Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I appreciated your comments yesterday.  The great thing about being in a 12 step program is that nothing stays static. Every day is a new adventure in living. I realize that this is a difficult time for me.  I have worked in this career--it is more than just a job--for a very long time.  I studied hard to achieve the successes that I have made.  And yes, my identity has been tied up in my career.

I think of myself as a scientist. So I suppose it is only natural that there are moments when I confuse the job here with my profession.  The profession and the career can continue if I choose to do so. That is such a comforting thought.  I am not giving up my degrees, my publications, my knowledge or my experience--I am simply leaving this place of employment.  And I can always come back here to study or write and be welcomed.  I liken this to the analogy of  leaving Al-Anon for a while and then coming back.  I will feel comfortable because I know the program and can bet that I will be welcomed with warmth. And so it is with my profession.

So last night, I went to the study group and the meeting afterward.  I thought that the topic of "thoughts" was particularly appropriate.  Thoughts about myself have run the gamut from "you are a great person" to "you are such a mess and a f##kup".  I'm tending to listen a lot to the "good person" part of me more and more.

And that brings me to a great post that Smitty had on her site.  I asked her if I could reprint it here:

Nothing is more important than that I feel good about who I am. Therefore, I am going to do my best to put aside anything but positive thoughts. This means that I will try to think only good thoughts about you. While you may think this is wonderful, there is one catch: I may have to distance and detach from you in order to do this.

If I must distance myself in some ways as I learn to find a positive place of focus for myself, it is my hope that you will not take it personally. From this point on, I will not be able to listen to your fear, your criticism or your anger, as I cannot feel whole when surrounded by negativity. In order to stay in a positive place for myself I am going to detach, with love, from all that is negative around me and focus on only attracting positive things to me.

This will allow me to see things as they really are, for I cannot grow from a place that is full of frustration, anger, despair or feeling overwhelmed, through over-emphasizing the negative.

You may feel that I no longer care or will no longer be there for you. I can assure you that I will be consistently trying to think nothing but positive thoughts for you too. I will focus my thoughts of you on my hope that you get the desires and passions of your life. I will care that you find your happiness and joy. However, I realize that I am not the creator of your joy and that only you can create the things in your life that you want.

If what you want is a sounding board for your miseries or a target for your anger, then I will not be there for you. I am committed to finding joy in my life and wish for us both to thrive. If you choose to join me in accepting life on its terms, and in thriving through difficulties in this new way, I welcome you to be with me, but there will be no room for negativity. If you try to join me in negativity, then I will need to put myself first. If I find myself staying in your negativity, then I know I have some quiet homework to do! Cleaning up my side of the fence may require that I leave the scene and detach with love.

Today I am painfully aware that I cannot be weak enough to make anyone else strong, or sad enough to make anyone else happy, or confused enough to make anyone else clear, or passive enough to make anyone else a leader. I cannot and will not lose me to make a better or more complete you.

I will focus on my own desires and eagerly travel on my journey to finding joy. The measure of my success will be how much joy I attract from others and how much joy I share with others. Can you live with your joy? Then come with me, if not, I will venture forward on my own, hoping we may meet again in a new way.
Wishing you a good journey on this day.


  1. Wow. If that isn't a divinely inspired post, I don't know what is..


  2. Glad you are seeing your work change as it is. Good health to you my friend. Smitty's writing was so worth the quote here.

  3. That was EXCELLENT!
    My favorite line was this:
    "If what you want is a sounding board for your miseries or a target for your anger, then I will not be there for you."
    Man. I am so done with that part of my life. Which is probably why I have about three friends. Ha!
    Anyway, good one, Syd and thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this today. I'm having a bit of a touch time and really needed to hear it. Have a good one!

  5. Loved this post! Great way to think and speak to people that choose to be consistently
    "negative" in our lives!

  6. Hello I saw your post on Sarah's blog. Everything you have written is really relevant to what I am struggling with right now. It feels like a battle. I am going to come back and read this again and again when I'm becoming overwhelmed. I have never been so aware of what happens when I 'lose myself' and I really want to change it. Feel free to visit my blog if you have time.

  7. This is an amazing post indeed, completely divinely inspired and thank you for sharing it with us Syd, I just so completely get this on so many levels, so thank you for sharing it.


  8. You think of yourself as a scientist, and you're a marine biologist, right? Well I think of you as someone who loves the water, the ocean, and all about it. You love marine biology, fine, but you also love sailing and the beach, and just the smell of being there. Even if you give up your job, you will not be giving up all that is you and all that connects you with that. You will have that love and that passion always.

  9. I run from the negative people. I want and mostly enjoy my serenity and really like "the soundingboard"
    line. The ones I really try to stay away from are those that are so cloaked in "spirituality" that they are totally judgemental of those that are not as "spiritual."
    Oh and SYD, you damned near made me split on your Sugarbutt comment. Thanks for a a great bellylaugh to start my day. And thank you for this post.

  10. I came over this morning and read this & have come back this afternoon to reread it and respond. Sometimes we are given the slightest little nudges in life and if we blink, we miss them. I'm happy my eyes were open. Good post. Tammy

  11. I really like what Tari said about what you enjoy defining who you are and not your profession defining you. Sometimes I get so bogged down in my roles in life (job and otherwise) that I forget to work on just being me, no matter what role I am in that day. Afterall, God put me into this world as just me. I am the one who signed up for all of those roles (mom, wife, student, therapist, etc.) which I often put before being the me that God orginally made. Just a thought.
    Many blessings,

  12. This is why we bloggers appreciate your sharing so much Syd.Your spirit is a shining inspiration for us all!!

    Thank you for sharing :)

  13. Oh my gosh! WOW! Thank you Syd & thank you Smitty :) Also, glad you're taking a perspective from a better angle with regards to your work. God bless.

  14. A challenging time Syd but you are finding your way forward -- always good to find a new blogger.

  15. Thank you so much! The sentence "I cannot be weaker to make anyone else stronger..." has connected some frayed pieces of my recovery. Thank you for being willing to post this great post.

  16. Wow Syd...this is right on..thank you for posting it. Sarah


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