Saturday, April 25, 2009

Opening the door.....the beginning

Today was RESUME' day! Ta Da!!!!! I know, how exciting could that be? Well, let me just tell you.....I think sometimes opportunities are created for us, (by the Divine) to meet certain people. While the interview/collaboration for the resume seemed to go quite well, I felt like the resume writer and I connected. Not in some weird creepy way, but, in a way that was helpful. I say helpful, rather than 'electric' or 'stupendous' because the interchange was helpful to my outlook and I need that right now. She seemed to GET ME....which is very important to me, for the person who is going to help craft the door to my future, get what I'm trying to do. It is a huge undertaking to depart from a long time career and start over again at middle age, I don't care who you are or where you come from, especially if you do not have any type of secondary formal time a long time ago my best friend and I were having a discussion about being a good 'saver' (money in the bank) and she said something very profound to me that I've NEVER forgotten, "you don't want to be a WalMart greeter for the rest of your life, do you?" That covered alot of bases for me and NO, I do not want to be a WalMart greeter for the rest of my life (not that there is anything wrong with being a WalMart greeter if that works for you), I want more than that. I don't have any children of my own, so, leaving a legacy isn't really an option, but, I want to leave a mark of some kind, a good one, that says, "I was here", finding someone to craft the door to my future, who get's that, was critical for me.

The hour we spent discussing my career, spanning 25 years, she asked me questions about transitions between each of my jobs and as I was sharing with her how I happened to end up in each new job I was reminded how fortunate I have been in my career. I've never really 'wanted' for a job, every time it was time for me to move on, the next opportunity just sprang up in front of me. I have been very blessed, even this last time, as much as I hated to go back, the opportunity was handed to me to get back into the business, in a very good position. Again, all things happen as the Divine designed.....I am where I need to be for the time being, even if the discomfort is only a device to force me to face my fear and take the leap.

Other epiphanies came to me through the course of the interview, like, whom I have met along the way, who is still in my life and who is not. You might be familiar with that saying "people come into our lives for a reason, season or a lifetime..." well, just reviewing my career highlighted that for me. Some of those intersects I am truly grateful for, others, not so much, but, I acknowledge their purpose, either for my benefit or the other person's. My BFF is a gift from the Universe for having made the journey and if for no other reason I have our friendship to be eternally grateful for. (She is supposed to be reading this blog on a regular, "here's to you Sista'"). (I used the word "epiphanies" for her benefit, as well).

Moving on.....sheesh, sentimental and schmaltzy....that's me, one big, fat cliche'!!!!! Back to the resume collaboration....anyway, I think I've made a good connection and that I will find great success with my new door to the future. We are to meet again in a week to go over the finished project and concur on it's content and design and then I will have my first tool in my toolbox for my job search. We discussed many other things, some of which included my game plan, which I have semi-formulated already - just bomb everyone I can find related to the "heart" world with my story and my resume and hope for the Divine to point the way. I'm not unrealistic in my expectations for finding something outside of my current field in the short term, it may take a year or two before I get my foot in the door to where I want to be. In the interim, we are also crafting a resume that works within my current field so that I can at least find a place where I can be content for the time being. Gots to pay the bills somehow, right?

So, resume' day went well. I was so happy and inspired I went shopping........tee hee....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Creating a new possibility

I have an appointment on Saturday with a resume writing service. Yes, I'm going to pay someone to write a resume for me. I have a resume, but, it is pretty bland and structured for my current field, which I hate. I spent some time interviewing the owner of the writing service and explained to her what my goal is.....moving, we will meet on Saturday and she will craft the door with which I hope to walk through out to a new beginning. Now, just what do I want this new super dynamic resume to say? Good question? Probably ought to have an idea of what I want to do before we build my future, eh? I just worked up a cover letter for something vague that I would like to make happen. Given my personal experience with open heart surgery and all of the life experience that comes with that, I'd like to find a place in the medical world in a professional capacity that does not require me going to medical school.....or any long term school of any type. I know, I'm expecting a miracle, but, you know what? I'm due a miracle. Yes, I've already recieved many miracles, but, seriously, it's time for another one, a miracle that shows me the way to my soul work. And, I know I can help people in a non-needle, non-body fluid, non-technical way. I know, crazy, huh? But, what is risk, adventure, daring without a little bit of crazy? I am going to appeal to every pediatric cardiologist I can find within a 50 mile radius, even a couple hundred mile radius, the Heart Association, too, hoping that someone will find me amusing enough to grant me an audience....if only to have me certified insane and institutionalized.

Really, what I want, is to help. To be a solution. To give people experiencing struggle with something I've lived through, hope. To hold the hand of a kid scared out of his mind and just by being present, show him that everything is going to be okay. To be the calm in the middle of a critical storm. To be the soft quiet voice that comforts a Mom waiting for her child to come out of surgery. To be the doctor's feedback for how to make things better for his or her patient and the patient's family. To give. To make a difference. Perhaps it is too much to hope for. See? This is why I need a miracle.

Miracles aside, creating opportunity is certainly in order. God helps those that help themselves, right? I do feel a Divine pull toward the world where my heart has been fixed, repeatedly. I think about this vague place in the medical world alot. Maybe the place already exists, I just don't know how to get there and believe me, I've googled it, there are no quick directions.....only serious requirements for some kind of degree. I am not deterred, though, I've been making stuff up my whole life, what's one more story?

I am excited about the resume writing, it gives me hope. (Seriously, HOPE is stalking me).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A small, smattering of what brings me joy, peace and comfort....

I love the surprise of something in bloom wafting through my front door, only to discover it is the orange tree in full bloom in my neighbor's front yard. I love the sun as it shines through the leaves on the tree in the front yard and the pattern the shade creates on the porch. I love the watchful eye of my small dog as he observes me working around the house, hopefull that I will perch soon so that he might rest his chin upon my leg. I love the feeling of a freshly made bed when you crawl into it for the first time. I love long conversations with a friend who you can say anything to, or nothing at all and she still knows what you mean, or who finishes your thoughts even before you know what the rest of your thought is. I love believing that everyone is made perfect and whole just the way they are and wanting each person to believe that for themselves. I love the ritual of brewing a pot of tea, the loose leaf kind, in a china teapot with boiling water and then using sugar tongs and cubed sugar to sweeten it. I love boiled shrimp, hot or cold with drawn butter. I love picture frames, so much that I have 3 HUGE rubbermaid tubs full and that I have to fight with myself not to buy any more. I love new books, especially if they are on sale, books big, small, fiction, non-fiction, hardback, paperback, jacketed, unjacketed. I love new music, too, country, new, old, classic, rock, 80's, 40's, 70's, big band, classical, celtic, Christmas. I love seeing the hummingbirds at the feeder, especially when I didn't know they had found it yet. I love watching for my seeds to germinate and seeing the tender seedlings as they break the surface of the dirt in their little germinating houses. I love Fourbucks' peppermint mocha, too much. I love finding the right spot for hanging my framed art works. I love a big, open, empty white wall and all of it's possibilities - what to hang there in the open white space and what not to hang there. I love the handmade curio cabinet my Father made for me 13 years ago and dusting and cleaning the glass on it just as I'm getting ready to load it up with my prized possessions. I also, love that the curio cabinet has endured many moves with me and not one scratch, dent or ding has appeared in it's wood and the glass has never been broken - knock on wood. I love a Sunday afternoon nap, one that sneaks up on you as you lay in your bed reading and the drowsiness overtakes you. I love a new tube of Carmex lipbalm, just out of it's funny little box. I love a slow moving ceiling fan that gently moves the air around the room. I love that every azalea bush I drive by in my new neighborhood is in full bloom and the yards with azalea bushes look like rides at an amusement park. I love that no matter what is going on in my life, I am stuck wtih HOPE, she is always there, lurking, stalking, whispering, prodding, needling, reminding me that I cannot ditch her, no matter how many times I've tried to give up, she just won't allow it.

That is just a small, smattering of all that I love......all that brings me joy, peace and comfort.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Let me tell you something about a broken heart.....

I have one. A broken heart....well, technically it has been repaired, literally, technically. How? You ponder. Well, it's not magic, however, but by the grace of God and some really good doctors, it has been fixed. Three times. You'd think they would have done all the repair work once, the first time. However, such is the nature of a congenital heart defect, the one they call "Tetrology of Fallot". So, this is the beginning, the true beginning of my journey through life, literally and metaphorically. I was born a 'blue baby' in 1965. My parents were young, 19 and 21. I don't think at any age you are prepared to hear that your baby is broken when she arrives. It's not like you can send her back and get a refund. Or, send her back and ask for a replacement.

As I weave my way through this story, I will probably lose my way occasionally as I also tell the story of my family. Ultimately, it is our story. All parts, good, bad and ugly, but, I hope, ultimately beautiful. In the metaphorical sense, I believe that we can break our own hearts, merely by ignoring love, or maybe avoiding it or being denied it. I feel that I have had two kinds of broken heart all of my life. One we fix with surgery, the other, we fix with love. I will be digging deep to tell this story and know myself well enough that I will likely stray from the path, in order to avoid painful parts, but, I promise it is my intention to get the 'heart' of my destiny. (I know, such tacky cliches', but, I can't help it, I LOVE THEM). Not only will I be traversing my own pain for this story, but, I will need to get my family to discuss what they felt and how they managed.

Looking back to when I was a child I don't have a ton of memories about my illness. I have some memories, but, I cannot be sure they are my memories or are memories of stories about what we all went through. Like, for instance, there is a box full of hand made get well cards from my kindergarten class, that I still lug around with me from home to home, from kids I do not remember, even the slightest bit. Also, in the box, birthday cards for my mother, as my 1st open heart surgery was just a few days before her 24th birthday. I don't have a direct memory of this, but a story told to me by my grandmother, about my dad tying a big red bow around my chest, making the 'fixed up heart' her birthday gift. See, origins of some of my memories and or emotions may be skewed by the handing down of the story.

I do remember, very vividly laying on the operating table, drifting in and out of awareness as they prepped me. I would dose off, they had me somewhat sedated before they actually put me to sleep, and I remember becoming alert off and on and when I did, it seemed like I was strapped to the operating table in a vertical position and if I could concentrate, the table seemed to lower itself to a horizontal position. I know that this was only an affect of the sedation, now, as an adult who has been through the same surgery two more times, but, back then, it was scary and alarming. I also remember how huge the overhead lights seemed to be and how close they felt to me as I was laying there trying to stay alert. I remember the oxygen mask they put on my face and then the lights went out.......I try to remember stuff from back then, but, honestly I think my memories are tainted by the stories my family tells.

In the magical memory box there is a scrapbook with get well cards from family and friends and photos of me in the hospital. Even after I look at the photos I don't remember what was going on when the photo was taken. Mom J used to tell a story about a fancy pink nightgown that completely boosted my spirits and there is a photo of me in that gown. I do not remember wearing that gown in the hospital, but, I do remember the gown afterward and it being around for many years after the surgery. Pink chiffon over pink polyester, with ruffles. I remember stories about the nurses paying a bank I had sitting on the table next to my bed a quarter to take blood from me. I remember a story about taking out my own stitches with plastic, round nosed, kid scissors. I apparently did this in the night, before I was to have them taken out by the doctor, the next morning.

I think I was probably pretty scared through most of the first surgery ordeal. What I do remember is being worried about everyone else. What I know, is that we've all been shaped by my broken heart, we've all suffered some emotional trauma, some of us have come out the other side stronger, others, not so much. I carry that with me, even though intellectually I know that I did not control how things unfolded, my soul, my heart, they carry these truths with me.

Okay, we're getting there, some pain. At the ripe old age of 5 I already believed that what we all went through was my 'fault'. How does a 5 year old reconcile that? You begin to clean up what you think is a mess you created. Not having the wherewith all to disseminate between 'fault' and circumstance, a child of 5 begins her life as a 'care-taker'. Only to become a life long co-dependant. (This is a label I judge, because it is what I am, whether I like it or not). Fortunately, I can have my heart fixed with a little surgery, yet, I cannot find the person who can surgically remove my life long affliction of co-dependency. There are many other elements that go along with this observation, which I hope to uncover as I stumble along. But, I think I am done for tonight.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"They're called boobs, Ed" Erin Brockovich

I like to spend a little time browsing my photography and rummaging through my 'quote closet' before I begin a post to the blog so that I have a little inspiration to work from. Tonight, while I was not inspired by a photo or a quote, I was inspired by my work day and the movie I watched when I finally got home. Work was awful (I know, BE GRATEFUL), it was so awful, it was painful. I feel like everything I touch is a mess and the more I touch it, the messier it gets, I've lost a significant amount of confidence in my ability to do my job in a manner that I can respect, (don't worry, I don't do a job where anythng awful would happen if I made a fact the field I work in is already a mess), and today in the most painful of moments, I had an epiphany, I know I'm not supposed to be there, remember, I already quit once, and so, whilst in this painful moment I thought to myself, the universe is pushing back. The Universe, the Divine is telling me, everyday, MOVE ON....quit being afraid, MOVE ON. Everyday I go to work hoping beyond hope that it will be better, different, "today, I will get a handle on the shit on my desk" and everyday, I make progress, only to be pushed back twice as far as I got the day before. I felt like I couldn't take a breath in.....then I realized I'd been holding my breath for what seemed like hours. I keep waiting for something to happen, for something to snap inside of me.....and then I remember it already did.....and I still went back for more.

Wednesdy night T.V. sucks......however, Divine intervention set things up for me to watch Erin Brockovich tonight and there it was.....inspiration. I am not unemployed with three kids, but, I am at a dead end with nowhere to go but up and her story is inspiring in a way that is more than one dimensional. I want to help people, do something of worth, give back, feel something. And Erin managed to do something big merely through perserverance and stick-to-it-ive-ness. She had many obstacles, none of which was just being a chicken, she had no previous job experience, little education, limited resources and huge responsibilities. When I grow up I want to be just like her. I guess I better grow up, eh?

So, what are my obstacles? What is holding me back? Why do I walk to the edge, peer over and then step back? Because I think the fall is too far. What if I fail? What if I don't really have what it takes to be 'all that I can be' (I don't think the Army would take me). I hate that my current job takes all of the wind out of my sales, but, right now my confidence is in the toilet and I don't know how to get out. Where's the Tidy Bowl Man when you need him? I know, I'm being flip and childish. Today, I was at the edge again, peering over, wishing someone would push me, anyone. I know that when the pain is the greatest I am usually closest to a breakthrough and I KNOW I am on the cusp of findng my path.

I really do know the way to my destiny, I just have to do the work. I need to write the story, the story of my heart. The path will reveal itself through the writing of this story. The story is long, though, and I am impatient. I have been reading other writer's writing on writing....(funny) and through their experiences, and my own, I know that once I begin the writing of the story, I will begin to heal and find what I am looking for. So, I guess I better get on the road.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Tai Chi

I began a Tai Chi class tonight. I was going to do Yoga, but, I'm a person who is more likely to attend an exercise class if it is conveniently located to either my work place or, Tai Chi won the coin toss. And, as I was moving painfully slow through the first movements of an exercise (the perscribed way to do the exercise) I relished the days when I studied Shotokan Karate. Tai Chi is at a MUCH slower pace and while the slow pace seems like it might be just what I need to relieve stress, I'm wishing that I were in a Dojo training in Shotokan.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. It struck me as odd that I would immediately miss my old form of training after such a long hiatus (more than 5 years), especially since Tai Chi is quite beautiful and peaceful. I began mentally examining my thoughts, what I was feeling and what my body was experiencing. Most Martial Arts origins are based in self defense by hand, in other words, you are trained to defend yourself with your hands and body, ONLY as a form of defense, not offense or attack and while I don't know, yet, how Tai Chi fits into that spectrum I immediately noticed the similarities between my old art and this new one. And, what was most interesting to me was that my body remembered how to move within the exercise.

I am of course piqued by this art form, as I was taught in Shotokan that almost all martial arts have the same moves, strikes, kicks, stances, etc, only each style might expand on those key moves, they all remain the same and have the same uses. So, in the first part of the first exercise we learned tonight, a series of hand moves are executed as blocks, (in Shotokan they would be blocks to a strike), and when my body recognized the move's intention, or rather purpose, my impulses all fired at once and I inadvertently executed a Shotokan Knife Hand block! The instructor noticed I discovered something as I was moving, however, she did not know I had previously studied another art form and commented on how I wa s 'examining' my movement. She assured me that we would practice these moves many times and not to worry about 'catching on'. That is when I discovered that maybe Tai Chi isn't going to be enough to keep me interested, because I wanted to keep going, learn more, move forward, FASTER. Several old parts to Katas I learned in Shotokan ran through my mind and my body flinched in recognition. The night was full of discovery, ( I love discovery and even more, recognition of discovery), energy was being moved. Yes, I could actually feel energy moving with me as I executed my exercise. Energy pushing back against my hand as I was ushering it to and away from me.

The more advanced students broke off from the beginngers after we warmed up and in between demonstrations of the movements we were to do I watched in the mirror to see how good the advanced students looked and their movement was quite entrancing. They appeared to be doing a very well choreographed ballet, only with blocks, kicks and punches....and they were quiet. In Shotokan you expelled energy by puncuating your movements with yells or in some cases grunts. I realized I missed that, I wanted to puncuate the ending of our exercise with a 'hayaw!' The class ended on a good note, I did not sweat, have to roll around on the floor and my old body remembered a time when it was younger. I am anxious for the next class as it did not seem like we really worked very hard or for very long.

I am nostalgic for my old Dojo and classmates. I really enjoyed training in Shotokan, it gave me a certain amount of self confidence and a sense of being responsible for my higher self. While the instructor was explaining some parts of our exercise, she alluded to the origins of our movements, but, cut herself short explaining that the purpose for the class was merely the exercise and that she might cover the reasons for some moves later on, but, that it was not imperative to know these things. As I continued on with the exercise and my body recognized more movements, I realized that I also missed knowing why movements were done the way they were and what the movements might have been used for, because as Imentioned, all Karate is executed for a purpose. I guess maybe I was as attracted as much to the 'ceremony' of Karate as I was to the energy expulsion!

Big night in a small way. Moving energy is always good for the soul. Oss, Sensei!

Friends, I'd like to introduce my friend, BobKitty......

Please, don't try this at home without adult supervision!

Tons O' fun, I'm telling you! Boys and their toys.....he looks like he's playing with a Tonka toy while he's working that bad boy.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary how does your garden grow.....?

Well, mine will be growing in a bed 48 x 48 feet square! Yes, it is going to be HUGE! I can't wait! Over the course of this past weekend, my friend, Ricky, played with his friend, BobKitty and dug, hauled and tilled the backyard here, so we might plant a couple of tomato plants.....HA! - not just a couple. It was pretty amazing to watch Rick work his little Bobcat excavator and I can assure you, he had fun. It even looked like he might tip it over at one point. You know, it's true, there really is only one difference between men and boys and it's the size (and cost) of their toys. I spent part of the weekend planting seeds in little seed starter trays - 200 seeds! Yes, I know, that sounds like alot, however, I wanted to make sure everything made it out of the dirt, so, I over planted. Obviously, there will be room for MANY plants and I went crazy with the seeds, trying just about anything that tickled my fancy. This will be my first garden of this size and variety. I will blog about it all summer and share my discoveries and lots of photos. Rick asked me more than a couple of times if I'd be able to handle a garden of this size and I assured him I would not be without help. He is going to set up a complete drip system with a timer for the water, so, watering will take care of itself, I will only need to take care of weeding, bug hunting and PICKING! Texas, my trusty frog hunter will assist as best as he can from his vantage point on the ground.