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tells the story

of her recovery

(recorded in California June 2011)

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Melody talks about her book, Making Miracles in Forty Days on WEBE Radio. In this interview, she guides listeners step by step in harnessing the power that we forgot we had to find out where we want to go in life, and how to get there. How to remain grateful and where our unchecked codependency traits can still show their ugly heads and take us back to that negative way of thinking many of us spent years in and more years working out of. The real key is disciplining our thinking and remaining grateful for everything, all the time, and that is no small task. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/webe/2012/04/24/melody-beattie--author

Melody’s Latest Release

How Much Can You Receive

The question posed by this Blog’s title doesn’t mean, How much mistreatment can you take before doubling over in pain and then exploding in a crazed rage while the Other Person says, “See how crazy you are!  No wonder I do __________.”

Fill in the blank with over-drink, use drugs, cheat; lie; refuse to commit; over-work; stay away from home or whatever the Other Person does that hurts us so much.

Many of us long to be nurtured, held, shown we’re cared for and about. We’re genuinely confused about why that doesn’t happen.  Your answer to the question asked by this blog’s title also answers the question: Why don’t other people do for me, after all I do for them?

Having a moderate to high Receivability Quotient (referred to as RQ in the rest of this blog) can create a major change in your life. Even if you haven’t heard of RQ until now, RQ has heard about you. It’s affected us all along and will continue to do so.

Some people say we can’t out-give God.  That may be true for most, but not for the avid codependent. Our RQ is what people cannot out-give, no matter how hard they try. Their gifts won’t work; their love won’t stick.

We say we want the Other Person to give us more.  We complain to our friends about how much we do for her or him, and how little that person does for us, that selfish son-of-an-overindulgent potential mother-in-law.

Our RQ doesn’t affect only romantic relationships. It directly dictates how much we receive from Life, our Higher Power (or God as we understand or fail to understand Him), people we do business with, our Boss, customers, and the list goes on. All our relationship fall prey to our RQ. It dictates what we will or won’t accept with open arms.

We don’t want to make it our goal to only receive. It’s important to maintain a healthy balance between giving and getting, and to have healthy boundaries about what we receive, how much, and from whom. But for most of us, the scales don’t come close to balancing.

How many of you have been taught that it’s better to give than to receive?  Show of hands, please. Do you believe that?  I do. Unquestionably, blessings pour down on those who give in a healthy, non-codependent and non-manipulative way.

So if we believe that giving is a good thing, then why do we dig in our heels and refuse to let those around us become blessed by giving to us?  Why do we deny people we say we love that pleasure by denying their gifts?

I learned much about healthy giving taking care of my Mom when Alzheimer’s disease destroyed her once razor-sharp mind.  But when I first tried to help by telling my mother what she was going to do, who was going to help her, where and when, my attitude triggered an uncontrollable rage in her.

“Get the hell out of my life.  I don’t want anything from you,” she screamed.

I left.

A year later when I returned, I treated her with respect by asking her what she wanted, and from whom.  Things transpire differently.  I made a conscious decision that before my mom died, she would experience what it felt like to be unconditionally loved.  By me.

I achieved my goal.

At her funeral, people said that my mother looked more beautiful and at peace than she ever had.

“No,” I said. “She looks dead.”

But what people said was true. My mother and I had battled all my life, each of us wanting the other to take care of and love us. Neither of us would give in.

This war ended when I decided to love her.  I understand that in a perfect world the mother should love and take care of the child, and not the other way around. But we’re talking the eleventh hour.  No time to undo a lifetime of behaviors so sick that our family became the poster-family for dysfunctional systems.

My relationship with my mother would never be what it should be. But in those remaining years of my mother’s life when I accepted and loved her as she was instead of constantly reminding myself about all I didn’t get from her, my mom:

Nurtured me for the first time in a way that truly touched my heart;

Told me how  much she loved me so cleanly it didn’t make me throw up;

Cried at my pain over me losing my son instead of trying to outdo me by saying how much more she hurt than I did;

Told me how proud of me she felt instead of pointing out my every past mistake;

Forgave me for hurting her as a result of my addiction when I was a young adult and child;

Did more than superficially forgive me and instead she forgot the pain I caused her –  well maybe the Alzheimer’s had something to do with that;

Hugged me with such love it no longer felt like a porcupine had me trapped in its grip;

Laughed, giggled and enjoyed life;

Trusted and respected me.

For the first time, my mother loved me the way I wanted her to. It felt good.

I didn’t expect anything from her.  I focused only on my goal – to give and show love to her.  She had desperately sought love all her life and we know how well desperation works when it comes to love.

She had married eight, nine or ten different men. By now, we’d all lost track (including her) of how many husbands she had.  What she didn’t lose track of, even in her dementia, was that she hadn’t found or received the love she desired and that unmet need and her refusal to receive (a no-win situation) still guided and motivated what she did.

By age 90 – well actually many decades before that — her unfulfilled desire etched itself so deeply into the furrowed lines on her forehead, the deep wrinkles around her eyes, and the downward turn of her lips, that I thought the pain had become a permanent part of her face.

Love changed even that.  Her receiving my love became a great anti-aging protocol, more effective than anything money could buy. Alzheimer’s disease had rendered Mom so vulnerable she finally let love in.

As an unexpected perk, what I gave to my mother swung around like a boomerang and blessed me.

So if it’s more blessed to give than to receive, why do we deny others the blessings they could receive if we let them give to us?  Not a redundant question, it merits a thoughtful answer. Why don’t we let people give to us?

“No, I couldn’t.”

“Nuh uh.  No.  Can’t accept that.”

“I can do it myself.”

“I will take care of myself.”

“Don’t need any help, but thanks for offering.”

Some of us don’t even use the gift cards other people give us. We let them expire.

Our RQ register reads zero.  The reading won’t change until we consciously decide to allow ourselves – to trust ourselves – to receive.

Here’s an example of how powerful that decision can be and how quickly it can create change. Soon after I went through treatment for chemical dependency but not soon enough, I tired of the bus being my only means of transportation.

Traveling by bus wasn’t a green thing; it felt like a mean thing. My arms ached from carrying those brown paper sacks of groceries from the store to the bus, and then from the bus to my little apartment-home.  I hated it when I couldn’t find an available seat on the bus, and I had to stand, juggling my bags of groceries.

Before chemical dependency treatment, I abused the State-given privilege to drive. I assumed I’d not be allowed to drive again and accepted that as my self-created fate, Just Desserts for my reckless anti-social driving.

I believed I didn’t deserve to drive again.  In the evenings, after attending my recovery meetings, I wouldn’t even allow myself to accept a ride home. When people from the meetings offered to drive me home, I always said “No, thanks.

RQ?  Zero.

One day I completely, utterly tired of riding the bus. I looked up at the sky (when I’m outside and talk to God, I always look at the sky, as if God dwells inside a cloud). “God please, could I get a driver’s license and a car?” I said, making a statement as much as asking a question.

Within six weeks, I had a car and a driver’s license (a valid one). But first I had to elevate my RQ and demonstrate that by asking for what I wanted.

That began the journey of understanding my RQ and learning the importance of written goals. If we aren’t conscious of what we want and if we don’t believe we deserve whatever we want enough to write about it, we probably won’t recognize the gift and accept it when it comes.  An opportunity will arise, and we’ll refuse, reject, or not even notice it.

By writing our goals, we’ve upped our RQ and increased the possibility of getting what we want.

Other factors make goals crucial, but that’s another blog for another time. Regarding RQ, by writing goals, we do the prep work to receive and accept what we want, when it comes. Goals aren’t to be used to interfere with another’s free will; they’re one way we manifest our own.

So often, I’m asked to define codependency.  As I’ve written before, it’s nearly impossible because codependency consists of behaviors nearly everyone does occasionally. These behaviors can be healthy or an expression of dysfunction.

Two people can do exactly the same behavior and for one, it’s a healthy choice and another, a codependent, compulsively-driven act.

Some people don’t get to the place in codependency recovery where they feel safe enough to give to people again. When I took take of my mother when she had Alzheimer’s, I wasn’t engaging in codependent caretaking. I did for her what she could not do for herself.

I didn’t take care of her out of guilt.  I wanted to love her and care for her.

Many of us may have only experienced guilt-motivated giving done out of obligation. Sacrificing for and giving to another person, when done from clean and pure motives, can forge a deep bond of love between the caregiver and the person receiving care.

It’s similar to pregnancy. We bring our baby home from the hospital.  Then we realize it will be 12 to 24 years before we ever get a good night’s sleep again. Even when a child reaches his or her majority, they like to call Mom or Dad at 1:30 a.m. to discuss things.

When our children are small, they depend on us for every need. A parent gives and gives and gives to a child.  It’s healthy, as long as healthy boundaries temper the giving and we eventually learn to say “No” to a child.

If we’re lucky, at some point we have an epiphany.  We see that by legitimately sacrificing  — and caregiving an infant exemplifies healthy caretaking because a baby can’t change its diaper until it’s four years old –  and by doing for and giving to our child, we may be exhausted but we’ve grown to love this child deeply.

Unhealthy caregiving breeds resentments and leaves us drained. Healthy giving blesses us.  We may be tired, but we experience love at its finest.

It’s more blessed to give than to receive and clean, healthy giving creates good love.

If you’re shopping for a special person or spouse, if you’re in a flagging relationship, or you’re in one where the other person wants to run (but can’t because we’ve handcuffed him or her to the television stand), maybe the problem isn’t that we haven’t given him or her enough.

Maybe it’s that we’ve given too much and haven’t let him or her give to us.  We haven’t learned how to let our special person give to us and create that deep bond of love.

See, guys and gals, being unlovable does not accurately describe our problem.  We’re loveable. You’re loveable.  So are you.  And you.  And even you, with all your quirky ways.  Not allowing people to give to us, not ceasing our endless giving and caretaking, not taking our RQ from zero to at least a two and preferably a five or six describes the problem and defines the solution

Wherever you are, no matter your situation, it’s time to evaluate your RQ and consciously learn to say, “Yes, thank you. I’ll accept that ___________.”  Fill in the blank with:  compliment, ride, gift, dinner or help when we’re ill.

For years we’ve heard that we don’t recover from codependency by changing exterior situations.  We can leave.  We can stay.  We can vacillate.  Doesn’t matter. Until we make changes inside of ourselves, things stay the same.

Recovery is an inside job.

We can take care of ourselves.  We no longer have to protect ourselves by taking care of everyone around us. It’s safe to receive. We’re free to give to others because now we know what we want to do and give, and what we don’t.

We say what we mean.  We’re what some people call authentic. It’s what author Margery Williams Bianco meant in her book The Velveteen Rabbit when she wrote about becoming real.

We are who we are. When it comes to changes, Life will guide us as to what needs to be changed and when. We don’t change by thinking or reading about it.  We change by immersing ourselves in the experiences of our lives.

It’s time to lift our Receivability Quotient until it soars.  It’s time to accept what we want. It’s time to learn to fly.

ACTIVITY:

Take the first step to raising your RQ by watching yourself – observing – and becoming aware of how you refuse or reject the gifts life offers you.  Do you allow people in your life to take and take, without giving to you?  Are you drained and exhausted – and not in a good way?

Do you resent the giving you do, or do you feel blessed by it?

Become aware of what you really want.

Let the lesson of RQ integrate, move down from our minds as intellectual knowledge, and then transform our behaviors.  We’ll get only that which we allow ourselves to receive, and not one one-hundredth of a millimeter more.

Stop with the “I couldn’t,” “You shouldn’t,” and the “I can’t.”  Just … say… yes.  Give the people around you the opportunity to be blessed by giving to you.

From the desk of:

Melody Beattie

20 Responses to How Much Can You Receive

  • Lisa says:

    Thank you Melody, for your generous spirit. Your gentle wisdom has blessed me time and again. Peace and joy to you.

  • Smerk says:

    This blog made me smile. I’ve always loved MW Bianco’s “The Velveteen Rabbit” I keep a quote from the book prominently displayed on my desk, ..”once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”…. it’s both mine and my son’s favorite childhood book. As a matter of fact, it just struck me at this very moment that it’d be a great resource that I could build the toast I will offer to my son and his wife at their wedding this weekend! (Thanks for the inspiration…I’d been struggling w/ this. I love how the Universe provides in unexpected, surprising ways!) I’ve learned to look past the initial knee jerk reaction of discomfort that comes when someone is trying to give something to me. I used to be suspicious and held the false belief that they were only giving to me in order to try and get something from me. At times that may have been true, but it also gave me the opportunity to examine my own motives when I was giving or over-giving to another. Were there strings attached or not? Was I giving out of a sense of obligation or guilt or was it giving freely? Learning to listen to my intuition made it easy enough to discern the difference when it came to both giving and receiving. I used to be a staunch independent. I refused to accept help or gifts until I realized that I was depriving the other person as much if not more by not accepting their gift. Acknowledgement, acceptance and appreciation replaced Denial, refusal and discounting. I prefer abundance to lack- generosity to the greedi-needies! love’n'light ;)

  • Karin says:

    Melody, I’ve lived in the “I’m unworthy” camp since I was little and now at age 47 I find myself more and more aware of how quickly I go there when someone (including God) wants to bless me. As a codependent, I have given and given until I’m drained dry in order to please others and make them happy….but when it comes to myself I have a powerful knee-jerk reaction that tells me I’m not worthy of anything so I shy away from people (and God) giving to me. It’s surprising how hard it is to be aware of this behavior and to make choices to change. I have to intentionally focus on being gracious and thanking whoever is giving to me (including God)….all the while the old inner voice still tries to convince me that I’m unworthy. The messages from childhood are so powerful. I’m enjoying many blessings in my life today as a result of choosing to open up to the generosity of God and others. It’s not possible to enjoy anything unless we’re open to receiving. Thanks for another great blog and for sharing the beauty of how this truth has blessed you…especially with your Mom. May you receive many more blessings today and in the future! Much love and peace, Karin

    • Mr Mark Jones says:

      Well I guess I would be #18 on this blog & it is mid september 2012 ……. and I have just read alot so I have received alot & now I wish to give , to share …… I do like to give & I guess I need more work receiving ….. Melody , I read alot about you & your Mom & wow its alot and it is amazing what love can do ! Maybe there could be a put love into what we do index …… why does it have to hurt ? Why do growing pains have to happen at the tender age of 56 ? My Mom is 82 ; right now I love her but she is too busy to see me now for about 3 weeks ….. She is a busy little Bee , a giant Queen Bee at that ….. That is my check in at 1:20 AM Pacific Time USA …… THis is # 18 saying Love to ALL and to ALL a good day ! More Later ……………….bless this blog …. oh I think on a 0-10 RQ I would get about a 5 or 6 at the most so I have work to do …….. Mark

      • Melody Beattie says:

        Hi Mark. It’s always good to hear from you and I think you’re an extremely loving human being. Some people aren’t in a place to receive it, but sobeit. When we give love, it’s to give it not to receive it (even though this blog was about receiving.) There are definitely times we need others, and need to ask for their help — which we may or may not get. There are times to say “No – That’s not right for me” and times to say “Yes – thank you very much.” The bottom line for me, is that the crux of recovery is trust — in ourselves, Life and our HP. You sound good, and I enjoy your presence on the site, Mark. Best, Melody

  • Liz says:

    I have been given a great deal. Sometime I have not realized how much I was given until it was taken away. But even after it was taken away the effects of the gift lingered. When ever I grieve for what I have lost, and I grieve for the big and little, I know I am have been given something special. Sometimes it’s as simple as finding a 50 dollar note that I lost at the supermarket and asking at the checkout – just to be told that someone jsut handed it in. – See there are honest people out there!!! Sometimes a gift can be people showing there tru colouurs just as you are getting to know them. – Although sometimes you have to look hard to see that gift. but the best gift of all is when you have been knocked flat and someone lends you a hand. Thank you to all those that have helped me. A feng shui bagua has a helpful people sector and I will often tweak an area of my house to stimulate that sector. It’s funny how once you start to look for the helpful people that you begin to see many. Al those halpful people have inspired me to help others. So thank you. Pay it forward. Thanks Melody for the great blog- you have helped me so much – thank you.

  • Roxanne says:

    Thank you, Melody.

  • Melody Beattie says:

    To Liz — and the others — thanks for the beautiful comments. For over a year, I drove by the street I now live on. I’d think, “That’s the street I want to live on. No road noise from PCH. But I can’t afford it — out of my means.” That’s when I had the bookstore in town — and then the road closed. They said (the DOT) that it would be a year before the road opened. Now way into Malibu — so I closed the bookstore. On the last day it was open, a woman came in. She was frantic. She had to get rid of her condo — now — before the school year started. It was exactly in the location I wanted. “Too good to be true,” I thought. I almost didn’t go look at it. Then when I did, I didn’tlike the outside. Didn’t want to go in. My friend urged me just to take a look. Finally I did. I walked in the door. The instant I did, I knew I was home. I didn’t want to leave. (The story’s not over.) I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to sell this place, or “give it back.” One day a friend yelled at me, “Why can’t you just accept it as a gift from God?” From that moment on, I have. I’m afraid to even say it aloud though, for fear it will be taken back. So instead, I’ll just stay in each moment, live here and be grateful. It is more blessed to give than to receive, but if we don’t allow ourselves to receive, then the circle will be broken. It takes conscious practice, though — at least it does for me. There’s a lot to be said for giving, a lot to be said for receiving. No rules — just tools. I’m so grateful for all of you. I look at websites full of trolls and angry people, and then I see all the loving, supportive people that are guests on my sites. It makes me so grateful and just now writing it, I realize that it’s another gift that I can let myself receive. So thanks, all of you. Without you, this wouldn’t be a living site. I apprecaite each of you, and all you have to offer. Best, Melody

  • Diana says:

    I write this with a heavy heart… I write this with the weight of my tool box tugging on my arm. it’s the sledgehammer, (I never quite realized how heavy it can be when it’s carried around.) I write this with pain and a fear in my heart so fierce as I force myself to do something different I write this as forcing myself isn’t as hard as it used to be, although not as easy as I want it to be… I write this as a Woman who “Gets it” an intelligent Woman, a strong Woman, a Woman who’s heart is broken but still beating. I write this as a woman who has stopped dead in her tracks and given my situation to God I write this with conviction as tears stream down my face.. I write this with panic and anxiety however this time, there is an unexplained certainty and calm. I write this with peace in my heart and words in my head my writing is my release. I write this with trust that tomorrow will come, the birds will be singing and my heart will still beat I write this with big dreams that are slowly taking the room that I had been renting out to self doubt I write this because the path I have been walking no longer serves me, I have come to the fork in the road I write this as I discover the fork in the road doesn’t always lead to two paths, sometimes it leads us back to where we started I write this with grief and sorrow and hope and faith and confusion and certainty. I write this as a co dependent Woman in recovery

  • Diana says:

    Melody said “For years we’ve heard that we don’t recover from codependency by changing exterior situations. We can leave. We can stay. We can vacillate. Doesn’t matter. Until we make changes inside of ourselves, things stay the same. Recovery is an inside job.” AMEN! I had been in a situation for years when I was younger where the “Giving” I received was out of guilt from my parent’s actions. Recently after all of my co dependent work, I found myself in yet another co dependent relationship. I was receiving gifts, money etc for his episodes of becoming MIA during Birthdays, holidays etc I recently learned of his indiscretions and infidelity. Although the pain is still lingering from knowing everything was guilt driven I am no longer acting on my “old thoughts and behaviors” I am stronger now I have learned so much over my 47 years, however starting over after losing everything (My home, pets, stability) I find it very hard not to have my safety net, this is the co dependency that still lingers. I am a survivor and I will not stop walking through the pain and fear I WILL eventually get another job, I WILL finish my book and I WILL make a better life for my Children. I am back to taking the bus, and standing in line at the food banks however, I no longer struggle with my morals and I am no longer tied to a Man who wants to rescue me because he himself is a full blown codependent. I will no longer accept unhealthy giving as I have learned to recognize “Healthy” giving and receiving through experiences at my place of worship as well as from years of therapy and your life changing books. Thank you again Melody ~Diana

    • Melody Beattie says:

      Hi Diana. I’ve re-read your posts again with quiet and thoughtfulness. I don’t know that I agree that what you’re going through is exemplary of codependency. Starting Over AGain — it’s damn hard. Most of us are so sick of it, of having our friends, financial security, work and relationship — our family — ripped out from under us and needing to get in the “chesse and powdered milk” lines again that we are just … plain …. sick …. and tired. Starting Over Again is hard — especially when diong it for the upteenth time. I think it’s entirely reasonable that you’re feeling the way you are. I think your grief is a reasonable and healthy emotional response to your situation. In other words, I think you’re in better shape and much healthier than you think you are. You’re not on your way to being okay. You are okay and right on track — right now. While those words may not bring much comfort, I hereby validate you, your emotions, and your resonses to your situation as being admirably healthy. (Not that anyone has given me the “knighting” stick to bestow this validation with.) But I see you as being aware, conscious, brave and taking guided action in a timely manner. You might want to peruse the Grief Club site. They’re working the Steps over there. If you do go there to participate (it’s a place to safely be and feel whatever and whoever you are and fel with nobody juding you or telling you to “get over it.” It’s also a place that accepts grieving as a valid and healthy process. If you haven’t found it, it’s at http://www.MelodyBeattie.net (net for a “safety net” — deliberately chosen for that). The site is completely free; we only ask that people register. No spam, emails, etc. are sent to members. The reason for registration is so we can kep the sites safe and so far (except for a few spammers that snuck in), we’ve been blessed with tremendous people or guests on the site — people committed to working on themselves, to being healthy, and to lovnig and accepting themselves a they are. They give and receive healthy support from each other. People may not need to stay there a long time — or maybe they do. We can never tell how long we’ll grieve a particular loss or losses. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Personally, I get so tired of starting over again. But I’ve finally surrendered to the idea that the lessons don’t stop. The more we learn, the more we’re expected to learn, and the harder the lessons become. I feel fortunate if i get a four-day break between the lessons, and ultimately what I’m learning never turns out to be what I think the lessons are. Probably so I don’t get in there and try tocontrol that process too? Anyway, I’m glad you’re here, but not glad you need to be. Thank you for your openness, your posts, your honesty. We may disagree on how healthy you are as I think you’re heatlhy, and you see your situation as codependent. But it’s a good, kind disagreement — and I vote to let you think whatever you do and honor that. Just from spending time reading your comments, I see you as brave, strong, aware and working your program. It’s going to be challenging and hard, but you will get through this and come out the other side a transformed person. As I write in the Grief Club, “grieving isn’t wasted time, or lost timein our lives. It’s more than a clinical process. It’s a holy time — that fork in the roads — and often that place of pain, grief and loss becomes, in retrospect, a sacred spot in our lives from which we become even more than we already are. We don’t have to like it; don’t have to like how we feel. That’s not part of the agreement. We’re not given a big choice about whether or not life deals us certain situations. Often the reason we were in denial is because the other person was an expert at hiding their (his or her) behaviors from us. That’s not our fault. Anyone would have been tricked, likely, in your shoes. So with that, again I thank you for visiting the site and commenting on where you are. So many people are going through a similar situation right now — it’s almost pandemic again. Please, let us know how you’re doing — whether you visit the Grief Club site – or not. (Again, no expenses at all are involved. I strive to keep my sites “product free” so people feel safe and not attacked by sales people. It’s a place to come where you can openly grieve, vent, or do whatever you need to do. It’s also a place where you an work the steps — if you so desire — on your current situation with support from other guests at the site. Because of the nature of the events and emotions shared, I highly recommend that you sign in using an anonymous name so nobody but you knows who you are. It will help you feel safer feeling vulnerable if you decide to visit there. Whatever you choose to do, may you be blessed with guidance, peace, strength and comfort as you create your new life and new you. Best, Melody

      • Melody Beattie says:

        Sorry for all the typos but for some reason, the keys on this new computer stick — and I type fast. I usually don’t edit comments (only blogs) to save time so I can personally respond to the guests at my site instead of having someone else do it in my name. Best again, Melody

      • Melody says:

        A story popped into my mind from years ago that relates to Starting Over Again (SOA). This was a big start-over. HUGE. I had spent eight months in treatment for chemical dependency at the insistence of the State of Minnesota. They were done with me. Drug treatment had just been “invented.” I had no intention of getting sober, just manipulating my way through the program. But I had a hunch on the way there that something big was about to change. Despite my intentions, I had a spiritual awakening that began my sobriety. (The judge had said I had to stay in treatment for as long as it took — and he meant it. It was a six-week program and I as there for eight months.) The problem was, I couldn’t get out until I had a job and could prove visible means of self support. It’s not easy to go job-hunting and write down under past experience, “Junkie and Alcoholic.” Doesn’t land you good jobs and there’s a lot of explaining. I wasn’t looking to start at the top. I answered every single ad in the small town close to the State Hospital where I went through treatment. I mean “every job.” Nothing, not one thing, came to fruition. After weeks of taking the State Hospital bus to town, I had bottomed out. There wasn’t anyplace left to look. I had exhausted all resources — all ads, all franchies or businesses where I could apply for any kind of work. There was nothing left for me to do. As I waited for the bus to bring me back to the State Hospital that night after pounding the pavement all day, a voice (not an acutal voice, but that still small voice within I’ve come to know as either my Guardian Angels, Guides, or intuition) said, “Turn around.” I did. I was standing in front of a stairwell that led to a second-foor law firm. (I had previous — way previous experience as a legal secretary, but hadn’t dared to even think about starting there.) The “voice” said, “Go upstairs, ask to speak to the owner of the law firm, tell him you’re in treatment at the State Hospital, and ask for a job as a legal secretary.” “Yeah, right,” I thought — climbing the steps. I had nothing to lose. The place wasn’t advertising (not that I would have answered an ad. To me, it was starting at the top and I didn’t believe I deserved that.) Anyway, I asked the receptionist if I could talk to the head atorney, the owner of the firm. She reappeared seconds later and said he would see me. She didn’t ask what i was about. In his office, I should told him the truth — I was an alcoholic/addict in treatment at the State Hospital. I had good typing skills, took shorthand, and if he hired me, he wouldn’t be sorry. He looked at me, and then replied, “My brother is an alcoholic. I understand about these things. I’ve been thinking about adding another secretary to my staff but haven’t gotten around to advertising for it yet. Leave your contact information.” I did. Two weeks later he called, and I had a job making twice as much as any job I’d applied for in that job hunt. So in response to “turning it over” — that was a huge experience that showed me that yes, I could do more than trust my HP — I could rely on him for tangible guidance. I also learned that He thought more of me than I did (thought of me). Don’t know why this came to mind, but thought I’d share it. Best of luck in your new beginnings. Please let us know how things are going. Melody Beattie

  • Diana says:

    Hi Melody, I’m sorry it has taken so long to respond. I just finished reading your “Starting Over” blog, I have been thinking a lot about what you said and I think you are right. I believe it is hard to recognize healthy transition and grief when all some of us have ever known is to cling on for dear life. You said “When we start over, we’re walking in the dark, living in the mystery without a clue about what’s next. Sometimes we may feel like we’re dying, and harbor a sense of imminent doom. That’s because the change or transformation is so profound that the experience resembles a death.” These words ring so true… I think that fact that I am able to identify what I am feeling and what doesn’t feel right is HUGE, because in the past as codependency ruled my life I stayed in the sea of denial for many years. The truth can be very hard to swallow. Starting over is a pain in the @$$! especially when we are no longer in our youth. I often wonder how many more times, how many more lessons does God have planned for me? and WHEN will I ever find the stability that I so desperately need? It has taken just as many years to learn that all of this comes from within and one thing I have learned is that I am more resilient than I give myself credit for. I appreciate you calling me out on my self judgement and YES, as far as I am concerned you have MORE than earned your right “to bestow this validation” It means more to me than you will ever know! It did bring a smile to my face when you said “and ultimately what I’m learning never turns out to be what I think the lessons are. Probably so I don’t get in there and try to control that process too?” I have said those same exact words it is so very true. Sometimes we wont even understand the lessons until years later, when suddenly we experience that “AH HA” moment. I signed up for the Grief club I haven’t posted yet however I have spent some time reading and even more time writing my book. I am desperately hoping for a happy ending and I am going about doing everything in my power to make that happen. Job interviews, hopes up high… followed by the rug pulled out from under me ARGH! I’m so close to crawling out of this hell that my kids and I are living in. I keep fighting, keep walking through the fire I will never give up because I do believe that God has everything all planned out for us, maybe not as fast as we would like but our HP is in control I have given my situation to my HP and I take each day to stop and enjoy the little things. I dream big and walk in faith because at the end of the day all we really have is right now. Thank you again for all of your hard work and dedication to this site ~Diana

  • Lisone says:

    Hi Melody, I’m glad I read this blog. I have been starting over, getting through the hard part of a rebirth, the tests that come after having risked a lot to move forward… I live in a new state, am enjoying a new job, and slowly making friends. I gave up a lot to come here and start a new chapter, and thought it would be relatively easy to deal with a pay cut and the distance. Growth is nearly always painful for me, and challenging, and pushes me way beyond my comfort zones, but I always step forward, because the restlessness of standing still makes it impossible not to. I have really battled with this RQ thing. Except for struggling financially, I’m happy with the move. I miss my loved ones. The hardest part is that in order to live near one grown child I had to move away from the other, as well as my remaining siblings in a family too torn by previous losses. It was tough. I thought I’d be prosperous here, at least hoped to be, and that hasn’t happened. So I’m on a shoestring, and the safety net of a little savings is gone and I’m really stretched in faith (you know, counting change before payday) and the hardest part of all is being so far away from loved ones and realizing I”m not going to be able to afford to make it back to visit. Maybe for a long time. So I go in to work one morning and there is an envelope under my office door, with $400 in cash and a note that says, “go see your son. ” This from a coworker I have known just a few months. The generosity stunned and moved me, and after I sobbed a few minutes, I took it in to her and tried to give it back. I did. I said, “I can’t accept this. You can’t do this.” And she asked me, “why not?” I didn’t have an answer. What was I going to say? Because I feel like failure? Because you have it and I don’t? Because if I accept this gift from you, the universe will confirm that I am weak and broken and may always be? So I said thank you, that I would put it away, and wait, and I hoped that I could give it back. Three hours later I learned that my daughter in law had purchased plane tickets for herself and my son to come and visit for his birthday – it was to be a surprise for both of us, and she let me in on it, but not him, yet. Part of me wants to resist and throw up the objection that they can’t afford this any more than I can. But you know what? I just put my dukes down and said “that is wonderful!” I walked back into my coworker’s office after the phone call, hugged her hard, and said thank you, giving her back the envelope. I’m trying to receive. I’m trying to open my arms. In this life with no net but God, I am *trying* to *stop trying so hard* and LET it come. Is it as simple as saying, “that would be wonderful, thank you”? I am wondering how hard it is for me to receive. I call to mind your meditations from The Language of Letting Go often, particularly about letting go of panic, practicing financial responsibility, and letting go of timing. They are a great comfort to me. It has been an amazing “Light Show” and I know it is not really ever over, it’s just the next act, still I always believe there will be a place where it gets easier. You’d think it would get easier to receive, but it never does. I need to master that. I long to stop trying so hard, and just allow. I think back to that gift of $400 and whether I should have allowed myself to accept it to help my kids so they aren’t strapped by this trip. I will be fighting this feeling they maybe shouldn’t have gone to the expense. I want it to stop plaguing me. I have read a book – a good one – called the Trance of Scarcity — about three times. I’ve seen The Secret. Sometimes I think the leftover dogma of being a poor kid raised by post-Depression era parents will never leave me, and I will be haunted by fears of loss and deprivation my whole adult life. Now I’m passing that legacy on to my daughter, though I ‘m trying so hard not to! I know I give it too much energy, and work at affirming gratitude and abundance, but I seem to come back to this place of focusing on fear. I appreciate that you get it, that you have lived it, that you share it. Thank you. Lisa

    • Melody says:

      Lisa, if you’re anything like me, the way we get better at receiving is by practicing it (which is the opposite of what we try to do). I think it’s a muscle, a muscle we have to strengthen. For me, receiving meant “being controlled.” I came from a depression era parent who took “we can’t afford it” to new lows. Like any of our new behaviors practicing them is the only way to learn them. Maybe you could let go of the past, because lessons don’t go away, and set some goals about what you want to learn? I also most gave away this beautiful home I was given. Why? I don’t deserve it — bottom line. It’s so hard to say Thank You — I think — because it makes us vulnerable. But think of the joy you get when you give to someone, and think of the joy you deprive someone from giving a gift to you. You strike me as the kind of person who would “pay it forward.” Maybe you could think about slowly “upping” you RQ — because I don’t we’ll get more until we begin accepting what we’re offered right now. I know; it’s hard. But that means it’s because we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone and we’re learning something new. Stay in touch. Let me know how it’s going. Recently, I’ve been asking people to “do me a favor” — and that is absolutely huge for me. Best Melody

      • lisone says:

        HI again Melody, You are absolutely right, and I have been coaching myself to do that. My brother sent me a hundred bucks in the mail with a note that said, “because I can” and I gratefully accepted it. It was much easier than accepting four times that from someone I didn’t know as well – and yet what I have accepted from her is a new and enriching friendship. It is pride too, that makes it hard to receive, but I haven’t seen that because I haven’t wanted to. After all, I am the big risk taker in the family, the one who “made the most of herself” which is bunk, because their lives are valuable and authentic also, and many times I wish I could have done mine as well and fear I have made some whopper mistakes. The pride aspect is that I have this hidden ethic that I must always be immediately successful (high expectations of self) which I can speak to all day long to others as their therapist but not necessarily want to face in myself. I’ve had many eye opening moments in this new chapter and they are maturing me in new ways. It is humbling to have to keep working so hard. It is humbling to need to accept help. One of my challenges is to “do it the best I can today” and let go. This was something I found easier in my old setting where all was familiar and I had friends and family close. Out here, in this new environment and new job where I perceive the stakes are so high (but are they really? I don’t know. Maybe that is just fear) I find myself much more clutchy at completion and perfection, much more upset when I have made a mistake. I have a subliminal /self hypnosis cd I use that has the phrase, “mistakes are safe to make.” The first time I heard this was like a revelation, and then I have had to really dig deep about that level of self expectation, and where it came from. It is old COA stuff. It no longer serves me. The reason I mention it is because I think I find it hardest to receive when I am not feeling successful…they are tied together for me, and I need to see them as cars on the end of a train that can be unhooked and let go. Choo choo! Moving forward. Thanks Melody, for everything. You always shine a light for me, and yes, as I try to pay it forward, *through* me, too. Lisa

  • Melody Beattie says:

    Hi lisone. Sounds like the universe has got you practicing \accepting\ and \receiving\ too. I did want to add this one comment to my blog — BUT IT IS NOT DIRECTED AT YOU. Please, don’t think it is. There are some people who are the opposite of \Non-receivers.\ They are people who will take everything and anything they can get. After we’ve been around them, we feel like we just stumbled in and out of a gypsy camp — our pockets are turned inside out and not a penny remains. I think the goal is to let ourselves be vulnerable enough to receive when we need it – while having good boundaries about receiving too. As with anything else, there aren’t rules — all there is, is trusting our HP and ourselves. Sounds like you’re doing a good job. Best, Melody AGAIN — TO THOSE WHO DIDN’T SEE IT — I AM BACK TO WRITING AND WON’T BE POSTING AS OFTEN. ALSO, I FOUND ABOUT SIX HUNDRED OF MY RESPONSE TO COMMENTS FROM VARIOUS FILES MISTAKENLY PUT IN THE \SPAM BOX\ IN THE VARIOUS SITES’ BACKROOMS. SO I APOLOGIZE PROFUSELY IF YOU NEVER RECEIVED A RESPONSE FROM ME — IT’S POSTED NOW (SOMETIMES MUCH LATER THAN YOUR ORIGINAL COMMENT OR POST). WITH ALL THAT SAID, I WON’T BE AROUND AS OFTEN, BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN I DON’T CARE, THAT I’M NOT READING YOUR POSTS (OR THAT I CAN EVEN STAY AWAY). Best, Melody Beattie

  • Mr Mark Jones says:

    Dear Melody & Others on this Blessed Site , Wow lots to read , lots to share , important “stuff ! ” 12-2-2012 9:30 pm Pacific Part of the point is that we need to be engaged if we can , but we GIVE by respecting our significant others boundaries ! In fact we may have crossed, way across, their boundaries without either if you really even being aware of it ! Then one of you wakes up and says ” My god , you have crossed my boundaries ! ” And you say – ” you let me cross your boundaries …..” And they say , I no longer want to have any ” contact ” with you again , you are not welcome in my life ! ” That hurts and now your heart is broken and it is like you are kicked in the face to boot ….. Grieve , Start over ….. now another 5-6 years go by ….. In the Now, in the Moment , I have 1 more , maybe 2 new Good, Quality relationships left in me …….. and still I want to give, give, give, and that is to forgive and in so doing I will Receive , receive …….and Nirvana and Bliss , True Love from our Higher Power – the Great Spirit – Jesus ! Thanks for your Stories Melody and for Sharing your Love ……Be Good to Yourself and have some fun with those Games ! I play with my Cat Ernie alot ! PEACE , thankyou for having me on this site …… Mark S.

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