Tag Archives: prayer

Gratitude’s the attitude baby!

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Someone I care about is in the hospital, and has been through pure hell the past year.   I broke down in tears today thinking about her, and what’s she’s going through.  A reminder of when I went to Mass General thinking (after a surgery the week before) that they’ve give me a shot in the butt and some major antibiotics to take when I get home, only to have been admitted with serious infection.     I remember crying, calling my mom from the admission desk “They are admitting me to Bigelow 9”.  “Gigolo what?   Can laugh at it all now.

When you have serious illness, it sometimes provides you with acceptance of things from past that earlier that day, week, month, year, you could not.    And I think the same type of bargaining goes on when you lose someone.  “If you let me survive this….”

It was right around this time of the year, and I was in there for a lot longer than I wanted to be.  I remember thinking “I must be really sick because they don’t keep people in the hospital anymore!”.     When I finally turned the corner, my veins were blown out, and feeling like a pin cushion would’ve been a luxury at that point, they weren’t going to release me because I couldn’t drive home.  Well, I finally lied, found my way out of there.   I drove half way home to Leominster and then pulled into a Friendly’s.  I was so weak.  The only thing I had eaten was popsicles that week, when they would stay down.   So I ordered a fribble, and sat outside, feeling the cool fall breeze run through my disaster zone hair, and feeling so very grateful that I was finally out of the woods and heading home.   I sat for about 40 minutes until I finished the shake, which gave me the strength to get back in my car and drive the rest of the way home.

We can spend a lifetime planning, arranging, collecting, preparing, and one blip can and will take the comfort, the wind out of our sails.   We find ourselves at the mercy of life.   I hope this person who is so sick tonight catches a break, and I hope that she, too, will be heading home soon.   Her husband, her family needs her.     Until she does I will be praying, regularly, frequently, for her health.    In the end, we know God is in control, those of us who believe in God, and while there is some comfort there, the waiting, the meantime, the present can be so overwhelming.  If you’d like to offer a prayer for her, I know it would be greatly appreciated, or send her good vibes.

So I’m tired, heading to bed shortly, will be on my knees tonight praying for her and her husband.   They are so tired, so worn.    She just hasn’t been able to catch a break and my heart hurts for them.

Me?  I’m feeling pretty grateful at the moment.   The painful memories have faded some for me, and gratitude has built a wall around that awful time for me.    I know, I was very fortunate.  And it’s probably time that I do the things I “bargained” to do, if he’d get me through it.   And I’m recalling the trip home where I no longer had concern for the petty things that once plagued my peace.     Acceptance.     Perspective.     Life has a way of knocking you beside the head when you least expect it!

Wishing peace, love, and joy to each of you reading this.  I hope today you have found acceptance to the things that blocked your peace, and if you’re in the middle of muck, I pray that you’ll be given what you need to get you through, and beyond it.   Peace.  xox

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Participation

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I can’t keep up with the crap that’s going on in the world.  Not and live a meaningful, focused, purposeful life.   Two minutes into reading the news, or the newest trend that is circling Facebook, I want to run away and hide.

I don’t think as humans, and I am one of them, we are designed to deal with the harshness that fills this world right now.  Yes, there are still beautiful amazing things to focus on, but there is so much ugliness that me, myself and I have to extricate myself from.     Whether you can handle it, that’s not up for me to decide, but for me personally, I can only stand small increments of crap, otherwise I get swallowed up in it.

This is not to say that I do not have an opinion, most of my readers know the world of crap I got myself in for speaking my voice and opinion in the last election.  What an election to open my mouth!   My point?    I now choose my battles, and wisely.

There is so much going on in this world that strips me of peace, of center.    I’m not one to blame “God”, though I have been extremely ticked off at him in past.     I am petrified of human trafficking, drugs, war, just to name three.   Now peruse your favorite news channel and see how many other dreadful, crazy things are going on.

How do we participate, and for each of us, have a voice, and realize we aren’t always going to agree with the opinion of others, and THAT”S OKAY!     Perhaps listening or reading without judgement, we can learn something about another person, or situation that we may have not looked at, or realized.  But that takes an open mind to be willing to look beyond belligerence.  And I’m here to tell you, I too can be belligerent.    I have been.  But it’s not a place I choose to visit daily, or even weekly.    For me it usually shows up when my defenses have failed to acknowledge harm coming from places I didn’t expect.    This means what?   It’s simple.  That I need to take care of myself, my own mental and physical state, financial.    That doesn’t mean I become oblivious to what is going on around me, but it does mean I secure myself, FIRST, it’s called self preservation!  And when that is in place, and I am able to help another, I will.  I will.

So today I’m choosing to stay in my own little world, which is full of color, texture, music, love, and light.   I am choosing not to participate outside of this world today, because I have somethings I need to take care of, and I am.     But I will and have offered a prayer for all my family, friends, and the world in its entirety.   So much going on right now, natural disasters and more.     My prayer will be my participation and help to others for this day.

I don’t believe we are designed to handle the enormous hatred and judgement that has been tossed around MOMENT BY MOMENT, and I’m not talking about just one subject.  I’m talking about ALL.  I’ve had enough to last me a lifetime, and I’m learning to not become ignorant to what is happening, but become purposeful where I can, and right now, there is nothing I can do for all that surrounds us, but pray.

I’m not suggesting you change what you are doing, unless you, too, feel overwhelmed and consumed by the ugliness that situates beside of you.   I don’t know whats best for you, or anyone else, so I just want to nod at you, blow you a kiss, and wish you a good day, filled with whatever you want it to be.  Those who are struggling, and there are many friends right now who are in crises, I wish you the best, and I’m saying a prayer that you will be comforted, that you will be given the strength you need to get through this day.     I offer this blog to give those like minded thoughts a gentle hug and acknowledgement that, yeah, I too am overwhelmed, so today I’m doing what I can for myself, first.    Wishing you a joy filled day with healthy boundaries and decisions made with a healthy, happy heart.    To you!!!

Holy Heat

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Heat has hit here in New England.   We went from having our furnaces on for a week, to installing my portable air conditioners in one day!   I guess I really should think about shaving my legs.

Had a great day of painting.   Let’s see, today I sketched, painted, grooved to some great music!  My mom is staying with me for a few weeks, anyway I thought she was outside so when Michael McDonald came on, I really rocked it!     I didn’t put my brush down for the fake mic, but close.    I stand up, dance, and walked into my living room and there sits my mom.     “Did you enjoy the concert, mom?”

Painting vegetables, fruit, sunflowers, and sketched my first person today.  He needs some work, and I can’t stand this guy, in fact, I loathe him, but I’ve been studying a picture of him for weeks, thinking about how exactly to draw it, what are his strongest features?  Maybe I’ll use it for target shooting!

I have four inches of roots showing on my head.   Is it not a wonder I have been using the widest headband I could find?  Thankfully tomorrow, hopefully, I’ll look human again.  I don’t know about having my hair done and shaving my legs on the same day.  It just might be too much excitement!

Still standing with our President!    I believe when the heats on, you step in and do what you can to support the person.

Well, I think I’ll head to bed early, have some research to do, and I love doing that when I crawl into my cozy spot, give thanks for another day, and pray for my family, my friends, my country, my President, and all service peeps, veterans, AND…. whoever reads this!

 

 

 

 

For the times, they are a changin…..-Dylan

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Last week my 12 (she keeps reminding me… soon to be 13) spent the week with me.   She starts school next week.  It is the longest time we’ve ever spent together, and THE BEST TIME I’ve ever had with her.   I feel so grateful for the week.     She is a very special girl.  Very smart, very talented (she loves to paint) and the music videos she creates has me in awe.  Creativity doesn’t lack in this soul!

I dropped her off at her dad’s Friday, and as I drove home Friday night, windows down, older music on the stereo, my thoughts were so filled with love, with desire to spend more time with her.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t have much time to myself.   That isn’t the way it is now, much to my own making.   I have spent, and do spend A LOT of time on my own.  I keep busy, I own a house which I’m renovating on my own (now that the major work has been done by contractors), and I have a business that I need to dive back into.

As the wind blew my hair around, and kissed my skin, I thought about the news of the week.  The flooding in Louisiana, the fires in California, and all the political bullshit that makes its way to my computer screen.   My mind drifted to the Zika virus, as I waited while a pregnant woman walked across the road to a restaurant.  ENOUGH, I said.  ENOUGH!    I can’t take anymore news right now, I don’t want to see anymore election crap, I don’t want to worry about tomorrow, I just want to feel this beautiful place I’ve been over the past week.  A purpose beyond survival.

I feel change coming within me.  I have felt it for a while now.   I no longer want to spend all my time to myself.  I want to look into someone’s eyes and celebrate them, us.  I want to share my life with someone who appreciates and respects mine.

Thoughts drifted to relationships of past.   Each one had their own beauty, a couple when they ended!  🙂   I’ve been single for over a decade.  I’ve dated, but the guys I’ve dated were not even close to who I would spend my life with.  I think today, overweight, covered in painting clothes, I’m the best person I’ve ever been.  A very dear friend of mine, whom I trust with my soul said to me from Australia “Do you know how long I’ve been hearing you say, you aren’t ready?”   She wasn’t criticizing, she was sharing her feelings and it reminded me of the time another friend said to me twelve years ago “There will always be excuses to stay in a bad relationship”.    Both statements have moved me.

I’m not going to race out and join ANY online dating site.  I’m not ready.  But I’m BECOMING ready.     One thing I’ve always loved about twelve step programs is, you’re never asked to do anything without becoming willing, first.

I painted this weekend, and I finally finished a painting that I feared, I could not.   My hands are riddled with pain, but this weekend I had a break from that.  The brush didn’t exactly flow as I wanted it to, but what was different was the way I treated myself when this happened.   Easy does it.  Pick it up, try again.   I don’t know if any other artists struggle with fear of losing the ability to create.   This weekend my inhibitions took a hike, and my weekend was filled with love, memories of a great week spent with my niece, and a painting that assures me, I can still paint.  It feels nice to breathe, to not recirculate within myself negativity.

I’m taking a break from the news, while I don’t want to be ignorant of what is going on in the world, I need to breathe, to feel this happiness, this peace.   I will continue prayers for the world, and for so many friends and family members who need them.  But right now?  I’m going to stay where I am.    It’s a really nice place to be.

My busy time will soon be upon me.   This year I’m starting extra early for me.   I want to enjoy my life, not race through it going mach 80 with my hair on fire!  I am going to start an art blog, and probably, hopefully, start working on the book I have known I was supposed to write for three decades now.   Not sure what that means for this blog.   But that’s okay.  I don’t need to know!

Peace to you, and to world.

“Get out of the damn boat, Donna!”

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Have you ever had a “feeling” stop you dead in your tracks?   Sensed that you were in peril?  That someone you love is?  Or reacted out of character, following a gut hunch?

Six years ago while on a cruise with my best friend and her family, a private tour in the Grand Cayman’s to swim with sting rays was set up months in advance.  I knew I would not step foot off the boat.   A long life of fear around these creatures was “sealed” when “The Crocodile Hunter” died of injuries sustained from one.   It was a rough day to be out, complicated further by a tour director whose boat was nothing like pictured in the ads, nor did he care how old or how many passengers he had, or if the wake was affecting his guests.   Anyway, I digress.

My girlfriend and her daughter piled quickly out of the boat.  I sat, watching.   Her daughter, who is brave beyond brave, reacted unexpectedly to the feel of the sting rays on her legs, or perhaps it was their laser sharp tails that brushed against you when they swam past you.  She started to scream, which did catch the attention of our tour guide.  “You can scream all you want, just please, stop jumping up and down”.    Oh sure, I thought.  Steve Irwin all over again!    As she climbed back into the boat I was surprised at what I was thinking.

Something had my attention.  It was silent to all but me.  “Get out of the boat”.    Like hell I will!   And after a few more minutes I sensed that this adventure was something that I had to do.    Whatever it was, call it sixth sense, sign, I “knew” I needed to get out of the boat and face this fear.   And I did.

I defied the rough seas, mouthfuls of such and made my way out to the area where my friends were.   A couple of times I thought I was going to pass out, particularly when I felt the sharpness of one of its’ tails on my legs.   I stood still, took a deep breath and prayed…  “Whatever I am supposed to do here, get from being here, let this happen and quick!”.    This inner force was telling me that I needed courage.    I remember thinking “Okay, but why THIS?”

I will not say that I ever got totally comfortable with this.  These sting rays were used to being fed, they were stars in what was an obvious tourist attraction.    The smaller ones were male, the largest ones, which we were told could get up to 400 lbs, were females.  But of course!   We were feeding them raw fish.   Sushi, anyone?

Suddenly a very large sting ray was directing my way.  Oh God, this is it, I thought!   The guide came over and showed me how to hold out my arms and actually HOLD this huge sting ray.   They really felt like wet mushrooms against my body, but again, I knew I “had to do this”.   And I did.    I remember looking into its little beady eyes.    I held it for a few minutes, let it go, and then decided I had been brave enough for the day, found my way back to the boat.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been guided by inner voice, but it was surely the first and probably the last time I would swim with Sting Rays.     For the next couple of days, reflecting on that strong urge, I knew it was about courage, but that was as far as I got.   As always, it feels good to do something that you don’t particularly think you can do, or are afraid of.  Self confidence spikes.

Flying home I thought about what a wonderful vacation it was, and I held that experience close in thought.   Who would have thought that I would do something so brave?   Childhood fears can run PRETTY deep!    Upon arriving home I had a routine mammogram scheduled the following day.   The technician took extra slides, and I knew something wasn’t right.  It was eight months prior to that when I had tested positive for the BRCA2 gene mutation.   I honestly thought I wouldn’t test positive because my sisters were far younger than me when they were diagnosed with cancer.   I think I slid past this!

Within 48 hours I walked out to the mailbox to find a letter from the hospital.   My hands were shaking as I was trying to open the letter, and answer the phone at the same time.   “Donna?   We have an appointment scheduled for you tomorrow with your Dr, and prior to that you are scheduled to come back in for more slides”.    I hung up the phone and immediately called my sister, explained to her what is going on.   We decided not to tell my parents until we had to.   But we both knew, this wasn’t just random.

I went in the next day for more slides and met with my doctor who insisted that he felt it was nothing.    I remember watching his lips mouth words “I say we sit on this, and see what the mammogram shows in a few months”.   I swallowed, a hard swallow.   “No, I want a biopsy”.     By this time both the radiologists and doctor are telling me that they would agree to do a biopsy, but neither felt it would reveal cancer.    Three days later I, and four other women were scheduled for needle core biopsy in a small hospital in Vermont.     Four benign, one malignancy.   Guess who that malignancy belonged to?

“I would like a second opinion at Dana Farber, please”.   All confidence in them had been squelched.   And so begins my journey through breast cancer.  I value my “gut” instincts.  And while I may not like what I hear, I trust there is purpose behind the sign.

Melissa ETHERIDGE “I run for life!”

Letting go, Letting God

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This afternoon while hastily running errands I thought my brain was on fire.  “Do this, next do that…. yada yada yada”.  All because I slept in, which I can legitimately blame on trying to beat this cold I feel coming on.  But I digress…   I had just received some good news “I’m doing it, I’m doing it… my life is getting better, my life is getting easier”…  I was saying to myself with a smile on my face.  It is always a powerful feeling when you realize your hard work is paying off.    

If you follow my blog you know that last Winter I was hospitalized for severe depression.  This was my 4th and by far the worst bout with such.   With the help of my doctors,  (therapists) my family and friends I have climbed out of that hole.  These days I would say I’m not only out of the hole but resting a foot or two away from the edge… progress!   How quickly things can change, however, if I am not vigilant on taking care of myself.  

At my most vulnerable, I met others who, too, were at their most vulnerable, all of us were fighting our demons.  I chose to write about this then and share this information with others in hopes that my experiences, my words could help other (even just one) other person know, they are not alone with their struggles.  We are never alone.     I met some people then whom a handful (few) I call “friends” today.  These are people whom I need not explain a thing, they understand me, they do not try to fix me nor judge me or my actions, I return the same respect to them.   It’s a very deep connection on one level and shallow on another.  These are the friends in my life who I have shared the most intimate details with, and yet I see them rarely, know not their everyday lives, so in that regard, it can, from the outside, appear shallow.     I shake my head as I think of the irony, it is not those who I am around day in, day out, those closest to me that know me or understand me best, but these people who know my darkest corners, have shared my darkest hours.  I am grateful for these people.  I am grateful for this handful of souls who I feel love me as I am, and love me when I can’t seem to muster up love for myself.  More ironic yet, the faces of these souls were the same faces that I judged before.  I did not understand nor “like” the relationship the addict I was with (who was trying to get clean) had with others in recovery.  After all, I was their wife, their girlfriend, their fiancée, why did they need anyone else?    Shaking my head and rolling my eyes.  Just who the hell did I think I was??   What a mess I was!   Today I look at these relationships much differently.  Today I value their friendship, I understand they have pain (do not profess to understand it, but acknowledge and validate it), and I do not judge but try to offer a warm hand, ear when I can, and they, me.    I cannot fix them, nor they, me.   This, my friends, bakes up to be one very honest cookie sheet! 

While waiting for the red light to turn green, and accompanying Adele with her hit “Someone like you” I felt excited about the good news I had gotten and grateful that I recognized my life changing for the better.  Happy, a bit nervous as I am always afraid of being “cocky”, looking out for good old karma,…out the corner of my eye I see a guy who had been inpatient at the same time as I was.   My heart stopped and I seriously had a hard swallow at what was in front of me.    Relapse, back stroking, I don’t know and its not for me to know the details or judge, all I saw was “one of my own” back in the throws of the disease of addiction.   How quickly tears can flow down a face that in the last millisecond had a smile.   

Though not a “friend” we were hospitalized on the same floor.   As fate would have it this would be my third hospitalization on a detox floor, as there was no more beds in the psych ward that a person with my mental challenges would be.   I know not why this happened, I know better than to ask, as I believe everything happens for a reason.   I do know that from these experiences I am no longer so quick to judge another harshly about their addiction(s).   I saw things that I never want to see or experience again.  If you had ever seen the movie “Ghost”, when the murderers at the end die, and the souls of their victims cry out through them, this is how I would describe addiction.   It’s a body snatcher.   The exterior looks like the person you love, and at times you see moments, flickers of who you love, but the progression of the disease, they are being increasingly ruled by an entity outside of themselves.  I personally believe it to be miraculous when one gets and stays clean.  Not without a lot of work on self, discipline, vigilance, not without devine help one gets clean.  Recovery isn’t a green card that says pass go.   In order to keep your recovery you have to continue with the very same actions that helped get you clean.   Ask me why I gained back most of my weight after losing a back street boy?  Because I didn’t follow through and continue the actions that got me there, I went back to my old ways, the very actions that deemed me overweight to begin with.    Definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results .  This insidious disease wants souls, try to escape its hold, it clenches down, harder. 

I had been witness to this self professed alcoholics detoxification.   Night tremors, seizures, loss of control of bodily functions, he fought his way through hell to get clean.  He was brought to the local hospital a couple of times, was returned to the ward to continue with his detox.  When we asked if he would be alright we were told “We don’t know”.  He remained on premises for another month in out patient and then was transferred to another facility for follow up care.   It is no small feat for an alcoholic or drug addict to get clean.   It isn’t about their “will” as I had once thought and judged.  Perhaps why I was hospitalized with those I had judged prior?   I don’t think that anyone sets out to be an addict, who the hell would want that for themselves?  And who the hell would pick up the same behavior after going through so much to get out of it????????  Alcoholism, addiction is no laughing matter, not even in the least.  As a person who has survived by finding humor in mostly everything, I find no humor in alcoholism or addiction.     None at all. 

To get healthy I had to make choices to get and keep my own self healthy.  He was not one of the few (handful) I kept in touch with.  But that doesn’t mean I was not devastated at his relapse .I may not call him a friend, but he is a brother in flesh, a brother with an atrocious demon.    As I sat at the red light watching him make his way up the street, flashbacks surfaced from almost two years ago.   When detoxing  he was put on a plethora of drugs which made him groggy, look and act drunk or drugged,   Alongside of this the evidence of his emotional pain shown on his face.  How did he get to this point?  How did the little boy that his parents and grand parents loved and adored, doted on, grow up to be like this????   And how could they deny what had become of him????   Haunting, ridiculously sad, tragic. 

My first instinct was to pull over and talk to him, but that was brief.  In order to hold onto my own recovery I knew I could not help him, at least without harming myself.  Involving myself in his life at this juncture was not good for me.    I have often wondered and yes, judged others as to how they could turn a blinds eye to others in obvious peril.  At times I still do, but I now also know where it can constitute taking care of your own body, soul.     I said to my therapist a few weeks back “I feel like I’ve hardened”.  She said “No, Donna, you haven’t hardened, you are learning self preservation, you are learning how to take care of yourself”.   I am grateful I knew better than to involve myself, but I also wanted to help so I did the one thing that I know I can do, and what I believe is huge, and that was, I prayed for him.   I prayed for God to look after him, for him to get the help he needs, to hopefully get clean, once and for all.    Now that isn’t a small prayer.   I prayed for God’s will for him to be done.   I know not what God’s will for him is, nor am I supposed to know.  I practiced “Let go, Let God” and I will continue to pray for him.

As I drove away, trying to compose myself and the stomach which I felt coming up through my throat, I swallowed my tears and thanked God once again for today    Though very sad for him, it ironically made the good news I had gotten earlier, even bigger.     Seeing someone fall isn’t easy, seeing someone self destruct is hell, I have seen both, and I have practiced both, fortunately for me, for whatever reason, I am still in recovery, and I am making progress.  While not perfect, and with still a bundle and backpack full of problems, my life is getting better, my life is getting easier.   It’s about my perspective.   Today’s gift is perspective.   

It’s not for me to know or judge another.  I dislike it when others feel they know what is best for, or judge me.  What has changed is that I no longer empower their thoughts with anger.  I smile, collect my thoughts, find humor in the irony of judgment and continue down the path that I’m being guided to.   I know not what is best for another, I know not what God has in store for another, and if I’m living my life right, I do not have time to think I do….  I’m here, keeping my own side of the road clean, cleaning up my messes, trying to learn from my errs…The only one I can change is me.  The only one I can fix is me.  As a recipient of such, I also understand that the significance of prayer should never be described as “just”.  Prayer is everything, everything.  The Serenity Prayer?  My favorite.♥