impact and empowers us. And with all the horror haunting the world, what troubles us is insignificant. We have all we need and then-some.

So now I busy myself stoking the fire and making Chloe’s chicken. She’s been barking her head off but it’s way too early to feed her. Busy with the business of the day, which today is very blessed. So, I am already feeling better, more purposeful. But I will miss Leonard Nimoy and that part of my history that fades a bit.

ALICE and SELF LOVE

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This morning I meditated for the first time in about 2 months. I have never been away from meditation that long before. It wasn’t difficult to get back in the groove and I closed my eyes and allowed. What happened to me has blown my mind.

The Universe spoke to me. You can call it God, Divine Spirit, whatever feels right for you. And it addressed me where I am at my most vulnerable: This feeling that I am not worthy because I am “bad”. It told me that I am a good person, that I deserve all that is abundant in this life because I am worthy, as every other Soul on this earth is worthy. It said that warlords in Africa are worthy, that terrorists are worthy, that all are Its children. The logical conclusion therefore, must be that I am worthy as well.

I wept and felt terribly overwhelmed. I often think such awful things about myself, and It said that I need to let those things go. They do not define me. I am a Soul in a body, I am Divine, Pure, and I am Love. I am all that a Human within a Soul can possibly be. And that I am fulfilling my life’s purpose. I am on the path I am meant to be on.

I felt a weight lifted from me. Indeed I felt weightless. I can do anything I want to, and I deserve to. I can be loved, and I deserve that too. (Even though being loved is much harder than loving. At least that’s what I believe.)

I MUST treat myself with care and tenderness. I MUST appreciate all that I do both creatively and practically. I MUST give to myself, nurture myself, encourage myself. It’s funny. Sometime during the 1970’s I saw a psychic who told me that I need to take myself by the hand and parent myself. Back then I was not able to do that. But now, at 67, I can.

I amaze myself. At this stage of one’s life, most people are giving in to the aging process to the extent that they cease to evolve anymore. Here I am transforming every day, and doing so with excitement and joy. Greater self-awareness and self-acceptance are coming to me. I am indeed as the butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. This is so GREAT!

So, I resolve to meditate every day as I was doing before. I need to go to that place where I am really still and quiet, and let the Universe take me where it will. Undoubtedly I won’t have the kind of session I had this morning every morning. But now that I have had it once, perhaps that means I am more open, more ready to receive.

Alice and Resolve

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This is my first post of 2015. I realize now more than ever that my life is in my hands. I am not a resolution maker, but there are some things that must change this year for me to feel I am walking the talk.

Throughout my life I have been a list and schedule writer. Things to do, goals to achieve – all set to a timed schedule. And invariably I accomplished none of it. I would adhere to the schedule for a few days and then one lapse, and the schedule was all over. Essentially this behavior was just setting myself up for failure, which perpetuated an already low self-esteem and the idea that I was really no good.

Now, at 67, and living yet another “second chance” – reinventing myself again – I think I am really beginning to get that my resolve is all that matters. What I achieve is almost neither here nor there. It is how I feel within that will motivate me or not, write The Pet Sitter or not, really learn the Tarot or not. Motivation does not depend on the weather, whether I have enough money, or even I have had a good night’s sleep. Motivation lives inside me despite anything external. It is about feeling excited, impassioned, and full of the life force. It is a knowing that the energy I need is in my hands.

If I have a bad day, or feel unproductive, it does NOT mean that I have given up, or lost my resolve. Living in the present moment tells me that bad days will happen, but that does not define my intention. It is just like the dieter who has one cookie and then feels like she may as well eat the whole box. She literally tells herself she can’t do it. She forgets that tomorrow comes, and with it, new opportunities to do better. Another day to recommit.

For me, holding the promise of 2015 in my hands, is my responsibility to my Self. It is loving the Spirit that is Andie, honoring her, and doing something with all my great ideas. It is fulfillment of my desires, embracing my destiny, and knowing my reason for being here on the human plane. That is all one can ask of Life.

All the things I know about myself that hold me back, no longer play a part in what I create for myself. They are not in this moment. They exist in the past, along with my horrible childhood and the pit of my illness. They no longer define me. I have learned that I am a survivor. Resolve belongs to me. And I am.

Alice and Feeling Expectant

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It has been quite a long while since my last post. I wish I could say I have been busy, busy, busy, but I haven’t been any busier than I usually am – which isn’t very. Sure, I have my freelance writing to do, but I really haven’t done as much as I could have done(feeling a tiny bit guilty)and spend a lot of time doing nothing but thinking or just “being”. I suppose there is merit in any activity, and I am not going to punish myself for not producing as much as I could.

Truth is, I feel very much like I am on the verge of something important. Whether it’s a new awareness or insight,or a literary masterpiece, I have no idea. I just feel very expectant, very hopeful, very good about something, though I know not what. It is quite the pleasant feeling, like something good is coming and I KNOW it. It makes me happy.

I don’t feel like I am actively doing anything to make this something happen. I feel the Universe with me, the flow of Intention very strongly, and that the angels are sitting on my shoulder. I feel protected and safe, and guided. It is one of those moments when “happening” is there, waiting in the wings for the right cue. As an actor, I know what that feels like, and I also know that the cue will come from me.

Readiness is everything. I have believed, for a very long time, that things happen when we are ready for them. I came to New Mexico when I was ready for it. I met Kimm when I was ready for her energy. I may have felt a bit blown in the wind, but it was really readiness that was the catalyst. Things can feel random, but readiness makes them come about. It is our readiness for change that creates change.

So I rest in my expectancy, confident that when I am ready “it” will occur. I don’t feel rushed or hurried; I don’t feel like time is my enemy. I feel secure in the events of my life, and that things happen in their own time and for a reason. I don’t think looking for that reason right now is something I must do. The reason will become clear with the happening. All will be revealed. I am not worried.

I am looking forward, alert and listening. Whatever “it” may be, will be received with gratitude.