5 Little gems…

… dug out of me in Life Coaching sessions that have surprised me.

  1. I am not a commitment phobe as I have always thought, but quite the opposite.  I am a commitment junkie.  Totally addicted to the stuff.  But, as with all addictions, this one is terribly unhealthy.  I over-commit and then drive myself into the sick-bed/the grave/some form of insanity in order to get the impossible done.  The worse thing that can happen to me in these commitments is for me to succeed.  Because then I set a new, stupidly-inhuman goal and go all out to kill myself to meet that one too.  And succeeding this, there is always a new level of insanity to conquer.
  2. I am hiding myself in work.  There is no balance.  Time poverty has been taught to me and accepted by me as a virtue.  If I keep this up there will be no humanity left within me for other sentient beings to relate to!
  3. I hold on to hurts.  Doing this only succeeds in hurting me longer.  This is not a surprise to me as some of the other five gems have been but I have historically had No. Clue. At. All. how to let things go.  It isn’t natural for me to forgive and forget those who do not actively and contritely seek my forgiveness and forgetfulness.  I have to teach myself how to do it.  Follow a difficult and disciplined process to purge myself.
  4. I am in love with my own essence!  Falling in love with myself and my own gifts, my own unique reflection of God himself, is a process that is bringing me much joy.
  5. I have let myself go.  My wellbeing is way down on my list of priorities.  Something has got to give.  Panic attacks and migraines, drinking and breakouts, insomnia and weight fluctuations are all pointing to abject neglect.  My neglect.  Of me.  And this has to change.

Some things already have!  Friendships, pastimes, focuses have all started to shift.  But more will come and I am very excited!

Dear RIM I think I want a divorce…

So RIM failed us. Again. What a life-shattering experience this day has been! But what will it take for me to really leave the blackberry for the iPhone?

Yes, I’m annoyed as hell but I haven’t made the jump yet have I.

Today I realized that I am more committed to my blackberry than I have ever been to anything else except maybe facebook. I just can’t leave it. It wakes me up in the morning with the sweet sounds of blackberry music and puts me to bed at night with the last chime of incoming email. It stays by my side through walks, breakfast, the short commute, conference calls, bad dates, and boring sermons.

And now that I’m conscious of it like Adam and Eve realizing their nakedness I’m inclined to reject it.

But how inclined am I? And won’t an iPhone be worse?

I’m… sorry… I just need… a few more minutes

I know that today I haven’t written. Loathe to turn my back on a commitment, I must apologize for the drivel I am about to write. In advance.

This evening I drove into the supermarket parking lot on the way home. I put the car in park but I could not for rye bread, love nor money get out. If I had I would have ended up curled up on the shelf next to the baked goods, soft and yeasty.

Instead I used the fumes of my dwindled body-fuel to throw Virginia (my car – meet Virginia) in reverse and limp home. I didn’t make it up the stairs. When five pm did catch me it was with a half snore under the granny square afghan I made when I was fifteen, a dog asleep curled around my head and one napping warm and reassuring on my tummy.

Today I testify to something a Single Woman really needs: rest.

3 Steps to conquer Commitment Phobia

1. Admit You Have a Problem

Bushlings has a commitment problem.  I get bored with a single idea.  I get distracted.  There are so many other things I could be doing.  Telling myself “its good for you” or “you really should do this” is never enough to get me to really commit.

There are so many examples of this in my history, to my shame.  I quit playing the clarinet when I was 12.  I was good at it but I got bored with my teacher.  I quit playing the harp when I was 14.  It was a beautiful instrument but I liked piano better.  I broke up with all of my ex boyfriends before we had been together for a year.  I got bored with their flaws, I got bored with their strengths, I got bored with their interests, I got BORED.  I have never been in the same job for more than two years.  Ok… that last one is probably not the best example because the change has always been a promotion or for the better.  But it all amounts to the same thing.  I have no experience with commitment.

Always the first step to solving a problem to is to acknowledge you have a problem.  So here it goes… I have a problem.  I don’t know how to commit.

Step 2 – Take Steps Around Yourself – the GOAL

One thing I have learned in recent months is that people like me need to have a goal.  There needs to be an objective benchmark that we challenge ourselves to reach.

A perfect example of this need for an objective goal is my blog.  This blog has been an experiment.  I (a) set an idea I wanted to commit to – being satisfied and single for a healthy period of time, and (b)  I set the objective benchmark – until my hair reaches my shoulders.  Together they make up my goal.

The Idea: It hasn’t been easy to focus and to say no to dates and to ward off advances (not to sound arrogant) and it has been even harder to not pursue interesting avenues into potential relationships.  I am a romantic at heart and do not naturally have the self-discipline to maintain a state of satisfied singleness.  However I saw and still see the value in taking time out to enjoy singleness and enjoy being right where I am and being satisfied that this is where I was intended to be at this very moment.  But I had to set myself an objective benchmark for me to focus on.  A period of time.  A destination.  On its own the idea leaves me pretty much where I started.

The Benchmark: So it was decided that I need to wait until my hair reaches my shoulders.  It appears to be completely unrelated to the real matter at hand.  It is something that can be measured and followed.  It is unavoidable.  Every morning I wake up and look in the mirror and there it is, my hair.  It is half-way down my neck when I pull the longest curl straight.  I have some way to go before I can allow myself to let go of The Idea.  And that closes the case for the day.

In essence I am taking steps around myself.  Attaching something that I can measure and cannot avoid to what would otherwise be a very vague goal.  If I stuck to the idea alone I could rationalize myself into saying that today I am ready to step into the love world again. However, I cannot deny or rationalize myself around the fact that my hair is short.  The goal is set.

Step 3 – Accountability

Then comes pride.  Sure the goal is there but in your own head what does it do?  You still allow yourself the freedom to abandon it, to give it up, to change your mind.  But what if you’ve told the whole world that you have set the goal?  And what if you ask the world to help you keep to it?  Then pride becomes a good driver.

Accountability is one helluva thing.  I have had so much support in this blog from my friends and from readers I have never met.  And so when I go out for happy hour on a Friday night and am tempted to stray one of them will say “so Bushlings, about your hair…”  And when I write something out of the depths of emotional angst and in response to pre-haircut issues I get a comment from a reader, a new kind of friend, to say “Bushlings this isn’t within your focus.”  Accountability really is making this experiment work.

These are the three steps I have been inspired to share with you today.  Now I need to head for the gym.  Before I do…

… the practical application for today. 

Step 1: I have a problem – I am not at my best weight, my most fit body state.

Step 2: The goal is made up of (a) the idea that I need to eat right and exercise to get to my goal weight and (b) the objective benchmark is to have my wet dream body for Trinidad Carnival 2012.   …I still cannot believe I am doing this.

Step 3:  In creating my accountability I am telling all of you about it.  Kick my backside if you see me slacking off and eating junk.  Yell at me if I miss my workout for the day.  Make me ashamed of myself if I fail in my commitment.

Family Men

Even the best laid plans fall apart. Yesterday, day 2 of my trip to Florida, was intended to be spent shopping like an accountant. But travelling companions have their own plans, and two with their own different ideas and the car keys can leave your intentions in the back seat. Mama Bushlings wanted to shop for the house and Papa Bushlings wanted to visit the family.

It worked out well! I settled for a pedicure while they shopped with Mama Bushlings and was thoroughly entertained by a Vietnamese guy who explained why he had tried at being a gigolo but nobody would call him back so he was stuck doing nails to feed his wife and two kids both under the age of two. After this Papa Bushlings took me to see the family.

He took me to meet a great uncle of mine in the generation of my Aunty of the Ackee and my grandmother. He and his wife are living in Florida as they battle together against the cancer that seeks to claim his life. They have been married in the region of half a century and are devoted to each other. It showed me what commitment looks like. At 79 years of age it doesn’t look like steamy nights and rolling thunder. It looks like something far deeper, far more bittersweet, and far more heavy. The difference is like the comparison between chewing gum and a 5 course meal. I left his home grateful that he has lived in this love as he now faces his mortality.

One of the Bushlings cousins went with us. He is a giant of a man, not just in stature but in my opinion. Much like my daddy in fact. He lives with his children and his wife not far away and visits the uncle. This man I know – he is dear to my daddy and they have many childhood memories together. He told me many family stories – about sides of the family unknown to me. About the cousin who became the second wife of a Pakistani traveller, the cousins who grew up deep in Spanish Town ghettos and have become gun-toting garrison soldiers, other cousins who live in New York and others in Florida.

He also told me stories of his childhood with my dad. It is so fascinating how children can live together in a moment and take from that moment two very different things. As my giant of a cousin recounts the tale Daddy Bushlings fills in blanks here and there until their puzzle pieces fit together offering me a 3D image of old arguments and family milestones.

He took us to see his sisters, and that will be a whole other story in future days. We spent some time with his family. In bits and pieces I got another story of commitment.

My cousins have seen the hardest of these hard times in Florida as the economy has tanked and yet they continue to thrive. They had to give up their home, fight for work, at the same time as putting four children through school. He has hustled, and so has his partner in life, and they have now found a way to push their heads above water and kick furiously to the surface. With clean hands. And with commitment. You would never guess their struggles when walking into the peace of their home. Like a duck gliding gracefully on the surface, it is the grace that you see. Not the furious kicking underneath. And it isn’t that he has anything to hide – he described the last four years for us very openly. It is simply the grace and gentleness with which they approach life and responsibility. And a good sense of humour.

These moments bring great lessons for my own life and memories to give my children. I come from a line of family men without equal. And this day was spent with only three of the hundreds. Is it any wonder that my standards are high? On days like today, spending time around my daddy and the family that made him, my soul rests in belonging and my heart swells with hope. Even here on my own I belong to someone. To special people. And their love and protection no man can replace.

When his time comes for him to enter my life I will know him. Because he will resemble my giants.