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The following quote is from An Adult Child’s Guide to What’s Normal by John C. Friel, Linda D. Friel

“We try to fix the problem with logic. We become excellent problem-solvers. We make charts of behavior. We make lists. We stay up late into the night with our spouse, lover or friends, analyzing and talking aboutproblems. But the problem doesn’t go away. We are in crisis, and we are doing crisis management, but the crisis doesn’t go away. It has become unmanageable.”

I had to laugh when I read this passage. Of course, my initial reaction was pure astonishment when I first became aware of these books. It was a combination of relief and shock to see my issues so clearly defined.

I have been making lists since I was 10 years old and throughout the years it has become a joke to family and friends how I schedule myself relentlessly, trying to control every minute of my day. Some people who grew up as I did developed eating disorders or other unhealthy methods of coping. I never knew why I felt the need to control my environment at all costs, we just do what we do to survive.

The comical part of it, is to acknowledge that I have been coping this way for twenty years now. Twenty effin years. Torturing myself by trying to adhere to an impossible schedule. I still don’t believe that it is necessarily impossible, that is what is unhealthy about it. Deep down, I still think that I can control my environment if I am disciplined enough. Life rarely fits into my little box and it can only be accomplished by rigid isolation, which, is challenging when you have friends and family who care about you.

Currently I cannot deny that I am in a state of crisis managment and have returned to the same coping skills learned as a child. Working from home, I am trying to split my time between three companies while also preparing for a cross-country move. I’ve cut out, or am trying to control, the unhealthy coping methods recently adopted like drinking alone and other damaging habits.

Square one. I have to do it. Yesterday I implemented a new schedule, and of course, it was too tightly wound to survive a lunch meeting and phone calls that went too long. However, today is a new day and I will try to find the balance between a schedule and the messiness of life. Then, in the next year, I intend to develop new ways of dealing with life and the challenges that come along with it.

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The bottom is an interesting place to find yourself. All of the sudden, the dust begins to settle and you look around, absorbing the state of your world. Everything is so clear when your life falls apart. You are given this amazing opportunity to rebuild and make incredible changes in yourself. Chaos is the perfect time for lasting change. I’ve finally reached a point where I can no longer go on living like this. I suppose it’s partly disgust, mixed with shame and confusion.

I thought I was doing everything right, or at least trying to. But here’s the thing, I now realize that no matter what I bring into my life, it’s all going to slip between my fingers if I don’t fix myself at the core.

I don’t need to recreate my external world. As I get older, I can see that I’ve gone that route too many times. It’s time to take a hard look at myself and figure out why life has never gotten better no matter where my home is. It’s not easy to do, and I know now that I can’t do it on my own.

I’m so fortunate to have the friends that I do, they’re my family. But it’s gotten to the point where I can see the pain in their eyes as they watch me self-destruct. My personal problems have now permeated everything and everyone around me. Co-dependency, self-medicating and escapism have been my downfall.

No matter how many times I’ve felt my heart ache in these past few months, I know I’ve arrived at this point for a reason. All of this pain that I am going through is necessary to become the person I want to be. Every last drop.

I’m not going to let this city turn me away. Because guess what? It’s not the city, it’s me. The only thing I am running from, is myself… and I’m too logical to keep planning an escape when I keep returning to the same place.

If I leave, it’s going to be on my terms and not based off of delusional fear. My personal faults cannot be masked as external factors any longer… it’s as if I’ve been chasing my own shadow.

I created this situation and I am the only one who can pick up the pieces. I feel like I’m finally taking the right path to become the person I know I’m capable of being. Big things are about to happen.

 

“Man looks into the abyss
There’s nothing staring back at him
At that moment, man finds his character
And that is what keeps him out of the abyss.”

– G.G. in Wall Street

Balance, clarity, clear direction… these are ongoing challenges that I have accepted to be a part of life. I know that I’m not alone in this. I think it depends on how self-aware a person chooses to be. I use the word choose, because clarity doesn’t necessary present itself if you are in an environment that is too chaotic. It’s too easy to get caught up in the flow of life, and sometimes we need a little reminder to take a minute to reconnect with ourselves. The article below was refreshing and insightful, so I contacted Tama Kieves and she was kind enough to give her blessing to repost.

 

Discover Diamonds In The Mud: Clarity, Creativity, or Genius

By Tama J. Kieves

 

Here’s a little secret. You can’t force clarity, creativity, or genius.

Yes, it’s maddening when you don’t know what you want–and no one else knows–because it’s your life.
Years ago, I felt very confused about a relationship issue. I journaled about it, cried about it, meditated about it, and clamored for certainty. And all I ever got when I asked my inner guidance was “you’ll know when you know.” Now that’s the kind of guidance that makes you want to shriek and join a cult or something where someone just tells you what beverage to drink, what thoughts to think, and what to wear, and things are nice and clear cut. But I already had a Jewish mother, so I resisted that urge. Instead, I hunkered down in the mud, cried, made myself comfortable, and mucked around until I claimed my diamonds.

Okay that’s the short version. In truth, I resisted, complained, obsessed and eventually decided I was going to have to live with confusion. And of course, when I accepted confusion, it evaporated wisp by wisp. Self-love cleared the fog.

So I thought I might offer you some tips on how to invite clarity when you’re feeling stuck and confused.

1. Take Out the Garbage and the Garbage will Clear
Do the task at hand and the vistas will emerge. Nurture the seedling and the tree will grow. Sometimes the Universe has given you an answer. It’s right in front of you. Work with the client you have. Clean out your garage and create that studio. Water the marigold seeds in the pot on the porch. Love the people who come through your front door. Take care of what’s in your midst so that you’re free to take the next step and move on. Don’t wait for the next thing to come before you tend to the work that you’ve already been given.

2. Definition without Experimentation is Limitation
Sometimes you want an answer so bad that you’ll squeeze into an ill fitting box or label just to end the search. But of course that’s not certainty, that’s insanity, and just delays the pain. Dare to ask until you have a true answer. Experience will answer you if you give experience a chance. Become a researcher collecting data. Let go of your concepts of your self and become aware of this beautiful, new emerging identity. See what this self prefers.

I’ve worked with a good deal of writers who need to try on different styles before they commit to a direction. They often feel frustration because they want to get started. Experimentation is how you get started. We want to finish before we even know what we want to create.

3. Invite Every Answer to the Party
It’s hard to let insights in, if we’ve dead bolted the doors. Sometimes we are begging for clarity, just as long as it’s a nice, tidy, respectable answer and preferably one that doesn’t really require us to change much at all.

Secretly, I’m looking for guidance that tells me that nothing has to change and I will get everything I want. I really don’t want to hear anything else. I certainly don’t want to hear how I might have to grow or do something different or open my mind to a new possibility. Really, I’m not looking for guidance. I’m looking to give guidance, as in give my script to the Universe. Meanwhile, my beloved Self is waiting for me to open my mind and heart so that it can flood me with kindness, direction, and magic beyond compare. It’s a loving standoff.

In my book This Time I Dance! I said, “The heart speaks with closure to the open mind.” When we’re ready for any answer, we’ll receive the one jewel we know is ours.

4. Become Attentive, not Obsessive
I’ve never met anyone who finds an answer by staring at the question, intently having to know. Desperation clouds your investigation. Keep tickling yourself with questions, gradually unbridling the knots in your heart and mind. Learn about yourself with fascination. You don’t need to become a stalker. Your truth knows how to speak to you. By all means, do focus on your situation. But don’t make it the focus of your life. Stay conscious, not rigid. The more you relax, the more you connect to yourself and that’s when the heavens shower us with diamonds.

5. When Answers come Knocking at the Door, There has to be Someone Home
Sometimes I don’t know an answer because I can’t feel. I’m numb, tired, exhausted, whacked out, hyper, fearful and haven’t exactly been in my body in at least a decade, or so it seems. In other words, nobody’s home. If I’m not really there, then even if I’m surrounded by guidance, I won’t know it.

Feel your feelings. Slow down, check in, cry, be uncomfortable, resist the temptation to avoid the hollowness. An opulence awaits you beneath the veil of hollowness. You are not empty. You may simply be tired and out of touch with your nerve endings. Slow down. Take a hot bath. Journal. Walk. Just be with your precious self–even in the heavy-hearted haze.

Sometimes truth hurts. If you’re avoiding pain, then you’re avoiding realization. The cost of escapism is no escape. Pretty Zen, huh?

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I want you to know that you will know what is right for you. Be gentle. Stay conscious. You can’t help but grow. Giving birth and healing is a subtle business. I’ll leave you with my love and this thought from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. “Nothing can get done abruptly. The real changes are slow and invisible.”

Copyright Tama J. Kieves, All rights reserved.

Author’s Bio

Tama J. Kieves is the best-selling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love/How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All! She is also a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands world-wide to discover and live their creative dreams. Learn more about Tama’s workshops and coaching or sign up to receive FREE monthly inspiration and tools for your creative life journey at www.AwakeningArtistry.com