“Life delights in life.” — William Blake
How do we connect with other people? Do we rely on conflict, suffering, manipulation, gossip or one-up-man ship? Do we create relationships that can be controlled safely and then call that “reality?”
Real connection requires two people, both wanting to be in the relationship, to approach each other as equals. A good relationship brings us happiness, growth and a satisfying feeling of closeness. We can be ourselves, without adjusting our beliefs or behavior to please the other person or to keep up the relationship. The moment we abandon our equality, we have a power struggle, not a relationship.
Previously, the only connections we made were between us and a hunger and an appetite that was never filled. Once we began our process of personal growth we began to enjoy the real connections with people; the true joy that comes with giving and receiving.
I Will Continue to Fulfill My Commitments to Peace and Grace
“Can such thing be, and overcome us like a summer’s cloud, without our special wonder?” — William Shakespeare
To overcome my feeling of being lost, alone and afraid; overwhelmed by the challenges I now face, I am going through my “tool belt” of coping mechanisms that I have added along life’s way. To reclaim my ability to take part again in life, I have discovered that I must reclaim the gift of commitment. I have many personal commitments: living life fully and authentically, my growing spirituality, working on my special relationships with my closest friends and sharing my experiences of personal discovery and growth through my writing. I have come to realize that it is a moment of wonder when we have something in our lives that requires the best we have to give.
During times of doubt or struggle, I find myself questioning what I’ve gotten myself into. But an activity or a person to which we give ourselves wholly and freely is evidence of a force greater than ourselves at work in our life. I believe my commitments are something the Universe has asked me to do and I know absolutely and without a doubt that the Universe will help me take care of meeting all of them.
Money, support and the energy and enthusiasm needed will come as well and at the perfect time. Although it may seem that things may not be going my way, I can trust that the Universe is giving to me all that I need so that my lessons can be learned and tasks can be accomplished. This knowledge and belief helps to keep my spirits up. Each day I have before me a wonderful opportunity to fulfill my commitments in peace and grace. I am being looked after.
- You Are Wonderful and I Love You (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Your Authentic Self (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- A Moment of Awareness is a Moment of Grace (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Coming into Balance (psychologytoday.com)
Keep a Clearer Vision of the Simpler Things in Life.
“No objects of value…are worth risking the priceless experience of waking up one more day” – Jack Smith
Last night was spent in long, deeply personal conversation with my dearest friend Noah about his recent eviction which resulted in his loss of some furniture and possessions which were so important and even sentimental in their value to him. We talked about all the “stuff” I move with each time I changed locations, relationships and lives. Sadly, my friend lost some treasures, partly because his friends, who committed their help or use of their vehicle, simply didn’t show.
During my own experience with eviction more than five years ago, I was frantic to get everything out and safely into the moving truck before the Constable would arrive to “lock us out”, leaving behind whatever wasn’t out when the deadline arrived. I was fortunate to have been able to get every single possession out and into the moving truck. Most everything I own has a story; Nana’s silverware she received from her parents as a wedding gift in 1939, the crystal stemware Nana’s parents received on their wedding date some 25 years earlier in Poland, artwork and furniture all associated with family or a close friend.
Preparing for an in-state move soon to Tucson, I have once again evaluated the possessions I still plan on hauling around. Pared down significantly, I am realizing there were things I simply didn’t have to have, or that there were others who I knew could make better use of a certain item.
Every now and then, it’s a good thing to strip life down at least closer to the essentials, maybe even the bare necessities. It opens our eyes to the opportunity to see the world anew and with a fresh start.
In the past, I wasn’t ready nor was I prepared to take extreme measures or act impulsively to realize the validity, the importance of being in touch with the simple things in life. I have learned however, when one becomes too involved with “Big Boy Toys”, luxuries, or “things” that give to a busier or more stressful life, we are buffering ourselves against reality and exist and not live.
The early morning sunrise, a walk with the dogs, reading the morning paper, watching the evening news and to bed right after, the taste of Trish’s Lasagna brought on her last visit, the smell of a barbecue on my patio, and a beautiful full moon – these are the most simple gifts of life that add texture and bring genuine thrill to life. What many of us in this world need is the wonder and joy that comes with a simpler, healthier life. I am tired – finally tired of turmoil and clutter. I’m going to have a much clearer vision with the simple things in life.
- When In Doubt Simplify (zenhabits.net)
- How to Simplify Your Life in 10 Steps (workawesome.com)
- 2011: Simplify (thehappyhousewife.com)
- living with clutter when it’s not yours (ask.metafilter.com)
Please Send Me an Angel
I need an angel.
One to watch over me.
All hope seems to have run out.
I need an angel.
My life is a mess,
And it feels as though
no one’s left.
I just need an angel;
Soft wings of protection
to hold me when I’m scared.
Strong arms to comfort me
As now it seems no one really cares.
I need an angel.
To chase away
To make things better,
To protect me;
Show me how to make life right.
Please send me an angel.
By Mark Schmitz
A friend of mine told this story recently: “I was living in San Francisco which has a large population of homeless and poor. Each day it was painful to notice the contrast between the beautifully dressed, seemingly self-confident people, and the poor who shared the streets with them.”
“One day I realized I could empathize with how those homeless people felt. I’d lived my whole life feeling I didn’t belong, with no family I could turn to, and not knowing if I would survive another day in my misery. The compassion I felt was a reminder to me not to form my opinions about people by how they look. It doesn’t matter what people think they see in me, or anyone else. Each one of us is wounded. It’s just that some wounds are on the inside instead of the outside.”
We are all in this world together and for a purpose, no matter what the circumstances of our life.
“In the darkest hour the soul is replenished and given strength to continue and endure.” — Heart Warrior Chosa
In the depths of our misery, some of us hated ourselves so much that we didn’t believe we deserved to live. Some of us had this idea planted in our minds when we were children. Some of us had lives that didn’t seem worth living. Some of us were suffering so much that we were willing to do anything to rid of what we thought of as our miserable life. When things are so difficult in life and it seems there is no other solution to our problems, some of us turn to thoughts of suicide.
How do we go on when we can’t any longer? Very gently. We use everything we can to help us stay alive; the thought of a beloved child, a special friendship, time-out from our normal life, or turning ourselves over to our spiritual source. When we feel suicidal, we may not care about anything; we feel alienated and isolated. But we’re not. To even keep breathing connects us to life; breathe in and out, slowly. If we open ourselves to the fullness of the moment, from this most basic act our connections expand infinitely. We’ve only to hang on, one minute at a time, and reasons to hope again will come. Life is precious because it was given to us by our Higher Power who loves us unconditionally.
It was the “Mother of all Depressions.” For four days I was unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t care about anything. I wanted to die. Really; I found myself hating my life so much that I began to think putting an end to it was the answer. A tape with the obscene mantra, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life” began to play in my mind. The last time I felt similarly was one dreadful July 4th five years ago, when I found myself being admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit.
Experiences can sometimes begin to feel familiar to that time five years ago. Questions from family or friends about drug use, an uncontrollable anxiety over issues that later seem to end up as the small and minor challenges of a life in hyper drive. Family members and friends have no idea how to handle the evil, bitchy side that comes with depression. We fight, scream, cry and make threats. The choices I make when depressed are often not at all healthy and incongruent with physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes, the thoughts inside my head secretly struggle with the ways close friends have changed and seemingly moved on with their life. I may feel my life, in comparison to theirs, isn’t moving.
When I’m depressed, I want something; a pill, a hit of dope; SOMETHING that will stop my ability to feel. I will listen to recorded pipe organ music for hours and hours on end. The music of Bach, played on a pipe organ usually relaxes me. Those in my close inner circle have involved themselves with attempts to get me to do something to pull myself out of that dark evil place and back into the light. With each attempt I often hand them some bullshit line like, “Sure, I’ll get up and take the dogs for a nice long walk” or, “Yeah, and I’ll eat something.” What did I actually do? I went back to bed, but only after laying some feigned guilt trip about how much I may have missed them lately and how terrible I feel for the things I do that drives them away.
My pathetic actions give them yet another glimpse of how capable I am of beating the fucking shit out of myself for the ways I have hurt them in the past. Sometimes, family and friends threaten to close our relationships. “I have forgiven you and you should take a look at what you need to do to forgive yourself” a close friend once said. When this friend said that to me I began to know how familiar my interactions with them could feel. It seems I can be a cycling, emotional train wreck seeking solutions or fixes to my problems, from them.
Gradually, I have found myself coming around, getting back into the light of life and feeling better. A combination of things has worked. I began years ago writing or journaling about thoughts and feelings I experience, being as honest as I possibly can be with myself, in my personal journal. This process of sharing has become so comfortable to me, that I often write these same thoughts and feelings in a blog that anyone can read online. I read from many books that have sustained me through some tough times of painful personal growth. I pray.
From loved ones, I have received many gifts: words, though sometimes harsh, have raised my awareness of my behaviors. Love and “big momma type” hugs are a tactile way of feeling alive. Time spent sharing experiences or in quiet contemplation with other loved one’s travelling on a similar path of personal growth brings connectedness, and dilutes feelings of isolation. The last gift from loved ones has been their understanding and patience.
Tools learned in earlier cycles of depression are known to work and avert another “Mother of all Depressions”:
- Heightened anxiety is a precursor to thoughts that are not totally based on reality
- Understand self forgiveness
- Accept the way people change and move through life; we all must do the same
- Do not compare your life with anyone else’s
- Be grateful for the loved ones who have stayed by your side and reach out to at least one of them early on in any future cycle of depression
- We can learn to re-frame situations and experiences which may trigger negative thinking
- None of us are ever alone. We will never be alone
I read a blog that inspired me to begin sharing my journey away from depression. I have linked to it below. It was blogged by “Hope Despite Depression” at blogspot and is titled “Grateful for Depression?” http://hopedespitedepression.blogspot.com/2010/11/grateful-for-depresson.html
May we never allow depression to consume ourselves as much as it has in the past, ever again. May we begin to see our life experiences in different ways.
“Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.” – English proverb.
When I am in pain, I know where it hurts. Other people may be ready with suggestions and advice, but I am the only one who eventually can know what the matter is.
We are each a unique expression of humanity and we are the only ones who can live our lives. When we are stricken with addiction to compulsive behaviors, we know where it hurts and how much. While we may have to bear a lot of pain, we can name where it hurts and begin to do something about it. When this happens, it’s possible for others to come to our aid later on.
This is true whether in the program or on a path of personal growth. We know where the hurt is and we take that first baby step. In doing so, we turn to others who help us bear the pain and walk by our side on the open road to personal growth.