Category Archives: Mental Health

A guest post for 1000 Voices of Compassion Speak

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My friend Suzie is an amazingly strong woman that recently drove from Alaska to Florida. Living here in Florida while her husband is in Alaska, due to health reasons on her part. Her strength amazes me. Her courage astounds me. When she asked if she could write for 1000 voices of Compassion Speak, I didn’t even hesitate.

Gratitude, to me, is that rush of feeling, a hot liquid sensation and sense of triumph after the release of cramped abdominal muscles far south of the belly button and the relief, knowing I have made it to the white commode in time. In time for what, one might ask? In time to avoid a future that includes changing one’s clothes and hunting up a washcloth for a partial bath . Hurrying along on a walker is a harrowing experience of balance, pain, frustration, determination and acceptance of whatever outcome. It wouldn’t have been the first time for an “accident” and it won’t be the last. Gratitude is in the moment, in a bathroom. From the abyss of the couch cushions, my cell phone merrily played its country jazz text alert song repeatedly until a woman, near driven to insanity, finally located it, banished it into my friend’s safekeeping and it was delivered back into my hands. Gratitude was what I felt, affectionate amusement was what I saw in my friend Erin’s face. I was thankful to not have to purchase another, lose all the phone numbers I have collected, and briefly resolved to copy them all into an address book, the traditional paper way. This commitment will hopefully last, and be remembered, after a brief nap. I am not grateful for my useless swollen right foot. At least I have a right foot, but I would prefer a useful prosthetic piece of plastic just so long as I could go for a bicycle ride, although diving into the ocean wouldn’t be as easy. My left ankle now aches from the strain of trying to give the right one a respite. I wait, grateful, I suppose, that I am in snow and ice free Florida, not predictably dangerous Alaska where walking without twisting an ankle is a daily test. I failed that test numerous times, although not directly due to precipitous conditions. I have gratitude for owning this computer and using it as a vehicle of frustrated self expression. Creative whining. If my ankles were in good repair I wouldn’t be using this computer. If I weren’t thinking about gratitude, I would be doing what exactly? Unsure.

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The fight within

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Lately I have really felt like I am struggling. It has not been more pain per se. We have been busy but not that busy. I had had a hard time putting my finger on what was missing. What was I forgetting to do? What was I not attending to? It took me entirely too long to realize one simple thing. It was emotional overload.

People who feel everything so deeply need more than once a week spiritual self-care. I forget that. I feel like I should be able to be like everyone else and Sunday should be enough for me. I was getting really good at carving fifteen minutes a day out just for me. I still need to do that. I also need to figure out a way to incorporate more meditation, more nature more healing for my heart. It has only been in the last two years or so I have set up healthy boundaries. The problem I still struggle with is,being okay with those boundaries.  I need to be okay with saying no. I have done it, which I know is good. It just still kills me to say no. I can’t help you right now. My desire to hug and hold everyone and squeeze them until all their broken parts are mashed back together is so strong. The answer is also not, to just not be there for people. That is a slow death in a different way.

It looks like then, I have to start scheduling time to ground myself and re-center myself. I can’t let myself think I am too busy for that. I need to remember that it is essential to life. As much as breathing air is essential to life. Some days it is my own emotional upheaval that I need to quite and soothe. Some days it is letting go of others emotions that I seem to absorb. This has been my inner struggle that I had a hard time putting my finger on. I know I need to do this stuff. I know boundaries are good. I know they are healthy. It is quieting the voice in my head that says, but if you can help you should. It is letting go of the guilt of saying no for my own mental and emotional health. It is being at peace with my own limits of how much I can help and how much emotional trauma I do absorb. I have no doubt I don’t absorb it. When you tell me something and I say that breaks my heart, I mean it. There is nothing worse for me then hearing a need and feeling helpless to help. Even knowing that some issues you have to workout yourself. Even knowing that sometimes the best help I can give is by just sitting there. Even knowing that sometimes the best thing is to say no. No because this is not something anyone can help you with. No Because sometimes you reach out when really you need to reach within.

Yesterday I took some steps to implementing small things in my life that will help with all this. I bought a smudging sage and some new crystals specific to helping with these issues. I am determined I will light the smudge stick at least, at least once a day. I am thinking instead of reading during my me time I need to sit outside with my smudge stick and crystals and feel the ground beneath me.

What are some ways you attend to your self-care? Are you including spiritual/emotional/mental care as well?

 

The way I see it.

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 When you are a Mother, sleep is often something you dream about getting a lot of.  When you are a Mother and have chronic pain/illness, well sleep is an illusion. A very nice illusion of escape, one that rarely happens for long enough stretches. It’s waking up to pop your joints than realizing you have to pee.  For me it is also laying back down and then realizing you are drowning in post nasal drip again. Back up to get Benadryl. Praying it kicks in quickly. It’s laying their with your eyes closed. Your eyes feel like sandy little bags stuck in a cave that they have been crammed into. Keeping your eyes open seems impossible but closing them makes them start to water. You focus on your breathing, in one-two-three-four-hold-one-two-three out one -two-three-four-five-six-seven, waiting for sleep to over come you but it never does. I can spend hours in that eyes closed yet not asleep state.
That all being said, I have been awake several times to see the sunrise and set in the same day.
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Sunrise has always been the most special to me. Not because I like being awake that early, I don’t. Pre-sunrise is quiet and unassuming. The sky gradually gets lighter and lighter. It seems to stay at that soft in between stage for quite a while. It doesn’t matter that I can’t see the horizon, there is no way to miss once that sun has peaked above the horizon. It shouts I am here. Often with fantastic rays of light that spread across the morning sky. Spreading the softest, gentlest light on to trees and grass and even buildings. You can’t look away once that happens. The sun is in an awful hurry to share its light with everyone. It often brings the colors of the rainbow to the sky with it. First soft pinks and then some light orange, soon clouds darken with the deeper orange and purple glow. Everything looks fresh and new. The grass often covered in dew adding to that feeling of newness.
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Sunset though, seems to cling to the day. The large ball of molten yellowish orange light seems to slowly ever so slowly, sink down. It seems to say I don’t want to go, but I am enjoying today, look at all the light I have shone down on you.  Yet even still it does go down. In my mind when I watch the sunset when it hits that watery horizon I hear it hiss, its final temper tantrum over bedtime. The reflected golden orange glow in the water only increasing that sensation. Til finally, finally it drops quickly below the horizon, as if once deciding to go to do it quickly.
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Perhaps we should all be a bit more like the sun. Perhaps we should all shout ” I am here I am here, look at me shine” each morning. Each evening we cling to the day we had, seeing the good in it. Also though we cling to what we know, what is safe. We know what today held. Night time is an unknown and the day after even more so. Perhaps we should allow ourselves that small little tantrum at the end of the day before quickly plunging into the next change our day brings.

What it is like

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Social media can truly be a miracle sometimes. When asked a question you have time to think without your facial expression giving it away or making it awkward. It is a small thing but one I find very helpful. Recently I was talking with someone who had just gotten diagnosed with a chronic pain illness. It would be a matter of constantly managing it. She asked me, “What is it like? How do you do it? I just can’t imagine ever being okay with this. It is so distracting and I absolutely hate it.”  I agreed. I still feel all of that. It hasn’t gone away, more like it is just simmering.
Simmering, yeah that is a good description. Let’s go with that. It is a lot like cooking a meal that will never ever be done but you know it will be worth it.  It is a labor intensive meal like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. It is like you have four pots on the stove and something in the oven.
One pot is emotional/mental health. One pot is physical health. One pot is spiritual. One pot is work and in the oven is the family. Just like in cooking you have to keep adding ingredients and it can simmer on its own for a bit but it needs a stir now and then. Every so often, and often when you feel you have it the most under control, all the pots start boiling over. Sometimes some smoke even starts coming from the oven.  Normally though the boiling over happens one at a time and you can handle it and move on. You take a taste every once in a while to check on it as a means to see how it is coming along. Sometimes tasting can tell you if there is a problem. Sometimes it tastes good but really something has started to go bad you just can’t taste it yet.
Then there is the other problem. Suddenly an ingredient is no longer working. It is no longer bonding with everything in the pot to make it one solid thing. It could be that self-care has fallen off your radar. It could be that you cut back on exercise. It could be that you thought it was self-care by sleeping in on Sunday, but really you hadn’t done anything else for spiritual health so it really wasn’t self-care. It could be that you cut back on exercise–physical health–for good reason, yet it negatively affected another part of physical health, vitamin D.  Sometimes you find an ingredient you thought would work well actually doesn’t and you have to take it back out of the pot.  Sometimes while you are disposing of that ingredient another pot starts to boil over. Don’t forget you changed the dynamics of that one pot you took the ingredient out of so you will need to adjust the temperature!
Yes, but that is essentially life isn’t it? You have to add the chronic pain as well. You are right about that, we are handling that as well. Hopefully each of the pots and the oven are helping that. Chronic pain though, that is the tricky element. That is the part that makes the ingredients suddenly stop working so well. That is the part that says, “that worked for a while, but now, not so much.”
On the really good days the chronic pain is like the background noise of the dishwasher going. You hear it, you know it’s going on. You just try not to pay too much attention to it until it dings. When it dings that is when you find out that suddenly the soap you were using didn’t work or something got gummed up in the hose and the rinse cycle didn’t go off. Sometimes there is not even running water to wash the dishes by hand while all the other stuff is happening. Chronic pain does that. You find something and your brain says, “hey, thanks this is really working,” so it starts focusing on something else more pressing.
So essential pain management just becomes part of your routine. I can’t tell you when it happens, just that it does. I can tell you that I am never okay with it. Chronic pain just adds to depression and anxiety because you are constantly longing for what you cannot have. Things you used to do are no longer an option. It took quite a bit of looking around trying to figure out what I wanted to do. It took even longer for me to realize that what I want to do will always be in flux. Some days I am overwhelmed that my health issues are only going to get worse as I age  because they are degenerative. Degeneration is already an issue as you get older. It is just sped up in my case.
Some days though, I don’t care. I am enjoying the moment for all that it is. Those are the days that make all the above worth it. They balance out all the bad days where all the pots are boiling over there is smoke coming from the oven and the dishwasher just plain won’t work.
It takes a lot of self-analysis to make those good days happen. In the beginning, I fought that. Don’t look too closely. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. If it is hanging on by a thread and still working, it isn’t broken. There comes a time though that it just doesn’t work any more. Nothing about it works and self-analysis is forced on you. You have to sit down and look at it. You have to acknowledge the problem.
Slowly you realize that sometimes you could be a bit more proactive. For a time that is all it is. A thought. You don’t act on it. Then one day you do something proactive and you see it pan out that it fixed a problem you didn’t even realize was coming. I am not saying that before you know it you are doing this all the time. I am not. I know I am not. I know there is always room for improvement.
At the end of the day, that is what I tell myself. I think about the things I handled proactively and the things I didn’t respond to that I should have. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I tell myself, we will try again. We are not going to try harder because we are already trying our hardest. We will just simply try again. I can tell you that if you keep telling yourself this each night you will believe it. I can’t tell you how long that will take. It could take months. It’s harsh to think that, Months! I can’t take months! I need a fix now! So take a deep breath and remind yourself that slow and steady cooks the meal.

 

 

Compassionately Honest children

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Honesty. It is something a lot of us strive for. It does however often leave us feeling very vulernable. When we meet that honesty with compassion a wonderful thing happens. We reach a new level of understanding. Suddenly progress is being made where it had not previously happened. As a parent I struggle with this. How do I be open and honest with my daughter about how the world is? I want to protect her and keep her safe.  For awhile I clung to this quote : “Parents need to fill up a child’s bucket of self-esteem so high that the rest of the world can not poke enough holes to drain it dry. ” Alvin Price.

However, the more I thought about it the more I didn’t like it. Why? Why must I fill her bucket so high? What if I just had a child with a healthy self-esteem? Would that be enough? What if instead of filling her up so much that she might overflow, What if I just told her the truth?  If I do that, do I have to have all the answers? It took me a bit to realize, I don’t. I don’t need to be able to tell her why it is, just that it is.I can tell her I don’t know why these things have to happen. They have happened and now we have to deal with them and go forward. If we have open and honest discussions about what is going on in the world, compassion and empathy can be fostered. Not too long ago I found this quote which made so much more sense to me than the first one.

“It is not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It is our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless. “L. R. Knost

So then my questions turned a different corner. How do I raise a child who can survive this world AND possibly make it better? How do I keep her the loving, peaceful, compassionate and kind child she is with the reality of this world?

The longer my daughter has been at a Montessori school the more I am convinced this is the right path. She is honest about situations but not in a way that is lacking empathy or compassion. This is something Montessori has fostered since the beginning of school for her. There are variations of it but I have heard it called, the peace rose the most.  If feelings are hurt, sit down and figure out how to make it better. Acknowledge that certain behavior was not right without blaming one specific party. I only see this as helping the world be a better place in the long run. If five year olds can do this, What is holding us back? What if all schools everywhere used this process starting in kindergarten. Sure the progress would be slow but I guarantee there would be change.

In order for peaceful conflict resolution, you have to look inside yourself as well. How many of us want to sit down and honestly look inside ourselves? I do it, but I am still squirmy and uncomfortable. I do it because I know my daughter needs the example. I do it because I have seen her peacefully resolve conflicts with skill that just blows me away. Actually, I am not sure if I am being the example or if she is. I know she showed me it is possible in a way I never understood before. I am sure someone had explained the concept that Montessori uses before. It just took my daughter actually doing it for me to understand. Now it comes as second nature to her.  What if we had a whole generation like that? Can you imagine the changes that would happen?

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Strong girls, confident girls and American Girl

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I love perusing the bookshelves at Goodwill. I have found some real treasures there. Sometimes for as little as a quarter. Sometimes for as much as two dollars. Over the past few months I have come across American Girl books. First of all, I had completely forgot there was a book series. Then I discovered they had these guide type books.

Having a ten-year-old girl to raise, I have wondered how to approach subjects. When do I approach them. I am constantly looking online for information on this. I had not really thought to find a book that explained it to HER.  The first one we came across was ” The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls.”  There was nothing in this book I had not told her already. However, she dove into it and really seemed to finally grasp some basic concepts. She was understanding why she needed to change underwear every day. Why she had to use shampoo conditioner and soap when she took a shower. I can’t tell you how many times she asked to take a rinse off shower. Why brushing your teeth last night doesn’t count in the morning.We read some of it together but for the most part it was just in her room for her to read. I know she read it as when I went in to check on how clean her room was, It was always in a different spot.

Now instead of figuring out how to have birds and bees talks and your changing body talks I could focus on other important issues. With school starting back up, I thought I would go check out the book store again. We had visited lots during the summer. She has more chapter books than she knows what to do with.

When I stumbled upon another great book from American Girl. This one is something that some of the other mothers I am friends with and I have discussed a lot lately. “Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends Dealing with Bullies and Bossiness, and Finding a Better Way. It is hard for me to comprehend that at Ten years old this is what she is dealing with now. She is my baby. Wait how is she walking? Why is she growing so fast? Alas, she is and the best way to deal with it is to pull up my panties and be ready. So I got the book, even though it was not remotely what I was looking for. I walked in to find books for a friend and maybe one for me.

Knowing my daughter is an eager to please type person like myself. Knowing how that affected me when I was her age. I wanted to fill up her bucket as much as possible, to strive for her not having the crippling self-doubt and lack of confidence I had.

Like the first book she started reading it right away. As she read things she liked or made sense to her she would talk to me about it. Normally reading hour is a bunch of me reminding her she is supposed to be reading and a lot of her rolling her eyes. This is why it’s an hour instead of the twenty minutes required. Once she had this book in her hands though it was all she could focus on. Even the next morning I found her walking around looking at it. I mean seriously how do you get upset she is not getting ready when she is reading? I really struggle with that. In the car she continued to read it and all these little squabbles that had come up, some when she was in Kindergarten, that she had never told me about. She had ideas of how to handle it if it happened again. The book encourages to set a personal motto, so that was what she was thinking about as she got out to go to school.

I remember being told to respect my elders. It didn’t matter if that elder was bullying me or being overly bossy. I was a kid. I had no say and if I said anything it was disrespectful. I have tried to encourage her to speak up for herself. To stand up for herself when she needed to. I have tried to teach her that if she sees it happening she should say something. I want her to feel heard but also have respect for those in charge. How in the world do you teach this as a parent who is eager to please and overly anxious to a child who is the same? Being the researcher I am, I looked up the book. Then to my wonderful surprise, I found there was all kinds of curriculum material available all centered around this book and another American Girl book.  Not once anywhere did I see it mention they should behave this way because God wanted it. I was so relieved. This was actually usable stuff to me! She is already eager to please and I want her to stand up for herself for HER. Not for anyone else, not even God.

My eyes have been opened and now this is probably something I am going to research more.  She already wanted to share this book with her friends so I have volunteered to do a Sunday School class on this subject. Perhaps this is something I will try to do more often. Perhaps I need to make this a goal for myself.

It starts with us, the parents and will trickle down from there. My hope is if we all do this, one day the world will be a kinder place.

Tales of struggling with Anxiety

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It is just one of those mom things we do,think about what we have to do while we are driving. Sometimes though we get so lost in thinking about it we forget we haven’t actually done it yet.

Today as we were driving from the house we are staying at (while our plumbing is fixed)to school. I almost turned down the street to go to our house instead of taking the kid to school. In my head I had already dropped her off and was thinking about what I was going to clean first at the house. If the water was back on and if it wasn’t maybe I would do some computer work. Luckily my head was clear enough I turned the turning signal on which got the kid’s attention. ” Why are we turning?”  she asked. ” What? Um oh crap. Yeah school first.” I miss the days that she would just let it go at that. Not any more. Now its ten million questions about every thing that happens. ” Why were you going to turn to the house?”  ” Because in my head I had already dropped you off.”  Which then spurs her to tell me about when this kind of thing she does when she is thinking in her head. At some point, thirty seconds into her spiel, I tune her out. I found myself thinking.  oh god I can’t believe I almost did that. Yet again another reminder of how heartbreaking it is when kids get left in hot cars and how easy it is to happen. At which point my anxiety pipes up.  Remember. Remember when she was little during the summer you would sit in your car and stare hard at the car seat to remind yourself you had remembered to drop her off at daycare. OOOOhhh and remember those dreams you had that you had in fact been one of the parents to leave a kid in the car. Remember that. Remember when you woke up drenched in sweat and sure you had killed your kid by leaving her in the car. Oh lets also think about Sandy-hook and how those parents dropped their kids off at what they thought was a safe place. Okay she is never leaving my sight ever. Or if that doesn’t happen someone could break into the school or the hurricane brewing could send off storms that have tornadoes. YES!  A Tornado could hit today. lets think about that!  Because this is exactly what I planned to happen at eight fifteen in the freaking morning. Lets panic about things that happened nine years ago.

I don’t think enough people realize how close anxiety can be to post traumatic stress. How vividly it can make you feel that panic all over again. At the same time your body is starting to panic from remembering that panic attack. It doesn’t matter how many times I take deep breathes and say stay present. Anxiety is irrational is a motto I repeat over and over when anxiety is happening. It does help but anxiety is a bastard like that and it doesn’t prevent it from coming back.

I did manage to calm back down. I took a wedge of my ativan, not a full dose. I focused. I wrote. Then I go to scroll Facebook as a break because I got so much accomplished. The very first thing in my newsfeed is about a school shooting at a University. That Anxiety voice starts up again. Seeeeeee. SEEEEE didn’t I tell you. Go pick her up right now. Go get her. You have to get her to keep her safe. It is storming right now too. Seee I told you a tornado could happen today. The whole process of stepping myself down from panic happens all over again.

Ten Things of Thankful #I lost count

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Everyone assumes that depression is straight up straight down. You are depressed or you are not. It would be fantastic if it was that clear defined.  Depression is a balance it is not just going up stairs. You find yourself looking up and you think you are doing well and you look down to see somewhere along the way you started going down again. It is very confusing and you really have no idea when you went back down. It’s a balancing act of watching where your feet are going and looking up. Sometimes those stairs turn into a tight rope. Sometimes they are large wide spaced far apart stairs. This depression path is a tough one to figure out and it is constantly changing.
 I hate getting up in the early morning but really having no reason to get up multiple days in a row has not been good for me. I am more apt to wallow. It doesn’t feel like wallowing. I can tell myself I am just resting. I have been so busy. There has been so much going on. Let’s watch some netflix. Let’s play a few games. Oh look its dinner time. The whole freaking day is gone and I am not really sure how.
By now you are probably wondering how in the world does this tie into a Ten Things of Thankful post? I promise you it does.
You see I thought I was on my way up and I look down at my feet to see I am descending. Oh. Well how did that happen? So I am thankful that I am able to see clearly I was going down. I am thankful that I was able to turn to some Buddhist readings and find comfort. Suffering just is. It isn’t personal. Once we understand that we can mover foward.
I am thankful for youtube meditations. I have a few I love and it makes my day when they upload new videos. I swear this was just the notification I needed that day to turn myself back around.
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I am thankful that we live in such a gorgeous place that we can escape at the end of the day. A few minutes of family time just strolling the beach was near Nirvanna.
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I am thankful through a lot of hard work my daughter is reading more and more. I am anxious to see where her reading level is after all that we read this Summer.  The library has had a great deal of influence on her and she is excited that she is now old enough to join a book club.
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So There it is a Ten Things of Thankful post and if that isn’t ten things I am sure the pictures make up for any slack.

Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

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Compassionate acceptance of love (#1000speak post)

Growing up I was told boys loving boys was wrong. Girls loving girls was wrong. Thinking you were a boy when you had girl parts was wrong and vis versa. I was told you don’t question God.God didn’t make mistakes. I never really gave it much thought until a friend came out as a lesbian. Now what do I do? I like her as a person. She is a great friend. According to the religion I was part of at the time, I was not to associate with her anymore. She was openly admitting to a “sin” and not trying to change. When I turned to the church for guidance , I came away feeling like I had done something wrong. I had such immense guilt for wanting to keep the friendship I had. To turn someone away for being who they were was just not part of me.

It took me a long time to work out how I felt about love being love. I had to work past these stumbling blocks I didn’t even know I had. It was not to be talked about so I found myself stumbling. I was lucky to have a friend who was willing and open to let me stutter it out and really dissect how I ,personally felt. I felt a openess and acceptance that I had not felt when I turned to the church. There was a lot of back and forth. Was she born this way? Was it a choice? I saw her dating guys was she faking it? How did she see me? Was she attracted to me? What was her type? Did she have a type? Is this something she was trying out? Didn’t she want babies? She not only explained most of it calmly and openly but she also questioned me back.   Are you sure it’s what you believe or is that just what you have been led to believe? It wasn’t easy and there was definitely squirming in our seats on both sides. We were both works in progress, still are.

It made our friendship stronger. I like to think it made us stronger as individuals as well. However, that was not the end of it. Later I found out that she was holding things back. She told me, Saying that I don’t approve of your choices but it’s your life isn’t acceptance. It is not compassionate. In fact it made her feel guilty, like she couldn’t share everything with me. She wanted to have girl talk and relationship discussions but  when she did she felt very judged. Here I thought I was being so helpful. I was making it worse, which was the opposite of what I wanted to do.  The opposite of what I thought I was doing. I had put conditions on my acceptance and thus our relationship.It wasn’t all one-sided. We had an open and honest enough relationship that she told me about some choices I had made that she didn’t agree with.  It was shocking to me that she actually didn’t approve of some of my decisions. I had not felt any disapproval from her.I never felt judged. She always seemed genuinely happy with whatever decision I made. That was when I realized she was mixing compassion with her acceptance. I am glad she was openly honest with me about her sexual preference. I am glad she was unapologetic about it. It really made me think.  It was easy to say no it is a sin and not acceptable when it wasn’t personal. I didn’t have to think much about it. I realize now how unusual that was for someone to be able to openly and unapologetically say this is who I am take it or leave it. It wasn’t easy for her but she had gone through her own storms to come to the point she was at. We are no longer such close friends. It had nothing to do with her sexual preference. Sometimes you just drift apart. I am forever thankful for the friendship we did have. The learning and growing I went through. Perhaps those lessons were the whole reason she was in my life to begin with.

It wasn’t until I started trying to think compassionately about others decisions that I realized how wrong I had been. Acceptance needs compassion to take the sting out of differences of opinion. Without it acceptance doesn’t mean nearly as much.  As much as we say we do not care what others think, we do. On some level we do. We may not even be conscience of it. The point is, I realized that in order to be accepting of others, compassion is integral. Compassion for myself as I explored what I really truly believed. Compassion for what she was going through and her feelings. True acceptance of someone for who they are is wrapped and entwined with compassion.  As you go through the journey you realize sometimes acceptance is leading and sometimes compassion is leading. At some point you realize they are no longer entwined, they have become one. In the end though there is just love. Love for a friend. Love for another human being. In order to accept that love is love no matter what circumstance requires acceptance at every turn and a blanket of compassion.

 

Join us as we spread warm fuzzy feelings across the interwebs every twentieth to drowned out the sad and horror and bad stuff that bombards us every day. Write and link up, read, comment, share, it all matters. We are not looking to make big huge ripples. Little ripples are much more effective and they can amaze us with their power.

Therapy for everyone

Standard

I was in serious professional therapy for years. YEARS. I have mistakenly said I was no longer in therapy. In reality, the therapy teaches us how to cope which is, in fact, a form of therapy. So we never really leave therapy if we keep applying what we learn and continue to learn. Therapy never really ends. It’s just different. It can be more difficult to schedule. It can be difficult to remember to vary it. So I changed my thinking about things. Now I schedule a variety of therapy over the month. It’s purposeful and well thought out. It doesn’t mean it always works or is always exactly what I need. It is the attempt that is important. Daily therapy of fifteen minutes which if I so choose or if an emergency comes up can be negotiated. at least once a week carving an hour. and quality family time is just as important, even if it has to be scheduled.

When my daughter was in school, I left the house fifteen minutes to thirty minutes before pick up time and just had me time. Often it was just reading in the car. It was a form of daily therapy which, if I so choose or if an emergency comes up can be negotiated.  I found myself scheduling time for me but not following through. It was easier when I had someone to be accountable to. I had money at stake too. Then I realized I do have someone to be accountable to, Me. I am an extremely honest person so when something comes up and they ask if I had plans, well I did but nothing that couldn’t be pushed aside. It took me awhile to realize that no it couldn’t be pushed aside. I still do it, don’t get me wrong. It is a work in progress.

The more I have talked about this kind of thing with friends, the more I realize everyone needs therapy. Everyone needs an outlet to just have a bit of verbal diarrhea with no expectation to fix it, just to get it all out. That last part is the critical part, no expectation to fix it. Everyone needs alone time. Sometimes when I most need alone time is when I least want it. I am sure it is a form of denial. I am really good at denial. Really good. I have to remember that for me I need variety. I need nature hikes. I need beach time. I need alone time. I need friend time. The trick is to balance all of that and still attend to the details of life. Kids get cranky if dinner is not ready, or they run out of clean clothes, or there are no clean towels and that is not even touching on bills and grocery shopping and the like. Let’s not even get into the managing chronic illness. The important thing is to remember that everyone needs therapy. Whether it is in a professional setting, a nature hike, meditation or just alone time. We need to take care of ourselves in order to keep taking care of others. Even if that means saying no to others. Even if it means house work has to wait. Even if that means scheduling it and not backing out.