Blog Archives

You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

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That’s Who I Used to Be

“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.”  –John Spalding

There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth.  I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged.  However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self.  I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.

A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!”  Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection.  I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.

If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come.  I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection.  There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!

The Man in the Glass

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for Self, and the world makes you King for the day… Just go to the mirror and look at yourself and see what that man has to say. For it isn’t your father or mother or partner upon whose judgment must pass, the fellow whose verdict counts most in your life is the one staring back in the glass…

You may be like Jack Horner and chisel a plum and think you’re a wonderful guy – But the man in the glass, he weighs you in as a bum if you can’t look him straight in the eye. He’s the fellow you please, never mind all the rest, for he’s with you clear to the end. And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult task if the man in the glass is your friend.

You may fool the world on the pathway of years and get pats on the back as you pass, but the last reward will be heartache and tears if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

— Author Unknown

 


The Innocence of Children

 

“Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”  — Edna St. Vincent Millay

Children feel themselves all-powerful in an infinite world.  Nothing disappears, nothing passes away.  In our earliest days, our pleasures were limitless and timeless.  Reality was only an obstacle to gratification.

In our drama, we often remain fixed in a similar pleasure-oriented world.  We don’t like it when someone says “no” to us.  We sometimes try to manipulate reality to suit our own purposes. We may look upon others as objects of gratification.  In our fantasies, we often recreate the omnipotent, timeless world of childhood, where we are in total control.  Our pleasures know no boundaries.

We need to stay childlike and full of wonder, but at the same time, we must put away those childish fantasies.  We can be creative, without believing ourselves immortal or invincible.  We can return to the kingdom of our earliest days without playing the little tyrannical ruler.

Remember the uniqueness of our own childhood and leave behind its self-centeredness.  Love of others and love of life is the antidote to the narrow circle of our dysfunction.


I Am a Vessel Containing Life

vessel-of-life

“What is the deepest loss you have suffered?  If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine… And if the earthly no longer knows your name, whisper to the silent earth: I’m flowing.  To the flashing water say: I am.”  — Rilke

It’s not that I want the Universe to change everything about me or remake me to perfection. (OK, maybe I do). It’s not that I wish I was other than who I am, some days I even like who I am.  It’s more that I want to have faith in myself, a deep-down, constant faith that steadies me.  I want to have roots deep in the earth, not fragile roots of glass.

Strong and deep roots are made of self-esteem, hope, love, willingness, humility and faith.  My longing to be grounded in life may take the form of wishing I was not afflicted by defects of character, but that’s a cover-up for the deeper things I truly want.

Working on one’s self by undertaking an effort toward personal growth reorganizes one’s personalities, indeed one’s very soul, around new, spiritual principles.  We stay, to some degree, dysfunctional or defective and always will be, yet that doesn’t prevent us from possessing faith in ourselves and the courage to keep growing.

We are all vessels containing life.  We are vessels that have been shattered and mended, and will endure.

Gemini ~ Naturally Bipolar and Anxious

 

I am bipolar and within the last year or so, have begun to experience severe anxiety and panic. In late December I had meltdown of incredible proportions. The extreme anxiety disorder is new for me; haunting me for a little more than a year now. Anxiety so strong, and triggered by the actions of my partner. For several years, he has promulgated a new behavior, “Babe, I’m just running up to the 7 Eleven to get some cigarettes; I’ll be back in twenty-five minutes.” As he walks out the door I always say, “Take your cell phone with you,” which he already has in hand.

That promised “twenty-five minutes” turns out to be days that he is away from home, not answering his cell phone or even calling. I refer to it as my partner “going missing.” My reaction begins with worry. Then I may happen upon something on the computer exposing the person he would be meeting and what they would be doing. A friend of mine has a husband who has nearly same behavior. She calls this type a “player” explaining that these types of men want to still run the streets, cheat on their partners or spouses. The “player” behavior is incongruent with the committed relationship my partner and I have. This friend’s advice to me was to be proud that it is me he eventually comes home to, giving me parts of himself his hookups never see. To this I say, “bullshit.”

Player my ass. My worry then turns to anger. I can’t sleep. I start calling my partner’s phone over and over. He calls it “psycho dialing.” The anger then turns to tears. I cry as I wander through the house, “What did I do wrong? I didn’t do anything wrong.” My speech becomes so slurred and difficult to understand that it has been described as though I had a stroke. Lately, I noticed a pain in my chest along with a rapid and what I describe as “fluttering” heart. Irritability for me is a sign that I am swinging toward the maniacal part of bipolar. Then deep depression, laced with that wicked anxiety and panic. I began taking a prescribed anti-anxiety medication called Ativan. I was eating it like candy.

This most recent December meltdown grew so out of control I felt as though the only way to be free of it would come through ending my life. I have been in this cold place before and placed a call to the behavioral health crisis line associated with my health insurance. I was referred to the Maricopa County Hospital. There I was checked out and cleared medically and it was suggested I sign myself in to St. Luke’s Behavioral Health. I’ve been there before too. St. Luke’s worked for me before. Back in 2005 I nearly ended my life with a mantra in my head, “I hate my life, I hate my life.” After two months they helped me see the world differently and I left there with a new mantra, “I love my life, I love my life!” I felt safe returning there.

I worked hard over the next three weeks, finding that each time I told my story, I felt more at ease and could see the flaws in my relationship. I realize the degree of my co-dependency and made a commitment to attend CODA (a twelve step group for co-dependents). I was placed under the care of the psychiatrist who followed me last admission. He wanted to take my treatment further than I agreed to last time. In my first admission, he suggested ECT (Electro Convulsive Treatment.) I refused it then because of the loss of one’s short-term memory as a side effect of the treatment. But this time felt different to me and I agreed to begin the treatment.

Just for Today, Let Go of Anger and Resentment Toward Family and Focus on Taking Care of Yourself

“It is a true proverb, that if you live with a lame man, you will learn to halt.” — Plutarch

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     Working through the memories of childhood is a task each of us eventually faces.  Addiction in a family system contributes to addiction along the way and affects our own individual addiction(s) and creates drama in life as adults.  207469539_29026811bd  

     I have realized that we can decide whether it’s important for us to know if and how addiction has operated in our families.  We can gain that knowledge as we need it.  But isn’t it enough simply knowing the addiction is real, that it’s present in family systems, and that we didn’t cause it?  Knowing we didn’t cause it helps to stop blaming one’s self.  2364590873_337e203529_m

     The important thing I have found is to focus on my own recovery.  I cannot change a thing about my family or the past.  But, I have found I can change my attitude toward them.  When ever we feel caught up in the addiction or drama in a family members’s behavior, we can bring our attention back to ourselves.  That way, resentment and fruitless anger yield to honesty and humility. Detaching from the things we cannot change, forgiving the harm done to us, and letting go of the past are important parts of our healing.