Tag Archives: Family

purposeful journey

7 Feb

winter dawn

The other day, I was on a call one of my colleagues was doing for her community . She mentioned how winter’s harshness can be counterproductive in terms of getting things done with the swiftness that we are often used to.  She talked about how we push ourselves so much to keep going, when in the past winter has been a time for slowing down, resting, closure, and endings.  She used nature to illustrate her point, talking about the end of a year and how it’s symbolized by barren trees, ice and snow.  What she said really resonated with me.  Growing up in Pennsylvania myself, I can see how the transition from one season to the next is the perfect metaphor for life.

As the seasons have come and gone over the past couple of years, they have mirrored the highs and lows of my own life. The infinite cycles of Mother Nature bringing with her the rebirth and growth of spring, the abundance and brightness of summer,  the reflection and acceptance of fall, and the endings and closure of winter.  As we in North America look with anticipation to the thaw and renewal of the coming spring and escaping one of the harshest winters on record, I can’t help but notice the similarities that show up for me.

I’m ready for spring and the end of winter! Proudly admiring the culmination to my labor of self-love:  Me!  🙂  I feel like a brand that’s been remarketed… (read in cheesy TV commercial announcer voice) Jen Halulko!   New and Improved  QSCA Certified formula! Now you get super-charged doses of the qualities you know and love! An Intuitive Life Coach, she’ll teach you how to use your Intuition with the Law of Attraction to deliberately create your life so you can have the love, relationship, and family you desire and deserve!

Aaahhhh.  That felt gooooood!! Like it? I came up with that all by myself!  Hee! 🙂 Seriously though, I’m so excited, and so proud of myself for getting my certification.  I honestly worked my ass off to get it, and it was something I actually wanted to do.  I went back to school for my Bachelor’s Degree because I felt like I had to.  I was working in Corporate America then and to get a decent salary and even be considered for a promotion, I had to have a degree.  Now it’s pretty much a given that one needs a Master’s Degree or higher! I’d started my MBA prior to leaving my job for that reason.  Upon leaving and embarking on the journey of self-discovery that led me here, I abruptly ended that pursuit.  That’s not to say I think poorly of higher education.  For me; however, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do, and for that reason, I stopped doing it.

There’s nothing like a healthy dose of self-confidence to help you notice when you’re doing things out of a sense of obligation or the expectations of others.  So, I went from one day living life just going through the motions, to a complete 180.  Topsy turvy, upside down, sideways, inside out, and back again all in a few months—and it hit me like a ton of bricks—as it would anyone who is used to living to please others rather than themselves. Things happen in life that we aren’t prepared for. 

Things happen in life that we worry might happen and are afraid will happen.  Things happen in life that are extremely painful, but one thing remains consistent through them all.  After we’ve worked through them and come out on the other side, we look back and realize that they were necessary– even required– for us to learn the lessons we needed to learn in order to find our life purpose.

The reason we went through all the struggle and pain in the first place is to get to where we are right now, looking back on those things with fresh eyes, a new perspective, and one of gratitude for the journey.  Painful though it was, we were able to find the reason we are here, the reason we were born, our purpose in life.  Seems crazy, doesn’t it?  I know, it did to me too! But that was before I embraced my gifts or learned about the Law of Attraction.

 

Stay tuned! 🙂  lone woman

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tell me no secrets…

30 Jan

trustmei'mlying

I had been back to work for a little over a month when all of this happened.  Things had started to get tense almost immediately after I returned to work.  I’m not sure if my aunt was resentful that I had something to do that didn’t involve her, or if she was just bored and lonely.  Whatever the case, I thought going back to work was going to make things easier and reduce everyone’s stress level.  I hadn’t considered that my aunt really did not like being alone and me going back to work was something she would resent.  My husband and I had spent our Saturday off moving my aunt’s things from her storage unit to a shed she’d had placed in our backyard and trying not to tell her off for not helping us.  Some things are best left alone, and I wasn’t in the mood for anymore drama.  I would learn later that  universal law  mandates that what you focus on expands. In the months leading up to this incident, I had been at my wit’s end with my aunt’s moods and unpredictable behavior.  I was so focused on how much I didn’t like what was going on and wanting it to stop.  I didn’t realize at the time that although I wanted everyone to get along and the conflict to stop, I was basically asking the universe to give me more of it.  Vibes are vibes.  Positive or negative, if you’re sending them out, the universe sends them back; no exceptions.  I was focused on all of the negative aspects of the situation, when I should have been focusing on how great it would be when everyone was getting along and happy.

My mom called me earlier that day, and hearing the irritation in my voice asked me what was wrong.  My mom is the first one to admit that she’s not one for keeping her opinions to herself.   Considering, I should have known better than to say anything, but at the time I was angry and I needed to vent.  Later that day, she mentioned what I’d said to my dad.  Compelled by what he was told, he posted his, “Did your aunt ever help today,” question to my daughter’s Facebook timeline.  After my aunt told me what she was so worked up about, I posed what to me seemed an obvious question, “Why are you upset with her for that?  _____ just answered his question.  Seems like you should be upset with my dad, so why don’t you confront him about it?”  My aunt gave me a convoluted answer that went all around the issue, but never really answered my question.  Frustrated, I repeated it.  I still didn’t get an answer that made her reaction make sense to me.  I could understand her anger at the conversation being on Facebook for others to see, to which my aunt emphatically agreed; although she was under the impression that “Everyone can see it!”  I explained that the only people who could see the comments were people who were friends with my daughter and my dad; which is why she could see it.  My explanation only seemed to fuel her fire.  Trying to get back to my point I asked , “Well, whatever your reason, what makes you think it’s OK to talk to my daughter like that? What would possess you? What were you thinking?”  After a few seconds of stunned silence, my aunt proceeded to tell me that my daughter had said “F**k you!” to her first!

Most parents’ knee jerk reaction would be to say, “Not my daughter.  She would never say that,” but not me.  I would have wanted to say that, but after everything we’d been through with our daughter, I would have to check myself.  But, this time I could say,’not my daughter’ knowing I was right.  Thanks to a lack of insulation in most Florida garages, my husband and I heard the entire conversation from our seats outside in our garage.  My aunt and daughter were in our dining room with only a wall separating us.  I stared at my aunt in disbelief.  Even after everything that happened over the past several months, I couldn’t believe she was doing this!  She stood in my dining room indignantly refusing to admit her lie.  My daughter was beside herself.  She was angry about what my aunt said she did, and worried that we might believe it. I finally had to send my daughter to her room to get her away from the situation. Things had escalated to ridiculous proportions with my two younger kids looking on, which was already happening way too often for me.   Later, my youngest daughter would ask me, “Why was auntie being mean to sissy?”  I didn’t know what to say. How do you explain to a 3-year-old about untreated Bipolar Disorder?  What other reason could there be for a woman in her 60’s behaving like she was and blaming a 16-year-old for her behavior? 

During the time before my aunt came to stay with us, we’d spoken on the phone regularly.  During our conversations, I often confided in her about the issues my husband and I had with our oldest.  She was a teenager, but she also had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder which complicated those difficulties exponentially. After 6 years of struggles, things had just started to settle down a few months before my aunt came to live with us. She knew my relationship with my oldest daughter was already strained and why.  I still don’t know why she reacted like she did or felt she needed to lie about it. Maybe it was a desperate attempt to gain my favor over my daughter or a plea for attention.  Maybe it seemed better to her than the alternative of admitting what she did was wrong.  My gut tells me that she lied because she was embarrassed and she really thought I’d believe her.  Whatever her reason, with everything that already happened prior to that night, any respect I had left for my aunt was destroyed.

Choices

13 Sep

depression-1A person with Bipolar Disorder experiences moments of Mania, where they are euphoric, have tremendous energy, and sometimes even feel invincible.  There is also a crash downward into Depression after the Manic episode occurs. Some people experience these shifts a few times a year, others can have symptoms  with shifts as often as several times a day.  It really depends on the person and their chemistry.  Those who experience contrasting moods to the extent that they happen several times a day tend to be very restless and irritable.  Auntie was one of them.  One minute she would be goofing around, having fun playing with the kids, and I’d see a glimpse of the woman I remembered. The next she was annoyed, treating the kids harshly, and stomping off in a snit, leaving my husband and I looking at each other in confusion over what had just happened.  Worse, the kids would be bewildered and ask, “What’d I do?”  The only person in the house who was “safe” from Auntie’s moods; at least directly, was my husband.  Auntie had been through several abusive relationships, and I think she had a fear of men; though she’d never admitted it.  I believe that was probably the only thing that kept my husband out of the line of fire.  She would come to me to complain about him instead.

Over time, I found myself dreading being home with Auntie and would find any excuse to get out by myself for a while. I didn’t recognize this woman, and I grew weary of pointless discussions that went on and on, in circles for hours, with no resolution.  There was a lot of finger-pointing and blaming going on and she took absolutely no responsibility for any part in anything that happened.  In her eyes she was never wrong and to hear her tell it, my husband, kids, and I were mean, horrible people who did things purposely to hurt her!  I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this woman who had known me my entire life was accusing me of acting in ways I just wasn’t capable of.  The things she accused my husband and kids of doing were even worse.  She acted as if she thought everyone had some hidden agenda or ulterior motive.  I was constantly having to defend myself as well as my husband and kids to her and it was getting to be so surreal!  I wondered when she had gotten so bitter and cynical.  After all, Auntie had raised two children.  Surely, she had to have experienced these kinds of things before.  Why was she getting so bent out of shape over “kid stuff”??

I started going to Starbucks every morning after dropping my youngest off at preschool.  I’d get my favorite coffee, pull into the parking lot across the street and sit in the car.  I’d park in front of a small pond at the far end of the parking lot, the furthest away from the all stores and activity, and watch the mama ducks and their ducklings play follow the leader, while enjoying the solitude and my coffee.  It was during these moments that I would try to make sense out of the things that were going on.

After a while of taking time to myself each morning, I decided to have a talk with Auntie.  I couldn’t understand where her behavior was coming from and I wanted to see what we could work out to try to lessen the tension in the house.  The conversation wasn’t going as I’d hoped; we were getting nowhere, and I had decided to drop the subject for the day when Auntie confided in me about her Bipolar Disorder.  In the next breath she told me she didn’t need to be treated for it and she could handle it just fine on her own. She said she had been prescribed medication for her symptoms but was not taking it.  When I asked her why she stopped taking the medication if the doctor felt she needed it, she said she didn’t like how it made her feel.  She said she had only tried the one medication and had never gone for her follow up visit to let the doctor know how it affected her…

…next…choices part 2

 

New Year…New Life

8 Sep

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During the time I was dealing with losing my job and sorting out the issues with my friend, a family friend came back into my life.  She and my mom had been friends since they were kids, I’d known her since birth, and we considered her family.  I’d grown up calling her my Aunt, her children my cousins, and so on.  She and I had always been close and I was very fond of her.   She had always been a unique individual, free-spirited, or what my mother liked to call “flaky”.  It wasn’t unusual for years to go by without hearing from her.  I’d wonder how she was doing  and would eventually track her down.  I had done just that earlier that year in May, a couple of months before losing my job. We talked every few days from then on.

About a month later, I was talking to her during the hour-long drive home in the early morning hours from my ghost tour job in Saint Augustine.  She confided in me that she was in a horrible living situation and desperate to get out, but had nowhere to go. I called her back the next day after talking it over with my husband and invited her to come stay with us. The plan was for her to stay as long as she needed until she had saved enough money to get her own place.  I was excited to have her come and stay, but there was an uneasiness in my gut when I thought about it. Figuring it was just the idea of someone living with us causing it, I made the call anyway and brushed it off.  Unfortunately, like so many times before when I ignored that inner voice; what I now call my soul voice, I made the wrong decision.   I remembered her as a sweet, nurturing presence in my life when I was a kid,  and as someone I could always talk to, no matter what. I felt my kids would benefit from her being around since I intended to return to work full-time when I found another job and she’d be there with them when I couldn’t be.  They’d have another adult with a positive presence in their lives. She’d benefit by getting out of her current living situation and have a place to stay with people who loved and appreciated her, and she could save up the money to start over.  She offered to help out with the kids, cooking, etc., in return for staying with us.  I figured it was a win-win situation for all concerned.

She arrived December 1, 2012.  She’d changed her name over the few years that passed from the last time I’d seen her until I tracked her down and called her in May.  The day she arrived, she asked that we not call her by her former name.  She reasoned that it bothered her because she’d been through hell and having coming out on the other side, she felt that person was long gone.  In hindsight, I can see where the red flag should have gone up for me.  After all, I’d known her all my life as that person.  Chalking it up to one of her many eccentricities, I didn’t give it much thought at the time.  It felt strange and awkward calling her by this new name, but wanting to respect her wishes, I compromised and just called her “Auntie.”  I would find out her name wasn’t the only thing that had changed since I’d seen her last.

…next…new year…new life…part 2