Friday, March 25, 2011

Where's the Resentment?

That was the question we were invited to ask ourselves in class this past Monday.  For, me, that is a deep question, for which there was no immediate clear answer.

It is now Friday and the answer is bubbling to the surface. Yesterday, I was watching a daytime talk show in which the new “Must Have” spring fashions were being paraded down a small runway.  I felt a stab of resentment at the term “MUST HAVE”.  “For YOU maybe,” I thought to myself.  Right now MY “Must Haves” include rent, car payment, insurance payment and enough left over to cover the overdraft on my checking account.  Oh, and maybe if I’m super lucky, some food for the coming week.

Ok.  I could start with this: Resentment for those who have disposable income.  (Disposable income that I used to have too!) I looked at each of the hosts and thought, “Yeah, you are guaranteed a paycheck this week, aren’t you? You can buy whatever you want whenever you want without so much as checking your bank account first.  I, on the other hand, used my laundry quarters to put $5.00 of gas in my car in order to get to the class referenced above, a class, which, by the way, was GIFTED to me, only to be asked this ridiculously annoying question which brings me back to you 4 women sitting there in your guaranteed paychecks telling me I “MUST HAVE” a $400.00 spring outfit!

Yeah, that is a good place to start!

Then, I was given an even BETTER show of my resentment: MFBP (My former business partner).  I have a feeling THIS is the real crux of my resentment matter.

In our business dealings together, in our new relationship as vendor and client, I became annoyed with his inflexibility with respect to a certain policy of his in the first month of this new relationship.  His explanation was that this was the policy for all of his wholesale clients and I was to be no exception.  Really?  How could he be so cold and unmoving in this little tiny, temporary request? After ALL I had done for him to even GET him to this place of success in his business!?!?  Remember, I helped BUILD this enterprise! (Boy! How easy is it to drop back into "victim" mode peppered with a large dose of indignation!!!)

To me, he has become tight-fisted and greedy.  To me, he is living his American Dream and has everything he ever set an intention to have or become.  WHY couldn’t he give a girl a break?!

Not sure how to resolve the predicament, I went to what has rapidly become my “go-to” problem-solving device: sleep.  The old adage, “Ask and it is given” has never been proven so right to me as it has in my dream state. 

I simply said silently, “I call forth Divine Intelligence and know that there is a clear answer within me coming forward.  Speak to me in a way that I can clearly understand and guide me to my divine resolution to this “seeming” conflict.  I give thanks for knowing the way has already been made, that Divine Right Action has already gone before me, making the way clear for me.  I let it be, and so it is.”

I went to sleep.

At 3am on the dot, I was awakened by the sounds of my laptop, which I had closed and placed under my bed after watching a program earlier, before falling asleep.  It was “playing” a clip from this show….WTH? I reached under the bed, flipped open the top and though the clip was playing, the display was asking for my user password – as if the computer was just turned on!  I struggled to find the keys to type in my password but in the dark, with no contacts or glasses on, this did not go so well.  After 2 failed attempts, the computer just went dark and the clip either ended or stopped playing.  I closed the lid, shoved it back under my bed, and snuggled back in next to my cat, which had slept through this whole event.

I lay there for a while trying to figure out what had just happened when I realized I hadn’t been “given” my dream yet.  So, I became a tad firmer in my request:
“I command the Universe to guide me in these last 2 hours of sleep I have remaining tonight.”

Somewhere between 3:30 and 5:30am I had the following dream:

MFBP’s installer went to remove some signs for one of my clients and to hold these signs for “parts” for future use.  I clearly saw 8 of the same part put into stock.  Somewhere down the line, my client had need for 6 of these parts.  Also down the line, it was forgotten that these parts existed.

At the same time, I owed MFBP a sum of $ 900.00 and change and I did not have it.  We spoke on the phone about this and I felt incredible stress because he was not willing to do the work for the client needing her 6 sign parts until I paid him in full for this outstanding debt. 

I was in a Catch 22.  I would HAVE the money once this work was done but I couldn’t GET the work done until I paid the MONEY.  Additionally, since the existence of these parts had been forgotten, I had to order NEW parts for my client’s needs.  I felt a tightening in my chest and a shortness of breath as I felt my back being shoved against the proverbial and financial wall.

The scene changed and he was standing at my desk, giving me the last of commissions owed me from our previous business arrangement.  The check total was $1068.00. At the same time, I was handing HIM a check for the balanced owed of $900. I was receiving more than I was giving!

Almost simultaneously his shop manager was on the phone with both of us saying there was no need to fabricate the 6 parts my client needed; he had the parts in stock. In fact, there were 8 parts - MORE THAN ENOUGH to fulfill the order!

I woke knowing that I am divinely supported and provided for at every turn, even when it looks quite the opposite.  Sometimes, no, MOST times, I am just looking in the wrong place for my answer; for my supply.

Sometimes dreams provide clear answers for me. Sometimes they replay events or are symbolic of real events and invite me to look at those events from a new perspective.

Perfectly timed, a post arrived on my Facebook wall yesterday, regarding just this subject.  Here is an excerpt:

To a psychologist, dreams are more than an electrochemical process. Each one is a precious seed that can be nurtured and fertilized so that it will sprout, grow, and bloom to give fullness and understanding to our waking hours.
Therapists feel that dreams are the secret portal through which the psyche pours vital information into consciousness as a way to keep emotional balance during waking life. Dreams are a way for us to work out the difficulties that are suppressed rather than experienced during the day.
In my private healing practice, I’ve discovered that it isn’t always the traumas that we have fully experienced that block us. It’s often the traumas or difficulties that we did not allow ourselves to experience fully, or that we have suppressed, that create barriers in our lives.
Dreams can be one way to release those repressed emotional barriers.

It is clear to me now, the work that I must do. I woke looking at MFBR differently.  He is no longer someone who “took” something from me.

He is a capable and honorable supplier of goods and services that benefit my clients and my relationships with them.  I respect and honor him as a “gifter” (a term I recently learned in class) in my business and my life.  I am grateful and thankful for his abilities to grow his business which in turns provides my business with its goods and services.  A divine circuit exists here and I honor it with timely payments.

Just in the writing of that paragraph I feel a shift in my emotions and feelings about and for him.  WOW!  It feels like I let go of some resentment toward him.  And in Reality, that resentment toward him is actually resentment toward ME and how I got here. It always is.  These events and experiences are all just mirrors back to us; invitations to love and forgive ourselves a little more.  I get it.  I am not completely there, but I get it.

All this self-discovery can be exhausting! Think I’ll go take a nap now!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Shape of Things to Come....

Over the next few weeks I sloooowwwwly began to examine how to make my next move in moving away from the business that I started and planned on having until long after retirement age. 
I spoke w/trusted friends and confidants, wrote endlessly in my journal about being frozen, unable to move forward, and continued to sport a growing spare tire made not of rubber but of fear, stress and uncertainty.  I also felt an incredible pull to spend time with my dear friend, Thalia, who lives in the desert.  It was more of a soul craving.  This woman entered my life years ago when her life had taken a 180 degree turn.  I was a sort of “way show-er” for her then but the tables turned very quickly and she became one of those deep soul connections and wise ones that I turn to when I need the guidance and clear headed-ness of a mother figure.  (She is not old enough in chronological years to actually BE my mom, but her wisdom is timeless and ageless!)
I spent the following weekend in her nest, under the wings of her friendship and love, sipping champagne, floating in her pool, and talking about everything except the current situation in my life.  It wasn’t avoidance.  It was healing and restorative.  My ego and life plan had taken a huge hit, and just needed some good old fashioned unconditional love for a couple of days.  I got it in abundance, along with some much-needed Vitamin D and laughter.
Funny how, when you put some distance between you and the problem, things start to clear.   (This is a lesson I have been invited to learn over and over and over again in the months since!) I used to say it was like being in the eye of the storm; you can’t see what is out there beyond because you are too close to it.  But in reality, isn’t the eye of the storm the most CALM? 
Anyway, the plan began to take shape.  On the advice of a trusted attorney friend of a friend, it was decided that the best thing to do was to sell my shares and simply walk away from the business, and start over again (whatever that meant!)  After all, my partner wanted to be on his own so badly, he had already offered to assume all of the debt AND agreed to me retaining all of my clients (about 90% of all the company’s client base), allowing for me to continue selling and designing without the overhead burden.  In hindsight, where’s the loss?
The loss was to my ego.  This was MY business too.  It hurt me deeply to think that someone could commit to building something with you and then, without notice, yank the proverbial rug out from under you without warning or the possibility of a changed mind. But, like my partner used to say, this was a marriage without the love.  In my mind, this “marriage” would have continued indefinitely.  In his mind and in his real life, he was about to enter a 2nd marriage.  Guess there’s only room for one “wife” at a time, huh? 
As I looked back, I saw that his previous “real” marriage had ended as he and I began the business together, and not because there was ever anything between us.  Remember, it was a “marriage without the love”.  I wondered about his commitment abilities in the face of adversity (Nice projection, right?) In my hurt and pain, I was somehow able to keep the snide remarks about “warning” his new bride about his 5-year commitment expiration date to myself, though I know I journaled about it!
I do not claim to be faultless in his arriving at his decision to end our partnership.  In the first couple of years, we used to laugh at how easy it was to run this business, compared to the struggles our previous employers encountered; how clients and business just found their way to us, without much effort on our part.  I guess we both got comfortable.  When the economy took its nosedive, we didn’t react in the most timely of manners and it took its toll. And, I just didn’t react at ALL.  I just let it flounder and suffer until it was on life support.  Instead of pulling the plug on the entire thing, he simply chose to amputate the dead weight: me.
I used to think of us like those sons in the Bible – the good son and the prodigal son.  My partner always seemed to have his shit together while I, much older, was still struggling to pay my bills, spending everything I had as fast as it came in.  I had virtually no savings and no plan.  He had used what was given to him wisely.  Me? Not so much.  Mixed in with the hurt was a huge dose of guilt and shame.  He was calling me on this without ever pointing a finger or saying a word.  I see it now as a wakeup call for me, albeit at the expense of others in the process. It was a painful lesson but, as I later discovered, life had gone on ahead of me, making the way for me while I took my time to catch up…
In April my soon-to-be-ex-partner married his soul mate.  At the reception, his mom spoke of how proud she and her husband were of their son, coming to America and learning a trade and now, ultimately owning his own business.  I was now officially nothing:  in the room and yet invisible for the contribution I made to that business.  As the 7 stages of grief go, pain & guilt were moving on.  Anger had arrived.  I was pissed!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Flat, or Round?

Rev. Joanne spoke in last night’s service at Agape.  She spoke of a time on the planet when everyone alive believed the world to be flat.  Generations lived and died “knowing” this, basing much of how they lived on this “fact”.

Aristotle argued that the earth was round back in his day (384-322BC).  Then, one day, some 2200 +/- years ago, Eratosthenes noticed how sunlight fell straight into a well in one location, while it fell at an angle some distance away in another city at the same time and he was able to conclude that the Earth was round.  He was even able to estimate its circumference.

I wonder, how long did it take for this exciting new discovery to make itself known to all people on the planet?  With communication as it was back then,  I can only imagine there were doubters, naysayers, and even maybe some frightened people still holding on to “flat thinking” for many years after the discovery.  Eventually, however, the word made its way aROUND the planet.

Once this was known, a new world was born.  Old ways of doing things, once limited, began to fall away.  New possibilities for commerce, discovery and travel emerged.  The evolution of the planet moved forward and with it, on absolute truth:

Once you’ve lived on a round planet, you can never return to a flat one.

As I consider all the ways in which life changed once this discovery became known, I wonder what new discoveries are being birthed right now, in my lifetime?  What old ways of living on this planet are slowly being replaced by new, more efficient ways?  As I watch brick and mortar businesses being replaced by virtual ones, banking systems fail, countries default, and democracy & freedom break out all over the planet, I see the evolution of our planet moving forward still, breaking free from our own, old, “flat earth” way of thinking.  Sometimes painful, sometimes exhilarating, but all the while, moving forward.

The best part of all of this? Each of us gets to choose: Flat or round?  Do you want to keep forcing the old (flat) way of thinking and being, which is proving to be outdated with every passing day, or the new (round) ways of discovery?  You can co-create a better world or you can fight to save paradigms that have been outgrown. We are all on the edge of our “flat” earth right now.  What do you see as you stand on that edge? An end or a beginning?  Flat, or round?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Plan B

Well, as it turned out, Hormone Replacement Therapy will alleviate symptoms of menopause, but it will most definitely NOT alleviate symptoms of evolution and transformation of the Soul. 

Balancing my hormones was essential to finding a solid footing again in my everyday life but it was of no use in swaying the decision of my business partner to sever our relationship.   

I was caught in a space of, one on hand, feeling energized and vital again and, on the other, frozen in my tracks, unable to see where I was supposed to focus this new-found energy.  I was forced to deal with arriving at some agreement w/my partner on how to separate the business and yet every time I thought about it, all of that energy just turned into an anxiety attack!  Had I done myself more harm than good with HRT? Wouldn't just sleeping through this whole mess be a better idea? 

As I write this, those old feelings - of a tornado whirling inside my gut, short breaths - return and I start to question my sanity in reliving that time in my life. 

Slowly over the following weeks I began to take regularly-paced breaths again - occasionally.  I discovered meditation.  In language I had never used before, I told myself that if I could "be still enough to listen", the answers would come.  In those moments of peace I was able to start seeing my way through the current events of my life; to develop Plan B.  Simply stated, the plan was this: NEVER BE IN THIS POSITION AGAIN! (Which, loosely translated, REALLY means, NEVER DEPEND ON ANYONE ELSE AGAIN!) 

As I reflected on my life, I began to see a pattern.  While I had not yet married, there was always someone in my life on whom I depended to get me out of a jam or with whom I built something. In younger years it was my mom.  Later, it was boyfriends.  These past few years, it had been my business partner. It had never been "just me".  As a result, I tended to end up disappointed and disappointING. More importantly, I started to feel like I hadn't actually learned the lessons I was supposed to learn, and was repeating events in order to force the lessons. I was onto something here.  I could feel it!

 I could also feel pain developing in my right arm and shoulder.  Certain it was a pinched nerve, I initially TOTALLY missed the connection between carrying the "weight of the world" on my shoulders and what was happening in my little world. 

On February 15, 2009, on my way to my bedroom, I wrote this entry in my journal:
"8:45PM - Maybe all I want to do is work just enough to get by - not make some grand fortune - but have lots of spare time to do other things.  What other things? Volunteer - work at some non-profit? I don't know...It just kind of popped into my head as I was walking to bed."

While I wasn't completely aware of it, my old world was dissolving around me.  A great teacher has said "You have to have a breakDOWN to have a breakTHROUGH". I hadn't heard this teacher yet, but when I heard this statement for the first time, some months later, I REmembered it somehow.

Plan B was taking shape…