spiralflames: (black_cat)
ready for my close-up, mr dogMille...
behold my excellent boy!!
ok. don't send mental health workers to check on me, i'm really quite OK...but.. lately, my subconscious has been giving me very specific piano lessons in my dreams. i kiddest thou not. they've been very realistic, not at all fanciful (no ghosts of beethoven or other fantasy characters) and i've learned a lot. here's the first one: i dreamt i was performing in a master class given by pianist andrei gavrilov. (he's friended me on facebook, so i see his name quite often.) i was playing the mozart c minor fantasy. it starts with a slow intro in open octaves. about 3 lines in, he interrupted me....stop, stop, STOP for god's sake!!!! needless to say, i did. "really? this is all you're going to do? start again, and make me believe that not only your own life, but the lives of the whole free world depended on your making them pay attention!" Andrei can be quite intimidating when he's in the mood.
i thought, i gathered force, i felt myself concentrate into a pinpoint of white light and......
C OCTAVES. like the final tolling of the bell before heaven. E-FLATS.. everything went dark except for a circle of light containing my hands and the keyboard. F-SHARPS. i felt all the extraneous sound suck out of the room as into a vacuum. i made it about 3 lines. i was so exhausted i couldn't continue. a drop of sweat gathered on the tip of my nose and dropped on to middle c. "WHY DID YOU STOP?" he said from outside of the vacuum. "that's all i had." i replied. "it was too much work! if i were to play like that, like every note is the most important sound in an otherwise silent world, i would die!"

"great." Andrei said, his face relaxing into a big grin, letting me know he actually hadn't been that pissed at all, and that it really wasn't his nature to come across like an avenging norwegian god...but just wanted to push to see if i had it in me. "now play like that ALL the time."
spiralflames: (fortune)
for the past three years, i have been concentrating on my physical well-being. this is a good and necessary thing. i have also changed much of my mental/emotional outlook, replacing much negativity and grimness with gratitude and occasional Light.

however, some of that has been not fundamental, deep-down change- it's been more "don't think that way, thinking that way gives a person cancer!" that's not change- that's just more avoidance and stuffing. and THAT'S what causes cancer.

the other night, a few things happening at once- things that by themselves would have been very dealable-with-- made me go into a total emotional meltdown. i yelled at a friend, became way too apologetic with another, and cried like i haven't cried in ages.

that was good for me.

it also made me aware that while i HAVE been working to maintain my health, and i HAVE done much to get some of the grimness out of my psyche, that The Grim is still there- and, when that surface is scratched, i turn into that defensive 12-year-old that i really thought had grown up and moved out of the house by now.

guess she's still living in the basement.


1) do NOT stuff. let it out. in writing, to the wall, in the car, wherever it works. if it's emotion, and YOUR emotion, it's valid.

2) QUIT JUDGING YOURSELF. hardest of all. probably not really accomplishable in this lifetime.

3) most of it is NOT such a damn big deal- unless you make it into one.

4) quit beating myself up. you deal with everyone ELSE's emotions, you can give yourself the same courtesy.

5) and, as a friend said to me so long ago, "just accept the love others have to give you."

life is good. and maybe in a slightly new way, this morning.

thanks for the ear, dear.
spiralflames: (wise_words)
drum circle last night at http://www.pathwaysminneapolis.org/ .

last night's circle was larger than usual- 12 or so- and the energy was high. one part of the evening is when people are supposed to 'journey'..(i'm more comfortable thinking of it as guided meditation, seeing that actual shamanistic journeying evidently requires much more time, effort, and, to be honest, either physical harshness (sweat lodge) or, um, help from mother earth's medicinal plants..;-) anyway, one of the leaders softly drums and we all go our own thought-ways. sometimes people have ideas for other people who have asked questions.

i decided to ask about my so-called anger issues, (the ones my friend bob seems to think i have). i introduced it with humor.."my friend bob seems to think i am 'the angriest person he's ever known.' i, of course, immediately shrieked, "I AM NOT!!!!!!!!" anyway, i'd like some insight about perceptions, if someone has thoughts."

one of the group's leaders had the most interesting perception: he said something along the lines of, "well, it's possible that your mind moves at a tremendously fast pace. (true) and that sometimes, when others don't move quite as quickly, you can be impatient (true) and what you're experiencing as simply "let's get moving here, i know what you're talking about!" can be misconstrued as anger to other people."

now that's something i could really relate to. i'm a teacher- and not only a teacher, but a teacher who condenses everything into one 30-minute time slot per student per WEEK. i also tend to talk fast (ok, VERY fast) and i do a lot of writing, processing and mulling things over, so quite often i'll present something in a few sentences, when it's really the end of days or even WEEKS of processing. i'm also used to hanging out with MOFW (men of Few Words) where i became comfortable with figuring out what they were thinking without going through the inside steps where we Talk About It.

i HAVE to realize that wonderful and intelligent people T A K E L O N G E R than i do. i'm always reminded of the picture of the guy standing in front of the microwave shouting "COME ON! COME ON! I DON'T HAVE ALL MINUTE!!!"

sometimes i'm amazed at how people see me. i think i'm getting a real key to it, here. spending as much time alone as i do- i live by myself, i work indepdendently and one-on-one- so when i actually have time with people, unconsciously i'm all "let'sgettheimportantthingsOUTthere...we don't have ALL MINUTE!"

sometimes i think it would be nice to have all minute, all day, all week, all life. then i look at that and say oh HELL no, we'd drive each other insane! i remember the star trek- next generation episode where picard thought he was on an empty ship, because he'd been transported into a dimension where time went so quickly that his movements were undetected by the crew, who moved at basic earth time.

i have to realize that moving in warp-speed sometimes makes me a bit...odd..to others. so can i change my life and totally chill?

probably not. but i CAN learn to consciously give people more processing time, NOT be the guy in front of the microwave, and if/when i don't, not to be surprised at how i'm perceived.

ah. me-time. zooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmm......................
spiralflames: (healing_chakra)
everyone knows the difference between what's now called 'clinical' depression and what's called 'situational' depression.

1) situational: my dog died, my spouse died, my house burned down. tangible misery related to a situation or occurrence.

2) clinical: it's wednesday and i want to die. it's like every other wednesday, but i truly just can't handle it.

i've decided there needs to be the same distinction about levels of anger- i.e., when is anger justified, and when do you Need Professional Help?

ever since bob told me i was "the angriest person he'd ever met", i've been thinking seriously about it.


1) PISSED OFF. i hate it when you step on my toe every time you walk into the room, i hate that your check bounced AGAIN, i hate it when you make a mess and don't clean it up. it's specific. it's usually in proportion to the heinousness of the event. "you didn't flush the toilet" rates a MUCH lower PissedOff value than "you ran over my dog with your SUV." usually immediate reaction to an event. easy to define. SITUATIONAL.

2) ANGER- totally out of proportion, and either unrelated to events, or related so distantly that the individual reason has long been forgotten. vague, concept or theory-oriented. "quit that, you remind me of my mother" "when you do _____ you remind me of my first husband." "my mother never appreciated me" usually happens when some vague unrelated thing happens that pushes a button. seldom situational, or if it is, the situation was a totally different one from today's issue.

pissed off,when warranted, is NATURAL and HEALTHY. stuffing emotion leads to physical illness.

ANGER is often unhealthy, and others are often surprised by its duration and intensity.


i've been giving a good deal of thought about that, as i've tried to jettison my passive-aggressive heritage. when i was with my Ex, i WAS angry. i thought i couldn't talk about what really bothered me, so i deflected it to other silly small things. (being upset about the cap on the toothpaste tube is seldom actually about the toothpaste tube.) since then, i've learned much and have tried to be much more direct. i let people know when i'm pissed off- and usually it's done with. i can honestly say there's very little that i'm actually angry about.

and that's a relatively new, and very healthy thing.

life is WAY too short to hold on to old anger, old resentment, old slights and arrows. and being angry at others is really just being angry at yourself. and that's just plain sad.
spiralflames: (spiral)
interesting..this one sees me as a bit more harsh. results cut because, why should you care? :-D
results )

i just took this test again and still came out a #1. i'm not thrilled with this, nor was i thrilled with the either/or situations they presented- to me, many of them seemed unduly harsh, where if you didn't say you prioritized others over yourself, you were somewhat of a selfish pig..and i was thinking..hmmm somewhere in the middle? or if not "A", then C? D? E?

this was interesting for me, since many clerics/religious folks seem to deal with the Enneagram types very seriously. hmmm..as i write that, i'm wondering whether what seemed to be skewing towards the judgmental (if you didn't spend the majority of your time caring for others more than self, are you necessarily a jerk, or a single person who has to pay all her own bills?)
spiralflames: (Default)
here is the description of the INFJ: INFJ )

since i took that easy meme, i took the more detailed myers-briggs test twice- once, in the keirsey version, one in a more jungian style. each of them came back strong- i have ACTUALLY CHANGED my type from a classic INTJ to an INFJ. for me, this works- introvert? a bit (i can come off as an "X" here, pretty even between an I and an E..the controversy between being a private person, but still a performer of classical music and academic)..intuitive, sure. but moving from the THINKING to the FEELING side of that?? that's HUGE for me..and it took stage 4 cancer to do it. i'm still a strong J..i'm a teacher, after all, it's my JOB- but finally after living under the rigid strictures of PF's personality and 'objective, logical' life..i'm a bit more temperate.

it's about time.

i like it.
spiralflames: (Default)
i've been an INTJ for ages.. this is an interesting change!

Your Personality is the Rarest (INFJ)

Your personality type is introspective, principled, self critical, and sensitive.

Only about 2% of all people have your personality - including 3% of all women and around 1% of all men.
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging.
spiralflames: (random_3)
original post:
i do whatever i possibly can do avoid conflict w/ authority figures, even when i know better.

this needs to change.
i just climbed into my bed, pulled the covers over my head, and pouted my ass off for 20 minutes. i then:
1)called john and told him to come and pick me up for dinner
2)got a wonderful phonecall from MB that made me feel lighter and full of strength
3)took a shower, got dressed and got self together
and then, since i have about a half hour, decided to check in here on EllJay, where i received the following from [livejournal.com profile] saengerin:

"Uh, sweetie???

YOU ***ARE*** AN AUTHORITY FIGURE, more so than most I've encountered.

You've conquered more than most people on the planet, and with aplomb.

In the face of that, who is there anywhere to be an authority over you?

You've fucking conquered death. What/who else is there to fear?"

fine. thanks, dear. now i have to wash my face and put new make-up on, because that made me cry. :-D
two amazing insights from friends. i clicked up MB on AIM to pout about my house's plumbing situation (i had to write out a check for $300, my landlord bitched me out for not calling him first, so i might have to eat the $300, they will probably have to dig up my front yard- in january- in minnesota- to repair the main line, at the cost of thousands to landlord, and i'm always afraid he'll decide to sell the house if it gets to be a financial liability more than my rent)

he listened politely and then said "you have a problem with authority figures, don't you?"

uh. yes. in some situations, i can be a bitch on wheels. but when a male confronts me about things i'm not go at- money? home repairs? i start back-pedalling like mad. my landlord was RIGHT to be pissed that i'd called a plumber and was going to pay for it on my own. of COURSE i should have just called him in a business-like manner and told him there were problems with the plumbing.

hello, self? [livejournal.com profile] saengerin is right-- i've confronted some mighty scary shit, done what i could, and i'm living. there are some issues where, if crossed, i'd just as soon knock you down as look at you. but when it comes to financial stuff, even minor confrontations with students? i absolutely become a wimp.

i'm an adult. i pay my way. i'm not royalty, but damn, i have rights and i should be able to engage in these adult conversations without quailing.

this has been a MAJOR day of learning.

it is SO wonderful to have encouraging friends- not just to tell me i'm wonderful, but to say "hmmm...have you LOOKED at that aspect of yourself? is it something you might care to work on?"

i love my life. leave it to me to make a day of plumbing disasters into a major paradigm shift.

and now...


Dec. 13th, 2007 12:24 pm
spiralflames: (spiral)
i feel about 12 years old.

i've just spent about an hour choosing among the over 1500 icons i have on my computer (jeez..obsess much? spiral, thy name is _monk_?) and putting about 100 of them into zip files which i will print out, cut, arrange and label into my own little self-collage.

in a way, when my therapist told me she wanted me to make a collage of 'who i was then and who i am now' i was thinking, shit, she's really just killing time here... but i HAVE spent a considerable number of hours going through google images, compiling thumbnails that i think represent various aspects of mySelf.. so since i've been DOING that project all along, i might as well actually make it happen.

i was actually (don't laugh) thinking i might get a bit crafty, and make boxes with icons on them (jeez, i am so 70s, am i thinking "decoupage" and do they even HAVE that stuff any more?) that represent people and give them as gifts...naaaaah that's just too damn sappy.

where IS that hard-shelled cynical facade i've so carefully cultivated over the years.

yeah, i know. it never was convincing.. i am one big old mushy ball o'love.

with just a LITTLE evil. :-D
spiralflames: (psychology)
wants me to make a collage of how i was "back then" and how i am "now."

i think "back then" is supposed to be my inner child or younger self.

i decided i'm going to print out 120 of my LJ userpics, and that there can be only one collage- i'm the same person i was then, i just do it better, let go of what doesn't serve, and am up front, at least to myself, about who i am and what i need.

i can't do that to another person now, nor could i at 12.

i think 120 random icons will speak beautifully.
spiralflames: (psychology)
she said "i'll give you two minutes..take out a pen and write a list of things you want."

hehe..she was amazed that i did it so quickly..i didn't bother to tell her the concept of MEME-ness that's always making us figure ourselves out in LJ-land.

here's my list:

1) time




5)back to school- change career

6)family peace- taking care of elders

7)more social life- NEW PEOPLE

8)spiritual/figuring out how not to be so fragmented

9)happy- less stress

so i'll MAKE this into a meme. you have 2 minutes to write a list of WHAT YOU WANT in your life.



Dec. 6th, 2007 12:05 pm
spiralflames: (psychology)
my therapist doesn't know what to do with me.

either i'm so damn self-aware and cool that i just don't need therapy, or i'm SO screwed up that i've conned a competent professional into thinking that she really doesn't have anything we need to work on.

it's too much journalling, i think..i KNOW what my problems are, i know myself pretty well, and if there's something that's not perfect, i either have a plan or a damn good excuse.

i was sort of looking forward to her asking some scary questions.

maybe i've asked MYSELF all the scary questions already.

more on this later.
spiralflames: (random_2)
when someone says "live by your heart" or "respond from the heart".. do people actually envision the beating physical heart?

isn't "from the heart" another word for 'emotional' and don't all emotions origin in the brain?

is there always a fundamental difference between living 'from the intellect' and living 'from the heart?


much ado..

Nov. 14th, 2007 11:15 pm
spiralflames: (psychology)
and probably about nothing much.

my therapist told me to 'concentrate on emotions' for the 2 weeks between our visits.

what's that supposed to mean?

i HAVE emotions. deep ones. shallow ones. profound ones, silly ones. i can be as adolescent-mooded as a 13 yr old and and i can be as strong as a damn mountain.

HAVING emotions and EXPRESSING emotions are two different things.

EXPRESSING emotions assumes
1)an audience
2)an audience that cares about the state/effect of your emotions
3)and that you're willing to take the fallout from that emotion's being expressed.

i usually
1)do NOT have an appropriate audience- i'm teacher/caregiver/Big Sister to too many people
2)most people would FREAK OUT of they knew the force of the emotions i keep inside and 3) the emotions i feel would definitely impact my business, my family life and god knows what all else.
3)tend to absolutely wither if someone is mean to me, justifiably or not. i avoid conflict whenever possible.

so, counselor dear, it's not that i don't HAVE emotions.

it's merely that i'm not willing to EXPRESS them, since they would probably result in my entire life changing.
interestingly (to me) i find that this question of 'emotion' gets translated by me into "NEGATIVE" emotion. i DO feel that i'm constantly, and rightly, expressing the POSITIVE emotions in my life. i could list a thousand thing that i adore/appreciate/am grateful for. that's never been a problem- i've always considered myself one of the world's great "appreciators."

what i do NOT have a real-life outlet for is: BEING ANGRY. being frustrated. being pissed off. being just plain whiny sometimes.

it's funny- i also realize that i'm "over-pathways'ed"-- that with all the positive/sweet/affirming/calming sessions i've had there, i've actually brainwashed myself into believing that i'm NOT EVER ALLOWED to be just plain snarky, obnoxious and rude.(read: "human") on occasion. in moderation. doh!


the icon i chose for this entry is one symbolizing the 'winter equinox.' i think it symbolizes MY SELF and my self-imposed Spock-ism. i need a major THAW. i've been holding everything in way too much, and that, my dears, equals ILLNESS- psychologically, spiritually, and physically.
spiralflames: (psychology)
today, i saw carol, the psychologist i've been going to on occasion ever since i was recovering from my cancer surgery in 2005.

she's a really cool woman- mid-50s, tall, skinny, vibrant, scarfy and saily with bright colors and longish skirts, salty vocab and really, really smart. i like her a lot. when i first came home, i saw her twice and she fired me.. "you're JUST NOT DEPRESSED!" it was true- i was so grateful not to be DEAD that each minute was (and still is) a miracle.

at that time i thought, well, what about the rest of my life PRIOR to this? but she didn't seem interested. she DID tell me i could 'check in' if i needed to, and i've seen her 3 or 4 times since. usually, by the time something comes up that makes me think 'i should call carol!' the crisis is resolved, and it seems more a 'reporting' rather than an active involvement.

today she nailed me a bit- she said i was obviously very smart but that she thought i had allowed my intellect to dominate entirely, and that i kept my feelings totally to myself.

well, yeah.

i had come to her because i've been scared- since my chemo has ended, i'm not DOING as much to actively fight cancer, and i was just plain scared.

she said, well, why not BE scared? it won't kill you.

that's So.Not.Me.

i think (ha) i've spent so much time WORKING towards ALWAYS BEING POSITIVE and DOING THE RIGHT THING and NOT ALLOWING MYSELF TO BE NEGATIVE because NEGATIVE THOUGHTS GIVE YOU CANCER..that i've done the opposite- i've shut half of me away.

in my attempt to BE POSITIVE, i've just STUFFED everything negative.

DAMN! it's not the NEGATIVE THOUGHTS that give a person cancer..it's the STUFFING.

i have some serious work to do.

i set up a few more appointments. this might be scary. and that's OK, too.
spiralflames: (lightningstrike)

so i'm reading [livejournal.com profile] maddr's EllJay and she recommends all thinking individuals run to check out her friend [livejournal.com profile] iconoclazt. being the agreeable (and nosy) human that i am, i do, and discover the poem by mary oliver that i quoted in my last entry- a harsh and lovely poem about Setting Boundaries.

last wednesday, i made an appointment with carol, the counselor/psychologist who 'fired' me last winter because "you're just NOT DEPRESSED!" (at the time, i thought, well, true, but for heaven's sake, i've been depressed for the PAST 40-odd years, couldn't we talk about that?)

with various issues in flux and surgery coming up wednesday, i decided i needed a 'tune-up.' i've been feeling absolutely swamped by the pain of my various family members. "so. how close are you to telling them all to just Fuck Off and leave you alone?" (carol does NOT waste words.)

"oh, i'm a long way from that." i responded. "i WANT to be there for their major problems, i love all of them..it's just the daily grind of their small problems that gets me down."

she asked me in which areas of my life i felt i DID have successful boundaries established. i thought for awhile, and realized (this sounds so pathetic- and i don't mean it to be, at ALL) that my entire LIFE is a boundary- i'm gratefully single, i don't have a child or a dog, and i run my own business. most of the things people need to work on putting in their proper places are non-issues in my life because they don't exist. (we'll discuss whether this is a wonderful thing or a truly pathetic thing at a later date, ahem)

she said, well, tell me about your teaching. i realized that's one place where my boundaries are firmly, professionally and successfully in place- i have a contract, they sign it, there are no mysteries as to where their responsibilities lie, and no mysteries as to what they can expect from me. hmm. and yes, in my early days, i used to scream, yell, rip my hair out over students- not paying, not showing up, being too emotionally draining, etc etc...and now? clockwork. have students changed? of course not. i'm just no longer Statue of Liberty to the Musically Walking Wounded any more.

so she wants me to write up a 'contract' for my family- what i'll do, what i expect. not to GIVE to them, but for me to establish it in my own mind.

::nods:: i like carol. she's feisty and smart and cuts through the convoluted weirdness that can paralyze me for ages.


spiralflames: (Default)

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