"It’s January and everyone is talking about what needs to change as if nothing is good enough; as if I am not good enough. What if I like the way things are? Is there something wrong with me?
Last Saturday, it dawned on me that there are many parts of my life that feel really good. I feel stable, aligned…… solid! I’m content. But I kept hearing everyone talking about the changes they should make like….
- Change now and earn more money.
- Change now and find love.
- Change now and lose 50 lbs!
- Change now and never feel sad again.
I can’t say that I’ve ever started a new year feeling as positive as I am right now. My tendency is to pick apart any accomplishment crediting “I was just lucky” instead of honoring my effort. And my “gap analysis” of what didn’t get done in 2019 is far more focused on what fell short or is lacking more than any progress or success.
Of course there are things I want to change in 2020! I have a mindset that enjoys continuous improvement. This is very different than coming from a mindset of criticism and punishment. For instance,
- I bought a standing desk so I am not as sedentary on office days
- I will increase my awareness to catch myself anytime I feel resistance and then PAUSE; become curious instead of critical.
- I’d will be healthier which includes healthy food choices, weight loss and movement.
And there are things that I won’t change like how I align myself with positive people, laugh too loud and wear pajamas as much as possible!
" What is really clear is that change has to come from an internal place; a decision that I myself make and a process I manage. I’ll be my own boss, Baby! You can stay in your own lane!
A request for you to change which is really an ultimatum. Nope. Doesn’t feel very good on the receiving end plus it’s great fuel for ongoing resentment.
A request for you to change as the result of unsolicited advice. No way.
A request for you to change so you “fit in better” or join the popular crowd is also really unacceptable. Uniqueness is a gift.
"Any request for you to change is not going to be successful unless you buy into the benefit of the change. The motivation must come from within; from the place of clear choice.
I’ve spent years wishing, suggesting and threatening my son to change. He has a substance use disorder and I cannot control him or his disease. Talk about sobering! There has been both a physical and mental not to mention financial toll which threatened my own health and sanity. It’s taken me thirteen years to understand that all I can do is love my son and equally love myself while practicing healthy boundaries.
So in closing, remember that you have the ultimate right and responsibility AND CHOICE regarding change. Go out and live large; change or no change required. You are a beautiful human. Don’t forget to use your Girlfriend...
I don’t think I can go more than four hours without stepping on broken glass. Of course this is a metaphor. It’s the best way to describe how I feel when the painful realization surfaces that my oldest son is homeless, mentally ill and addicted to heroin.
I doubt you can imagine the emotions I hold in my heart, let alone comprehend what I’ve witnessed over the last ten years. You can’t imagine how I’ve suffered because frankly, there are no words to describe the depth and darkness of my nightmare.
For Mother’s Day, I’m proud to declare that I’m becoming a mom who won’t let her son’s disease take her life too. I must keep living despite the enormous grief.
While I can’t change everything, I ask that you consider one simple request. Please connect with a relative, coworker, neighbor or friends, whomever you know that may be impacted by addiction, and ask how they are doing AND how their child is doing. Don’t let us suffer alone!
We are avoided like the plague however, please realize that addiction is a disease. Addiction is a disease just like cancer except there are no celebrity sponsors or spaghetti dinner fundraisers. No collectible stamps or invitations to the White House. Addiction is a taboo subject yet millions of our loved ones are in the clutches of this insatiable monster.
What does your bedtime routine look like? Personally, I prefer to read for a bit then go to bed early. Geez though, you have be careful what you read as the day’s headlines are so damn depressing.
I was too lazy to get out of bed and walk twenty feet to the living room where I’d left my magazine so I picked up my phone. The phone at bedtime! BIG MISTAKE. I made the all too familiar mistake of looking at my email and two hours later I was too worked up to sleep.
To educate myself about the Opioid Epidemic, I have Google alerts which provide me links to daily news articles. Tragically there are so many daily alerts that’s it’s hard to keep up. So why do I put myself there? Because I chose to and because I’m a Fierce Mama turned Advocate. I will advocate to reduce the stigma of substance use disorders and influence policy makers to provide more effective and affordable treatment options. Incarceration is not the answer.Just like Bob Marley said, “get up, stand up, stand up for your right.” I have a right to be me and follow my passion just like you have a right to be you.
I’m exercising my right to speak up. I believe one person can make a difference.
So why opioids? My family has been and continues to be impacted or shall I say devastated by my son’s misuse of opioids. It’s hell. Actually hell sounds nice compared to our story. It’s impossible to describe the gut wrenching nightmare we’ve endured. The pain has sent me to my knees a million times over.
Please note. I do NOT want your pity. This is NOT why I’m writing about my experience.
I write because it helps me cope. It grounds me. Writing heals me.
“My Girlfriend Voice” arose from my frantic attempt to survive the chronic stress of my life. Not only did I have a child suffering from substance use and mental illness, I had another child who desperately needed his Mother’s attention and love. I was depressed and ending a long term marriage. I dreamt of running away.
Now while I don’t claim to know everything, I know I am resilient. I am wise because I learn from my experiences. Yes, I make mistakes. I cry big ugly snotty cries and I swear like a sailor. I rage, although not as often. I have bad days just like everyone.
Despite all of “this crap”, I’m happy and optimistic. It’s hard work but a terrific return on my investment. I am grateful for my deep compassion and perspective.
Thank goodness we gain wisdom as we experience pain!!
I’m willing to let you witness to my process. I’m willing to share my thoughts and my tools in hopes that these stories will help you. I don’t want you to ever feel alone and hopeless.
Do you think this is weird? Narcissistic? You have a right to your opinion! I respect that! I don’t have to defend my motives or intentions.
In the spirit of sharing, here...
Today I smelled a hint of spring in the air and for me there is almost nothing better than connecting with my garden. I decided to plant the Hollyhock seeds I’ve been saving from my previous garden. (Clarification: this weekend I found the seeds I put away when I moved a year ago! Time to plant them before I lose them again!)
Planting seeds is a wonderful visual. I hope that my little seeds will become stately stalks of color but I won’t know for many months. What do I have to lose? I lovingly set them in moist rich soil and wish them a safe journey.
I love giving time and attention to my garden because it graciously receives all my efforts. (and there is no talking back!) I give and give and have no expectation of any return. Is that a crazy statement? Not at all, especially if you know me! It is one of the few things I do where I plan, nurture and happily accept the results. I have no control over the weather. I do my part to fertilize, water and place plants where they will thrive. The rest of the work is up to those little seeds.
My seeds are my hope and a reminder that life has seasons.
Resentment is like a seed. You put it away but it grows—it doesn’t need light or water; just time. Resentment takes up valuable space. I think of resentment like an AA battery left too long in my desk drawer. The acid slowly leaks out and ruins things, leaving a rusty stain behind.
Angry feelings left unattended will seed resentment. Is it realistic to assume can avoid resentment when anger is a natural emotion?
The next time you get angry, ask yourself a few questions BEFORE you react.
Identify the ONE thing that irks you most—was it an insult? Someone let you down? Was there lack respect or appreciation? Resist the urge to rehash the entire situation by focusing on the predominant offense.
What is your role in the situation? For instance were you relying on telepathy to communicate? (I do it all the time!) Were your expectations out of line? Did your mood invite or elevate the situation?
Have you allowed this behavior in the past to go unaddressed? Do you say “whatever” and silently seethe?
If we understand the anger, we can prevent the anger from seeding poisonous resentment.
There were times in my life when I wore resentment like armor. You see, I love someone afflicted with addiction. Addiction is a disease—not a lifestyle. I have been disappointed, irate, terrified, and sad beyond words but then I look at that four letter word H.O.P.E. I have HOPE that he will be safe and find his way. I have hope that I will continue loving him without judgment.
I also was in a long term relationship where I felt unappreciated; where sarcasm was considered “affectionate banter”. I thought that no response was the right response...