Friday, October 9, 2009

Finding My Way While Treading Water on a Rollercoaster

Yesterday I found another potential application of my skills, interests, and talent. I was reminded that I had looked into professional organizing several years ago, and had forgotten about it until yesterday.

It appeals to me because it involves creating systems that help people perform everyday tasks, much like the rehab work we do for people with disabilities in my current job, and extended to everyone. Every system would be different, just as every person and their way is different.

The process would be about asking questions, getting to the root of a problem, working with people in their own context and perspective, and widening the possibilities. I would get to encourage people to be more efficient, effective, productive and happy. Better organizational systems promote competence. I could facilitate the process, teaching each person how to improve their own lives themselves.

I could even work for myself out of my home and only work when I want to.

Except, when I completed the activities in the most recent chapter of How to be Rich and Happy, working in any capacity isn't in my pictures of my own rich and happy life. Instead, I picture our future children, Donald and me, our families and friends, smiling and laughing. I picture our pets, including a future dog. I see myself encouraging wonder in our children, looking happy and free and peaceful.

I see travel and trying new things, visiting Europe and hanging out on a dude ranch, riding horses. I see a home of our own where we are comfortable and where I can host lots and lots of happy visitors. I see an inviting and lovely guest room. I see a well-stocked kitchen where I try out new recipes. I see home improvement projects and volunteer time in our new community.

I see a beautiful garden, full of tomatoes, herbs, and other vegetables. I picture new crafting projects. I see that I am feeling needed, fulfilled, purposeful. I see myself sending Donald off on his own adventures, things that will help him blossom and grow. I see us eating healthy, yummy food. We are healthy in my pictures. We walk and hike and canoe. We are surrounded by mountains and green fields with dirt paths to follow. I see us playing in the snow with our dog and kids.

I have what I need and I am content.

I have no idea how this turns into being rich. I know it leads to happiness.

Right now, the images I descibed above are my absolute top priority. What I really want is to have a family and to create a new life with Donald. That is what will make me happy right now. That is my current motivation.

The best part is that we're already working towards that goal each and every day. I am off the pill. I am eating healthy foods and maintaining a healthy weight. I am working each and every day to get closer to finding inner peace and maintaining it. I am present in my marriage. I am decreasing the level of stress and anxiety in my life.

I am teaching myself things that will be valuable as I become a parent and transition back to life on our own. I visit my family whenever I have the chance. I am learning how to cook and I have more confidence in trying new recipes. I am identifying what I can contribute to my community. I am finding my way.

So here's where the treading water on a rollercoaster comes in. All of these positive realizations that I have outlined above happened while I was at work, sitting alone in my office with little interruption. As I made my way home, my mood slipped. I started to feel tired and melancholy. The excitement and hope and motivation abandoned me.

When I got home, I could tell that Donald was down. He seemed sensitive to my tone of voice, ready to assume that I was upset with him even though there was no reason to be.

After dinner, we went to the basement to snuggle on the couch and chat. I told him about how helpful it has been to me to think positively in the face of unknowns. He said "That won't work for me." I felt sad. I wanted to bottle up my joy and pour it over his head. I wanted him to be able to see that we have come so far, we are so close, that he deserves to feel good about the progress made. I wanted him to picture success and hold it fiercely and close to help him get through this additional week of waiting.

All of the things I have been reading lately speak to the power of positive thought in creating positive outcomes. And that negative thought produces negative outcomes. I pictured our energies, my positive one and his negative one, doing battle right there in the room. I felt angry and deflated. Keeping up positive energy is hard enough on its own for someone like me who has little practice so far.

It's hard enough to create positive out of neutral. To have to create positive just to balance out a negative seemed like more than I could take on, especially when the negative was coming from the person with whom I want to share my positive, happy pictures.

I felt like I was treading water, barely keeping my head above the surface, now burdened with holding Donald's head above water so neither of us drowned.

When I asked him to tell me what his camera images were, he said that he didn't know. He believed that I was showing disapproval of him in my desire to have him try to think positively about the situation. Our conversation devolved into me trying to explain myself and him getting increasingly agitated.

The dark basement suddenly felt oppressive and cold. We moved upstairs, where warm, soft light cleared our minds, the excitement of a hockey game on the TV changed our moods, and the company of Donald's parents opened our hearts. We sat together and watched, forgiving each other as our hips touched.

We went to our own space, got ready for bed, and snuggled under the covers in the dark. We lay on our sides, Donald in front of me, my arm over his side, my breath on his back. Donald apologized. I forgave and apologized too. And then I described my pictures to him.

I told him about the dreams I have, the hopes I have, the success I know we will have. We could both see the images in front of us, hovering in the dark, real enough to reach out and touch. I felt tears sting my eyes when I said that I wished I could show him the pictures I have in my head of our beautiful children. They are what I picture the most.

Donald's strong back softened against me. He told me that while I was talking, he saw a cosy house with a small yard, in a quiet, family-friendly neighborhood. He could see our future. He had hope.

Breathe. Faith. Smile.


  1. Loving story of process and communicaton.

    When my husband does not think about money - it just flows, but one member of his office runs around like chicken little and this time he is buying into the negative and focusing there because he feels old...

    Right after he got back from a 3 weeks bike ride 2 small projects came into the office...hold that feeling guy and we will return to normal - instead he is now feeling old and worthless...

    Sometimes the one who understands has to be the leader - the hockey game was a game changer...keep those in mind...and then the new stories become apparent...

    I know it is is worth it.

    Stay warm and cozy..

  2. I know exactly what you are going through because my husband and I have been through this too. Staying positive is tough work, but it is crucial. In my experience, one person in a couple usually gets landed with this role, and it is often the woman.

    You are doing the right thing by trying to picture what you want! I did this myself, and I got almost all of it. Even if I hadn't achieved my goal, I know that the process of envisioning what I wanted made me a lot happier than brooding would have. As long as I was working as hard as I could and not just indulging in pipe dreams, I knew I was going the right way. I still do this, and I still have the job of being positive.

    Men seem to take wage-earning to heart. A man who is out of work feels it more keenly than a woman does, especially one who is married and thinking about starting a family. Keep up the good work and know that many others are going through this too!

  3. Daphne,
    Keep on believing, keep on letting those thoughts come. They are so worth it. And as you keep sharing them, their beauty will touch another...

  4. patricia - Thank you for your kind words and insights. It is amazing how much our surroundings can impact our moods and thoughts. I appreciate your encouragement.

    Mary - It is tough to stay positive and I agree that is is worthwhile. Donald and I tend to take turns supporting each other. I am sorry and glad at the same time that I am not alone in this experience. Hopefully we can all gain strength from each other.

    Lance - Thank you so much for your comment and support. So far, writing this blog has been a wonderful open door to good things. I am grateful for your encouragement.


I welcome and appreciate your comments!