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!

Depression, Faith, Hope

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the last few years, is it’s ok to not know.

It’s ok to not know what the future holds. It’s ok to not have everything planned out. It’s ok to not know what the world will look like next year. I’m learning to trust by faith.

Faith over hope.

As I stated in this post, there’s a difference. In the process of just trusting, we may have some depression or sadness. As I listened to my audible tape “Care of the soul” on my way up to a camping trip yesterday, I listened with curiosity as he describes depression as a needed thing sometimes. It gives that space to reflect, to heal, to process. We don’t always have to live in this happy positive unauthentic state.

Anyone who’s experienced a “Dark night of the Soul” knows that you ultimately come out a better person. After all:

You can't know light without experiencing the dark. 
Notice dark night of the soul is about confronting of your own ego story and resistance to darkness. Facing the inner darkness is not about becoming evil. It is not an impossible task, cannot overwhelm or even harm what is real. It’s about accepting and integrating all of you. Inner darkness is the fear of seeing something you do not want to see, something that shakes up your conditioned understanding of the world and how it works. It is also the fear of feeling something you do not want to feel. Humans are taught by society how to hide these aspects of self. We are taught fear is a weakness. So we are taught to deny or avoid what evokes discomfort, taught to focus attention on things that feel good and overlook corruption, social-cultural mistreatment, abuse, exploitation of living creatures, Earth and human beings and energetic brainwashing of beliefs we come to hold. Many humans think they can run from their inner darkness. This is what is projected into the external world and what is arising to the surface as you are ready to acknowledge it and see things as they are. Some people go to great lengths to do all kinds of good deeds in effort to erase, counterbalance, or avoid recognizing discomfort. Yet, wherever you think you go, here it is. When unconfronted, darkness thrives. It exists when you don’t look at it. This is the nature of the dark. It is absence of light. Just start to turn and look at it, and it is evaporating. In dreams, face what is chasing you. Watch it disappear.” – Liara Covert

There are so many things in my life to be grateful for right now. When the little shadow of fear that lingers ever so strong in the shadows of my soul, starts to sneak up on me; I just have to grab onto my faith.

Faith that everything will work out for the best. I will have enough money to meet my needs. I will have a job. My kids will be ok. My grandkids will make it in their own way.

I am enough and I have enough- always.

By acknowledging what drives my depression or my worry ( fear) I can hopefully send it on it’s way and leave me in peace.

“Depression is caused by overconsumption. Overconsumption is caused by obsession. Obsession is caused by fear. Fear is caused by an absence of love. An absence of love is caused by a belief in others. A belief in others is caused by a label called others. A label called others is caused by a need to organize life into some form of understanding. A need to organize life into some form of understanding is caused by an inability to trust life as it is.

By loving the one who doesn’t know how to trust life as it is, the need to organize life into some form of understanding dissolves. As this occurs, a belief in others can be recognized as a belief in a label called others. Beyond the play of labels, a love that knows no other emerges from within you. As love emerges, you are absolved of fear, the tendency to obsess, or the need to over consume, at the rate in which the one who is depressed is embraced with equal respect, support, and heart-centered attention.

As depression is loved as never before, it becomes a vital stage of emptying out. As you empty out, the seed of ego dissolves to create space for the blossoming of consciousness. This allows depression to be a pivotal stage of growth and expansion, instead of something to fight, ignore, or avoid.” – Matt Kahn

What is the Difference Between Faith and Hope?

Faith, Hope & Vision

2021 started out to be about
👓 ᴠɪsɪᴏɴ 👓. Vision that didn’t happen in 2020. I wanted clarity more than anything. I was wrought in despair at where things were going.

During the year, it evolved to be more about нσρє.

нσρє that my people would feel safe & loved.

нσρє that bonds would be strengthened

нσρє that forgiveness would melt away pain & struggle.

нσρє that effort would override inadequacy.

I hoped beyond hope for those things- even if I didn’t completely understand everything or have clarity.

Miraculously, by the end of the year, I have received all that and more. Every night I thank God for my blessings. I still feel somewhat in awe at the goodness. I can hardly believe the miracles. True miracles that have happened in my family. Hearts burrowed in resentment were opened wide with love, if even for a day. Things evolved into the absolute best possible scenario. Step by step moving forward with positivity. But as usual, everything’s not perfect.

I still struggle with letting go. Letting go of the outcomes, and letting go of trying to control people.

I struggle with peace. Feeling peace in all things. Feeling peace amid chaos. There are times I don’t want to go on. The battle seems too big. My imagination gets the best of me or I see that blatant truth that some things will never change, and it pains my soul. I question what the point is.

These are times when I have to turn to music to calm myself. This one feels peaceful and helps me not feel alone.

I don’t know how long I have left on this earth. I don’t know what will happen in the time I have left. I only hope I’ve done enough good to be remembered by. As I read this quote by Mr Rogers, I know that not only do I need to accept others as they are, I need to extend that same love to myself too.

When all seems lost, when emotions are at their peak, when expectations turn into dust in the wind, we still have this little thing called ᖴᗩITᕼ.
ᖴᗩITᕼ that people are basically good.
ᖴᗩITᕼ that people are always doing the best they can at the time.
ᖴᗩITᕼ that things will always work out the best way they need to.
& Having ᖴᗩITᕼ that ᒪOᐯE will always prevail-if we let it.
L.O.V.E.
Letting Others
Voluntarily Evolve.

Clearing Out The Tears

https://500px.com/embed.js

Art-By Sandra Salana

After many years of many tears, this picture struck my heart today. It so closely resembles my feelings of the last few years. Dark tears of grief- of what paths my son had gone down. The inability to “fix” him. Seeing the pain in others as they coped with the loss of a person still physically here.

Lately though, I have actually been able to breathe- breathing in sweet gratitude for so many things. I need to give credit where credit is due.

My window washers.

My window washers who are always trying to clean up my tears.

A window washer

What do they do? With their buckets of fresh water and wands of hope; They go to great lengths and danger to give us clarity. With almost one swipe they can change our perception. Remember the dirty window story?

https://rememberthosewithoutadvantages.weebly.com/perspective.html

My story isn’t about others’ dirty laundry though. It’s about helpers.

I’ve had many window washers in my life, especially in the last 3 years.

The variety of window washer angels who willingly scrape those embedded tears from my dark stained eyes.

Firstly, My long-lost but reunited God. A God who, even as I was pouring out my tears of my long-lost son to him, gently washed them away speaking, “lay him at my feet”.

There are my grandkid window washers, who with their innocent smiles and bright laughing eyes pull me into their world. Taking me to baseball games, parks, hiking. Showing me the beauty of their world.

My daughter, who will ask me, “what do you need?” on those days when my sadness envelops me like a dark storm cloud. She might as well be whipping out her magic window washer to show me that I matter and that I deserve to feel good again. Even if only for a day. “What’s your plan?” She always asks. “Plan? I Plan to sit here in my misery.”

Then there’s my dear husband-the stagehand that never gets thanked. He pulls out his window washer and works his magic. When I need a back rub, a sounding board, or silence. Even if he doesn’t understand my undying devotion; he supports me over and over.

So yes, this picture strikes me. The sheer size of my problems in this picture, as I see them-is telling. According to my leaky saddened eyes, my world is a giant. My problems were so large, they seemed insurmountable. All the people trying to console me.

Until I declared my son healed. 

He wasn’t yet. He was actually in jail. He was frustrated and then suicidal. After they put him on suicide watch, he gradually started to feel better.

Now my son is 103 days substance-free! I want to shout it to the rooftops. It’s everything I dreamed of the last few years and more. But my studies have shown me that it’s not wise to be so sure. Relapse is common and with the contaminated drug supply, they are often deadly.

So I bask in silence. I let a smile cross my lips in occasion. I can almost wholeheartedly enjoy an activity or event, knowing my son is safe and being productive on his healing. He told me excitedly the other day:

“I’m such a better person than I was before my addiction”

I have to wonder, am I?

Did those saddened tears of disappointment do some good for me? Did I learn to love unconditionally? Not just the addicted one, but those who exiled him from their life?

Did I learn that my life matters, no matter what tragedy goes on around me?

Do I make even small improvements that help me feel better about my environment? Just yesterday I organized my desk display from chaos to cuteness.

But I also went to the doctor yesterday for the first time in 3 years and saw how much I weigh. I was shocked, to say the least. I now need a window washer to wipe away that problem.

Baby steps

Depression, Faith, Hope

If there’s one thing I’ve learned the last few years, is it’s ok to not know.

It’s ok to not know what the future holds. It’s ok to not have everything planned out. It’s ok to not know what the world will look like next year. I’m learning to trust by faith.

Faith over hope.

As I stated in this post, there’s a difference. In the process of just trusting, we may have some depression or sadness. As I listened to my audible tape “Care of the soul” on my way up to a camping trip yesterday, I listened with curiosity as he describes depression as a needed thing sometimes. It gives that space to reflect, to heal, to process. We don’t always have to live in this happy positive unauthentic state.

Anyone who’s experienced a “Dark night of the Soul” knows that you ultimately come out a better person. After all:

You can't know light without experiencing the dark. 
Notice dark night of the soul is about confronting of your own ego story and resistance to darkness. Facing the inner darkness is not about becoming evil. It is not an impossible task, cannot overwhelm or even harm what is real. It’s about accepting and integrating all of you. Inner darkness is the fear of seeing something you do not want to see, something that shakes up your conditioned understanding of the world and how it works. It is also the fear of feeling something you do not want to feel. Humans are taught by society how to hide these aspects of self. We are taught fear is a weakness. So we are taught to deny or avoid what evokes discomfort, taught to focus attention on things that feel good and overlook corruption, social-cultural mistreatment, abuse, exploitation of living creatures, Earth and human beings and energetic brainwashing of beliefs we come to hold. Many humans think they can run from their inner darkness. This is what is projected into the external world and what is arising to the surface as you are ready to acknowledge it and see things as they are. Some people go to great lengths to do all kinds of good deeds in effort to erase, counterbalance, or avoid recognizing discomfort. Yet, wherever you think you go, here it is. When unconfronted, darkness thrives. It exists when you don’t look at it. This is the nature of the dark. It is absence of light. Just start to turn and look at it, and it is evaporating. In dreams, face what is chasing you. Watch it disappear.” – Liara Covert

There are so many things in my life to be grateful for right now. When the little shadow of fear that lingers ever so strong in the shadows of my soul, starts to sneak up on me; I just have to grab onto my faith.

Faith that everything will work out for the best. I will have enough money to meet my needs. I will have a job. My kids will be ok. My grandkids will make it in their own way.

I am enough and I have enough- always.

By acknowledging what drives my depression or my worry ( fear) I can hopefully send it on it’s way and leave me in peace.

“Depression is caused by overconsumption. Overconsumption is caused by obsession. Obsession is caused by fear. Fear is caused by an absence of love. An absence of love is caused by a belief in others. A belief in others is caused by a label called others. A label called others is caused by a need to organize life into some form of understanding. A need to organize life into some form of understanding is caused by an inability to trust life as it is.

By loving the one who doesn’t know how to trust life as it is, the need to organize life into some form of understanding dissolves. As this occurs, a belief in others can be recognized as a belief in a label called others. Beyond the play of labels, a love that knows no other emerges from within you. As love emerges, you are absolved of fear, the tendency to obsess, or the need to over consume, at the rate in which the one who is depressed is embraced with equal respect, support, and heart-centered attention.

As depression is loved as never before, it becomes a vital stage of emptying out. As you empty out, the seed of ego dissolves to create space for the blossoming of consciousness. This allows depression to be a pivotal stage of growth and expansion, instead of something to fight, ignore, or avoid.” – Matt Kahn

What is the Difference Between Faith and Hope?

The Twists and Turns of Life

Life’s journeys can start out in fun anticipation of what adventures lie ahead. But sometimes we get in over our heads quickly and instead of turning back, get lost in the maze of unhealthy habits and practices. Everywhere we look, all we see is more tightrope-walking. The thin line between risk and pleasure. The little nagging thought that it will be ok. Just one more time.

I was with my grandkids at this rope park on Saturday and immediately thought of the comparison to life.

We all know that battling addiction is a roller coaster ride, especially for those who are on the sidelines watching is devastating effects. We can be on top of the world, thinking everything is fine; then be dropped to the ground in despair. Instead of butterflies in our stomachs, we have what feels like rocks. Heavy and sad. As I played on these ropes, I realized how far the tentacles and mazes that my son’s addiction have reached.

I also realized how strong the anchors are that are holding it all together. Anchors that can't be seen from all angles.

Whether you’re stuck in addiction, or watching from the sidelines, you might be stretching, reaching for the next rope to hold on to. In doing so, you have to have a certain amount of faith that those anchors will hold your weight. You just have to believe.

In this moment, after years, of crying out in pain, day after day- with the twists and turns of addiction; I finally made it through a maze of ropes to the other side. For now. My son was finally picked up on his warrants on August 17. On Aug 22, while in jail, he said his life was over and there was no way he could bounce back. He said he had no choice but to hang himself. I was able to get the medical personnel to listen to the tapes and place him in safety.

2 months later- last week- my 35 yr old son, with a bullet hole scar in his leg; called me from a non-descript rehab in a bit of tapered excitement. He’s been put in charge of all new admits. He shows them around and assigns them a bunk and their chores. He has to keep track of them and notify staff if they “run”. It’s a huge responsibility.
💬💯💬💯💬💯💬💯💬💯💬

The relief, the gratitude, the honor, the pride.
The hope forged from faith.
Day after day of earnest prayer.
Tears falling in want.
Tears, turned to joy.

The knowing that we are not in charge.
I say this knowing full well that things can change in an instant.
But I will still rejoice in faith.

My sincere message for today is how important it was that I spoke healing over my situation and problems. It’s ok to feel sad and disappointed at times, but to them- and all involved, it’s more beneficial to speak hope, instead of complaining like we are prone to do. I did my fair share of that, so I know it’s easier said than done, but it gets easier to speak hope instead of disgust to them.

We are not promised even one more day ourselves! So always leave them knowing that you loved them the best you could despite the horrors of this disease.

Today I relish in joy.
Joy in the journey of this boy.
I’m so glad I’m here to witness it because many times I wished to be gone.

No Regrets

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
  • A lighter
  • More protein mix and protein bars and maybe pre-workout mix
  • Head -n- Shoulders Body/ shampoo wash
  • More cigarettes
  • Magazines

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, and others, might insist “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:

I want ZERO regrets 

Hope Floats- in a Simple Black Bag

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♥

So bring on the lists son. I’m here.

⛵Hope Floats⛵

The Gift of Gratefulness

My little chihuahua watched with piercing concentration as I sat down to eat my breakfast one morning. Hope and anticipation filled his eyes as he wondered and thought about what delicious morsels I must be devouring without him. As I took a bite of my pancake, I dropped a piece for him. He sniffed it thoroughly and decided against tasting it. I continued on. The next bite was filled with syrup and melted butter, so I thought, maybe he would like a piece of that. I dropped a small piece of dripping sticky pancake knowing he would be both my broom and mop on the hardwood floor.

He sniffed it and nothing……

It wasn’t good enough.

Bandit

His taste buds were not geared for sweets like humans and he wanted no part of this meatless society.

I stared at his pleading face, as I looked over at his dog bowl which was full of dry dog food. I felt a God-like superiority over him as I analyzed how to best handle this 9-pound varment.

“Dude”, I said. ” you have a bowl full of water, a bowl full of food, and a sticky warm piece of flour and sugar right under your nose. Why aren’t you happy?”

I felt the irony in this statement before I even finished my sentence. Is this what God says to us?

Why aren't we happy?

Many studies, articles, and books address this in-depth. Millions and billions of dollars have been made trying to get us to find happiness. After years of self-help books, seminars, and searching among various forms of religions; I can truly say that happiness is only found within a place that none of these things can buy. Although I’m still convinced that if I were financially independent and secure, I could pursue this study 24/7 and get back to you on that 😘; it appears that by watching those who have immense wealth, it still isn’t enough. They are not satisfied. They seek higher positions of power and prestige. The balance between being content, having enough, and placating the human ego or the drive for more seems to be a hidden secret.

I do believe happiness is fleeting.

Moments of bliss, followed by disappointment. What more can we expect really? Do we want to be in a heightened state of euphoria always? As a mother of a person who uses drugs problematically; I can tell you what he has told me. He said this state of euphoria is so powerful that it keeps people stuck in the cycle of trying to find that peak again and again.

Are we any different? Our desires may not be illegal or reach the height of divorce, bankruptcy, jail or heaven forbid- death; but as I stated in this post, we all are just trying to fill our needs.

Of course, we should be grateful for any and every ounce of blissness we get. But what about our problems? Is there a way to be grateful for those?

When my kids were little, I know I worried like crazy with each little thing that “seemed” like a variant off of the beaten path. Like my substance use disorder son’s ADD. How hard for him to follow instructions and learn in the traditional school setting. But when he got put in the world and could do his own thing, he thrived. Until he, himself, wanted more. This video warmed my heart on that subject.

That little boy who seemed so out of sync with “others” had a power and talent all his own. Don’t we all? Just because we don’t fit into someone else box. Or just because someone’s journey (or recovery) isn’t going as fast as we want, or the direction we want.

Today I’m in complete gratefulness. My son has been in rehab for one week. That might not seem like a big deal but considering it’s what I’ve prayed for-for 2 years, it’s a miracle! The other strange thing is for the 30+ rehabs I have searched and written to in the last 2 years, my son ended up in one just a few miles from my house. I didn’t plan that but ultimately I’m grateful. The first few nights I tossed and turned worried he would show up at my door having walked out, but now I’m just taking of day by day. When he went in, I tried to give him one of these blue bracelets that states:

One Day At A Time

But he said that was “too rehab-ey”. Oh, that boy. My rehab-resistant but trying- his- hardest boy. I’m grateful for any scraps of pancakes or any scraps of willingness I can get.

The cherry on top – (or syrup & butter) will be when my son finds his happiness and his bliss- without substances of course.

May we all find our peace and our fleeting moments of happiness
✨💝✨

The Path Forward

I must love the analogy of a road.

Stretching out in the horizon. The path beyond seeing. The unknown just waiting for me to arrive to its party. Characters awaiting backstage to act out their best performance.

Then hiding behind the curtain to see my reaction. Everyone wants a show. The sparkly draw of drama, anger in its raw-est form. The ego on full display. Pain with lots of tears. The journalists love a pained heart. To bring out emotion from a torn soul makes for a great story that leaves people angry and quickly searching for who’s to blame. Then there’s the empty souls who are jealous of what passion is evoked out of this pain. How could someone care so much about anything? They shake their head in bewilderment, as they go back to their monotone life, not realizing that their bewilderment is their passion. They are playing out their part perfectly. The neutral, apathetic but always in control stagehand.

Everywhere I go I take a picture of roads.

It must mean I’m leaving all the stress and worry of the past behind.

It must mean that I have hope.

Hope in humanity. Hope in Love. Hope that someday I’ll get to a place where my hurt heart is settled on a comfy soft pillow and resting in bliss that today it will be alright. Today there won’t be any “what- ifs” or “what was’s”. That today I won’t ruminate on the past. Of loss, lost memories, people, places that tear at heartstrings.

Rarely have I taken a picture in my rear-view mirror. So why does my brain live there? 

Why do I insist on dwelling on what I don’t have? As a mom of little toddlers, if I gave them a treat or a toy and they threw it on the ground in a fit of whiney anger, did I keep giving them more to to try to appease them?

Maybe.

Once or twice. But soon I realized that they would never be happy with anything until I fixed the real problem.

Are you hungry? Sad? Tired?

Until WE fix what is bothering us right now, we can never be at peace.

“But!” you plead, “it’s not ME! If only xyz would do xyz THEN I could be happy.” Logically we know we can’t control another. Logically we know we are being puppets to their story. We are acting out as the victim, then the villain, then the hero. We want to be the star of our own story. We want to wrap up the ending with “and they lived happily ever after”.

God how we want that!!! Our heart soars at the possibility of that happening. The human Spirit in action. The human spirit of survival. It’s what kept little babies alive when supposedly they were born and mom couldn’t take care of them they could follow the Linea nigra: a dark line stretching from the top of the pubic hair to the belly button, sometimes extending to the breast, so babies could find the milk filled nipples.

Holly Clark/Stocksy

Might be an old wives tail but maybe the road in all my pictures represent a linea nigra. My lifeline to HOPE.

I once asked an elderly housekeeper in the hospital where I worked what it was that got her up everyday. She had loads of energy and never complained. She told me, “It’s the curiosity of what each new day bring”. Wow. How can I be that willing? That curious? How can I forge- forward without fear?

Right now I’m at the crest of the hill. The very farthest point you can see in the picture. I’m hopeful. Nervous curious. Wanting. Craving peace. That peace is different for everyone. It might be a problem solved. A Love resolved. A bill paid off. Or it might be coming to terms with what is.

Here’s my collection of What if’s. My roads to hope. Followed by Jack Canfield’s advice to keep being present as life unfolds.

JACK CANFIELD

Think of a car driving through the night. The headlights only
go a hundred to two hundred feet forward, and you can make
it all the way from California to New York driving through
the dark, because all you have to see is the next two hundred
feet. And that's how life tends to unfold before us. If we just
trust that the next two hundred feet will unfold after that,
and the next two hundred feet will unfold after that, your
life will keep unfolding. And it will eventually get you to
the destination of whatever it is you truly want, because you
want it.