Friday, February 16, 2018

Empathy and friends and whining...


So, I have been very quiet recently.Life sucks, I've been sick--bronchitis is apparently my new winter pastime, this makes the second February in a row I have begun to think breathing is not something I am good at.

In case you haven't noticed,when I get down and out I tend to get quet. The thing is, if your life is hard you don't have much else to talk about--and you figure nobody wants to hear it any way.

I have lost friends because I have made jokes about financial problems. True. A couple of winters ago I posted on facebook what I thought was a joke about being behind on the gas bill...

Dear Mother Nature,
It's the middle of MAY-I don't care how many shares of Missouri Gas Energy you have in your retirement portfolio-I am NOT turning the heat on today. 
Sincerely,
Shivering under a quilt

Dear Mother Nature,
It's May 16. 36 degrees and a frost advisory, seriously? I'll need to find a corner and a cardboard sign to ever catch up on funding your retirement.
Signed,
Shivering

One of my 'friends' messaged me that they would be unfriending me because I was 'whining about being poor again.' Granted, I am not always as funny as I think I am, but 'unfriend' me for a couple of jokes about the weather?

On the other hand, I have  an amazingly generous friend who regularly  sends me  money when I post about our troubles.Which is always timely and always appreciated,but sometimes I just want to vent and I don't because I feel bad about the appearance of being so damn needy.

I have wonderful friends--thanks to the internet. I rarely see people in real life, but I can power up the computer and there you are.

I realized recently I have been censoring myself a lot. I stopped posting political stuff a couple of years ago because I have friends from all ends of the political spectrum, and I don't want to lose anyone. So,my facebook became just a place to be friends. I do have an outlet for my political views, and I cherish that outlet also.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am needy,and I need to stop feeling like I shouldn't talk about that.

So,if I am lonely and stressed, I may have to whine about it. I need to stop letting the problems isolate me...and that is something that dawned on me in the middle of the night. I am feeling isolated,and it is mostly my own fault. Because I have people with empathy in my life,and I need to trust that more.


"Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It's the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else's pain is as meaningful as your own."~~Barbara Kingsolver

Empathy goes many directions. When we lose the ability to empathize, we not only lose the ability to understand and share when people are having hard times, we lose the ability to be joyful when they are being blessed. And I think that, leads to what Barbara Kingsolver describes as spiritual meanness.

So, do I need to not make jokes about my hard times? A sense of humor (and some awesome friends) helps me get through the days. Do we need to censor and not share our frustrations for fear that some else in our community has lost the ability to empathize? That won't work for me.

What will work for me is to remind myself and others that even though life is hard, I will get caught up some day because my list of blessings is longer than my list of troubles-even on days I can't see that.

So, I am sorry to have lost a friend. I wish I could have taught her to laugh with me. Because the truth is being behind on the gas bill, or having a really bare pantry because money is tight may be a problem. But, losing the ability to empathize is a far worse affliction.

The truth is in that old saying...Shared joy is joy doubled. Shared sorrow is sorrow halved. THAT is empathy in a nutshell!

Peace and Blessings,


EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.


Friday, January 19, 2018

One More Year of One Day At A Time

Today is my birthday. Not my belly button birthday, my day I got clean and sober birthday. Today I am celebrating 37 years of sobriety. Celebrating 37 years of choosing to deal with life and all its challenges, obstacles, defeats, and victories without using drugs or alcohol.

I haven't had a drink in 444 months. That is 13,514 days. 


They haven't all been easy, and the last year or two as been harder than you would think since I am an old hand at this.


What a year it has been, my most recent  year of sobriety. Today marks my 37th anniversary of the day I chose to get sober. I have to say the last few months have been some of the most difficult in those 37 years, and that is saying something as my life has very rarely been without difficulty. But, even as I have battled my demons- stress, addiction, depression, illness, etc.- the last few months, I have continued to work on my sobriety.


There have been many times lately when I said to myself out loud "Damn, I need a drink." Fortunately my next thought has been "Stop it, you don't drink."  I am not ashamed  to admit that that next thouhgt comes slowly some days. Sobriety really is one day at a time. For me it is one moment at a time most days.


Why 'One day at a time'?


The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.~~Abraham Lincoln~~

For me that means I need to concentrate on living in the moment. Being present and living in the moment helps to keep me focused on the task at hand. When we live in the moment, one day at a time, we don't have time to become mired in regrets and worries over what happened and how we SHOULD have done. No guilt, no condemnation.Which is not to say that if we hurt someone we should not make amends. It is to say that if we live in the present, the past can no longer hurt us. We can let it go, forgive ourselves and others, and choose to live  for today.Living in the present means that we no longer have to constantly review the past, trying to explain our actions or the actions of others. No more guilt or blaming. Living in the present means that we do not have to worry, assume, obsess about what may happen in the future. If we do that we sometimes project unwarranted negative outcomes to things, when all we really have to do is deal with the outcomes of our actions today, this day.


So, today, this day I will celebrate one more day of sobriety. One more day of hangin' in there, no matter how difficult life has become.


Easy? No, I don't think it is ever easy, but just because a thing is hard to do doesn't make it any less worthwhile. 



Peace and Blessings,
 EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January Sucks...maybe

T.S. Eliot may have told us April is the cruelest month, but I would love to nominate January for that honor.

It's cold. C-C-C-C-old, and still dark, and my kid only has one of his sports in its  season,thank goodness for hockey--Go Blues-- so he is cranky.

Every time the heat clicks on I cringe,because I know what that is doing to the gas bill--that I am behind on anyway because December choices to give the kid Christmas..

Yep, January sucks.

BUT, wait, as long as I am whining about winter and doubting T.S. Eliot,maybe I should listen to Albert Camus...

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”― Albert Camus


Well, darn, the fact that I survived this long is supposed to make me happy.

What to do.

Well,I've bitched about other months int he past. 

Heck a few years a go it was August and I wrote this...

It's the week I ran out of money and had to tell my son we couldn't buy groceries. But, he's a trouper, this is how part of the conversation went...

Me: It's hard the last week of the months some months. Sometimes it seems like it takes a while for the universe to provide.

Son: Did you tell the universe we have paypal?

Hey, you can get through anything when your kid makes you smile!

So, here in January when we had the same conversation yesterday, it was OK.My kid still can make me smile,in fact he sometimes makes me laugh out loud. And considering what he has gone through, and still deals with, that is a a sign of the invincible summer.


SO, I'll suck it up, even though we all struggle, there are always moments to share. The important things in life are always available. 

I will work on being positive today.

But, darn it Mother Nature, it needs to warm up soon! Apparently being cold makes me cranky. But, let me allow the universe to adjust my attitude. 


So, OK, I'll admit that now that the sun has come up,the snow is seriously pretty this morning, sunlight illuminating ice crystals that look like little diamonds smiling at me. 

Well, shoot,maybe January isn't the bitch I thought she was an hour or so ago. 

 But it's still too dang cold.



Peace and Blessings,
 EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.



Sunday, December 31, 2017

Celebrate Responsibly (my yearly reminder)





... do yourself a favor. Tonight is a night when so many will be out celebrating the end of  2017 and the beginning of 2018. Please, make a plan. If you drink, don't drive! If you drive, don't drink! Not complicated. But it does require some thinking ahead. It requires you to think about using an alternate form of transportation such as a taxi, or using a designated driver, or being a designated driver. It might mean that you provide a place for your guests to stay, or that you provide a driver. There are many ways to be responsible.

Now I have nothing against enjoying yourself. I have nothing against those who choose to enjoy alcohol. Personally, I will be celebrating 37 years of sobriety in a few weeks, but that is because I am an alcoholic. I do not begrudge you one sip. But I do want you to think ahead and plan accordingly.

If you drink, please do not drive. I don't care how much you drink, one drink or several. Drinking and driving do not mix.

Lives are changed, destroyed in the blink of an eye. When my husband was killed by a drunk driver not only was my family destroyed but the family of the young woman who killed him was changed forever.

I know, most people think this can't happen to me. The young woman who killed my husband did not think she was impaired when she got on the freeway going the wrong direction and hit him head on at 60 miles per hour.

So, celebrate.Enjoy the party! Have a great time, but have a plan in place. Please.

If you drink do not drive!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Breathe, Christmas is Coming

The quote for the day is...
There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.~~Erma Bombeck~~

Now, when you read that do not think, oh dear, that is so right. Think, I am a child,I have always been someone's child, and I deserve to believe that I am a beautiful, wonderful, worthwhile individual with so much to offer myself and those I love. The most important things I have to offer have nothing to do with the house being spotless, or the decorations being Martha Stewart worthy, or the Christmas dinner being course after course of delicious. What I have to offer is the heart of a worthwhile person. A heart that knows that I am intelligent, and caring, and worthy of treating myself well. A heart that is able to be a better mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend because I know my value.

Think good things! I can't tell you how many times I have to remind myself of this. Thinking good things will keep me rooted in the now, the present, living in the moment in a way that I can remember that this moment will never come again.  The floors need swept, the dishes need washed,so garner up pleasant thoughts. So grab onto any pleasant thought that passes, store it away in your memory where you can bring it out when you need something to remind that life is good. Something to remind you of all that you are, and all that you can be. There is in every one of us the ability to give beyond reason. To care beyond hope. To love without limit. To reach, stretch, and dream, in spite of your fears. There is in each of us the ability to give beyond reason, and we do so every day when we take time to encourage and uplift each other. The ability to care beyond hope, as we come together to pray and care about the concerns of each, we expect the best outcome beyond the hope of the seen into the hope of the unseen. We love without limit. All of my friends  from around the world who found each other , loving each other through the day no matter what obstacles and challenges come our way. Reach, stretching, dreaming, knowing that there is a place where we can share those dreams and be encouraged to make them come true.Yes, acquire those pleasant thoughts, store them up, use them liberally to remember, that life indeed is good, and so are you!!

Take time today to rest, even though you have things to do. Take some time to get at least a few moments with yourself, and remind yourself that a confident, loving smile is worth more than anything you can possibly accomplish today. Remind yourself that when we wake up on Christmas morning we are all someone's child, and relax and enjoy the day, no matter the circumstances. CHOOSE to believe in yourself, CHOOSE to hear only the truth about yourself from yourself and others, CHOOSE to remember who you are and nothing else can take that wonder away from the day. Relax, refresh your spirit, and wake up Christmas morning with the eyes and heart of a child!

Peace and Blessings,
 EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Norman Rockwell was an artist...

...not a historian.

This time of year is just hard. For a lot of reasons.

Some of us are struggling. But the truth is most of us--women especially,just get frazzled this time of year.We get so busy.

 Whether we are rich or poor, young or old, we get stressed out around the holidays. If you are having financial problems-like we do at our house, you worry, and stress out about how you will keep the electricity on, and still manage to provide a semblance of cheer. It's really hard to think you won't be able to buy a gift for your child. Really hard. 

If you are lucky enough to  have money, you still worry.
So much to do,so little time...
We all need to remember to breathe at this time of year--


The quote for the day is...
A man can do only what he can do. But if he does that each day he can sleep at night and do it again the next day. ~~Albert Schweitzer ~~ 


All we can do is all we can do. Maybe we are doing too much to begin with. Maybe we need to take a minute and look at the things that we consider urgent, are they? Are they necessary for our happiness, and wholeness, or are they just trappings that we think the world expects.

The world does not cease to exist if we bake 2 kinds of cookies instead of 6. the world does not cease to turn on its axis if we take an hour out of the day and spend it paying attention to our health and our spiritual needs. If we cease to run around frenetically, the sun still comes up in the morning. If we choose to not spend money we don't have this year, no one will hate us because their present is smaller (well, if they do they don't count anyway!) Besides, the little ones play with the boxes longer than the presents! The older ones will understand if we are being honest, authentic in our lives.

So yes, let's remember to slow down, to breathe. When we get all caught up in the frenzy we miss so much-moments of grace, opportunities for gratitude, evidence of our connections to others, signs of the presence of Spirit.

"But,but..." you say,I want  wonderful holidays like when I was growing up. Ah, yes the good ol' days.

 Personally I think people have this skewed vision of what life used to be-too many Norman Rockwell magazine covers. Norman Rockwell was an artist not an historian.

Honestly, people weren't all that much different 50, 60, 100 years ago. There were good people, there were not so good people. It wasn't a Norman Rockwell magazine cover or an episode of Leave it To Beaver. Just like now, so many things depend on your economic status. Poor women worked outside the home-often in the homes of women with more resources. Poor people spent their limited resources trying to keep a roof over their head and feed their families.

So, let go of the imaginary memories. You are probably equating a movie you saw with what actually occurred in people's everyday lives. 

 If you are feeling bombarded by the things going on around you, scattered, stressed, that is the reminder you need to chill, breathe, take some time to pay attention. Make today important, live the best you can today, and stop longing for a different time that never existed.

 It's hard for everyone this time of year.It's cold, and dark, and it just seems like troubles are amplified in that darkness. Probably the reason that nearly every faith tradition has some sort of celebration around this time that centers on light.

So, as you go about your days, try to remember to breathe,and relax, because the darkness never lasts forever, and even on a cold dark day something will be worth smiling about. 

Take time today to rest, even though you have things to do. Take some time to get at least a few moments with yourself, and remind yourself that a confident, loving smile is worth more than anything you can possibly accomplish today.


Peace and Blessings,

EB


P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Need some Thanksgiving?

Sometimes it is difficult to feel thankful. I have days when I am just a big old bottomless pit of envy, bitterness, resentment,and downright crankyass misery. I try to not have those days often,they are exhausting.

But,even when I am the world's worst crank,I know better. I know that even though life is a struggle,and difficult beyond measure, I have things I am truly thankful for.

I have an amazing son. We've spent a couple of years now just trying to keep him alive.He has to tolerate medical interventions that his autistic brain really isn't even capable of processing .He hates to be touched and yet he has to put up with being touched.He does it with quiet strength and reserves we only suspected he was capable of.Things most of us take for granted can be difficult for him,but he perseveres and deals with the challenges. He is my hero-most days.

I have a community of friends--most of whom I have never met in person. Which I am old enough to find amazing. Who could have imagined 30-40-50 years ago that the majority of women I consider my dearest friends are people I have met in online communities? Kind of boggles the mind.Smart,caring, kind, incredibly generous friends for whom I am eternally thankful. 

AND I have me. Now, I ain't worth claiming some days. But,I'm what I have, for what it's worth.

I wrote this 10 years ago and it still rings true to me today...

The quote for today...

I am an indestructible fortress,
I am an unassailable rock,
I am a precious jewel.
--Ancient Irish Prayer

 I think that is where I get my strength. Now, I am not saying to you that I don't have days where I am nothing but a quivering mass of jello, but what I do have is an innate belief that I am indestructible. In fact, I am fond of saying, you can't kill me it's been tried.

OK, so I know that is a slight exaggeration but most humor is. What I am saying is that I am strong enough to withstand what the world has to throw at me. We all are, some of us may not know it yet, and one of the things I try to do is to help people see this truth about themselves. If we believe we have the strength to take what the world is handing out, then we journey forth into the world in a much different manner. Our very presence changes. Our posture is taller, our countenance brighter. We shine like the precious jewel we are. Now where do jewels come from, with the exception of pearls, most things that we consider precious jewels come from the earth, from dirt and rock, created by great pressure.Not the most glamorous of beginnings So it would seem to me that the more the world throws at us, the more we manage to crawl our way through as more than a survivor, as a victor, the more precious jewel we become. Even pearls start out in an unglamorous place. Now as much as I enjoy an appetizer of oysters on the half shell, it isn't a pleasant thing to look at.But look at how that oyster reacted to an irritant that it couldn't get rid of, it surrounded that irritating little grain of sand, piece of debris, with beauty.And a precious jewel was created from irritation and probably a lot of pain.


So, I am going to take my cranky ass in hand and try to be more than thankful.

Peace and Blessings,

EB



P.S. I dislike doing this but there is a paypal button over there,just in case. I told a friend once who was embarrassed about asking for help that if we don't make our needs known how does anyone ever know we have needs.The William and I are struggling,and just as embarrassed I am pointing out the button.We are continually blessed.