That thing you do

I have been temping for the recruitment agency that I met a couple of weeks ago, I have been asked back for the rest of this week and next week. / I am busy phoning and collecting references for job candidates and other tasks that the projects team need me to do. I am basically an extra pair of hands as they recruit people to work in various companies and agencies for Government departments. They are incredibly busy, there is a big intake at the moment of prison officers and correctional staff for offenders that have been sentenced to community orders by court or parole boards, as well as Connex and Centrelink (DHSS). It is really interesting and a lot busier than RV ever was, or could imagine to be. I can’t imagine Alpha Female and Cronie surviving for 10 minutes in this office with the phone ringing all the time, 100s of emails flying in as well as telephone interviews, assessment centres being run weekly and the other day-to-day tasks they all have.

I had to miss Interchange last weekend, I was busy lying down in bed with a head cold, but they have asked me to come in this weekend instead, so I am off to the Aquarium to look at the fishes and penguins with a group of 5-10 year olds which should be fun. Dan and I are busy having a social life, we are out three nights this week, I met the girls tonight, we are going to the motor show tomorrow, (we are meeting in town for a coffee/dinner on a date), then down to Lachy’s on Thursday.

I don’t know how much coverage the fires are getting over there now, but there is one fire burning that has been going for 3 weeks, they cannot contain it and the wind has changed direction a couple of times over the past few days, making it difficult to predict for the fire-fighters to work out where it is going to go next. They keep burning containment lines and are hoping that soon it will run out of places to go and die down. But three weeks and 10s of 1000s of acres later – it looks like a wasteland, or a moonscape with trees, twisted, burnt and sometimes blown out of shape completely as the heat explodes any water inside them.

We have got problems with the girls living out the back of us at the moment, they keep leaving the bottom doors unlocked, and we had a break in next door recently. There is also a key missing to the garage, which is annoying as we have boxes of things down there, not much stuff, but if they keep leaving the doors unlocked – our insurance is void. They want us to leave them open, we keep locking them and despite our talking to them, it goes round and round in a cycle. We asked them to contact the landlord if they need the lock changing, or more keys or a new lock completely, but we are not leaving the garage unsecured.

As for that thing you do, I have been busy listening to podcasts the last couple of weeks, feeding my book list (with books that aren’t available over here – maddening) and concentrating on living every day. I am keeping a gratitude journal, saying thank you for a minimum of 5 things a day; when I was working at RV this was hard. Sometimes it would simply be:
1. My breath, I can breath easily and without assistance and many in this world can’t.
2. This day is over.
3. My bed is comfortable.
4. I had food on my plate, a roof over my head.

Leaving me one thing to find that was good during that day. Sometimes it would be how the trees looked against the sky, or a giggle with Kylie, or just simply ‘Dan’.

I am more observant now, looking and appreciating what is around me, as I don’t know what things I will be writing down later that day. One thing I have found is that the little voice in my head giving me a running commentary on life has pretty much left me, or I tell it to stop, which is easier every time. My main reason for this is Jill Bolte Taylor, she is a Harvard trained neuro-scientist, who had a stroke, but remained conscious the whole time. She lost her left hemisphere, the language and memory centre. What she learned over the 8 years of her recovery was insightful and is changing how patients are being treated in hospitals all over the world. Because of her knowledge she was able to describe in detail what she learnt through the stroke and days immediately after. The area in your brain that provides the running commentary (usually negative) is the size of a peanut, while it is important: it links memories together in a sequence and forms our storytelling facility, it is also only cells – and a small amount of them at that. What Dr Taylor found was that she was still the same person, just without all her memories, the essence of who she was was still there. She was also more in tune with how negative and angry thoughts made her feel inside her body, as she didn’t have anything to compare them to, she chooses not to feel them, telling that group of cells to stop it and shut up, she likens them to children. She didn’t have any painful memories or any baggage after her stroke, because it wiped out her memory, how cool is that? She was constantly in the present moment, because her brain was damaged, so couldn’t retain any information.

So whenever that little area pipes up with ‘You’re crap, and you know it because of x, y or z’ I too tell it to shut up. I don’t need to listen to that, I don’t need to spend hours of my life reliving things in my past I have no control over, things that every time I think about them hurt me. What sadistic eejit would be happy consciously choosing to do that to themselves, yet we let our brains do it unconsciously. Crazy.

This journey for me all started when Mark (ex-husband) couldn’t make his mind up who he wanted, me, the wife, or her, my friend. My life was in hell, I couldn’t eat, sleep or function as a human being. I was a shadow of my former self, and while it took a while to get myself sorted, probably over a year as you have to let yourself grieve and work through things, the single biggest thing that changed for me was reading ‘Stop Thinking & Start Living’ by Richard Carlson. Sitting in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral, I got it. I had to live, not worry about living. It started then and there, and was the beginning of me finding myself again. I will be OK, not right then, but eventually I would be.

Nothing since then has had such a big impact on me, I have had a-ha! moments left, right and centre, but sitting in the cold that weekend, slurping a coffee, reading that book I realised that it was MY life, I choose what I want to do. While he kept me dangling for a couple of weeks after that, messing with my head good and proper, with Erika and Ian worrying about me not sleeping while I stayed with them, I was already moving away from the relationship that we had had, The Mark I knew, wouldn’t have treated me like that, the Mark I knew, was a better person. This person, who had emerged as our marriage fell apart around me, I didn’t want to be with, but it still took a long time for the shock and grief to go. But all the time, inside me, there was a little patch of blue sky, with a huge building with a crooked spire towering against it, sheltering me, reminding me, you can choose.

I do choose, I may not make great decisions all the time (RV being a shining example just lately) but when you know better you do better. If the only couple of reasons I was meant to work at RV was to show me what I don’t want out of life; after meeting Joan and Kylie for a quick coffee tonight and giggling like school girls, it was there to introduce me to a strong band of extraordinary women, then it was the right choice. I am still going with the flow of the river, I am not going to paddle like crazy against it. I may have to remind myself of that every now and then, but by keeping my journal, being thankful it is easier every day.

Just so you know my 5 (or so) for tonight:

1. Meeting with friends
2. The sound and smell of rain, it is raining quite heavily now
3. Dan cooking supper for me
4. Planet Earth showing me trees in HD
5. Being asked to work until the end of next week, and being praised for what I am doing
6. Baby sparrows, all fluffy and bouncy collecting crumbs and having a bird bath
7. Listening to a great song on my iPod
8. The tram driver stopping for me, when I couldn’t cross the road to catch him at the stop
9. Reading Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father – a President that has a vocabulary! style! grace! intelligence!
10. Knowing that a small number of people in this world like reading my witterings and jog me when I haven’t posted in a while

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