It’s Just a Light

It’s just a light in my bedroom.

A battery operated LED light to help my aging eyes see the light gray words printed on tan pages, as so many of the older books have.

It’s a light to help me wind down at night. To take my mind off the endless, circular motion of my worried brain as it goes round and round the catastrophic thinking that has become my daily companion.

The batteries recently died in my “light”. I replaced them, then realized that the velcro holding it to my bed was peeled off & I wasn’t sure if I had anymore. It was useless if I had to prop it up or hold it. “Oh well”, I thought, as I snuggled into my bed.

I'm too tired to care.

This had become my motto recently.

We had been camping all weekend and I was exhausted. My husband was busy packing to leave out of town for work.

As I drifted off to sleep I awoke to see him sticking my brand newly velcroed LED light in its place on my bed.

I couldn’t believe it. Or maybe I could. This man spent all weekend hauling around campers and coolers and ATVs to make sure I could relax all weekend. He even climbed up a huge steep mountain- in a rainstorm- to find me some Geodes, hauling the 50+lbs down the slippery mountain.

These acts of service may not appeal to everyone, but after the few years of struggle with my son that we’ve had- it’s the little things……AND it’s the things that we normally wouldn’t appreciate, that matter. Especially in times of stress.

You see: my husband isn’t my substance use disorder son’s father. He only knows him as “the addict”. He doesn’t know This Guy. The fun-loving guy who always has a funny story to tell. The guy who never stops talking, but yet not in an annoying way. He always has some idea, some thought or joke to tell. Always smiling. My long lost funny boy.

My husband doesn’t understand my feelings of loss.

The losing someone while their still alive-loss. The missing of family vacations- before addiction stuck its ravaged head into our business of happy little family-loss.

He doesn’t understand my literal consume-ment of my son’s addiction. With his life.

But he cares about me.

And he cares about my self care. Thus -he cares about my light.

In the world of substance use disorder, it’s easy to feel alone and that no one can possibly understand. It’s so important to find bits of support wherever we can. They may not understand what we’re going through, but they can still care.

I was watching one of my favorite shows, “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.” It was about a man who crashed his plane into the African bush. When rescued he felt a hand on his shoulder and heard these words:

"You're in safe hands now." 

You may not have a partner, but we can all find our “safe hands” or our “light”- if we start looking for the small miracles.

Self Care & Our Own Habits

Hypocrisy is the practice of engaging in the same behavior or activity for which one criticizes another or the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform. In moral psychology, it is the failure to follow one’s own expressed moral rules and principles.[1] According to British political philosopher David Runciman– according to Wikipedia,

This is the first quote in my book I’m writing.

Why am I saying this? Because we are SO good at telling our addicted loved ones to take care of their selves and do things to get their bodies healthy again, yet what are we going? Possibly getting more stressed, more sick & more depressed.

We become so focused on the “goal” or our particular destination happiness, that we fail to live in the present.

Matt Kahn stated:

“I think one of the hang-ups is that we reserve gratitude for when life becomes the way we want it to be. We’re not grateful for the chance to experience the things that ensure we confront our limiting ideas and painful feelings. We are often caught in a standoff with life that says: I’ll be the most grateful when everything changes to my desired specifications”. 

Matt Kahn

We rush around (maybe only in our scattered & frazzled mind) trying to make things happen so that WE can finally relax.

We might even enjoy and feel justified with a glass of wine to calm down.

Yes, although WE may not be the alcoholic and be immune to the allergy & obsession of addiction; it still may not be the best choice for our overall vibration.

How to facilitate a better vibrational state, so we are not ruminating on our problems, seems like a reasonable goal.

All of us must find our Place Of Peace. It’s a continual process, I believe. One that requires consistent daily habits, which I am quite inept at.

Today, its a rainy spring day, and after an emotional weekend of worry and indecisiveness, my goal for today was self care to find my place of peace. As I’m setting new goals, I find this live concert on You Tube on my apple TV.

What perfect background music to relax by than Jackson Browne? Why don’t I know this guy? Hope you enjoy this concert as I did. ( I guess I do know him- he’s the “Take it Easy” writer from the Eagles.

One of my challenges is setting goals with specifics such as time management & allocation. I’m working on it. Rituals such as described in Shelly Young’s article below will help.

I recently quoted her in my post the other day and she has some great self-care advice here, also.

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A Loving Kindness Ritual

Every morning. Every single morning for the past six years, I light a candle, settle onto a cushion, close my eyes and say the loving kindness meditation/prayer, Metta. I say it several times. 

Once for myself, in the spirit of giving a gift to myself, the gift of happiness, peace, kindness. In the spirit of generosity and love I say it outward, once for my children., once for my friends and family, once for anyone in particular in need of support, healing, blessing, my attention or affection or someone who has been a benevolent force in my life, shared time, energy, space, kindness support with me. Then once for all of us, the collective us, all of humanity, all beings in nature.

It is how I touch into that which is greater than myself, my place in the family of things, the collective of humanity, my role in the perpetuation of love and kindness. It grounds me in the now and sets the tone for the day. It is my work to be a force of love and extend that outward as well as inward. To be in service to the greater good. 

I offer this meditation, this ritual to you as a way of priming your body, your heart, your nervous system, your brain for peace, a way of connecting into a greater force of love and wellbeing, a wish for all to be well, happy and peaceful. A chant if you will, for healing.

Try it for a week, a month, a season. See what it feels like in your body to say the words out loud, to extend the blessing outward and inward, to lean into the ritual as a resource for wellbeing and connecting to the family of things. See how it feels. 

Start with yourself, be kind, generous and loving to yourself first then extend that love and kindness outward. Lay love over all that is. 

May I be well happy and peaceful. 

May no harm come to me. 

May no difficulties come to me. 

May I always meet with miraculous success. 

May I also have the courage, patience and understanding to meet and overcome inevitable problems and failures.

May I always remember you are connected to a Presence that is never absent.

May I be held, may you be healed, may you be transformed.

I’m saying it with you. We can say it together.

If you want to join others who say Metta every Thursday 12:00-12:30 in community with my friends Rose + Jen go here. 

Everyone is welcome. 

Image Credit: Jen Lemen. You can find her on Instagram!

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the studio
clifton, virginia 20124, united states


Made with love in Flodesk.

We are the artists of our world
We are the authors of our story
Paint colours and magic
Write peace and happiness
See love
Feel joy
Create miracles

~ Karen Star <3

What if They Never Get Better?

Guest blog- Ed Brazell
What if it does?

That is a question that families don’t really want to ask themselves. It’s usually a question asked out of frustration and after a long time of battling family addiction. Followed by: “I’ve done everything I know to do.”

Lately I have been thinking about this question and it is very troubling. For a fixer like me what does that really mean, I failed? I’m not one to accept defeat. There is a fix, I just haven’t gotten the right formula. That was always my answer. I always seemed to disregard the real answer because I never really accepted the premise of the question. My failure to accept reality that some never do get better causes me much heartache. I bring this up because of the many families that have been struggling for years with their love ones addiction.

I’ve asked this difficult question to a few family members. Only because they are completely overwhelmed, stressed out and at the end of their ropes. These family members are dealing with physical and mental breakdowns and need to release their love ones addiction back to them, instead of carrying it around on their shoulders. It’s a hard question for me to ask because I know by the time someone contacts me, there is a desperation and hopelessness that I do understand very well and they aren’t looking to hear someone to tell them to let go, they are looking for ‘the answer’.

I’m not talking about giving up on our love one or not helping them when they really need it. I’m talking about taking your life back and loving yourself again.

Put aside the anger, hurt, disappointment, guilt and past. Not for them, but for your well being. Negative emotions are hard to let go, but we need to find it ourselves to do so because it damages us more than anyone else. Don’t try to analyze addiction (or your love one). But try to understand ideas like we are powerless over our loved one’s addiction, that we can’t fix or change them. The truth is they can only do it themselves and the sooner we can see that the better our families will be.

Take time through this hard journey to take care of yourself. To Love yourself. This will make for a heather family, so when your love one does get better, the family will be in a better place and please remember even if they don’t get better, you can and do deserve a life of your own.

– Ed Brazell