Healing and Learning to Live Again

Quote75Let me start by saying, I’m NOT an expert at this.  I’m a professional… like a professional student.  I’ve been working away at this for the last 20 years.  Self improvement is a pretty broad topic and it’s also a very emotional one.  It takes a lot of courage to face the truth about yourself and learn to live with who you are.  It takes strength to examine those areas of your life that you’d really like to just bury in a hole and forget about.

I’ve tried.  It doesn’t work.

It comes back worse than before because now you’ve added guilt to the mix.  One thing I had going for me was a support system.  I had my mother (who listened to me rattle on and on about how horrible I was as a person, that I couldn’t do anything right, that I was worthless and would never be a good person) who would smile at me and say:  Just breathe.

Sometimes I got through entire days ‘just breathing’.  Looking back, I can see that I was the type of person who took forever to make a decision.  Once the decision was made, I was full throttle until I accomplished what I’d set out to do.  It was helping, but the solution was always temporary.  It didn’t stick.  Before long, I found myself right back in the same old habits and destructive routines.

I had my aunt (who let me sit at her kitchen table and bawl my eyes out, rant and rave about how much I hated my life, that nothing I did ever made a difference) who would wrap her arms around me and say:  Easy does it.

Easy does it… It took a while before I realized that didn’t mean I was supposed to relax about things.  It meant that I needed to be gentle with myself.  I needed to allow myself to process all the emotions I’d kept bottled up in my head and heart for years, so they wouldn’t explode all over the place in a sticky, disgusting mess.  That helped me a lot and I was soon able to see my life a little more clearly.

I made some really difficult, life changing decisions because I had the support and understanding that I needed to come to these decisions all on my own.  No one else was going to tell me what I should or shouldn’t do.  They all encouraged me to do what I needed to do to make the right decision for me.  For that, I will be forever grateful.

Quote81My aunt convinced me to go to an Al Anon meeting with her.  To be honest, I thought is was stupid at first.  I didn’t believe it could help me at all.  But, I had promised to go to three meetings and give it a chance.  I’m glad I did.  It was one of the best things I could have ever done for myself.  I wasn’t alone in this.  Others had lived through the same type of situation I was going through.

I began to heal.  This was one of the very first permanent changes I was able to make in my life.  I took back control of my life again.  I learned to belief that I was worth something.  I learned to believe that I deserved to be happy.  I learned that I didn’t need people in my life that made me feel small and worthless.  I learned to live my life one day at a time.

Eventually I felt stronger, more confident, and happier than I ever had been before.  I was ready to try something new.  The plan was to meet someone I could go out with on occasion and have a good time.  Blow off some steam, maybe become friends.  My aunt had just the person in mind.

My Life… as an Oilfield Wife

B02w3L5IUAAgkaHWhen my husband first told me he was thinking about changing jobs, I understood immediately why he felt the need to do that.  We’d recently lost one of our best friends to suicide and going to work every day had begun to take its toll on my husband.

I was both surprised and impressed that he’d decided he wanted to try working for a company in Alberta.  The money sounded great, as did the benefits that came with it.  We discussed it a lot before he made his decision to go, but in March of 2014, he boarded a plane for the very first time and flew away into the wild blue yonder.

He was gone for six weeks that first time.  While he was away, I had my hands full with my then 15 year old son, who was determined to put me in the loony bin.  That’s a story for another day.  I was also dealing with my then 6 year old son who was missing his Daddy something awful.  We figured it out and my son is doing well now, even though he is ready to move now.

My husband and I had been together for 12 years at that point and I was very much used to him taking care of all the outside stuff that needed to be taken care of.  Snow plowing, filling the wood furnace, cutting wood, fixing my vehicle when it broke down.  He did it all.  Now, it was my turn to learn to run the snow plow on the ATV, fill the wood furnace so we didn’t freeze to death, split wood if it was too big for me to lift.  It’s a good thing I learn quick!Brad20

He was away for eight weeks the next go.  It was during this time that we decided we would start working on the house and getting it ready to sell.  While he was away, I began purging our house of all the things we didn’t need anymore.  I also began packing up things we didn’t use often.  Right before he came home that June, I moved my oldest son to live with my sister.  For various reasons, it was a major stress relief for all of us.

When my husband comes home, everything comes to a grinding halt.  We have parties with friends, we go out for dinner with the kids, we go shopping, we go fishing and hunting, too.  We squeeze all the family time we can into whatever time we’re given, usually just 5 days.  It’s getting harder and harder to say goodbye, instead of easier.

He was gone for ten weeks this time.  While he was away, I renovated.  I re-dry walled the basement bedroom.  I stripped, cleaned re-installed vinyl tile flooring in the bathroom and one bedroom.  I painted the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and hallway.  I stained the house and painted the chink.  This kept me and my 6 year old busy all summer.  When we weren’t busy with the house, we were visiting family and swimming at the beach.

That’s how the rest of the time has been spent.  My husband is away six to ten weeks at a time, as a rule, and then home for only a few days.  We lucked out this simmer while they were between jobs and got to have him home for a month.  He’ll be home again at Christmas for about a month or so, then back to our regular routine.

In the meantime, I continue to keep the house clean and ready to show, look after the yard and wood furnace, and with winter coming, I’ve made sure we have enough wood to get us through until spring.  We’ve decided to leave the house on the market for the winter, so now we just wait and see what happens.  We’re looking at different areas in Alberta, where we can find a house with a few acres for a decent price.

Time will tell if it all works out the way we hope it will.  And if you are an oilfield wife… remember, it’s hard but it’s so worth it!

Hold Onto Your Hats

I took the day off from writing yesterday.  I needed to let my brain absorb the ramifications of a Liberal Majority government in Canada.  I’ll be honest.  It scares the life out of me.  I understand that Prime Minister elect Justin Trudeau has Canada’s best interests in mind when he is making his promises.  The problem for me is: how hard is this going to hit my family and can we survive the next four years?

I live in Ontario, where we have a Liberal provincial government.  It has been devastating for this province and we are on a sinking ship.  My biggest concern about a Federal Liberal government is exactly that.  How long will it be until this beautiful, prosperous country is facing the same financial crisis?  I am a Conservative and I understand financial matters.  We could be in for a long and difficult journey over the next four years.  My family is one of about half a million families that earn a living in the oil and gas industry, and so far, we’ve been able to weather the storm.

The oil industry’s reaction to the Liberal win is one of concern.  There are mixed reviews on what the implications will be now that the Liberals are set to take over.  It is expected that the Liberals will launch an immediate review of Canada’s regulatory process for oil and gas projects.  On the other hand, the Liberals expressed their support of the Keystone XL project.  They also indicated that they support other projects like the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project, provided environmental concerns and local communities, including indigenous groups are included in the discussion and planning process.

The Northern Gateway project in BC is not something the Liberals support, based on the review process and say that environment, local communities and First Nations will be negatively impacted by this project.  They intend to reverse the decision, which will lead to lengthy legal issues as a result.  The Liberals believe reform is needed to strengthen oil and gas regulatory agencies and plan to launch an immediate, public review of the current assessment process.

The Liberals also believe carbon pricing is necessary and will develop a plan with the Provinces in this matter.  The Liberal government sees the refining sector as an important contributor to the Canadian economy, and supports the sector’s ability to determine the amount of refining capacity it needs to meet market demand.  They state that sustainable development of Canada’s energy resources is needed, but at the same time must respect Indigenous Rights, the environment and local communities.

The issue is complex.  A lot more complex than I think Trudeau has admitted to himself.  All I can really say is Good Luck Canada.  I hope we all survive this ‘Time for Change’.

Let’s Try This Again….

Quote32By definition problem solving is the act of using generic and ad hoc methods, in an orderly manner, for finding solutions to problems.  A problem is a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with or overcome.  In science, it is an inquiry starting from given conditions to investigate or demonstrate a fact, result, or law.

For the most part we can solve our problems quickly and fairly easily.  We tend to do this by repeating what has worked for us in the past.  When we are faced with a more complex problem and there seems to be no obvious solution, the problem can create stress and anxiety.  This is where I struggle.  A lot!  I am the type of person who ignores or avoids difficult situations and problems, which tends to get me into a heap of trouble.

I started searching for a way to approach problems that will help me to stop procrastinating, avoiding and ignoring the issues I need to take care of.  That is when I stumbled across Mr. Einstein’s quote.  I’m a thinker, and this got me thinking a lot.  I realized that before I try to solve any complex problem, I should try stepping back and investing some time and effort into understanding the problem.  By clearly defining the problem, I’ll better understand how to approach it.  This will also change the way I look at the problem and allow me to think about it differently.  As my mother always said:  It’s all about perspective!

The Ripple Effect Theory

water-drops-ripple-image “Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” ~ Dalai Lama

Such are the consequences of our actions, thoughts, ideas, and choices.  It’s not always noticeable, not something we may be aware of at first, but it’s happening.  Everything we do creates this ripple effect (either positive or negative) on our lives and spreads outward into the world around us.

Becoming aware of this is the first step to making positive changes in our lives.  Negative thoughts will create negative ripples, positive thoughts will create positive ripples.  Choose to have positive thoughts.  Choose to make positive choices.  The effects are almost immediate and the ripples can travel further than you may think.

Have you ever walked into a room and felt slammed by the energy emanating from the people in the room?  It could be an instant headache or a sudden and immediate need to escape.  It could also be a warm and peaceful feeling of love and acceptance or a sense of welcoming, like you belong there.  This happens to me all the time and for a while I didn’t understand what it was or why it kept happening.  Then I realized that I am sensitive to energy and I don’t mean that in some hokey kind of way.  I simply mean that I feel the energy of other people I encounter.

Have you ever witnessed a child melt down in a store?  As a mother of 4, I’ve been involved in several of these embarrassing and frustrating situations.  I’ve also witnessed it happen to other people.  At some point after I had become aware of the ripple effect theory, I began to pay closer attention to things like this.

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I also began to pay closer attention to my own reactions to these situations.  I noticed that when I could remain calm and stay positive, the outburst would usually diffuse itself fairly quickly.  When I reacted with negative energy, the situation would only escalate and leave me feeling guilty and embarrassed.  I realize that it’s easier said than done, but pay attention the next time you are presented with this type of situation.  Let me know if you agree or disagree with this theory.

Serenity, Courage and Wisdom

God, grant me the Serenity

to accept the things I cannot change….

By definition, serenity is a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  In this controlled chaos we call life, it can be a difficult state to achieve.  When you break it down and apply it to your present situation it seems to be a much less daunting task.

To accept something (be it a gift, someone’s opinion, or outside influences on your life) is to acknowledge that it is what it is.  This does not mean you believe it to be true or that it is right.  It simply means that you see the situation for what it is and you are able to move forward.

My interpretation of this passage:  Allow me to acknowledge that there are other forces at work in my environment that I have no control over and to be okay with that lack of control.

the Courage to change the things I can…..

By definition, courage is strength in the face of fear, pain or grief.  It is often a very scary prospect to change your behavior, your attitude, your beliefs.  When faced with a situation that is out of your control, the only thing you can do about it is change the way you deal with it.

It’s easy to fall into the pattern of blame, anger and resentment.  Courage is facing the fact that the only thing you control is yourself.  If you are determined to make changes in your life, you change your behavior, your thoughts, your beliefs, your actions and reactions.  Easier said than done, I know.

My interpretation of this passage:  I take control of myself, my behaviors, my thoughts and actions so I live a life that I can be comfortable with.

and the Wisdom to know the difference.

By definition, wisdom is the possession of experience, knowledge, and good judgement.  This comes to each of us with the passing of time and events that happen in our lives.  It comes from internal questioning of your behaviors, thoughts and actions.  It comes from repeating the same mistakes over and over again until the light comes on and you realize that you are getting nowhere.

But in the end, EVERY situation we face in our lives can be processed through this simple prayer.  You will find peace if you are able to face your fears and are wise enough to stop repeating your past mistakes.  The trick is to come to terms with your own lack of control.  By accepting that you cannot control what happens to you, the power to change your reactions to situations grows stronger.  With that power, you can live a more peaceful existence.

My interpretation of this passage:  No matter what happens in my life, I know that I have the final say on how it will effect me, because I choose not to give away my power to others.  The only thing I control is myself.

Amy12

A Little Bit About Me

I live in what most people would refer to as a hamlet, deep in the forests of rural eastern Ontario, Canada.  We’ve lived here for the past 12 years and it still doesn’t feel like home to me.  I grew up about 45 minutes east of where I live now, but that doesn’t feel like home anymore, either.  Sometimes life throws things at us that change the way we see things.  I am hoping to make a very BIG move, very soon.

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I am a wife and mother.  My husband is a heavy equipment operator and works in the oil industry, far… far to the west, in Alberta.  He comes home occasionally for visits and our lives come to a grinding halt.  We soak up EVERY minute we can with him, before he disappears into the sunset again.  Between us, we have four boys.  He has two sons, 25 and 18.  I have a son who is almost 17.  Together, we have a son, who just turned 8, and is the only one still living at home.

I am a writer and artist.  These are my passions and I take time to pursue them as often as possible, but not nearly as often as I would like.  I write fiction of all kinds, but have never even attempted to have anything published.  Maybe, if I find the nerve, I’ll share a few stories here on the blog.  I have much more confidence in my paintings and in fact, often sell pieces locally.

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I’m a bookkeeper and office administrator by trade, however, I find the older I get, the less interest I have in this career path.  You know how, when you are good at something, you can’t seem to get away from it?  Well, that’s how it is for me.  Bookkeeping, income tax preparation and office admin have always been my safety net and will continue to be, I’m sure.