Support Group

Thank you for stopping by.  Due to registration issues in WordPress and HostGator, we have moved the commenting to a CLOSED Facebook support group.  To join be sure to answer the questions (why you want membership and you agree to the Group Guidelines [the pinned post]).  To keep the group safe, we do not approve anyone who does not answer the questions OR who JUST joined Facebook. If you don’t want to do FB because you’re NC and FB is a trigger, email me your real name and FB profile and then the NEW FB profile so I can approve it.

If you want to know what the FB Group Guidelines are before posting read them HERE
The Facebook group is an AMAZING group of people.  Please be sure to read the Group Guidelines before posting ANYTHING, Read the GPYB Recommends page (here) and there are many files in the FB Files section that are SO helpful.  There are two downloadable files for you….one is all the GPYB articles on FB and one is all the YouTube videos….both articles have links and descriptions.  So join us and the treasure trove is YOURS!

I am making a series of videos for the GPYB and GBOT books.  If you have any issues or questions that the books don’t cover, and you don’t want to join the FB group, please send your thoughts and questions to gpybgbotvideo at gmail dot com

That’s GPYB plus GBOT plus Video AT Gmail DOT com

GPYB blog has been in existence since 2007.  There are over 1200 articles but only a small percentage is posted here. We change the posts on here all the time, so if you want one that is archived, please email me at gpyb.com at gmail.com and request a topic or join the FB group and ask.  There are some articles still available here and some on the Psychology Today GPYB/GBOT blog HERE

If there is a subject you want posted either here or on PT, let me know.  Write me HERE

If you do not have FB and want to speak with me, please schedule a session HERE.

If you want a document with links and descriptions of all the YouTube videos go HERE

Go here to sign up:

http://www.Facebook.com/groups/GettingPastYourBreakup

See you there!!!

 

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Almost Thanksgiving

As it’s almost Halloween I wanted to touch on Thanksgiving. 

If you’ve had a recent breakup or life isn’t exactly where you want it to be, being thankful for what you do have is a tough one.

As most of you know I reject the “think a happy thought” philosophy when it stands on its own and does not include a “but do your work that might be painful” component. My experience on both sides of the therapy table had led me to believe that in order to be successful, work must be balanced. You can’t remain in the painful past for a great length of time without coming up for air, doing positive affirmations and working on your confidence.

At the same time you can’t think a happy thought without working through the emotional garbage of the past. Neither way works by itself. Clinical depression MUST be treated, but even if a person doesn’t meet all the DSM criteria for depression, the holidays can trigger a lot of pain if you are working through things and feeling alone.

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GPYP Guide To Confidence

Back in the days of GPYP seminars, we worked on breaking down goals and the action steps to get there into small, manageable bits. We keep things structured and orderly so as not to get lost in what can seem like the overwhelming chore of life change. The following is broken down more in the workbook, but this is a reminder of how to use the books and the workbook. How to use all your tools together. They don’t work well if you don’t figure out how to not only use your tools but to use them.

The workbook tries to break it down…the goals, the affirmations and the moving parts. I was able to take the work in the books and lay them out in the workbook because I had more control over the workbook. In bootcamps and seminars we work at this.

However, someone always asks for a “big picture” walk through of how we work on thinking, behaving, and feeling in one area. This is a very abbreviated big picture “walk through” for becoming more confident in everything you do. Remember the key words: Observe (journal), Prepare (visualize, affirm, act “as if” and work through the past), Cultivate (constantly define the immediate next step while keeping the bigger goal in mind).

1. Keep a journal. Observe what you think, what you feel and what you say.
Don’t comment or analyze. Just observe and record for a week or two.

2. After a week or two, go back and read it. What are you saying to you about you?
What messages are you giving yourself? What messages are other people giving
you? What kinds of behaviors are you engaging in that you don’t like? What feelings from the past come up when you’re under stress? What situations make you wish you were more confident? What are you feeling in those situations? What do you want to change?

3. Start to visualize the next step…not the “self-confident, I rule the world” but the immediate next step…the step from where you are now..what would that look like? What do you want? What do you want the world to know about you?

4. Visualize a person who is more confident than you are now. Remember what we talk about in GPYP seminars about visualizations. Use your GPYP Guide to Visualizations. Ask what a confident person LOOKS like to you. Ask what YOU look like as a confident person. What do you see yourself doing when you are more confident? What does it
look like? Think about it. Write down what it looks like. See it in your mind’s eyes.

5. Then write out affirmations. I am [whatever the person looks like in your visualization].

6. Write 10 affirmations. As we teach in GPYP, they must be positive and present and
believable. Refer back to your GPYP Guide to Writing Affirmations in the books and the workbook. Watch the YouTube videos on the affirmations. Remember, they should be a little uncomfortable to say but not so far out, you can’t believe it.

7. Say them several times a day. Make sure you spend some time ACH DAY saying them and visualizing the end result. Keep visualizing yourself at the next level of self-confidence.

8. Start to DO things that a self-confident person does. What is that? A movie alone? A day at the beach alone? A shopping trip alone? A meal alone? Asking someone to do something? Arguing with customer service (or saying the magic words, “I want to speak to a supervisor.”)?

What is it that will show TO YOU that you are gaining confidence? Do something that TO YOU says “I AM CONFIDENT”

You may be afraid but DO IT ANYWAY.
If you can’t do something big, start small. Do this at least once a week and try to go for bigger every week. Again, try things that are a little scary but not so scary you’re
frozen with fear.

9. Think about where this lack of self confidence comes from in your past. Use your journal. Talk about it. Write about it. Write letters to people who hurt you or put you down or made you feel worthless or question your ability.

Get mad, get sad, get anything you need to feel but remember the GPYP rule: always wrap up your “closure” communications on a positive note.

WRAP IT UP ON A POSITIVE NOTE when you’re ready.

Keep it positive. It’s about closure. It’s about banishing the messages forever. (“What you made
me feel about me is not who I am. You were wrong about me and I am changing
every day. I let you go with love.”)

10. At the end of 30 days revisit your affirmations and bring them to the NEXT step of visualization. What does the NEXT step of self-confidence look like?

Visualize it, rewrite your affirmations, make them stronger. Keep journaling, visualizing, affirming and doing the work of getting to the bottom of it.

Lather, rinse, repeat.
_________________
Order the workbook HERE

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Take Back Your Power

People who thought they knew best drove me crazy when I was trying to be a victimized know nothing powerless whiny whining pants. They kept making it sound like I had some CONTROL over what happened to me. How annoying.

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Reconciliation: A Means or an End?

There were questions in comments about reconciliations. Most of the time we don’t talk about that. I find that there is a small percentage of couples who can successfully reconcile. Maybe there are therapists somewhere that have a high rate of reconcilliations that work out, but I have not personally experienced that. Couple dynamics can be changed and recharted through couples counseling but it’s an intense (and usually long) process. I find, a lot of times, “confused” couples attempt the most number of reconcilations. Either one or both are confused about the relationship (it’s usually both but one partner is “doing” confusion for both…not confused people do not stay with confused people.)

I wrote Getting Back Out There with a purpose of JAM PACKING advice to people who are 1. coming off a breakup and not yet ready to date but who need to RESHAPE the tone and tenor of their relationships 2. people stepping back out into dating after a devastating breakup 3. Fledgling couples and 4. Couples getting serious or couples reuniting. Because I have worked, FOR MANY YEARS, with all of the above.
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Swept Away

It’s nice to be “wine’d and dine’d” but it’s not all about the glitz. You DO NOT want someone who is cheap or where you’re paying for the dates (or putting gas in your own car if you were the one who drove there ESP if you’re the woman! It’s absolutely UNACCEPTABLE if you’re the woman!). My rule of thumb is to let the man pay for the first 2 or 3 dates because it relieves everyone of expectations and “what do we do?” After the 2nd or 3rd date, the woman should offer to pay for a tip or gas or something like that (if you go bowling and dinner, she can pay for the shoe rental or something….pick something and offer it. )
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Sunday Chips


trophy
Celebrating milestones is important to people who are resisting negative behavioral impulses. 

This post is for the Facebook group. A closed support group. To join go here: http://www.Facebook.com/groups/gettingpastyourbreakup


It’s important to mark those milestones…no matter how big or how small…so we’re talking NO CONTACT...even if you’re having issues, share them here and let us know. If you’re succeeding, tell us how and come and get your chip!!!!

NO CONTACT IS THE KEY TO HEALING!!!

How it works is you report your NC time in comments and it’s good to share how you are doing it and also what you are going to do to reward yourself.

For those of you who are new, this post explains the hows, whys and wherefores of NC chips.

Please share your success and your struggles here. –

If you’re struggling, please feel safe enough to talk about it here so you can get great tips and pointers!

TIME FOR NC CHIPS! Come and get yours!

Sharing NC stories and time is important. If you’re struggling with it, it’s important and if you’re succeeding with it, it’s important.

We have many struggling with NC so please share your NC success and the benefits of NC. If you’re struggling, feel free to share here and ask for support. If you’re not counting time any more, please share that too! When did you stop needing to know “how long it’s been.”

Thanks all and congrats to those picking up chips.

Before we go onto the chips, these are the reasons we count chips:

1) to reward ourselves for doing it. It’s a big deal and needs to be treated like a big deal.
2) to show others it can be done.

3) if you’ve been maintaining a good stretch of NC but fell short in the past, write about your struggles and how you overcame them.

4) if you’re struggling, tell us and how we can help.

Your “count” is up to you. Don’t let someone else say “Oh don’t start over” or “You have to start over.” This is about learning to be true to yourself, to be honest. Is a Facebook peek breaking NC? Yes, it is. Do you “need” to count it? I would but it’s up to you. NC time is important because it shows us that we do have power and control over what we do and how it affects us. If we say “I have 30 days of NC” it’s up to you to know if that is an honest count or not. Don’t set yourself up by counting NC time when you are not NC. The thought that you’re not being true to yourself will eat at you more than starting the count again. And please don’t tell anyone they do or do not have to start their count over. If someone asks, “Is this breaking NC?” you can weigh in with your opinion.


NC is about you.
It’s about knowing you have control over your life and your impulses. It’s about rewarding yourself for NC time and showing others it can be done.

No contact (NC) is truly the key to moving on. It’s a big, important topic which is why it’s the first chapter in the book.

Even if you work with, have children with, mutual friends with, live in a small community with, NC is possible in that you only speak when you have to, you don’t get into emotional issues, everything is very business like. Again, the advice to do this is in the GPYB book.

If you have a child, you are NC if you speak with your ex ONLY when necessary and the conversation is BRIEF and BUSINESS LIKE and you KEEP GOOD BOUNDARIES!!!  

If you don’t share anything like that, going NC is very important: CUT OFF ALL CONTACT.

If you break NC or respond to your NC-breaking bananahead ex, you don’t “go back to square one.” You have had progress along the way and it’s easier once you’ve done it a while to do it again. So shower and get right back to NC. And tell us what you’ve learned Dorothy.

So leave your concerns, issues, questions, stories here and

Come get your chips!!! (P.S. I have tried to code the colors best I can but they show up differently on different devices. Sorry about that…but I’m sure you get the idea!)

If you’re new and confused about NC or how to do it: GET THE BOOKS!!! You cannot succeed at NC without the books…and the workbook helps too!!!

Ideas for rewarding yourself:  get the books, get a GPYB Recommended book or self-care item or get the workbook or something else!  (share it in the group!)


THE BOOKS:

Both books are important (both have a full chapter on how to be NC when you co-parent). Go HERE to get the books!


GPYB RECOMMENDED BOOKS AND SELF-CARE ITEMS:

FOR NC CHIP SUNDAYS, go HERE to get a recommended book or some self-care ideas


THE WORKBOOK!

OR we give $5.00 off the workbook every Sunday with the code SUNNCBONUS and go HERE to buy the workbook http://gettingpastyourbreakup.com/gettingpastyourpast/gpyp-workbook-order-here/


The Guide to Letting Go Rituals: The Power of Fire and Water is now available. Go HERE to buy the booklet

NC Chips

24 Hours White

1 Week Teal

2 Weeks Lavender

3 Weeks Maroon

30 Days Yellow

40 Days Turquoise

50 Days Orange

60 Days Green

90 Days Navy Blue

6 Months Purple

9 Months Red

ONE YEAR GOLD!

Pick up your chip! Tell us what chip you get and how you did it. Share your NC power of example! Talk about how long you’ve been NC and what it’s been like for you.

I would also suggest, in the way of being good to you, to BUY yourself an actual chip, a real chip and keep it on your dresser/bureau or some other prominent place as a reminder of how WELL you are doing. Standard poker chips are fine but the gold ones can be a nice round gold piece from a jewelry store or buy a chain with a nice round gold pendant.

If you’ve been a NC you definitely deserve something nice. There have been other suggestions on here such as keeping a jar and filling it with something nice for every day NC or some other way to mark the time and see how strong you are. GET YOURSELF SOMETHING NICE!

Make your symbol REAL and not just virtual! And TELL US what you did or bought or how you celebrated!

If you’re struggling with NC, talk about your biggest challenges to NC and what is standing in your way and if you need help/support.

EVERY DAY OF NC is a day of healing…a day that brings you closer to your goal of moving on and getting healthy. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!

What are your challenges? What are your issues? We are all here for each other!


Celebrate Your NC Time
with
No Contact Time Magnets:
http://www.zazzle.com/gettingpastyourbreak/gifts?cg=196596650437100585


Like us on Facebook! http://www.facebook.com/GettingPastYourBreakup


Read our posts on Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/getting-back-out-there


REWARD YOURSELF WITH THE WORKBOOK!!!

The GPYB/GBOT/GPYP Workbook: http://gettingpastyourbreakup.com/gettingpastyourpast/gpyp-workbook-order-here/


No contact (NC) is truly the key to moving on. It’s a big, important topic which is why it’s the first chapter in the book.

GET THE BOOKS!!! Both books are important (both have a full chapter on how to be NC when you co-parent). Go HERE to get the books!

FOR NC CHIP SUNDAYS, go HERE

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Join The Facebook Group

Due to the on-going issues with registration and Word Press, I will post some new posts here on occasion, but will publish new articles mainly on Psychology Today. For the PT articles, go to THIS LINK.

We have a very active and supportive group on Facebook and have moved discussion/support to the Facebook group at http://www.Facebook.com/groups/GettingPastYourBreakup

Please join us there! It is a CLOSED group and will not show up on your TL and your friends/family won’t know you are there. We take the privacy extremely seriously. There are group guidelines and though there are a lot of groups on FB that may be a free-for-all, this one is not. We have a group conscience and a group structure and are there for support and help and sometimes tough love, but we discourage in-fighting, baiting or being an arsehole.

IF you are not on FB because you left FB to not see your ex in your friends’ posts, I understand that, but you can block those friends. If you’re not on FB and they don’t expect to see you there, they’re not going to know you blocked them. I know that blocking the ex, the ex’s family and mutual friends is hard, but if you’re not on FB for that reason, just go on and block them.

To keep the FB group safe, I don’t approve brand-new FB accounts with no friends. BUT, if you’ve never used FB but are registered on the blog, send me your FB name and I will approve you for the group. Email gpyb DOT com AT gmail DOT com (yes, two dot coms). You can also reach me via the contact form on Psychology Today. Go to any GPYB/GBOT article and hit the Contact button.

Please see this link above for other links to GPYB resources…our videos, Psychology Today posts and others!

Getting Past Your Breakup Resources:

http://gettingpastyourbreakup.com/gettingpastyourpast/gpypgpybgbot-resources/

Getting Past Your Breakup Recommends:

http://gettingpastyourbreakup.com/gettingpastyourpast/gpyb-recommends/

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Codependency Kills

Two years ago I did a Kicking Codependency/Raising Self Esteem on-line bootcamp. It was attended by a few of my individual clients and a few people from the blog. It was an incredible experience for all involved. I thought it was a one-time thing and then one of my clients asked, this past December, when I would be offering it again. He said he has a friend who really needs it. I keep hearing stories that indicate that codependency is a major issue for a lot of people. After much thought, I’ve decided to offer it again starting this month.

Codependency kills. That is NOT a phrase to be taken lightly. As an ES Clinician I saw many people show up in the ER after a failed suicide attempt. I also counseled many people who had a family member successfully kill themselves. In every instance, it seems that codependency was running the show. I remember when I was early in codependency recovery, a cousin-in-law’s brother killed himself after a breakup. I knew the couple when they were together and he was a textbook example of codependency. He was overly enmeshed in her issues and problems and was the supreme “helper” as most codependents are.
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2/26 Check in Post

How is everyone doing? Please check in!

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Karma: Not Always the Bitch We Want It To Be

broken1 Many of you would like the ex to “get theirs” or at least not seem so irritatingly happy or non-plussed. First, this is a normal and natural emotion but don’t dwell there. Second, they will get theirs only you don’t know when and you don’t know how and they might not even know it when it happens.



And in the end
the love you take
is equal to
the love you make
.”
~ Lennon/McCartney

When we’ve been hurt by someone who couldn’t really care less that they’ve hurt us, even though they once professed to love us, part of our emotional spectrum is hoping that they get theirs. We blister with rage when they seem to just go on and do whatever while we sit in breakup hell writhing in pain. It seems so unfair and we want something, anything, bad to happen to them. We don’t wish terrible things on them, but we’d love for Life to wipe that smile off their face. We’d like SOMETHING to occur that would tell us they are not just moving on without a hiccup…that it’s not so easy for them.

You don’t want to hear that it might not ever happen. You don’t want to hear that life isn’t fair and it’s not supposed to be fair. But we want someone to pay for our pain and we want to believe that good people get good stuff and bad people get bad stuff. And when it doesn’t work out that way, we hate it and we feel, instinctively, that it’s wrong. And we have trouble handling it. We want to shout, “BUT I WAS GOOD!!!” and even if we were not as good as we think we were, we know damn well we were better than people getting better stuff than us, looking happier than us, having an easier time than us.

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Building Your Own Life

Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid it will never begin. ~ Grace Hansen

This post was written a year before the book was published and when Michael was well (I mention him at the bottom of the post). I think it needs a rerun. Someone asked me in an email to share what I did to build a life of my own (because I kept saying this is what you need to do in order to be the right person). Not that I recommend anyone do the same as I’ve done but here is my list of what I did to be a full and complete person ON MY OWN separate and apart from everyone else.

The Workbook (you can order HERE) has a chapter on Goals and how to plan them and make them HAPPEN.

You can take my list and fill it with your own “stuff”. 🙂 Happy Building!!!

1. Affirmations and positive-self talk. Very important to build your confidence to try new things. This should come first in all things!!!

2. Journal keeping. Again, figure it out on paper. Think about it, sketch it out and then go for it.

3. Support groups: all kinds. Meeting different people in different places (as well as workshops, retreats and conferences). I did not rely on one group of friends for all my support but it was important to me to meet others who were trying to change their life and work through issues in their pasts. Most people I know could benefit from Codependent Anonymous meetings but other 12 step programs might help if you have addictions or alcoholism in your family or former partners. Your community and/or church might have support groups as well.

I read a lot of different authors and then would find out where they were speaking (a lot harder before the world wide web but I would figure it out) and go. I think the GPYP seminar participants bond in a nice way and one of the reasons for it is the interactive and personal nature of the seminars. It doesn’t have to be a GPYP seminar, it can be any undertaking where people are looking for psychological self-improvement….go and talk to people. If you don’t like one meeting or workshop or seminar, try another one… Yes, putting yourself out there is HARD but the rewards are WORTH IT especially when you meet people with similar goals–making life better.

When I was a single mother not getting ANY child support, I put away the $60 a week for my therapist before I paid anything else. It was A LOT of money at the time. But people spend oodles on weddings and have no guarantee they will be married forever.

The money I spent on therapy, workshops and seminars was FOREVER money…money that made me FOREVER strong. My therapist said if I didn’t take care of myself I couldn’t take care of anyone else. I did weekends with John Bradshaw, Melody Beattie, Stephen Levine, John James and others. I did plenty of other workshops, retreats and seminars both locally and long-distance (I did a 12 step event in Reno Nevada where I knew NO ONE when I arrived on Friday night and left with 30 new friends on Sunday.) Spend money where recovery happens.  Please please please check out these things. It’s so much easier now than when I was doing (before the internet had information on everything).

4. Social groups.

Hobby groups. Reading groups (book clubs…IN PERSON clubs…go to someone’s house once a week and share about novels…these are incredible when you get the right one…as with ANYTHING, if you don’t like one group, go find ANOTHER).

Sports groups. I joined a basketball league for a couple of years (all 5’2 of me) and that was FUN (they were not intensely competitive maniacs..you have to find your type of group).

I belonged to some Meetup.com groups in NYC and started recommending them to others.  I went to baseball meetups, theater meetups etc.

I once had a client in Oklahoma who went to museum meetups and she was so happy with her new friends, she stopped having Skype therapy with me!  She told me that my insistence that she get out and do things and my recommendation for Meetups gave her so many new friends and interests, she was just hap-hap-happy and didn’t really want to talk to me once a week about her XBH. Funny.

I know that many members here have benefited from them in their home towns. CHECK IT OUT!!!

5. Classes. I took academic classes as well as fun classes. In the early 90s there was a guy named Bob Ross who did a method of painting called wet on wet and I loved it. I found a craft store that offered classes on the Ross method. I can’t draw a straight line (SERIOUSLY). But with the help of a good teacher and fun classmates, I DID A Ross painting!!! Okay, it’s not DaVinici, but hey! I DID it! It was better than sitting on the couch every Saturday and just watching him do it and thinking I could do it. I actually did it and that’s worth something to me.

Click on the thumb nail to see the full image.

wetonwet2.gif

That’s a photo of my painting which doesn’t do it justice, but you get the idea. Do something that seems like a stretch but a FUN stretch! I LOVED this experience!

I also learned to crochet (as I talked about in another post…what a disaster!) and while I was never really good, I did it and it was fun to do when the boys were little. I learned to ski, to garden and I did ceramics for a while. In each case I met people I would not have otherwise met and did things that were fun. I also learned to laugh at myself when things didn’t go well. 🙂 (Hi to my friends at Ravelry! Thanks for sharing this site over there!)

6. I learned Italian and traveled to Italy (once by myself!!) I not only saved up but took a flight that made 3 stops (including a 7 hour layover in London)…and hit the bargain bin at the local travel agents and made it happen. With a little bit of creativity there are travel deals to be found. Travel agents may be passe but if you find a good one (as I did), you can do a lot of traveling on the cheap.

7. I took a photography class at a university (UMass Amherst) and went to Sicily on a photojournalism tour. The student rate was very cheap. Because I was registered at the university, I qualified. There are a lot of creative ways to do things if you don’t really have the money. (the photo of the (what will soon become the “old” Tappan Zee Bridge ) on the Facebook GPYB page was taken by me, I have a framed copy of it in my house). Spending that money on that course was well-spent. I had a blast and learned a lot.

sicily1.gif

That’s one of my photos from a winery near Mt. Etna (we had been on Mt. Etna that morning). I had a great time. I was in a group of young students who wanted to be professional photographers but I had a tremendous time. I did go to bed about 11 pm after running around the countryside all day with the kids and they stayed up and partied but I had a wonderful time.  It was one of the most fantastic trips I’ve ever taken.

8. Take other trips…all kinds of trips. I’ve traveled by train all around the country. There is nothing like going across the country or up and down the coast like a train trip. Reserve a sleeping car, turn OFF the cell phone and watch the world go by. Meet new people in the dining car. FABULOUS! Again, save for these things…set them as goals. As a single mom I didn’t have a great deal of money but I squirreled away for what I wanted.

9. I renewed my motorcycle license. I had ridden when I was a teenager but when I tried to get on a bike later on, I fell A LOT because the bike was NOT right for me and that is why. I STILL knew how to ride but I had moved from state to state and never noticed that when I changed to RI, they left off my motorcycle endorsement from NY.  When I moved to Massachusetts, I transferred from my RI license…again no endorsement so I took a course because I KNEW how to ride but didn’t have a bike small enough to pass the motorcycle road course.  So I took the course and took the test on a 200cc bike, renewed my license and bought a Harley (HD fitted the bike to me, changing the seat and lowering the bike and changing the handle bars) after I married Michael. First a used one, then a new one…and ridden all over the country….a feeling of power (for sure!)

When I moved to California they transferred the MC endorsement after I took the written test (when you move to CA, you have to take a written test for the driver’s license AND the MC license…it was BRUTAL and both Michael and I almost failed but the clerk actually gave us hints as to what answer they wanted (which was the opposite of what you’d actually DO on the road).  When I moved back to NY, they almost left the MC endorsement OFF the license AGAIN and I said, “Okay now I’ve come full circle, I moved to RI from NY where I had an MC endorsement and RI left it off. Now I’ve moved from CA to NY and now NY wants to leave it off!”  The clerk looked at me like I had 14 heads but COME ON PEOPLE.  🙂 (that was just a little side trip down Department of Motor Vehicle nonsense.

10. Have a “me” night once a week. I used to TURN OFF THE PHONE and allow ABSOLUTELY NO INTERRUPTIONS and take a long bubble bath…deep condition my hair, mani/pedi and then off to bed with a trashy novel. After a while, I bought expensive bubble baths, expensive conditioners, down comforters and nice sheets and PJs that said, “I’M WORTH IT.” You have to design and craft your own sanctuary. You have to make your home, especially your bedroom, your OWN in a way that says: “I ROCK.”

11. Join a gym. I joined 2 gyms and bought a 10 speed bike. I biked 20 miles every Sunday. Watching your body change and becoming stronger gives you amazing confidence and it really really boosts the self-esteem.

When I rode on Sundays, I felt very lonely.  But honestly, it was one of the best best things I ever did. I truly suggest that if you go for a walk or a hike or a bike ride that you LEAVE THE PHONE AT HOME.  Those days of biking were so hard for me…but I learned so much and NOW I miss them.  I loved those rides and after I got hurt on the bike, I missed them.  And I was in FANTASTIC shape.

Please read THIS POST (“Living in the In-Between”) for more about those rides and the loneliness.

12. Go places and do things! I am a Broadway-holic and a Yankee season ticket holder. I brought the boys to basketball games and baseball games when they were growing up. We went skiing as a family. We went rollerskating and four wheeling. We GOT OUT and did things….not like maniacs, but we were out there living life.

I take the grandkid to the Museum of Natural History, the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the Radio City Christmas Show, Broadway shows just as I did when my kids were little.

When I have the kids I have my phone but it’s OFF.  I pay attention to the KIDS.  When I see parents or even grandparents looking at their phones instead of their kids, it makes me crazy.  Put the phones AWAY when you have kids or dogs in your charge.

13. In contrast to number 12: Sit still and do nothing. This is incredibly important and a MUST to leaving a bad relationship in case you get sucked in somehow in the future. “Screw this shit, I know how to be alone.” was my mantra (see the workbook about mantras) whenever I was not being treated the way I wanted to be.

How I did it was I learned to make peace with the peace. Learn to be quiet and sit still…learn to be bored...learn that sitting there and doing nothing is okay too. You don’t have to be entertained or entralled every minute. Learn to just BE.

Turn off the computer. Turn off the cell phone. Turn off the ipod and iPad. Spend some time each and every day UNPLUGGED from everything. If you have trouble being away from all forms of communication, that is even MORE reason to force yourself to do it. You need quiet time to figure out what you want. Life is about living…it’s not about waiting for a call or a text or an email or someone to touch base with you. Develop quiet, unplugged time every day. NOT now and again but EVERY SINGLE DAY. This makes SUCH a difference if you cultivate this. You become less beholden to all the electronic machinery and more in touch with yourself. Go for a quiet walk (no Ipod, no cell phone, no computer) or sit and relax or meditate. Go to a Zen garden or something similar. Get quiet. Go inwards. Learn about YOU.

If you put your phone down and away from you and find you are anxious or just ITCHING to get back to it, that’s a PROBLEM.  The longer you can do without it, the longer you learn to do without it and you can get in touch with YOU.

GET OUTSIDE AND LIVE A LITTLE!!! or STAY IN AND JUST LEARN TO BE (again with everything turned off) If you live where there is public transportation try to BE on the train or the bus and just experience it. Don’t let life pass you by because your head is never where your feet are.

I take public transportation all the time and watch as people miss a lot of things around them as they are jabbering away on their cellphone or texting like crazy people. They are losing the sights, smells and sounds of what is going on in their immediate vicinity. When we do that we lose the ability to be good observers and good observation skills are ESSENTIAL to recovering and our well-being. Turn it all OFF and start to observe. Let your head be where your feet are!!!

Healing is about BALANCE. Building your own life is about being good to you and learning to be alone with you AND getting out and doing new things, meeting new people, going new places. DO IT IN BALANCE. Or do it at the same time: taking a train trip alone and just watching the world go by is an example of getting out and doing stuff AND learning to be alone and okay with that.

Think of things you can do to build your own list and then: DO IT!!
It was not always easy for me to do any of these things. Each one was SCARY! But I learned to do it and it got easier.

Not everything was successful…but I tried so many things and GAVE MYSELF CREDIT for trying (and not quitting too soon…those 6 months of keyboard lessons were BRUTAL).

AGAIN: BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE!!!

This is NOT just busy work. This is learning to build a life and to care, REALLY CARE, about what you’d like to do–what you’re all about. It’s about giving yourself enough validation to figure out what you want to do and DOING IT. It’s about learning to be alone while learning to be out in the world as a single person. It’s about CRAFTING a life that is rich and full of meaning even if some of your interests and hobbies seem a bit goofy (wet on wet painting?…goofy). 🙂

And you will value you and your life and it will be a nice place to be. You’ll be surprised at how much fun it is to think: wow, I wanted to do that and I did it!

When I was a kid my family used to ask me who did I think I was when I talked about taking classes or learning new things or meeting new people or going places. When I was married my husband criticized me constantly for having “big dreams.” Well, I made most of them come true but the ones that tickled me to DEATH were the smaller ones, the ones I’ve listed here. The ones that gave me reason to smile and plan on a daily or weekly basis.

I also did not give up these things when I met my husband Michael. I still travel alone sometimes…I still go out by myself…I still take ME time. IT’S IMPORTANT!!! And it was important for me to meet someone who takes his own time and encourages that in me. So many friends I had built their own life and then tossed it away (including friends, including me) when someone came along to offer them romance. Not good and not smart.

Your life is now!!!

Go live it. Build it! Today!

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Trusting Yourself

The 1996 photo was taken during our wedding vows. The 2007 photo was taken dancing at my son’s wedding. We looked at each other with as much, if not more love, than on our wedding day. The years between had pounded us with many adversities but we stood together through thick and thin. I went back to New York after 2 years in Texas and left Michael there to sell the house. I had no idea the house would take 2 years to sell.  We spent a lot of money, not only on my Manhattan apartment and the Texas house, but flying back and forth at least once a month. We spoke every day.  It was a difficult separation but we trusted each other completely and never argued about anything in those years.
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Registering – Even if you have been registered

In trying to move spammers and sploggers off the blog – which takes a lot of time each week – the user directory was culled back and you may need to re-register. I apologize for any inconvenience but the number of new registrations each day was more than I could keep up with and I did several passes through the users directory with a few different tools and realized one of the tools was over zealous and wiped out regulars. Sorry guys. Please reregister!

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Making Peace with the Peace

Your true traveller finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of his liberty – his excessive freedom. He accepts his boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure. – Aldous Huxley

When difficult times and people leave our lives, we often find the void almost too much to bear. We feel as if there is this huge gaping hole in our lives and in our heart. We are not quite sure what to do with ourselves.

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