To Stay or To Go?

 

To Stay or To Go?

 

The sign says “prepare to stop.”

But all I want to do is run.

Run from the gray trees and sky

Gray on the road ahead

And the gray in my reflection.

The gray in your dying face.

 

But In Front of Me by Juliet A. Wright

copyright 2008, all rights reserved

 

 

In the following entry, I express my desire to control the timing of a trip out west in the inevitable event of my brother-in-law’s death. (He died on May 9, 2014.) Once again, I am trying to control something I can’t control.

 

I feel like I’m being controlled by the situation in California. My brother-in-law Zeb is ill with cancer, and I am obsessing about having to take a trip out there and how it will affect my schedule and life.

 

I feel like when Zeb passes, I must be ready to go at that minute and that I don’t have a choice. I mean I want to do the right thing, but what if it’s in the middle of my concerts at school? What if it’s in the middle of my Maine vacation or the summer course I’m taking? I feel like everything I do is dependent on what happens out west. Maybe that’s the wrong way to think. Is this negative thinking? It certainly seems selfish of me. I hate to think what this says about my character.

 

At the same time, I am obsessed with thoughts of my sister Alice, her exhaustion, stress, current and future grief. I want to make everything okay for her, to take the pain away. I know that is impossible. I want to be there for her, but need to be here to do my work too. I want to control the situation to have the outcome be best for everyone. This is beyond my control.

 

Juliet’s Codependency Patterns at work here: 

  • If you hurt, I hurt, I think I have to fix you.
  • I don’t know what I need, I focus on what you need.
  • I am obsessed with making you happy, with saving you.
  • Please don’t get mad at me. I’ll do or be whatever you say.
  • My fear of abandonment and fear of rejection determine how I behave.[1]

 

Juliet’s Feelings Patterns:

  • This is all my fault, I did something wrong.
  • I don’t deserve good things.
  • They are going to abandon me.
  • They are going to reject me.[2]

 

But I do have a choice in how I react or respond to the information that is presented to me when it arrives. I can say yes if I am available, or no if it is impossible for me to get away. Or I can offer to go and see if I’m needed. I need to be there for Alice if she needs me. That is what’s right. Why don’t I give it to God and let it go?

 

The outcome of this was that I didn’t abandon my sister. I offered to go out there and Alice declined my offer. So I did okay. I did it as right as right could be in this situation. God took care of it for me.

 

It’s okay for me to take care of myself. I can live my life one day at a time. I can see where spirit leads. I am not in the driver’s seat.

 

I have to remember that if it creates resentment in my heart, it’s not a choice so I can’t do it. Everyone will know of my hidden inner resentment because to people that know me it won’t be hidden at all. I will have this ugly vibe about me that will affect everyone around me. That won’t serve anyone, so that is not a choice either.

 

I obsessed endlessly about this situation. Some of the background information on this dilemma is that my parents were very sick for many years. This made cross-country trips on a moment’s notice a regular event. These trips can take a toll on your energy, nerves, and life after a while. With this particular situation regarding Zeb, I was out of control with it at that time. Over and over, I ran the same conflicted thoughts about the California trip through my head. The hamster got on his wheel and wouldn’t stop.

 

Here is my control situation put through Process One and Process Two.

 

Process One: 

  1. I consciously breathe in and out slowly. Breathing with awareness brings me back to the present moment. It gives me an automatic time-out.
  2. I become aware of what I’m doing.
  3. I ask myself, What’s going on in my body, feelings, and brain?

Body: Tense, heart racing, muscles are clenched

Feelings: Feeling threatened, unsafe, agitated, but guilty, shameful, bad, and selfish as well

Brain: My brain is wanting to know if and when I have to go to California, and it’s worried about the timing of it all. How will it affect my work, concerts, and summer?

  1. If possible, I write down the information and journal about how I’m feeling. I am feeling threatened, unsafe, agitated, but guilty, shameful, bad, and selfish as well.
  2. I pray for the willingness to accept the situation and information as it is. God help me be willing to accept the situation as it is. Someone I care about might need me to go be with them. It might be at an inconvenient time for me. Help me to be willing to accept that I may have to change my schedule and go if needed.
  3. I pray for acceptance of the situation. God, I am now willing. Please help me accept the fact that I may have to change my schedule and go out west if needed.
  4. I admit powerlessness over said problem. I am powerless over when I might be needed out west.
  5. Then I become willing to feel my feelings. I am willing to feel my feelings of feeling threatened, unsafe, agitated, but guilty, shameful, bad, and selfish as well.
  6. I pray for God to help me with the pain I feel inside. Dear God, please heal the painful feelings I feel inside of being threatened, unsafe, agitated, but guilty, shameful, bad, and selfish as well.
  7. I put a note in my God Box about it. Dear God, I give you the situation out west and my feelings and the solution to the highest good of all involved.
  8. Where can I put my mind that is not on this? I go do something else.
  9. The something else lately has been me playing music on my violin, viola, cello, and guitar when I feel the CoDA crazies coming on as a result of control issues. Playing music gets me relaxed, calm, breathing, and balanced. In the later section, “Music for Recovery (The Healing Power of Music),” I will discuss the genres of music I play in more detail.
  10. I have to remember that God doesn’t make junk. I am a beloved child of God just the way I am. I don’t have to do anything to be okay. I am okay just because I’m me. I must never forget that. I am a worthwhile person just because I exist.
  11. From now on, I will keep turning the matter over to God until I get back in balance. He is in control, not me. I pray and give it to God. He will help.
  12. Even if I start obsessing about wanting to control the circumstances surrounding the possible trip out west and the critic has convinced me what a selfish person I am, I’m still okay. I’m still a good person. I am a beloved child of God. I can always talk to God about it. He’ll help me.
  13. Take myself to Tanglewood: If I’m not near my picture, I use my cross ring as an anchor to remind me to go to Tanglewood in my mind. It helps me relax.

 

After I go through Process One, I proceed to Process Two — Make a Plan:

 

  1. I recheck my anxiety level. How am I feeling? Better, less threatened, unsafe, agitated, guilty, shameful, bad, and selfish as well
  2. I breathe big and deep.
  3. What’s the information? I may need to take a trip out west when it’s not convenient for me. I want to control the timing but I can’t. It is out of my hands.
  4. What are my choices? I can sit here and fret about it like the hamster on the wheel over and over, or I can give it to God and trust that He is sovereign over the situation and me.
  5. I hold the outcome in the Light of God, give thanks, and visualize what I want. God, I give this situation to you to the highest good of all involved. What do you want me to do?
  6. I take action in the direction of the choices I’ve made. If needed, I plan my additional steps. I listen for God’s guidance and directions.
  7. I affirm my choice and accept it. God is telling me to let go and trust Him. He is reminding me to “Be still and know that I am God.”
  8. I give it to God by either placing my problem in an imaginary goblet and offering it up to God with arms outstretched or by getting on my hands and knees and giving it to Him. Thank you God for taking this off my plate.
  9. I ask myself, Where could I put my mind that’s not on this?
  10. In this instance, I get out my violin or my guitar and play a few songs.
  11. I thank God. Thank you God for taking care of me.

 

Thank you God for this learning.

 


[1] Ibid.

[2] Ibid.

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