I hurriedly rushed through the sporting goods store looking for the items on my son’s “list” for this weeks “drop”.
A coffee mug
A hat with a flag or a CAT logo
More protein mix and protein bars and maybe pre-workout mix
Head -n- Shoulders Body/ shampoo wash
This day was special. It’s the eve of 4 weeks in rehab. 4 weeks to a person with years of substance use is HUGE. This is after 5 weeks in jail. Although this amount of time is a great victory, it’s a drop in the hat compared to the amount of time using……..years.
Insurance companies, still angry family members, old co-workers, all mumble in disgust, “Shouldn’t he be healed by now?”
Hmm, I’m not good at math but 48 months doesn’t equal 2 months. The brain is amazing but neuroplasticity takes time. Just like it took time to adjust to the drugs.
We “think” that as soon as we get them out of that cycle of chaos and get them a shower and some decent meals, they will be good-to-go. If that were true- there would be zero return to use after jail.
As it is, my son is learning how to take care of himself again. For year’s, yes years, he has been in pure survival mode. Trying to find a place to stay every night; trying to maneuver his substance use, trying to justify his substance use, trying to deny his substance use. Putting poison in his body TO SURVIVE, yes survive. Every day his body told him- SCREAMED at him in fact: “GET DOPE or DIE”. It is survival to them.
But now, his focus is back on learning his body’s other cues. Cues of revitalization. Healing. Repairing years of damage to cells. Brain and body. He has scars. He has a bullet hole. He has ingrained pathways in his brain that automatically go into the quickest way to feel better and the quickest way to obtain the resources in order to feel better. To slow the hell down, sit in class after class, face his demons, face the pain he has caused his family, and face losing his freedom, must be daunting. To refocus that energy on lifting weights, or smoking, is a dream to me.
I gladly provide any of these items for the same reason as I picked out his baby food when he was little. As mothers, we are nurturers. It doesn’t matter if they are grown, men. Everyone needs their “person”. More and more studies are showing that even having one person believe in them, makes recovery more sustainable. Plus, nothing is promised. No time, no future, no measure of success is promised, day to day, with anyone, but especially with substance use. If I can buy my grown son some protein bars, I will gladly do it. Anything to keep him learning, contemplating, hoping for a better life.
I made the drop-off time at exactly 7:22.30, which is the time my son wrote down- just to mess with them. Ever the jokester, I love having his humor back.
As I made the drop-off, I could see the group inside, sitting in their 7 pm meeting. Unbelievably, I could see my son in direct view of the window! I had vetted over 25 rehabs by the time this one was picked. It wasn’t the best, but it worked out being the one needed. I didn’t have any idea it would be within a few miles of my house, in fact straight up the street!
Call me a stalker if you’d like, but I am cherishing every second of this. I cried and prayed every day for 2 years for this. Every day, I worried about his life being taken. He just told me about a guy who hung himself at the sober living house he’s supposed to go to after this. People are so tender inside. We have zero clue of the demons they must face. What appears on the outside is not truly reflective of what’s on the inside. They struggle with what awaits them. Going from having nothing to rebuilding everything back up must be horrifying. My son has no house, car or job to go to. If I can be his “person” to help him maneuver that, I will gladly take on that role. I will cherish every second of my role as his Mother during this precious time.
I sat outside in my car after the drop off and yup, you guessed it- cried. But these were tears of joy. This was everything, I mean everything, I could have wanted to happen. Prayers answered, dreams come true.
I am truly living in the moment with zero care of what anyone thinks of what may be the right or wrong thing to do. I don’t see anyone else making any effort to save a life, and that’s fine; but what I’ve said through all of this journey, as for me:
The following quote with my writings came up on my Facebook memories a few days ago. It’s over 5 years old, yet I’ve been musing about it for days and today it hit me hard. Although my situation and my struggles are completely different now, the advice (my own advice) are timeless! How cool is timeless (& situational-less) advice?
Today I overheard a patient tell another patient “Everyone knows their own journey”.
It stopped me in my tracks, I went Into my office- closed the door, and felt that familiar lump in my throat.
It doesn’t matter how many books you’ve read, how many classes you’ve taken, hours of meditation, praying, or positive thoughts you’ve tried to manifest, nothing prepares you for that moment when time stands still. When you get that phone call, read a text, discover a secret in a child’s journal, see a partners email or lose a huge project you’ve been working on, or realize that what you have yearned for – for weeks/months/years even, maybe isn’t going to happen right here, right now. Your heart drops to your stomach, it feels like the blood is draining from your body.
As someone who feels things deeply (& chooses my energy & attention carefully) I can’t quite internalize the concept of having "No Expectations". I just have to remind myself (& am so grateful for the wiseness of our elderly) in these moments which help with that.
Everyone’s journey is, indeed their own. And really has little to do with ours! No one can tell them what’s best for them….
When it collides beautifully with my journey or painfully departs from what I want… all I can do is LOVE thru it💗myself & them also, trusting that the universe knows what’s best.
Time is irrelevant. (As hard as that is to navigate in real time) Intention & destination are what matters. Memories are wonderful, but if you didn't enjoy them by living in the moment, by placing a certain time expectation on the relationship, you were probably eventually disappointed. The process of reciting earthly time or the numbers of phone calls or even counting sunsets, marking points in time as proof of the relevance of the relationship is not really helpful if ultimately, the thing, doesn't fulfill their (& yours) highest destiny. And if their intention is not YOUR intention.
We just don’t have the understanding to know how the shaping of our hearts & souls is all working together for our best purpose.
Just like you can’t protect a child from pain…..you can’t keep yourself from disappointment.
Today hearing my wise patient say the words I needed to calm my restless heart & dry my flowing tears….helped me to remember TRUST THE JOURNEY.
💥 TRUST MY JOURNEY.
Wow. I mean- you could argue that I’m just re-telling my same old self-destructive stories: that no one cares, no one understands, no one can handle me. Or that I’m justifying bad behavior. Or you could say that I was drawing on some ancient sage advice. Whichever it is, I welcome the perspective. These days I live day to day. Moment to moment. I don’t count on anything, yet I hope for everything. Some days I want my life to be finished. Others, I get a twinge of excitement at the future. I have a bit of PTSD about the future. I think I may have invented that.
Future PTSD. Afraid of what the future will throw at me.
It’s pretty simple actually. Everything goes back to living in the moment, for the moment. Type A people with their Franklin Planners are cringing about now.
But rumor has it- that if your past experience prove you are unsafe in your feelings, then you tend to be scared of the future.
Gabor Mate might call that unhealed trauma. I call it – my reality. So having expectations, in my world, tends to be opposite. Expecting the worst. Paranoia.
Apparently I need to work on that pronoia stuff.
As for others’ journey, they need to work on their stuff too. We can’t do it for them and really can we fault them? If they are operating in their MO at all times, filling their needs as they perceive them at the time, is that bad?
“It’s selfish”, you might argue. “Everyone should be courteous to everyone else”.
At all times? So everyone should live and breathe and do what someone else thinks they should do- at all times?
“Well no, only when the situation arises”. What situation is that? ” the one where I think they should do things differently”. Oh ok. Are you going to tell them when those arise? “No, they should just know”.
And so enters the never-ending human behavior argument that existed wayyyy before any pandemic. It’s what almost every marital argument or divorce court hearing is based on. Is someone else responsible for my needs and my own happiness? Where do their rights to happiness end and mine begin? On paper, in many counselors offices, it’s called a compromise. We each give up a little In order to achieve a goal. The problem arises in what that “little” constitutes.
Ahh but that may be grounds for another blog. For now, it might be safe to say, everyone is always doing the best they can with what information they perceive. Most of the time we have no way of knowing what their information or experience is. Not do we really need to know. (in my opinion.)
So much more to this. To go deeper here’s a pretty long video on self actualization (knowing needs and wants and how to improve by our interactions).
This is true – even if we are talking to ourselves.
Meeting ourselves where we are.
Two years ago I wrote in my journal:
I wish I was more grateful I wish I felt more secure I wish I was more loving I wish I was less worried
I still wish for most of those things. Truth be told, the last few years have kicked my trash. I am extremely grateful for many things, on the daily…….My God KNOWS.
But it seems to never even out. If it’s not one thing it’s another. I find myself telling my same old story. It’s like groundhog day. If it’s not one child, it’s another. The places and spaces that appear as challenges in my life, seem too unsolvable, especially in the beginning. They stare at me in the face, like a bully on the playground. I seem incapable of what that GUY in the sky thought I could do.
My purpose? Do we ever find it? If it’s to enjoy each day for what it brings, as a wise elderly housekeeper told me years ago; then I’m gonna have to change my story real fast. I’m 54. I find joy in many places but I am not still not sure of my value. Joy seems selfish.
I know life is short. Problems are temporary. They change like a silent old black and white movie. Sometimes I feel like that is my life. It flashes before me without much (valued) effort from me. What effect do I really have on scenes that will play out anyway? Is everyone prone to these lonely thoughts? If you look at their problems, it would seem that way. Everyone just wants to feel relevant. Is relevance real? Is it genuine? Do I need recognition to feel real?
Yes, I know I shouldn’t.
I’m actually the Queen of NOT wanting attention. Don’t give me an award and ask me to speak. God No. I can think of no worse torture.
But, at times, I want to know I made a difference I guess. Don’t we all. Those who are in front of me want that to.
The never ending circle of life- of LOVE.
Anger says: “I’m so mad that I can’t get my way and I don’t know what to do about it.”
Sadness says: “It’s so unfair that I can’t get my way.”
Fear says: “I can’t imagine not getting my way.”
Denial says: “My way would be so much better.”
Boredom says: “My way is anything but this.”
Emptiness says: “It seems as if my way is always opposite or different than how things are.”
Acceptance says: “The Universe is always orchestrating life in my highest favor, whether it seems to be going my way or not.”
Peace says: “When my way is put aside, the way is shown.”
Compassion says: “I understand how you feel. I didn’t get my way either.
Joy says: “Everything is always going my way, no matter the details, outcomes, or circumstances.”
Love says: “I embrace the one who needs life to be one way or another and I cherish the one who has no particular way to be as the eternal innocence of all.”
Oneness says: “Even the notions of getting my way or having no way to be are equally unique ways of the Universe playing in form.”
Transcendence says: “All paths lead to the same way.”
Truth says: “I AM the way, the way I AM.”
What would love do? Sit with it. Sit with you. Sit with me.
I zipped up the last zipper on the thrift store duffel bag. There was still plenty of room left in it, despite filling it with 2 pants, 2 workout pants,6 shirts, 6 white tees, 8 socks, 8 underwear, and a bag of vitamins and hygiene products. The bag wasn’t new, but it represented a new adventure for my son. No, he wasn’t going away to summer camp or college. Well, sort of a college. He would be living in bunks with other men. Hopefully no partying late at night before exams. No, not jail either. Been there done that- 6 blasted times!! This time it’s rehab. That’s right. Bring on the jokes- haha. Years ago, my sons would have been the first to make a pun about rehab, but not anymore. Well -they still might. We are a dark-humored family.
Along with the duffel bag – goes it’s companion, the little carrier pigeon. I named him Float.
This little bag represent Hope. Hope that I carried around for 16 months. When I wrote about it 6 months ago, I didn’t know if I would ever deliver it. But Hope floats. From one location to another, hope abounds.
Most Moms in my area pack bags and buy suits for their missionaries. They know their exact sizes. I don’t. I don’t know what my son looks like these days, or how much he weighs. Yet, I have no shame that my smart, funny, handsome son is not going on that kind of mission. He’s on his own mission. And after 16 months, I was able to deliver Hope Floats to him. 💙
It’s a strange feeling, you know, heading into the cinder block jail to retrieve your own flesh and blood. Sure, you’re supposed to feel embarrassed or whatever society tells you that you should feel. But all I felt was excitement & hope. This wasn’t the Morgue, which I called on his last birthday to make sure he wasn’t there. This wasn’t a hospital where 2 of his friends had been the last few months, one of which didn’t leave alive.
So I was grateful. And a bit nervous. After all, even though the judge authorized him to leave with only me and my husband at 5 am, he could have easily took off the minute we got outside. It’s addict behavior for sure. But my son knew his freedom was at stake. He told me a few days later: “I’m tired of running”.
So here we are, me with a big bag and a little bag and I had my son again. Safe and sound. We spent the next few hours driving north for 4 hours as the sun came up. Hearing, once again, his stories of jail, and his hope for the future. He wants to build tiny homes and other sustainable projects.
He had been given a spectacular plea deal. Unheard of really. For weeks he had agonized over what his final plea would be and when they finally changed it at the last minute, he was happy to sign it. He went from an almost guaranteed minimum 18 months prison time with 3 years probation to rehab completion then probation for 18 months! Absolutely incredible. I would like to say my ( & all the people I asked to pray) prayers worked. All I know is I was incredibly grateful because I knew prison would only increase his criminal mindset that he had developed the last 2 years while obtaining 6 felonies all for drug use.
Over the next few weeks he would call me with his “lists of what to bring”. I gladly provide these items because I don’t want him to have any possible reason to leave rehab, which is so common. I also have lived for over 2 years not knowing if that day would be the last time I talked to him. I still don’t know & I want every interaction to be heart-centered, recovery minded, & validating where he’s at emotionally.
In life, we are not promised one more day with our loved ones. In addiction that risk is raised probably 1000%. If I can still buy my 35 year old son socks when he is unable to, I will buy socks. The maze of addiction and the correctional system that goes along with it, is so convoluted and confusing and in most cases, heartbreaking beyond imagination.
Not many people understand my devotion to my son’s recovery.
And, so there’s not many people that I can chant victory to, even if it’s a premature victory.
As it is, My son has made HUGE leaps and bounds. He may have been legally pushed, but guess what? He stood up and took what the judge and court said and he is trying his hardest in a system that demands complete compliance from a confused and rushed brain.
My son is slowly starting to unravel the last few years and the effect it’s had on him and many others. Its going to be painful. He’s in denial in certain areas, but he’s getting his old self back too.
He will adamantly state that he’s the same yesterday and today and that he knew what he was doing, he just let it get out of hand and it was too much to fix. He’s facing huge challenges as he has nothing left to his name. That’s degrading and embarrassing to him. It is truly one thing that I believe kept him in active addiction. Shame and discouragement of how to even fix it all. The path of least resistance while in addiction and being dope sick is to continue the cycle. I wish I had more resources to help him, but ultimately he still has to do it himself. He has to peel off that sticky bandaid and face the rawness. But I can help.
I will continue to provide anything to aide in his recovery.
I will never stop supporting recovery with Love.
Life is too short to not have hope, to BE hope and to give h♥o♥p♥e♥
You’ve bought the chicken. You were minding your business, heading straight for the veggie section and there it was. The cart.
The smell. The warm roasted herbs and spices hit you at exactly the right (or wrong) time when you’re suddenly ravaged with hunger while running errands. The trouble is, it’s kind of an illusion. Not an illusion like McDonald’s where the bright colored flashy menus show thick, high (like 4 inches high) burgers with brightly colored lettuce and fresh pickles; but which are a stark contrast to what you pull out of the brown paper bag. Stuff which has been shown in experiments to last YEARS without biodegrading.
No, this illusion is a real chicken. After the initial cut and bite- thus rewarding those hungry taste buds- the dryness of this impulse buy finally sets in. Yup, the toasted brown bird that sat under the light (for hours) now sits in the fridge for days drying out even more. Maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll get a chicken sandwich for lunch the next day out of the deal, but no one seems to want the chicken after the initial satiation is filled fueled by the delectable AROMA.
We are not alone in the cult-chicken following. Rumor has it that Costco sells 157,000 of these birds A DAY! And that’s just Cosco. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe everyone else is satisfied with their chickens. Maybe it’s just me.
I rarely intend to buy an already cooked chicken when I go shopping, especially when I KNOW it will dry out quickly. A couple years ago, I went to Kauai to get Married! I didn’t Intend to see chickens there either. But there they were – everywhere!
Even though I didn’t intend to see chickens they were a nice touch to a beautiful island! And my son would always ask them as they stared blankly at him,”What DO you want?” I’m sure their intent was food and maybe attention.
Act as if what you intend to manifest in life is already a reality. Eliminate thoughts of conditions, limitations, or the possibility of it not manifesting. If left undisturbed in your mind and in the mind of intention simultaneously, it will germinate in the physical world.
Deepok says that whatever you intend to do or say or accomplish, you must SAY IT IN WORDS:
Intentions compressed into words enfold magical power. - Deepak Chopra
So if intention is so important as Wayne Dyer and others always professed, why we’re the unintended things so prevalent? Is it simply because we forgot to set an intention? If my intention at the store was to only buy sustainable food, I would have never bought it.
So here’s the weird thing, despite (or IN SPITE of?) my dry chicken. Everything I’ve intended in the last year, worked out in a completely different way- key word- WORKED OUT. I won’t go so far as to say, everything happens for a reason, but shizz does happen.
Now here’s a strange twist. I’m not a regular Bible reader but I flipped open my dusty Bible tonight and it landed in 2 Samuel: 19 which mentioned INTENT! I googled Samuel 2 to try to find out what it was about and found this reference in another WordPress blog: Mcburnett’s Musings. Weird. Right next door.
Mephibosheth, in the Bible, was a great grandson of King Saul. He was dropped by a nurse when he was 5 while they were fleeing a battle. It left him crippled. He lived in Exile to avoid being slane until the king sent for him. He was nervous, thinking he was surely dead meat now.
His intention was to just stay alive.
“He repeatedly referred to himself as a dead dog – not a worthless dog, not a despicable dog, but as a dead dog”.
But the King (David) welcomed him, like the prodigal son, inviting him to his table. McBurnett summed it up with this:
☩ We are born into the king’s household. ☩ We were created in his image, just a little lower than the angels. ☩ We suffered a fall from which we cannot recover. ☩ We are saddled with human weakness to which we fall victim. Given our human tendencies, we repeatedly fall below our own expectations and intentions. Our heritage and lineage explains our behavior, but it does not excuse it. ☩ We live in exile. Our father intended for us to dwell in the palace, but because of ancestors’ behavior, we have been cast out and must deal with the consequences. David raised the question, “What of Jonathan’s descendants?” and Jesus raised the question “What of Abraham’s descendants?” ☩ We are redeemed by the grace of Jesus/God, as Mephibosheth was redeemed by the grace of David. ☩ We are in hiding. Like Adam, we hide our shame from God. We are afraid of the judgment to come. Meanwhile, God is seeking us like the lost sheep or lost coin. ☩ The king does not want to find us for punishment, but for redemption. ☩ The king wants us to feast at his table forever.- Mcburnetts musings.
Yes, that went deep quickly. That wasn’t where I was going to go with this post. I feel like I was led around the pasture by the reins. Maybe someone needed to hear it. My takeaway is that sometimes our intentions aren’t God’s intentions for us. I know beyond truth, that my intentions for how I wanted my life to go, didn’t work out and I’m grateful for that! My intention yesterday, when I walked into the store, was not to lose my wallet, but I did. When I realized it had fallen out, I quickly turned around the corner and saw my shopping list bouncing away. My wallet was nowhere to be found. It was never turned in at all. After canceling all the cards and mourning the injustice of it, today I had the freedom and the money (on another credit card that I didn’t have to cancel yesterday) to buy a new wallet. It’s not the same as my loss- then stolen wallet, which I LOVED the design and have kept for over 4 years, but I was able to do it.
Tonight, I’m sitting at the King’s table- ya know- my husband’s; with my oven-roasted chicken in a plastic-covered case, looking vat my Kauai chicken mug, and I couldn’t be more grateful that all is well for the moment. 🐔🐓🐔🐓
Be that person who demands a more kind, peaceful, and compassionate world that doesn’t leave evolution any other option when leading by the power of your own living example.
Be that person who reaches in for nourished support, while reaching out to those who have forgotten their hearts as the source of eternal sustenance.
Be that person who fearlessly meets conflict with curiosity, daring to ask more questions, instead of making assumptions about the paths only other people’s feet have walked.
Be that person who transcends the ugliest of circumstances by showing there is no single moment absent of the beauty of our true enlightened form.
Be that person who builds a living relationship with the nature of divinity, no matter how often the seasons of change move through your field.
Be that person who holds no expectation over another person’s head, while maintaining an uncanny degree of ethical worthiness for how you will and won’t allow yourself to be treated.
Be that person who meets the venom of negativity as the defense mechanism of a snake afraid to part with known realities by shedding another layer of skin. When seeing the operating system fear hides in, a bite of venom becomes cleansing medicine instead of poison within the wisdom of a shamanic heart.
Be that person who turns turbulence into transition and sadness into a celebration. Much like a song initially only your heart can sing or hear, written by the lyrics of each tragedy survived, that brings other radiant souls towards you to share in the mutual glory of a mission fulfilled.
Be that personwho measures achievement by the deeper qualities each moment cultivates in you, whether demonstrated with immaculate precision or still being brought to the surface by the moments in view.
Be that personwho remains an ally to the innocence in every heart with the intuitive discernment to know how to hold space for the healing of others without being a place for anyone’s unprocessed pain to hide.
Be that personwho cannot be manipulated into taking sides in a battle only molded by the hands of greed. For whenever sides are taken, the ‘I versus you’ or ‘us against them’ ensures no one will be that person who brings greed to justice — a justice only served when each of us dare to be that person — together as one.
Be that person who leaves this planet with the most breathtaking garden of insight to discover, grown from the seeds you so intentionally planted by insisting there is more to life than a rhythm of loss and gain.
Be that person, who becomes the person, no longer hiding within you, but brought to the surface for the unending joyful benefit of a world still afraid or unaware of that person deep within themselves.
Hear the peaceful rumble like the drumming of sacred ceremony echoing throughout all directions and corners of Mother Earth. It is an interconnection of light beings mindfully assembling for the salvation of our planet. It is a movement of progress only set into greater motion when that person dares to step forward. As each of us answer this call to be that person, it is only then when we the people can be heard, acknowledged, and respected by the reciprocity of collective progress. Welcome to the Love Revolution.
In honor of my ten thousandth view on my blog, I’m going to present a small excerpt from my upcoming book I’m writing. You see, I’m not really a writer or a blogger. I don’t know “the rules” or how to market it to make money. I write for sanity. For peace. For understanding. The fact that so many (or even one!) people and persons came along and read it, is amazing to me. I started writing because I read this book called “Unhooked” by Annie Highwater and was so intrigued at the book writing process from just a normal mother, that I contacted her. She encouraged me to write some “articles”. I thought, “articles?”What about? What are my qualifications? Who will read them? So I got to work on learning and revamping this blog which I originally started in 2012 when blogging was prime.
It was difficult to figure out, as this 54-year-old brain isn’t tech-nerdy at all, but I did it. (and I do it all pretty much on my phone, not a computer!) I still haven’t written true articles unless you count the Elephants Journal and Medium. Then again I’m not a photographer but I still photograph. I photograph for me. So I wrote for myself. Then I found that I loved to share what I learned so here we are.
Thank you. Thank you for reading and for giving me feedback and pointers too.
After a year, I still feel like I’m just getting started. I guess you could say I’m unfinished. Like the houses in my pictures below.
I spotted these houses when my husband and I were coming back from looking at the beautiful pink sand beaches near us, which I wrote about here. The houses on the left seem to be further along. They all have their siding on to cover up their bare wood. But they are just as empty inside as the ones on the right. It even looks there’s a jealous unfinished one in the back row looking obviously at the “finished” ones.
How often do we look at someone else on social media or in our families and think what wonderful lives they have. If we are going through a particularly rough patch, or one that goes on for years -such as a loved one’s drug addiction; we can start into a real pity party spin.
But we don’t have to. We can look at our journey like these houses, they are just in different stages of development and one isn’t “further along” than another if you look at the end goal – which is to have all of them refined, refreshed, cleaned, and new, ready to meet their new families. I guess you could say God is refining you, not by torture but by gently guiding you to your best life, to the best place you can be in, a place of Love, A place of peace, no matter what is going on outside.
Those of us who have lived with addiction before covid, know what fear and chaos is. We know what's it's like to not know what tomorrow will bring. We know how to investigate and make decisions that will benefit our day-to-day survival. So maybe our "training" was good for something even though we would rather not have had it.
Last year in my quest for understanding about my son’s addiction, I came across this video from The Piano Guys. It shook me up inside for reasons I explain in the book I’m writing. As I was being blown away by this beautiful sonata and what the words to the song meant to me; I read this comment by one of the members of the Piano Guys, Steven Sharp Nelson.
"OK. Vulnerable time. I had a very emotional experience atop the half-built building you see near the end. It was so beautiful to play cello there. As we were playing this song over and over again while we filmed, I thought about its meaning. I thought about where I was in my life emotionally. I expect a lot from myself. I always have. Often I expect too much. I admit it. And when I don’t reach the zenith of those expectations I can be pretty hard on myself. If ever there was incarceration for self-abuse perpetrators, I’d be prisoner of the month. As I was thinking about how much I still need to build in my life, a very strong impression came to me. Has that ever happened to you? When you feel an impulse that prompts thoughts that don’t feel like “normal thoughts.” They feel weightier, with more perspective or profundity than the average passing notion -- the same way a good bridge elevates a song by throwing you from a repetitive verse and chorus regimen. These are thoughts that teach you rather than learn from you.
I had such a moment. They don’t come that often, but when they do I try my best to listen and learn. The impressions persuaded me to look at my life from the top of a half-built building. Figuratively and literally. I began to think that maybe I spend too much of my life in the bottom floors of my life’s construction project -- that I fuss over the mess of my jobsite, I fret over the lack of finishes -- the ugly marred subflooring or the exposed metal framing. I berate myself for being way behind in the building process. I was taught that I needed to ascend more often to the top floor. Where there’s a view of how far I’ve come, how high part of my building has reached. And most importantly, where there’s an incredible view of the sunset, reminding me that tomorrow is another day and that I should keep building one day at a time. I totally embarrassed myself as I shed tears, trying to describe these “elevated thoughts” to the site’s supervisor after we had finished filming and I was thanking him for the opportunity they had given us to give visual meaning to the music.
So I guess for me, and perhaps for anyone listening, that could be a takeaway. You don’t have to live your life on floor one. Or floor two or three. Or on any floor that isn’t yet completed. It will get there one day. And so will you. Don’t worry that the building next door is at floor 10. Just take a trip to your top however often you need and watch the sun set on all that you’ve strived to accomplish. Remember that there is Someone who built that sunset for you. And He doesn’t care how high your building is, just that you’re willing to keep building. And He says you’re plenty high enough for Him to see."- Steven Sharp Nelson
I’m being vulnerable here also and I understand if this doesn’t resonate with everyone or even anyone, but that day was a pivotal time in my journey through the pain of my son’s addiction. I was awestruck to realize that he was still precious and loved, in the eyes of God. It was such a good lesson because at that time I was about ready to kill him!
It also helped me see that I was unfinished also. That I was still learning and growing.
My message today is if this “non- writer”, grandma of 54 years young, mother of a very loved person with substance use disorder can hit 10 k views then what can YOU possibly do too? Anything.
So many people love the fall season. I am not one of them, but I can appreciate the concept of it. Cooling off, tightening down the hatches, storing some nuts for winter 😆. The feeling of having a bit of relief from the heat. Having a well-needed break to brace for the holiday season. Soon the rush of Halloween will turn to the frantic decisions of Thanksgiving; who to invite or where to go; what to make and how soon to start shopping and when to start cooking.
To me, fall is that in-limbo place between the scorching rays of the summer sun and prying the frozen windshield wipers off the glass. It’s a hint of what’s to come. I can’t seem to just enjoy it for what it is. A beautiful season all its own of warm earth-tone colors, fragrances of deep pumpkin, sandalwood, walnut, and cinnamon. It’s where the green leaves turn into blackened wet objects that stick to the almost frozen ground. Soon the darkness will creep in earlier and earlier until one day we notice that we are arriving home at dark.
It’s on those nights that we crave a cozy fireplace. On it sits an overpriced apple cider scented candle flickering in the breeze of the heat. A peanut butter sandwich with grape jelly is on the menu with a tall glass of cold milk. We sit down to a ceramic mug with steaming lemongrass tea. Finally reading that book found at a yard sale.
“Why is summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?” — Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle
Despite all that, I feel bad that I don’t love fall like so many others do. One reason is the condition of S.A.D. seasonal effective disorder, which I have, along with 3 milion Americans. The New York Times explains it this way:
Unlike mild cases of the “winter blues,” SAD symptoms make it difficult to function. It tends to start with so-called “vegetative symptoms”: an increased appetite and a craving for carbohydrates like french fries or ice cream, the urge to sleep longer hours, difficulty getting up in the morning and feeling wiped out at work.
There’s normal winter blues which are from a lack of vitamin D and there’s sad. Very well mind differentiates between the two.
Actually not much distinction. But back to my imaginary fireplace. The crackling embers are perfectly timed to some unknown rhythm of fire songs. My tea is delicious. The touch of honey melts into the warm water with the exact amount of sweetness. This is when I imagine being a trust fund baby and never having to leave my house……. I would be sitting on a white satin chaise with colorful overstuffed pillows staring out at my endless pool on my deck. then I remember my previous post about being grateful for what I have and I return to the moment. The moment of peace. Since I have green eyes, I love this quote by Toni Morrison.
There was a hint of spring in her sole green eyes, something summery in her complexion, and a rich autumn ripeness in her walk- Toni Morrison
I could do a summery complexion and a rich autumn ripeness to my walk! I can! I will end with my prayer to Fall.
Hello Fall, welcome to my world. Please treat me with gentleness as I am not a front-row groupie. Please envelope me with all the good things you have to offer. Make me a believer out of you! I want to love you! It’s been a long year and I NEED you to cushion me on your piles of leaves and rich sunsets. I need to feel the completeness of your season without the dreading of your companion- old man winter. I want to enjoy you all by yourself for what beauty you alone have to offer. Thank you Fall🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂
I will leave you with some photos of me capturing the beautiful fall weather in my city and mountains. Happy Fall..all🍁
In every moment, you and everyone else is always doing the best they possibly can. If anyone could do better — they would. When anyone can do better — they will. While spiritual teachings can give greater focus and attention to heart-centered choices, they are not to be confused with rules used to punish yourself with. Instead of ridiculing yourself with unrealistic ideas of perfectionism, most moments of healing call for a deep level of self-forgiveness where you are able to truly forgive yourself for any misjudgments in perception and reaction by truly accepting yourself — talents, flaws, and all. No one is designed to do this perfectly and it’s for such an important reason. It is to guarantee that in en route to realizing how conscious, liberated, and heart-centered you already are, life creates moments to intentionally burst any bubble of perfectionism the spiritual ego tends to hide in. As the spiritual ego gets down on itself for not “nailing it”, you are able to embrace such a part within you, allowing your love to further set free the aspect of self who only knows how to be rewarded with praise, honor, and accolade in exchange for doing something “right”. Let your journey be insightful, illuminating, clarifying, and sometimes, as messy as its meant to be. No matter the roads traveled and the choices made, everything is made right in the end.
Confessions of a Spiritual Perfectionist
by Matt Kahn
My friends and I have a running joke. We like to say, “I am not a perfectionist, but I’m working on it.” This light-hearted one-liner is a bird’s eye view into the infrastructure of intensity I lived in during the early developmental years of my spiritual journey. To the best of my ability, I forged into inner explorer mode, eager to glean each insight and accomplish each milestone to the point where I was so worried about getting it wrong that I wasn’t able to enjoy the perfection of my evolution. Perhaps this rings true for you as well.
While all of us living on planet Earth are empaths of varying degrees of awareness, embodiment, and integration, the majority of empaths who are aware of their energetic sensitivities are also recovering spiritual perfectionists. Because an energetically sensitive being has an inferior ego, or conditioning fed by low self-esteem, it is nearly instinctive to engage the endless potential of the Universe with an ongoing fear of making a mistake, doing something wrong, worrying about missing a window of opportunity or being left behind the highest curve of expansion.
I site these examples as experiences I have had and survived, only to discover a Universe operating by such a level of perfection and grace it is categorically impossible to ever step outside of the spotlight of your unfolding destiny. Often times, when the ego hears of such a perfection, it feels defeated by the will of the Universe, as if it’s competing with the Cosmos for your undivided attention. All too often, the ego only feels useful if it believes it controls everything. When it discovers a depth of alignment beyond the grip and grit of personal control, it mopes in a state of uselessness as if it plays no purpose in life’s incredible journey.
Since everything is a unique and equal expression of one eternal truth, the ego plays a pivotal role in your evolution, albeit not the role it imagines or wishes to portray.
As you awaken, your ego’s job is to unravel in order to create space for the soul to emerge. It’s as if the ego has parked its car in the numbered space of your energy field, unaware that it is momentarily parked in that spot, until the soul is ready to move its vessel into position. While the ego might adopt a belief in being the caretaker of the parking spot, even working tirelessly to keep it clean and clear of debris, it is maintaining the integrity of a parking space so the soul has a place to be parked. Upon finding out this surprising twist of fate, the ego can often become territorial with the parking space of your energy field, even perceiving the soul as an invasion to fend off. It’s not that ego refuses to let go, as much as ego delays letting go until it feels as if it has gotten everything perfect. In reality, no matter how perfectly the ego does its dance, it always imagines an even higher level of perfection to attain, which perpetuates the tendency of holding on to its belief in control. Using this analogy, the ego asks the soul to be patient as it feverishly cleans the parking space for its arrival, always finding some pebble to move around as it works to get everything just right.
“…the ego asks the soul to be patient as it feverishly cleans the parking space for its arrival, always finding some pebble to move around as it works to get everything just right.”
Even if the ego were to imagine getting everything perfect, its role now shifts into the same amount of effort to maintain the perfection it worked so hard to cultivate. Because it will never be free of the nonstop effort of chasing or maintaining perfection until it lets go, the more often the repetitive tendencies of ego are openly met with relaxed loving attention, the easier a transition can occur where the ego exits the parking lot to allow the soul to move into place.
In order to assist in your transition out of the perfectionistic patterns of ego and into the glory of your soul’s true essence, here a few helpful tips to aid in the process:
1. You are always doing everything correctly, even when you think you’re getting it wrong.
While the ego believes achievement occurs as a result of doing things correctly, the soul understands that both right and wrong are merely ways of interpreting the nature of outcomes. The soul knows that every experience is correct since it brings you into communion with the exact emotions needing to be felt in order to resolve the past and inspire the awareness of greater insights. It’s never a matter of seeing something wrong or right, but how much time you are meant to spend percolating in various emotional states in order to access the gift of expansion.
While the ego believes doing things in a more correct order will help it gain access to more positive feelings in a shorter amount of time, the soul abides in the awareness of truth — knowing you are meant to feel, think, believe, and choose exactly as you will to build up the momentum created in states of repression and discomfort in order to catapult into the opposite spectrum of higher energetic and emotional states. If you ping-pong back down, it is only to discover greater wounds to be healed, which builds up pressure to accelerate you into even higher moments of expansion than before. This means, if you take the time to be at peace with exactly the way things are and have played out, life will guide you exactly where you wish to be, as long as you allow the Universe to work on its preferred timeline of events.
“…if you take the time to be at peace with exactly the way things are and have played out, life will guide you exactly where you wish to be…”
2. You may not get what you want, but you will always feel the way you desire.
This might blow a giant cannonball through the old understanding of the law of attraction, but it’s worth deconstructing in order to give you fresh perspective and space to breathe. Imagine something that you want to attract into your reality. Notice that it is an object that has been associated with a belief that bringing this into your reality will also bring with it all the positive emotional states you wish to feel more often. Because an energetic healing period is the time you are meant to spend in lower states as a way of building momentum and skyrocketing into higher states, there is no inherent connection between what you want and how you hope to feel. It is merely a limiting spiritual belief fed by an assumption that you will feel differently once your personal circumstances appear differently. In truth, you are destined to feel much better, most likely before the logistics of your circumstances may be ready to shift. It’s not as if the Universe doesn’t wish to give you what you want, but it works in accordance with delivering to you exactly what you need, in order to become who you were born to be.
Ultimately, the process of envisioning different circumstances is only meant to get you in touch with how you wish to feel. Once established, the Universe brings to you all the encounters and moments of healing to help you inevitably feel as you’ve envisioned. When aligned with the soul, you are able to imagine better circumstances as a foreshadowing of intuitive knowing when not needing different experiences to permit different feelings. When incubating in the ego, you only imagine feeling better once your life circumstances change to your ego’s exact specifications. When you are able to honor what you want, while accepting that it may not be the very thing you need in order to feel how much better you’re already destined to feel as more of your healing journey is completed, an alignment with a greater depth of maturity helps unravel beliefs of superstition within the ego’s grip.
3. The Universe isn’t fragile.
How often do you tip-toe around in your reality, hoping not to disturb the sacred ground of existence with limiting ideas, over thinking, or the triggering of negative emotions? While there is much benefit to being tactful with your words, actions, and responses, you are living out the necessary highs and lows of your evolution in a very durable reality. A reality that is dressed up as a planet that has survived ice ages, volcanic explosions, and even held space for the arrival of meteor showers can surely endure the impact of your most limiting thoughts.
Especially if needing to be deprogrammed from old paradigm beliefs in the law of attraction, you are likely to think that any degree of imperfection will cause the Universe to frown upon your behavior and delay the arrival of your deepest desires. When trying to “get everything right” as a way of seducing the Universe to give you more of the things you want, it is a moment of inauthenticity conveyed through expressions of spiritual materialism that obstructs the vantage point of your clearest view.
“When you understand that you…do not live in a fragile Universe, you are well on your way to recovering from the pitfalls of spiritual perfectionism.”
The Universe is not fragile and remains as indestructible as the destiny that unfolds throughout each passing breath. You may need to make fear-based choices in order to build up courage and resonate with more inspired options, or spend time in tumultuous circumstances until you are ready to step into the unknown; but isn’t that what the play of life is about? Life is a living journey of expansion, where you are becoming aware of all that you know and remembering all that you are — one incremental choice at a time.
Your life is a work of art in progress. As most artists will tell you, it’s impossible to bring the magic of art to life without initially making a mess.
When you understand that you cannot make a mistake, do not require life to bring you different circumstances in order to feel better about yourself, and do not live in a fragile Universe, you are well on your way to grounding your empathic energy and recovering from the pitfalls of spiritual perfectionism.
Once each day isn’t a series of fear-based rituals or constantly checking things off your endless spiritual to-do list, you are able to meet the mystery of your existence as openly and authentically as it always meets you. From this space, you are able to see the importance of each momentary milestone and explore the infinite spectrum of personal experience without anything to manage, remember, control, or keep straight. This is where the immaculate potential of a spiritual journey truly begins.
As a mom to a person with Opiod Use Disorder(OUD) ptsd has affected me greatly. If you don’t know what PTSD is, you may not have it. I would say It’s a severe form of anxiety that can usually be traced back to an event or series of events. The department of Experimental Psychology describes it this way:
Unwanted distressing memories of the trauma, flashbacks or nightmares
Feeling emotionally upset, tearful or irritable for example, or bodily reactions such as sweating, shaking or a racing heart beat when reminded of the event
Avoiding talking about the trauma, thinking about it or feelings associated with it
Avoiding reminders of the trauma: people, places or activities
Feeling emotionally numb, difficulty experiencing feelings like love or happiness
Negative thoughts about the self, the world or the future
Feeling detached and cut-off from other people, finding it difficult to be close to anyone
Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
Feeling overly alert or watchful or feeling jumpy
For loved ones caught in addiction, the families can certainly have all of these symptoms and more. I remember so many times trying to describe symptoms to yet another therapist as they looked at me like I was crazy.
I mean….. Aren’t all their patients???
Kidding aside, usually addiction isn’t seen as an event like war, rape or deaths of a parent or close family member. I can truly say over the last 3 years I have had all of the above stated symptoms.
There are specific things to do for ptsd such as emdr which is explained in this short video
You can find a therapist who does these treatments by typing into your browser (I prefer duck duck go) psychology today. Type in your zip code, then you can click on your insurance and all therapies like emdr, that you’re interested in.
My coping skills for my outbreaks ( between therapists) have been many things depending on where I was at. If I was in my car I would turn up the radio loud to songs that I knew and purposely breathe deep and loud while singing in gasps. Although sounding ridiculous, this helped bring me out of my head, get the needed oxygen to my brain (I hate trying to take slow deep breaths when I’m upset), and back to the healing sounds of music.
If I was at home, which happened usually at night; I would leave my bed which wasn’t doing it’s b anyway, go to my couch & snuggle under my weighted blanket. I would turn the tv onto something that would catch my eye with beautiful scenery or fast-moving scenes. I didn’t want to hear what was happening, I only wanted my visual attention to be drawn in and mesmerized while my body calmed down.
At work, it was a different story. I once went into my boss’s office at the beginning of my shift and told her I couldn’t breathe and needed to go home. I don’t even know what had happened, it seemed like my son had a court date or similar, but it doesn’t matter if it’s anything “serious”. Almost all things addiction- are upsetting to us. I hate to say it but at work, if I’m upset about my son, I have to take a beta-blocker such as propranolol it metoprolol for anxiety. Please consult a doctor for your unique situation.
At work I teach my patients to do a 54321 sensory exercise like the Mayo clinic recommends here:
Everyone feels anxious now and then. But there are things you can do to minimize those feelings. Mayo Clinic Health System staff suggests trying the exercise below the next time your mind is stuck on the worry setting.
Sit quietly. Look around you and notice:
5 things you can see: Your hands, the sky, a plant on your colleague’s desk
4 things you can physically feel: Your feet on the ground, a ball, your friend’s hand
3 things you can hear: The wind blowing, children’s laughter, your breath
2 things you can smell: Fresh-cut grass, coffee, soap
1 thing you can taste: A mint, gum, the fresh air
This exercise helps you shift your focus to your surroundings in the present moment and away from what is causing you to feel anxious. It can help interrupt unhealthy thought patterns. They also have a cute stress video:
Holding a bag of ice or frozen vegetables can be grounding. Going outside barefoot with a change of scenery helps. I put a bag of rocks on my patio, that I bought at home depot with some paint pens. When I needed distraction I would pick up a rock & start painting. Later at the therapists or in your journal you can work through the emotion. Most importantly is to give yourself grace. Like my fellow mom wrote in this blog about self love.
Looking back, things that I worried about, had a way of working out, whether I worried about them or not, so why did I waste my energy, tears, risk my job, etc? Pick your battles- people ultimately are going to do what they’re going to do. When it’s all said and done your health matters too. When I used to hear that, I would say- I’ll take care of me later- but later might be too late.