Looking in the Right Places

Is this house crooked or is it the street? Or the picture? Or your glasses ?

There’s nothing like a summer night at the baseball field to remember small town life and the simpler things.

The cool air, the beautiful mountains so close you could touch them. Sweaty, sticky little innocent faces whose whole lives are ahead of them. The crack of a bat, the anxious parents yelling to “Hurry! Get the ball!” As if there were any other goal of the game.

It’s all so surreal to me….

It’s been 11 years since I left the small town life and moved to the “Big City”. Luckily every summer I can go back to that life when watching my grandkids play baseball.

Many nights were spent at the ball park in my home town and the next one over where I raised my kids. So, of course I know many people there. Small town families are notoriously all have that LOOK that you can usually place them in their respective families. However, last night they all looked like strangers to me. People from a whole different world. I might as well have been back in the city, where everyone is anonymous.

So I asked my daughter, “how come I don’t recognize anyone?”
She said, “Well, are you looking in the right places? Because this is a whole other generation & your people are over there in the rocking chairs in the shade!”
She was right.

I was looking in the wrong places. How many times in my life had I done that very thing?

Sometimes it’s not at the ball field. Sometimes it’s on dating sites or on a social media post that we interpret to our own personal experience and jump to conclusions about what it must mean.

Wherever we are, we will find what we are looking for. 

If we are in the habit of feeding our fears or insecurities, we will most certainly find things that will.

Brene` Brown states:

Stop walking through the world looking for confirmation that you don't belong. You will always find it because you've made that your mission. Stop scouring people's faces for evidence that you're not enough. You will always find it because you've made that your goal. True belonging and self-worth are not goods; we don't negotiate their value with the world. The truth about who we are lives in our hearts. Our call to courage is to protect our wild heart against constant evaluation, especially our own. No one belongs here more than you.

There’s an old story of a couple who were moving and pulled up to a gas station in their new town. They asked the attendant if the town was friendly. The attendant said, “Was your old town friendly?” “No, not at all”. The woman said. The attendant shook his head: “Then this one won’t be either”.

Our preconceived notions can set us up for failure. When we are unable start a new experience with a blank slate; we will experience what we always have. People who have a “chip on their shoulder” are very obvious to others even if they don’t think they are. In fact, they often wonder why the world is so cruel, or why others are so unhelpful or even ‘rude.’

So, how can we find what we are looking for, yet have a blank slate free from expectations or judgements? How to be like a child who can play and acclimate in almost any situation? I believe it’s because they have one goal in mind- to have fun. They have an intention.

“Our intention creates our reality”- Wayne Dyer

If we are intent on finding something that helps us grow, we will. If we (usually subconsciously) are looking for something that offends us or irritates us, we will. All of us have had those days when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed and everything goes wrong. We keep waiting for our luck to change as if something will drop out of the sky and change our life. Until we realize we have the power to change the mood, the day, or at least stop the barrage of negative thoughts that seem to attack us.

In order to find what we are looking for, we not only have to look in the right places, we have to BE in the right place ourselves.

How to get there?

Habits for Well Being has a great list Here:

  • Writing in your journal.
  • Meditating.
  • Reading an inspiring quote or poem.
  • Go for a walk or run (if you are able to).
  • Spend some time stretching or doing yoga.
  • Focus on a power word for the day, week, month or year.

It isn’t easy, especially when we are so focused on our problems, or on that one thing that seems to be our kryptonite.

I’m going to try it today.

I’m going to limit my social media time so I’m not drawn into conflict or endless debates on things that drain my energy.

I’m going to spread light and love, especially since it’s my daughter’s 24 th birthday and the fact that I have her AND my amazing prodigal 35 year old son close by, is seriously a miracle.

I’m going to focus on seeing the good. I’m going to look for the helpers as if I’m riding the train into Mr Roger’s neighborhood.

May you find what you’re looking for on this happy & bright Saturday.

Mint Plants

How can a plant help us see our lives in full circle? What can a few leaves, some dirt and a pot teach us about life?

What we think will never change- one day, suddenly changes!

That’s what!

I have 2 Mint plants. The one on the left was the healthy big one when I bought them. The next one over was a measly lifeless scraggly plant that was half the price. I had hope at first that I could save it, but soon decided it might not make it & I had the thought to toss it. After I trimmed the leaves off the healthy one, to put in my drinking water, it slowly died. Soon after, the second one took over & came to life & is now reaching for new heights. It’s growing up toward the skylight in my kitchen.

Funny thing is, there have been times in my life when I was the plant on the left. Other times the situation was exactly reversed.

Moral?

Don’t ever think you are destined forever in your troubles.

If I’ve learned anything in my short (5`3″) life, is that no matter how I feel or what just happened to me, it won’t last.

I KNOW it will change. Little by little I’ll feel better or something grand will happen out of the blue. Things have a way of working out. It’s just so hard to wait. Whatever it takes to get your mind clear & feeling better during that time is paramount. It’s taken me a lot of years to learn what I need to do to get to that place.

Had I learned it sooner, it might have saved a lot of heartaches. 

I was in the place on the left just one month ago. I thought all is lost, there’s no hope. But almost everything I have hoped for the last few years has happened.

I feel blooming.

Light. Hope. Happiness. Redeemed. Grateful.

Even- dare I say it? Joyful.

I wish I could say it was of my doing, but I can’t. My mood transformation is nothing short of a miracle. My family has come together like a forest full of lush blooming, sweet smelling greenery. The love and support which I thought was a distant dream, has magnified ten- fold. Amidst heartache and pain, it has blossomed deep family bonds that can only move forward.

I believe we can create our own miracles in the midst of struggle. Not by controlling others, but by honing in on our emotions and thoughts to pull us out of the depths of utter darkness.

Find your place & pull yourself up to it. Go toward the skylight. Find your Sun. Somedays you’ll be on top of the world. But be oh so humble when you are there. It can change in an instant. And don’t ever look down at that scraggly plant & think that you’re better than it. Both of you have the same innards inside. The same potential to be your greatness! It just might be hidden from the onlooking world. You both will ebb & flow thru life· So just be kind. Mostly to yourself.

When you are kind to yourself and others you can enjoy the flow so much more.

Remember to never, ever give up. Possibilities exist that are beyond our thinking when we are sinking. Faith in these possibilities, is a learned skill if you don’t naturally have that positivity.

Just remember:

YOU ARE UNFINISHED BUSINESS in MINT CONDITION!

Breathing

93, 92, 90, 88, 85. The red flashing numbers on the monitor were screaming to be noticed, as they dived downward.

My son pulled his head up off the bed in the intensive care unit and gasped for air.

“Please get me out of here!”

“I can’t breathe!” He yelled.

His face was a shade of non- agreeable gray as his reddened eyes rolled back. He started grabbing the many tubes that were sustaining his life for 2 days now. Just an hour before, he had told me he thought he was going to die the night before. But now…..

This seemed pretty close too.

“Please help me G-d dammit!” His teeth clenched together to bite the tube that was in his mouth.

I was embarrassed, worried, scared, sad, angry, powerless and confused.

I held my trembling insides together as I watched this first born son of mine fight the ravages of the disease of addiction’s monstrous withdrawal symptoms coupled with new diagnoses of pneumonia, flu and the surprise one: congestive heart failure.

He was only 36.

This boy of mine who was always moving (no sedentary lifestyle for him); didn’t cave to the smoking fad; Loved salads along with his hamburgers; now had the heart of an 80 year old.

Over the last few years, I had conjured up all scenarios of addiction and lived in fear of overdoses; but this? Heart failure? Never, in a million years.

With the withdrawals out of control and his oxygen dropping quickly, I had to make the decision to let them intubate him. This means a tube would be inserted into his lungs to breathe for him.

My husband and I were whisked out of the room while they inserted another lifeline into my little 9 pound 5 oz baby who had metamorphosed into a 6 ft 220 man now.

A flailing struggling human.

He was finally beaten down by the deprivation and the twisted, sharp fangs of the lifestyle of addiction. This larger than life man, who was the life of the party, now reduced to the mercy of these medical professionals who were strangers in a strange and dark town.

Driving into this town lately, made my insides sick mostly because of my sons infatuation with it. 6 hours from my home; we had made many trips here to try to console, consort, bribe, and pray for my son out of it. I had begged, literally begged, stars, famous entertainers, politicians, influencers and famous recovery “helpers” and rap stars that my son loved; to take an interest, take him under his wing and help us with an intervention to save him.

No one answered me.

Except one.

One slightly famous, very influential- although a bit controversial -“star”. He told me:

“Your son is not who he thinks he is, and until he can find a way back to his true self, the true destiny he was meant to fulfil; he will continue to suffer.”

Well, here we are.

Suffering

I’m not sure who was suffering worse. Him or me. Probably him.

I was told once that pain is a huge motivator. Would this be enough pain? How much suffering must one human endure? Either the recipient or the recipient’s loved ones- how much can one withstand?

I try to distract myself and log onto Facebook.

“My son is a monster!””

“I’m kicking him out!”

“How can he do this to me?!!”

My feed is filled with the mom’s support group posts of their person with SUD.

I can’t. I close my Facebook and stare at my sons’ now calm face. His long eyelashes closed over his sweaty face. This boy. This boy who has stolen my heart and encapsulated the last 3 years fully into focused kinetic energy of one goal- recovery.

Would this be IT? Would this be the final straw for him? Almost dying? His future completely dependant on his choices and decisions.
Would my boy love himself enough to care enough? Would he care enough to love himself?

That answer remains hidden. Under the sterile cold hospital room. Amidst the beeping red lights. Under the stark white bedding that lay over my once vibrant happy son.

All I know is that my son is alive. Here and now, my son is alive. How many times I have prayed for this moment. For him to just be alive.

For now, I will not wonder, or stress, or ruminate. I will not make bets, or promises or excuses. I will not project my fears, insecurities and expectations.

I will sit here and watch my son be alive.

Expectations

Have you ever tried to read your credit card number to someone on the phone and the light just isn’t hitting it right or you don’t have your glasses on, or worse – the card is backward AND you don’t have your glasses on?

You just CAN’T quite make it out and you start to feel really dumb or something and maybe apologize or you might even lash out if the person on the phone is rushing you with questions of “HELLO, are you still there??”

“Yes, I’m still here. I just can’t see it yet.”

“The numbers should be 16 digits separated into 4 sections”.

“I KNOW WHAT THE NUMBERS ARE, JUST GIVE ME A MINUTE!!!” You tell the person.

“How old are you?” They say.

“WHAT DOES THAT MATTER”?

“Because you sound like you’re a grown person”.

“I AM!!! What does that have to do with ANYTHING!!!!!

Your face is now flushed, as you frantically look for your glasses or try to get to a brighter light.

“Well then, you SHOULD be able to see the numbers. I have MY credit card right here and I would NEVER take this long, in fact, the very SECOND I knew there was a problem I would be fixing it”.

Whaaaaaaaa?

You can’t believe your ears!

“Why you dirty rotten miserable human being, you have a lot of nerve telling me what I’m supposed to be and not be, HOW DARE YOU????”

“Ma-am look, I’m just doing my JOB. I tell it like it is and if you can’t handle it, then that’s your problem. You should probably get some help for that”.

“YOU CAN TAKE YOUR ADVICE and SHOVE IT”.

You hang up the phone shaking.
Unbelievable.
The nerve.
You mutter to yourself, “They have no idea if my eyesight, or my lighting or all the things I’m trying to juggle. They SHOULD be Grateful that I even thought of them and called. They can take this bill and shove it!”

~~~~~~
Ok, so customer service people may not talk like that to us, but don’t we talk to people we love that way sometimes?

“You SHOULD know better, why can’t you SEE what you’re doing? Look, I don’t have time for this. Or-I’m just doing my job and watching out for you”.

And we get no appreciation right?
In fact we might even get the cold shoulder, or the phone hang up, which isn’t nearly as dramatic as when we could slam it on the receiver.

Because, guess what?
No one. Likes. To. Be. Told. What. To. do. 🎤🔽.

Especially when they CAN’T SEE it themselves……..
Yet.

No one wants to be told they’re paying too much for their car insurance until they sit down and re-do their budget. It doesn’t matter how many times you shove the little green gecko in front of them. They can’t see it. 🦎

I heard it again today on a Mom’s support group:

“He’s a grown man, he SHOULD know better. He NEEDS to be doing this and this. Oh and he NEEDS to give his life to Jesus too”.

Look. I like Jesus, I believe in him. But that doesn’t mean my son does, or ever will. Also, my son may never recover in the way I want him to. In fact, come to think of it, all my kids seem to have to learn the hard way of things I’ve told them.

Does that mean that I deprive them of my time, attention, and general pleasantness until they learn their lesson?
No this isn’t about not kicking a child out, it’s about being mean and spiteful and just generally cruel to someone who doesn’t think the way we do or see things as we see them.

Here’s a shocker…..

What if WE, the ultimate expert on allThingschildren..now, don’t actually know what’s best for someone?

It’s hard to believe when we see such pain and heartache and wasted time and money, but we have to get to a place where we stop trying to maneuver outcomes according to our comfort level. (outside of our own homes I mean).

How many times have I been driving and seen a car going just a little too slow for MY schedule, and I pass them thinking they need to get a life. How many times has just one thing been wrong with my husband’s hair or beard and he fixes it just for me and then I can go on with my day?
Like really?

No, I’m not a control freak. That’s not my personality type.

But I am a:

Ifonlythisonethinginthis momentwasdonedifferentlythenicouldrestfinally…freak.

Bottom line. We, as humans, probably will never be happy with WHAT IS. Until we mentally be happy with WHAT IS.

We can do that begrudgingly and crabby or with lots of deep breaths and a smile on our face. No, not a fake smile.

A smile of relief that we are no longer in charge of everybody and everything in order to be happy.

🍃💮🍃💮🍃💮🍃💮🍃💮🍃

Addictive Personality

I’ve always known that my son had an addictive personality but since he seemed to use it for good things, it wasn’t an issue. In fact, most times we would just roll our eyes at how intense he was.

I’ve heard that most addicts are people with addictive personalities. And if they didn’t have one before, the drugs will make sure they do now. The unquenchable thirst for more, and more, makes them prone to get involved in riskier and riskier obsessive behaviors. That so called line that “normal – thinking” people think is so bold and stark – like an orange painted crosswalk- is just a blurry gray to them. It’s as if they are color-blind to the advancing risks of use.

I learned from Addiction deconstructed, by Nicole Labor, that the reptile brain is always in action of seeking what they perceive as survival. So lying, hiding, stealing and then selling are progressions of an unhealed brain which sees only the options of survival to them but to us they only seem to further their bad situation.

Addiction wouldn’t even be a thing if it didn’t have this strong drive for “survival.”

So the fact the person (puppet) follows the algorithm of addiction behaviors; shouldn’t really be a surprise to us. I think we forget that fact when talking about the why’s of this devastating disease.

Why are they so mean?

Why are they so devoid of empathy?

Why are they so selfish?

Why isn’t their children enough to get them to stop?

Or:

Why can’t a regular job be enough?

Because, it just isn’t.

You can explore all the ‘why’s’ of an addict that you want, but it’s just going to drive you insane.
It’s like those little pullback play cars. You pull them back a few times to rev up the wheels then let them go.
At that point, nothing is gonna stop them until they crash. We all know what those crashes entail, but most are temporary, sadly some aren’t. They just get sent in a different direction. Addicts actually adapt well to different surroundings because their minds (if not completely healed) MUST find something l to focus on to tame their headspace.

The “addictive personality” theme may explain why some people can be on opioids or occasional alcohol and not get addicted. (because they don’t have the addictive game, or propensity for it?)

We just don’t understand enough about their brain to know what it’s like to be so controlled as to ALWAYS be in survival mode. Whether that’s the fear of being alone/ powerless/ raw with their own emotions/facing what damage they’ve caused; we are not going to be able to reach them.

WE are not going to reach them in the way that we think. and unfortunately they are not able to show that they care.

I believe that they really CAN’T care until their brain is remapped or given time to heal.
So they continue to ONLY care about what their ‘sick’ brain tells them to.
It creates a path behind them of chaos & confusion, hurt people & innocent children & lots of lost time & money spent.

The only conclusion that gives me any sense of peace is that we ALL must ultimately navigate our own journey.

So, in a sense, we need to stop wondering why.

We can help by working within our boundaries, we can pray, sympathize with others, etc but each of us- including the addicted- must forge our own healing journey in the best way we can to survive our pain❣️💛❣️

The Mother Love

The Mother Love

Love is not found in the Hallmark aisle.

Love is not found in boxed chocolates tied up with a silk bow.

Love is not found in a Facebook post with lovey-dovey pictures.

Love IS found in the quick breathe of a Mom who looks at her phone and sees the number of her child calling.

Love IS found with the expelled breathe of relief when the door to the treatment center or bus door closes with her child behind it.

Love IS found in the fallen tears on the pillow, alone, in the dark.

Love is seen when a mom looks into her hurting childs eyes as he lashes out at anyone who dares get between him and his master.

This life, this journey. We didn’t request to be in the club. But when we first laid eyes on the child, along with all the hopes and dreams to come; we unknowingly accepted the disappointments and pain that would surely come also.

The first time our child came home crying because someone was mean to them, we felt the fierceness rise inside us.

We knew instantly we would fight for our child’s heart. We knew we would do anything to soothe their pain.

Now they seem so far away.
We can’t save them.
We can’t bridge that gap to cauterize their bleeding heart. If we could, we would.

God knows we try.
We try bandaid after bandaid.

It doesn’t work.
The hemorrhage continues.
It filters through loved one’s lives and relationships like hot lava flowing from a huge volcano.

We wonder when it will stop. How deep is that hole?

No one truly knows.
So we forge through the pain.

Thinking we can’t go on.

But we will.

Because of that momma bond. Unbroken. Unseared.
We will go on.
And even if we can’t fix this boo boo.
We can still love.

We love DESPITE the pain.
We love THROUGH the pain.
We love because we are Mother’s.

We carry love from the pre-mortal existence before earth and we carry it through the galaxies into the afterlife.

Not time, nor space can douse a Mother’s Love.

Throughout centuries and worlds of hardships- nothing has stopped a Mother’s Love.

Beware, of the Mother’s Love.

It can crush unimaginable barricades.
Move mountains to plains.
Change hearts to Gold.
Make a meal out of nothing.
Sew a complete fictional character out of strips of cloth.

This war might think it has been won. The victory flag being raised by the devil himself.

But he doesn’t and never will…..
Know the strength of a Mother’s Love.

Waking Up

In a world where every day is a new beginning….

Yet it feels like an old version of a cable channel.

Where we are told what to be enraged about today.

What to fight about.

Who to blame.

Until a tragedy happens. Then it’s all kumbaya. Until we are told again who to be mad at.

Passion rules the human experience. After all:

If we don't stand for something we'll fall for anything.

We’re told.

My heart hurts. Because the thing I want more than anything remains just beyond my reach.

I’ve grasped and dug into the sand with every tentacle possible like an octopus looking for food.

I want my son back.

I want my family.

I never thought life would become so painful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly blessed. I have people who love me. I have a husband who takes care of me. I have daughters who keep me afloat. But no one understands the pain.

Rainy days like today pull at my insides. I love the beauty. The freshness, the hope. Then my aching heart pulls me inside its grip. Like a mother duck leading her babies across the rainy road and one gets swept away.

Oh my heart. What to do.

Enjoy the rain. I’m told. Just enjoy the rain.

Losing Our Dreams

By Jamie Veron.

(Italics and bold added by me.)

A lot of the reason we lose so much faith in our dreams, visions, ambitions is because we believe that what inspired us to dream in the first place is actually not possible.

Because of life.

We blame life. But a lot of the time it’s not really life, is it?

It's really that we stop believing in US.

We stop trusting ourselves and pursuing whatever it is we always dreamt of pursuing because of one of two reasons:

1) Life didn’t go the way we expected it to go or

2) Life didn’t happen in the timeframe we expected it to happen in.

Yet, where do we get these expectations? Maybe we get them from comparison with others. We assume that someone else’s success during the same timeline as our timeline means our dreams won’t come true. We use another person’s path as a barometer of certainty. Which, ultimately, is flawed. Our paths are specific, not prescriptive.

We could also get these expectations simply from our own minds. Little illusions of how it should look and/or when it should happen. These illusions are not based in reality. They are just shifting perceptions—and most of the time these perceptions are completely born from fear

Sometimes it can feel like our minds are looking for reasons to give up. (Unless we retrain our minds to look for encouragements, which if you’re reading this, chances are your mind wants you to be encouraged. This is a sign!)

When we really think about it and dissect it, the only reasons we give up (or believe our time has passed or that we’re too old or too this or too that) are because of these faulty expectations. People have been defying “normal” for a very long time. And besides, we always need a new normal.

So, if you’re holding yourself and your life and your inspiration and your joy, hostage to faulty expectations or disappointments; it’s time to rethink. Time to retrain the brain. Time to start attuning yourself to encouragement. Time to look for signs that you’re on the right path FOR YOU.

If you needed a sign to not lose hope and to start letting go of expectations that are not serving you, this is it. Let them go and rise. Follow your path. Forget everything else.- Jamie Veron

A Wisp of Magic

I was told once “Don’t ever lose your magic”.

I remember saying,”what magic?” (Because I certainly never thought of myself as ‘magical’)

They said: “The magic of when you’re deep in thought yet have that sparkle in your eyes with a wisp of child-like joy.

Or when you hurriedly bandaged up the cuts of your dog that got in a fight before your kids could see the trauma.

Or when you laugh at yourself falling off a rock.

I thought about that. Laughing, joy, carefree. Finding the magic.

If I could pick one word that describes my ‘persona’ the last few years it would be consumed. Not with magic but with saving my son and my family.

It’s been the most horrendous, exhausting journey I could ever imagine. Do I blame my son? No. Many others already have that role. My role, my character in this version of life seems to be the one who holds onto hope. With every last thread I can get my hands on, I hold onto believing in the power of miracles. Dare I say- the gift of magic.

You know, the funny thing about that magic is that it is always there like a never-aging friend. It can be plucked off its low-hanging fruit of life. However, most people don’t know where to find it or even that it even exists at all. As we get more bogged down with problems and life’s hardships, we become blinded to finding joy.

There are two superhighways to find it. I have spent my life walking the fine line of the division of the two. Trying to balance the responsibility of woman hood with the joy of childlike fun.

Like a pendulum clock swinging side to side, I spent so much time over the years seeing both of the sides of the spectrum and meeting in the middle the best I can. Both sides pulling at me with their energy of everything I wanted the most at the time.

The innocent childhood hopes and dreams gave way to new hopes & plans now riddled with so many expectations.

These expectations, interspersed with blankets of fear and mountains of tears, left me questioning the innocence and joy of life.

My heart now beats in the middle of all this, wondering how to maneuver the pain of the last few years with the possibility of living out my years in peace.

Yes, every day is a choice.

A choice for peace.

Post-Easter

Easter has always been my second favorite holiday. I love the pastel colors, the tulips opening up to the hope of spring, and the colorful candy. Finding Easter eggs was my favorite childhood activity for some strange reason. I would make my mom hide them 2 or 3 times until she was sick of it. The fact that we basically had 2 rooms and a small yard to hide them in, meant that they were usually hidden in the same place too.

In my community, we had a tradition of “rolling Easter eggs” that my kids found out was not a commonly known thing, as they received weird looks when they ventured out in the world.
I look back on the pictures of these times with such melancholy, and love in my heart, albeit with a tinge of sadness.

I have always felt a need to capture moments as they happen with the realization that the moment will never be here again. So 27+ scrapbooks later, I am left with precious memorabilia to look through on occasion. I can look at these pictures and really appreciate how precious life is, holding my sadness close but having hope for better days.

To every one who suffers during holidays and every day & those who are apart from the people they love-may you have peace and comfort knowing all will be well, in due time. Even if you don’t know what “well” means.

There is always a greater purpose. 

And no- I’m not saying everything happens for a reason. None of some things should EVER happen. God doesn’t want people suffering. He doesn’t “make them suffer”. A lot of it is from free will of someone else or the person suffering.

I believe free will is important for human autonomy and for society in general. But that doesn’t mean others’ choices don’t affect us.

I’m reading a great book on how to deal with others’ choices when they cause you pain. It’s called: Letting Go, Rugged Love For Wayward Souls – how to love and forgive those who have hurt and abandoned you.

I will be putting a few paragraphs from this book into my book because it describes my son perfectly. Specifically this one:

Although I hate the term “Letting Go”, because it implies letting an unwell person flounder around needlessly. But I want to learn how to Love Ruggedly😎💯😎