September 2005 Archives

Courage and Confidence


A few months ago, something slowly began to dawn on me. At the beginning of my migraine - at the very beginning - I would recognize that in about 2-8 hours I would be getting a migraine.

And then I'd panic. Now, I did not only panic because I was going to get a migraine. I would panic if I could not find someone to distract me. For example, if Mark wasn't home, I would call him to see how soon he'd be home; and I'd be irritated if it was going to be a while. Now, why would you want to rush how when your spouse was about to get a migraine anyway? Well, I wanted him there to distract me because I have had several experiences where this worked. I wouldn't get a migraine if the distraction was thorough enough.

And that's when it struck me. Whoa. This is what I used to do for my roommate when she was getting over bulimia. Her body's trained reaction to stress or anxiety was to vomit. In order to overcome this trait, she needed some help de-training her body, so we would distract her (sometimes successfully) until the feeling passed. Do you get this?

I've trained my body to give me an "out". I take myself out of commission for several hours - immediate sleep and certainly no going back to work that day. Granted, this is the simplified version. I didn't exactly plan this.

I know I can have great power over my body when I want to. I remember talking myself into being sick when I was younger. My mother was aware of this and would say, "you convinced yourself you're sick, now convince yourself you aren't". And I would. Once I 'froze' my period for a day because I wanted to go to the river to swim with everyone else, after which it started back up (I was young).

So, putting this all together, I decided it was time to do something about this. I knew I needed help if I was going to achieve results. Knowing the problem is one thing, having the tools to create the solution is another. So I turned to our wonderful therapist and presented her with my theory and she has very encouraginly assisted me to take a bit of a closer look at some of my neuroses (okay, quirks?).

We started with what are some of the common situations that I think "cause" migraines. Well, work was an easy place to start because at the time we were sadly understaffed and it was very stressful to me. So understaffed that I literally had no assistance. None. There was no one in the office and there was no one off-site. I had a migraine every single day that week. And frankly, I was surprised because I thought I had it under control. Of course, by the time someone arrived in the office they had 25 extremely urgent documents to translate. I guess that sort of got to me. I hated that I couldn't get completed work to people in a timely manner. That is for certain. With this very concrete example, we were able to ascertain that I'm a special kind of control freak. (heeheehee) I don't have to do the work myself (I love delegating!), but it's the stuff I have absolutely no control over that freaks me out.

Come to think of it, ever since I was a child, that's what I've worried about. What if someone breaks into our house? What if someone tries to kidnap/kill us, etc. And I didn't stop worrying about those types of things as I got older - heck, I still do that sometimes. Oh, those pesky "what ifs".

So, taking a closer look - why do I worry about stuff I can't control? Fear of failure and/or rejection.

I have so many episodes where I experienced one or both that they are too numerous to count. I'm sure you do, too, but the thing with me, I guess, is that it doesn't just roll off my back. No, it's more like a tick that nestles in my ear. (do you know how to get those ticks out? it involves lighted matches - I assure you it is no fun at all)

So we're working on that - and I am working on courage and confidence, the only way to counter my fears of failure and rejection. Oh, by the way, no need to reassure me that you love me just the way I am. I know. Really. It's the people who have rejected me I'm much more worried about.

As I started to think about courage and confidence, I realized something. I realized the part that reliance on God plays in my ability to be confident. And then I realized how meager that current reliance is, due in large part to my inability to connect to God in a personal way. Do I love God? Do I feel God's love for me? Can I state proofs of God's love for me? What is such a proof? My first thought was: well, my family is whole, fairly good health, no major tragedies in my personal life, basic needs provided for ... and then I realized that was all wrong. I mean, how selfish is that? And if I don't have all that stuff God doesn't love me? A few examples: Baha'u'llah, the Bab, Jesus, Muhammad, Moses - and their families who supported them. I'm pretty sure God loved them - a lot. And they suffered - a lot. Okay, so physical comfort is not a good measure. (please, don't try to convince me otherwise)

So, I'm trying to work on seeing God's influence in my life and signs of His love for me.

I asked Mark the other day what proof he saw of God's love for him. I think he was sort of surprised - it just seemed so obvious to him: "that I breath". Wow. Cool. Now if only I could get to a place that that is evidence enough for me to rely on God and live my life with a bit less anxiety.

This is, therefore, my question to you, my dear readers (yeah, that includes YOU!):
In your opinion, what are signs of God's love for you? Can you see God's influence in your life? Do you rely upon God? How? How often? You can email me, too.

p.s. I've already talked about this with my mother - she recognizes that a fear of failure/rejection runs in the family a bit, so please, I'd like to hear from people other than my family as well!! Of course, comments from family members (and others) about dealing with fears of rejection/failure are more than welcome, too. Thanks!!

Ah, Babelfish

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"Any type of aid of the bottoms will not be precise."

Yeah, me too.

I love my job!

Must I Know?


Must I know the details of your sex life?

Must anyone?

What is with these discussions? Isn't this rather adolescent?

But published in magazines?

I was reading an article recently and at some point it simply devolved into all the different variations on who sleeps with who and why, including personal interviews.

Uh, wha?

Okay, if you're being abused, that's one thing. But, well, this wasn't discussing abuse per se.

Mt. Hermon


I saw Mt. Hermon a few days ago.

Now, if you look on a map and check how close Haifa is to Mt. Hermon, you'd think "big deal, duh, you live pretty close to it!"

Yeah, well, many days of the year you can't see it from Haifa due to the smog and dust/sand storms called "hamsim" or "sharaf" (Hebrew/Arabic).

That means that you pretty much can't see Mt. Hermon all summer long (read "May through September"), so the fact that I saw it the other day is very exciting. It might actually start cooling down and - heaven help me - R A I N. Oh, just writing that thrills me. Yes, Israel has definitely taught me to appreciate rain. Oh, how I miss it.

Fire Holiday


September 14th is a Christian feast day - it marks the finding of the True Cross (in Jerusalem), by a party of Christians including St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine. There'll be fireworks in the Christian areas of Israel - this evening & probably tomorrow evening.

That was sent to me last night. Only, two years ago after having been here just over a month, I didn't know about this holiday so I promised I'd call my family (grandparents included). I remember my grandmother was rather concerned. Because, you see, it's not just fireworks they set off, but firecrackers, too - ones that sound like rifle shots and small bombs. Yeah, I know. I live in Israel. It's really sort of creepy. It's one of the few nights that I think "I live in Israel, and it's scary." I know it's just celebrations, but somehow it just seem so ... inappropriate. I mean, they love their fireworks - we've gotten used to that, but these sound much more like actual fighting. Why do that to yourself, you know?

There's a new orientation group that started arriving yesterday. I can't imagine - your first night here! I'd have been like, "I'm outta' here - first plane I can get!" Poor things, I hope they all had roommates to explain to them what was going on.

It's Official, Official, Official!


Yup, yup, yup. My replacement has been located, determined and confirmed. Yippee! This means I can leave in the spring with a clear conscience, knowing the world will not implode upon my departure :-)

Really, this is great news. This is the kind of place that runs on a shoestring budget with about 2/3 of the people they need and my position is just important enough to hurt if I don't get replaced. I'd have felt pretty bad leaving if they hadn't found my replacement.

Now they just have to find Mark's replacement, which will be no easy task. If you know any network administrators busting to try something new ... direct them our way, PUH-LEASE! (err, vital pre-requisite: being a Baha'i or wanting to be one).

P.S. to John and Natascha: you are skulking on my blog? Geesh ... really, people, I like comments. And, I'd totally forgotten that you had this address; thank goodness I wasn't any more specific last Friday than I was!



I can't really say much more than that right now, but it's good - so good, and probably much more exciting to me than to you, but I will tell you more soon. I just have to put something down or I will burst I'm so happy!

By the way, I had another excellent homecoming dream last night where I hugged every member of my family and Mark's as well and it was so incredible and I was so happy. I remember I got to see Mercy and meet her daughter too. There was some good news from unexpected corners of my family, too - totally unrelated to my abovementioned excitement.

Okay, phew, I think I'll be okay now.

Some Powerfully Strong Wonderful Dreams


I love my family. When I have migraines I usually have some pretty far out dreams (drug side effect, I imagine). They are not usually good, and lately I've had some really nasty ones. Last night, I went to bed drugged up due to a migraine.

But last night I had some dreams that were SOO good I just have to share.

First dream. Member of family I dreamt about: Eric (sister's husband). Now, Rae & Eric got married two years ago. See any connection? Well, I left the country shortly thereafter, so this isn't a dude I know very well. Anyway, kinda' irrelevant I guess.

In this dream, Eric and I were out in the woods with a group of people. There was a castle - or at least some sort of cool stone structure out there. We had read, as a group, several novels. One of them was called Hex and it was about this group that would get together and this guy would hex someone. Well, so there were two groups of people in the woods with us. One had only just arrived to work at the organization where we worked and were getting trained, Eric included. The other, myself included, had been there for a while. When the new group was finished in the stone shelter - which had included eating - they just left, or some of them did. Eric stayed. My group was still there, and were irritated that the new group had not yet learned that at this organization, you clean up after yourself. Everyone in the group started bickering. Eric arose to the occasion, called to us to leave everything, temporarily, and come outside to do a unity builder. I was a bit reticent, but followed, figuring that since we were related it made a statement if we stuck together. He took us outside and asked us to form a really tight circle - one guy freaked out thinking we were going to repeat the whole hex thing. Somehow I knew what Eric was going to do and managed to convince the guy otherwise. I don't remember everything Eric said, but I know it was good. One of the things he said, repeatedly, was "Your thought is your reality". I was thoroughly impressed with Eric's skills.

I tried to remember what he said so I could share it, but well, then I had another excellent dream. I guess it got a bit clouded.

In my second dream, my dream included: Kristen (brother's fiancee), my mother's voice, and a 6-year-old Mendon (brother engaged to Kristen).

I don't remember how the second one started, but what I do remember is that I would talk on the phone with Kristen. Pretty normal, as again, Mendon & Kristen started dating around the time I left the country, so long-distance has been our relationship so far.

Well, Kristen was in a play. She was in a kitchen doing a number of things. She had created a part where she would be on the phone with me. As we talked, I realized what she'd done - and that, in fact, I was just backstage - and I just swelled with pride. I was so overwhelmingly honored that Kristen had included me in this. Then I realized I had to sit backstage and be quiet the rest of the play, but that was cool. Then something else happened during the play that was totally awesome and unexpected - sorry, I don't remember what - and I knew it would be okay for me to come out and join the clapping and cheering crowd. As I did, I was sitting in a great, cozy, very old, lecture hall - next to someone who was loudly planning all of the sights they wanted to see on this trip they were on. I tried to ignore her. Then it changed a bit, and it was a great dark hall in a castle maybe? full of beautifully carved ornate darkwood, lit by orangish-lightgiving lamps that were just as beautiful. I was sitting in a chair (with others), and off to the left was a family going to bed on lavendar mattresses.

[sidenote: as a child, my sister and I shared a room in the attic - sometimes, as a parent came up the stairs to put us to bed, they would chant something (i.e. "fee fi fo fum, here I come", etc.)]

Then we heard it - she was coming [my mother]! "One a pop, two a pop, three a pop, four! [something about colors] bubble gum!" We thrilled with excitement, and then realized we should join in. So we did - getting louder each time. Suddenly, a little boy appeared running up the gorgeous dark brown hardwood stairs. I was in the seat [college-style desk] nearest to the top of the stairs. As he ran up, I realized it was my younger brother - at about age 6.

[another sidenote: Now my brother, who is currently 20, when he was a little boy, was one of the most adorable little kids I have - in real life - ever met. He and I are very close and always have been. As a toddler, he called me "little mommy" because I spent so much time caring for him (our mother was working at that time).]

When I saw him, I put my arms out to him and he ran to me. I was so happy to see him! When he got to me, he said "don't hug me, hug my mommy and daddy!" I didn't listen and just embraced him as hard as I could. Then I realized how much I missed him and started crying uncontrollably.

At that point, I woke up because I got the feeling I was crying for real, too. I wasn't, but I was pretty close.

I miss my family! What wonderful dreams! It almost makes me miss my family more - if that's possible!

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