Kiss5Tigers

The 5 Tigers represent the big things in life. This blog is about facing them.


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Asking

The generosity of people just blows me away.

I have a favoite author, SARK, who says, “Ask. Ask again. Ask differently.” I like that. Not to bug a person, but sometimes your request gets lost in the general noise of life. And sometimes people don’t understand what you’re asking for.

On a business level, Shepherd Inn is opening a new home and needed furniture. My boss asked for in-kind donations rather than cash. In-kind means people donate the item itself, so if we need a sofa, they donate a sofa. In two days, the house was furnished! Well, two exceptions: coffee table and end tables for the living room, and new mattresses for the new beds. I’m going to ask my friend K about the tables, she’s really good at finding things for cheap online.

On a personal level, I posted that I got turned down for unemployment and that I was worried about taking care of my cat. One friend brought me food and litter, another friend Amazon’ed me a huge bag of food and some litter, a third friend donated cash. I am just blown away by this. I mean, I knew people can be kind, but so many people concerned about my cat, wow.

What I take away from this is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. I didn’t ask for someone to get me pet food, but people saw the need and jumped in. My friend L taught me about asking too. She asks for prayer for things and usually someone is led to help her out in a material way. In fact, she is one of the people I send money when I have a little extra. I haven’t had any extra lately, but L and N get money from me. And daughter of course.

Even if I hadn’t gotten donations, I would have vented about my fears and that would have helped as well. Keeping my fears and needs to myself just seems to magnify them. They become so huge and overwhelming, probably because they end up taking up so much of my brain space.

So, another thing I got, that I need but didn’t ask about, was this evening I am off. I will be so happy to get some time to myself. I have chores to do around my room, but mostly I will go to Half Price Books for a look around, maybe to Barnes & Noble. I want a copy of Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ “Between the World and Me“. I already know it’s sold out at Half Price but B&N might have it. After that, I’m thinking of a poke bowl. I’d like to invite daughter and boyfriend to join me.


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Online Mentoring

I belong to a group on Facebook that is run by an author named SARK. Every couple of weeks she does a live online mentoring session and this evening was one of those days.

One of the exercises was to listen to 10 statements and decide which ones made your heart race, in either the scared way or the excited way.

I picked these statements:

  • See with fresh eyes
  • Invest in yourself
  • Give yourself fully

As a writer, and I am calling myself a writer these days, I always want to see things in a way they haven’t been seen before. I am looking for new words and new ways to describe things. There aren’t really any new things in the world, well a few but not in the area I am writing, so it’s all about saying things in new ways. The best way to do that is to see with fresh eyes.

Oh, investing in myself! This is so hard to do! It feels selfish to spend time and energy on me. But I do things like support groups for myself, so it’s about how I frame it I guess. Support groups are part of my wellness plan. Wellness is important to me for balancing my life. But self care is part of wellness, and self care is more than bubble baths and mani/pedi spa days.

As a creative, investing in myself is also investing in my creativity. It’s going to museums and reading good books. It’s journaling over coffee and meeting with artistic friends. It’s working through my resistance and doing the creative work I feel called to do. Pampering is fine, but part of investing is doing the work, making the emotional investment in the project.

Giving myself fully is a little scary. It involves being whole-hearted in my chosen involvements. So much safer to just dip a toe in and when things tank there is no real commitment. But so much richer to risk full involvement. And if I’m looking for fresh eyes, being all in is a good way to find them.

It’s all about building a life that is more alive, I think. It feels like it’s different aspects of the same trait. Enthusiasm, maybe? What my cousin calls eating the world. Although the world is a buffet and I would want to fill myself with different things than she does. Which is fine, perfectly acceptable.

There was also a guest speaker, Brian Andreas. Brian had a great metaphor about going to the store and buying milk. What is the thing you need to do? Buy milk. You might also get cookies or fruit, but milk is the goal. Do the thing, buy the milk. Whatever else happens, do the thing.

I’ve also been reading The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about different kinds of resistance and how some of them even look like doing important work, but it if distracts you from doing your creative work, it’s acting as resistance. So thinking of the milk metaphor, don’t worry about balancing your checkbook or putting gas in the car or what you’ll do when you run out of milk in the future. Just buy the milk. Stop worrying about self-improvement or getting the perfect work space or what if you run out of ideas. Right now, jump in, do the thing.

So I am now a writer. I am writing a book on wellness. Not that I have anything particularly new to say, but I have a unique perspective as a person living with bipolar. And if it works for me, it might help someone else out.


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Tuesday Night Thoughts

I didn’t sleep last night. I get manicky sometimes and sleep eludes me. I surfed the web and watched some Netflix. All good and not conducive to sleep. Finally about 8 am I fell asleep. The problem being, I was supposed to be somewhere at 10 and I slept through it. I meant to just stay up then come home and crash but that didn’t happen.

I am sleepy tonight and it’s only 11 so I might be asleep before midnight.

I need $145 for my passport. I have about half of it, unless I need to put gas in the car, which I probably will. But my friend paid for my airfare so I think I need the passport more than I need gas. Except I need the support groups and I have to drive to them, so . . . I hate being on the horns of a dilemma.

I am thinking about B. I know we haven’t planned anything other than hanging out and there isn’t anything that makes me think he likes me especially. I went through this with Joe back in the 80’s. He was good looking, sincere, kind and had a way of looking at you with his full attention. He also had a girlfriend that he was very serious about and eventually married. The first few times I interacted with him, he rather took my breath away. I don’t think he ever knew I felt like that and it’s well over now so if he happens to read this, it’s funny more than embarrassing.

So B is better looking than I am, and kind and polite and pretty smart. He’s a balanced individual and respectful. Earnest. And he has a way of interacting that feels like you’re the only thing in the world. But he’s like that with P too and I know they’re just friends. Aside: there is something about friendships between men that makes me happy. Anyway, I will just be friendly, I can always use another friend, and hopefully he will never know I am getting all day dreamy.

But for myself, it’s nice to feel like this. I have had no sex drive or even interest in years. Here I am all butterflies and blushes and I thought it was over. Time of life, medication, being plain and pudgy, just seemed like there was no hope of this kind of juiciness. I’m happy for myself, regardless of whether this turns into anything. It’s fun

I long for a couple of dollars to spare so I could get a mocha at a coffee shop. I would like to take my letter writing stuff and take over a table and drink some professionally made coffee. From espresso, not from drip. With dark chocolate. Oh, decadent. LOL. It’s just coffee.

I am tired of being poor. And I will be poor for some weeks more. I need to just suck it up and get on with life.

Someone was very kind to be at the Marvelous Message Board, my SARK group. The organizers decided to drop my membership from $20 a month to $5, which was huge even though I still couldn’t afford it. Then someone anonymous paid for a year for me. So, wow! The kindness of humans is beyond amazing. I am a valued part of the community, and someone was willing to back that up with action. I am honored.

Well, 3 and a half more weeks until food stamps renew, 2 weeks until I can apply for unemployment. Even if I qualify, it’ll be 3 weeks until I get paid, and I’ll only get paid for one week because Texas holds back the first week.

I am going to be so poor for so long. I can’t stand it.


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Shutting Down

So many things in life take money, and I have none, so I am shutting down parts of my life.

I can’t afford Ipsy any longer, which makes me sad. I was enjoying getting surprise cosmetics each month.

I also can’t afford Zine-O-Matic. Again, not that it’s so very expensive, just I don’t have the money for it.

But the one that really hurts is, I can’t afford Succulent Wild World any more. It’s a subscription Facebook group with SARK, one of my favorite authors. Right up there with M. Scott Peck, only very different. For self-help type stuff, that is. (For fiction I like Charles De Lint, Neil Gaiman and William Gibson.)

I have been part of the SARK world for several years now, and this was the first time I could actually afford to join. I get 2 group mentoring sessions per month and what they call dessert groups, which are small group sessions with other members. I haven’t been able to take part fully because I am usually in the living room and my roommates have the tv on, so there’s too much background noise to volunteer to speak. Maybe one day I’ll have both the money and the silence.

I know I have to keep cutting back. I can’t go as many places because I don’t have gas money. Not that I should be driving without insurance anyway. I can’t stop and grab a burger or an ice cream. I wore out the insole in my sneakers and I can’t afford a new pair. I am concerned about feeding the cats. And paying for my phone. The stuff in storage, well, I might just have to let that go.

Shutting down my life as I run out of money. Trying to keep as much of it open as I can. I need a life regardless of employment. Everyone needs a life. Life shouldn’t cost so much.


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Failing at Visualization

I missed Recovery International today. I woke up in time if I didn’t need a shower, but I had a job interview in the afternoon so I felt like I needed to be a little more careful with the personal care.

Job interview went well. It was about half an hour. I think they just want to see that you know what it means to dress for an office. I am only looking for temp jobs that are actually temporary so apparently that makes me highly desirable as an employee. Most people are looking for temp-to-hire whereas I have a job, I just need to do some other work while I’m on leave.

I attended a group mentoring session with SARK this evening. She mentioned me by name, which was flattering. It was just a hello but it was like “oooh, someone noticed me”. We worked with Shakti Gawain’s method of creative visualization. I got stuck on the first step. You start by deciding on something you want to manifest. The caveat for us beginners is, pick something you find relatively easy to believe in. Well. The things I want are not so easy for me to believe in.

For example, I would like a boyfriend again. I can be pretty specific about what I’m looking for: Tall, around 6′ to 6’4″. Long hair; this is negotiable, but hair not bald or buzzed. Prefer blue eyes. Good job. Able to pay for things for me; I have had several relationships where I was the high paid one and I am tired of paying for everything. Smart. Gets me. Likes to go places ranging from the museum to Europe to nice restaurants to faires and cons. Likes to drive; I have done a lot of driving for boyfriends in the past. I’m 55 so he should be 45 – 65. Healthy; I am not ready to be a nursemaid to an old man. Adventurous. Maybe an entrepreneur. Likes book stores. Likes cats. See? Darn specific. But I find it hard to believe such a person, if he exists, would be interested in me. I am not pretty or hot. I think I might be a little boring. My worthiness is in question. So I find this hard to believe in.

I would like to manifest a gym membership, and the commitment to follow through with it. I know I have enjoyed working out, but right now it feels like such a hassle. There isn’t a place near home. I don’t want to have to come home to shower so I have to carry toiletries and clean clothes with me. They don’t really offer classes at a time that’s convenient for me. And if I get called for work, I won’t have time or motivation to go. Oh yeah, and if I’m deployed, I need a membership that is good basically nationwide. If I have time to work out while working 12 hour days. Feels like a lot of roadblocks, I don’t really believe in this either.

Education. My own place again. To work in mental health. Leading groups, public speaking. More cats. Buy a house. All kinds of things I want that just don’t feel doable. This isn’t supposed to be the hard part of visualization. Manifesting now that could be difficult, but finding something you believe is possible? That should be cake.

So I will continue working on it. I mean, there has to be something that’s reasonable to visualize. Something that is a stretch but doesn’t seem impossible.


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Working It Out

I am signed up with a group called Succulent Wild World, which is the brainchild of an author called SARK. She teaches about the Inner Wise Self, which many people think of as their Higher Power but for me it is Intuition. One of the activities for this month is to write a letter from your Inner Wise Self and share it. So here I am, sharing.

One piece of backstory so this maybe makes more sense: my parents died when I was 19. My mom had cancer, my dad had a heart attack a month later, and they had been divorced for 7 years at that point. I used to say, “The first thing they do together in years, and I can’t do it with them.”

Here is the letter:

Dear Alive Allison,

You are here and alive. You did not die with the others, stop acting like you did. You deserve to have a life and to live it fully. You are needed just as you are.

Free yourself from fear of failure and survivor’s guilt. You did not kill your parents. Their deaths were the logical conclusions of their lives. It was about them, not you. It wasn’t done to hurt you. It’s normal to outlive your parents.

So take off the shroud and take up your superhero cape. Fly away into love and adventure. Life is available to you, make it a good one.

Now I’m old, it’s been 35 years since they passed. I have done a LOT of grieving and I don’t really need to be overly gentle with myself at this point. I am no longer sad in a daily way that I lost them. It’s still sad, but there is distance from the pain, it’s not visceral any more.

I used to compare it to losing a tooth. Do you remember losing your teeth as a child? At first there is a hole and it is tender and you keep poking it with your tongue even though it feels weird. Then the skin toughens up and you can poke it without getting that tingle. Eventually another tooth takes up the space, and it’s different but it becomes normal. Now obviously with a death you don’t just replace the person you lost, but life has a way of filling in the gap until it isn’t noticeable on a regular basis. If you think of it, you notice it; but you are no longer thinking of it constantly.

So this is the theme for me this week: move past my parents’ deaths. It happened. It’s sad that it happened when I was so young. And yet, I seem to have let it prevent me from doing some things. I wonder if it had anything to do with me breaking up with so many serious boyfriends, though I also wonder if that is a result of being bipolar. I wonder how much of my settling for jobs rather than pursuing a career is out of fear of taking the risks that lead to success.

Fear of taking risks. I heard of a friend’s brother who won $8000 at a casino and lost it all. I though, I’d never lose that much money because when I got to that amount, I’d walk away. Truthfully, I’d never get to that amount, because I wouldn’t bet the amount of money it takes to get there, and I’d probably walk away happily with $100. I wouldn’t take the risk. You don’t win big without betting big, and I need to learn to bet bigger.

Now obviously this is a calculated risk. I can’t afford to lose $8000 so that kind of risk is not for me. However, I can tolerate a little rejection, so taking the risk of, say, showing my art might be reasonable. I can live with not everybody liking my work, and I can even live with the idea that some of my art is just plain bad. I am still learning.

All of which is to say, I need to stop letting fear stop me from doing things I want to do. I may not have a safety net any longer — really, who does at 54? — but I can’t spend the rest of my life standing on the ledge. Sometime I have to grab the trapeze and fly.