Jan 19, 2011

King of My Thing

I heard this song on the radio today and in the midst of a rowdy sing along decided it would be the perfect dedication to my obnoxious neighbors, lazy landlords and the situation that has been unraveling quickly and unpleasantly over the last 2 months.

I rent a small 1 bedroom "in-law" cottage and share the driveway and property with whomever is renting the main house. My front door faces and is at most 10 feet off the driveway. The girls that rented the house just before Thanksgiving are early 20's party girls with a constant rotation of cars and people into the wee hours of the morning. The landlords and police on different occasions have been called yet the drama continues and is escalating. I have had it out with the landlords twice and we have come to an impasse, their perspective being "there is nothing (they) can do." I am actively looking for another place to live.

I continue to move through a roller coaster of emotional issues surrounding this situation. Number one being it seems that no matter what I do it somehow turns out to be the wrong thing. All I really want is for someone to get it; I live here too, cars in and out/up and down the driveway at 2am wake me up, people standing in the driveway smoking and whooping it up wake me up, my car got broken into and wallet and iPod stolen from the glove box during one of their parties, I haven't slept through the night in almost 2 months, I no longer feel safe in my own home. And I get more frustrated and angry the more I feel I am ignored.

Through this experience I've found ways I don't stand up for myself and behavior patterns that leave me lashing out to get attention I think I ought to have. It's left me curled in a ball in my bed, teary eyed, wondering what the hell I did to deserve any of this. And it's demanded I stare my own deep insecurities in the face while telling me I don't have a right to do anything about any of them.

A couple days ago though I woke up very clear in myself that I was done and I was going to stop fighting for my side to be heard. I had a pinpoint moment of pure clarity showing me what I'd been doing was working really hard to get them to change and suddenly I knew this was a big part of my stress. I can't expect anyone to change so I can be happy. My only job is to take care of me, make choices for me instead of working to find middle ground with people that won't even stand in the same room with me. And this is a pattern for me, work to make room for everyone else and get frustrated because they won't acknowledge I'm waiting in the wings for my turn.

That moment of clarity, though still with me, has faded a bit as I return to this house every day after work and still have to work around the unpleasantness leaking out from next door. But hearing this song gave me a little boost and reminded me that really no one outside of me can tell me who I am and I'm giving the neighbors and the landlords way to much authority over my experience. It just doesn't matter that they don't see my side and they just don't get it...or me. So yea, who cares if they disagree, they are not me. And I am the master of my own experience.

Of course, while singing loudly in the car, asking them who died and made them the king of any part of my life I realized that if I'm dedicating it to them, I have to dedicate it to my own ego as well. That internal creator of personal chaos that is telling me they don't get it, how much I'm the victim in all this crazy and all the rest of the debilitating things it tells me to get me to react out of fear. I have to stop giving my ego any authority over how I operate, perceive or think.

This knowledge burst over me like a pop-up thunderstorm, quick and cleansing. Though by no means new information it moved through me on a very intentional course to my heart and made me laugh out loud. I have been wasting so much of my time and energy, I can be free now, I make all the decisions, especially the placement of my attention. I started getting excited about the prospect of being free from what other people think, or probably more accurately my own judgements of myself, and then realized that standing in that place the way I've put myself together up to that point no longer holds true. And here's the work....letting go of what's not working anymore, what's no longer true while learning to put myself together in a way that feels true but incredibly foreign.

Now I can say thank you to the neighbors and the landlords for their time and remember it's really not necessary to learn through pain, Love is also an amazing teacher. The world can tell me whatever it wants to tell me about who or what or how I should be and I can just smile knowing I don't have to be anything more than the king of my own thing.

Jan 16, 2011

The Vacuum Cleaner Chronicles

My vacuum cleaner died last night. And not a simple kind of death that it just stopped working, instead it came apart in fairly large pieces in my hands as I worked to replace the broken belt. I kept thinking as another piece dropped limply in my hand that I would be able to figure out how to put it back together but as the motor dropped with a deadly thud to the floor in a puff of dust that proved to be it's last breath, I realized I had to let it go.

It wasn't a new vacuum, an older model Hoover that required you to plug in the hose to use any of the 4 standard attachments. And it was a barter, I received it in exchange for helping a client move a couple years ago. It didn't look like much but worked great and was the perfect gift at a time when money was especially tight. And I knew it was dying for almost a year. I've been looking at vacuums for a while but either can't find one with all the features I want or find one that looks good and just don't want to spend over $100 for a new vacuum, especially when it lives in the trunk of my car.

But the process of watching this one come completely apart in my hands reflected back to me what I tend to do internally and clarified what was happening in my life at that moment. I continue patch myself together so I can keep going, keep what is known in place, maintain the status quo. And even though I have developed a deep appreciation for the process of change, that things must die to make room for the new, I still resist the letting go. And now, with a dismantled vacuum in pieces at my feet I see it, to get what I want I have to let go of what I know, that what I know is coming apart and it's ok to let it die.

I bagged up all the vacuum pieces today and took the bag out to the trash can. I'll set it all down by the street and magically, by the time I leave for work Thursday morning, it will all be gone. So I'm taking this moment to acknowledge the work going on there; the transformation, the death, the rebirth the clarity. I'll get a new vacuum sooner rather than later and start letting go in all the tiny hidden places in myself where I'm holding on to how it's been, how it's supposed to be. And I'll move on.