Holy

There’s a part of me still trying to prove she’s okay. The good employee. The daughter who loves her parents. But dammit I keep failing even those. Good is a lie. And honestly, my boss doesn’t want me to be kind. She wants a result.

There’s an ugly side of being too eager. In the middle of being the best is a gooey center of false perfection. For a goddamn moment, you think you’ve reached nirvana until reality slaps you in the face. All of the meatless meals and chanting won’t keep your lungs free from exhaust fumes. We work as we are able, living in as much grace as we are given.

One of my favorite YouTube creators recently shared that he is doing the 75hard challenge. I’d not heard of it before, so I went on the website to learn. It is WORK. If you want to feel you’re accomplishing something, here’s a plan for you. 

The Challenge:

Do 5 things a day for 75 days. No excuses, no stopping, no missing anything. If you miss something, or cheat, you go back to day 1!

  1. Strict Diet – No Cheating, not even one bite, and No Alcohol!
  2. Two Workouts per Day – At least one outside and both at least 45 minutes each
  3. Drink One Gallon of Water per Day – Nothing but clear, plain water counts
  4. Read Ten Pages per Day – Non-Fiction self help or business book
  5. Take a Progress Picture Every Day

On display

We wear badges and gather tokens without realizing it. I accumulated my own display and allowed them to become my story. Look at me, they say. Like certificates on a wall, I displayed my trauma, my failure, and my illness as if they were the only parts which had a right to speak. But there are other pieces, the loving and healthy portions, which had every right to be heard.

Society is complicated, and so are the problems we’ve inherited. And yes, I said inherited. I doubt any of you created the homeless situation or understand the dynamics of solving it. For more info read The History of Homelessness in the United States. If the solutions were clear, they would have been done. Instead, the homeless are hidden from sight, bused from one city into another, herded like zombies in The Walking Dead. No one has a fix.

I question whether trauma takes an emotional toll on society’s collective soul if there is such a thing. I’m speculating. What would that look like? Anxiety and unrest? Anger issues?

Let me know what you think in the comments below. What are your opinions on society? Have you tried the 75Hard? I would love to hear your stories.

Excerpt from BEING STRONG

Just the Taste

Earlier, I was eating an apple and enjoying it. I was just eating the apple, nothing else, and it was delicious. The Crunch. The Juice. It was a delicious apple. So much of my eating has become a duty. Just enjoying good food is difficult because we are all so uptight about eating healthy and not overeating. I’m right there in the mix of it also. Sitting down to eat a whole gallon of ice cream isn’t enjoying it. That’s a compulsion.

Documenting my food intake is entirely not my style. Of course like everything I do, I volley between a strict watch to eating whatever I want. Until I get in sync with my body though, I feel I need to be aware of what I’m doing. My main problem is when I start to watch, I also begin to grade. I judge.

Surely there’s a better way of staying healthy. A relaxed way. Somehow to respect ourselves and respect our food. With honor.

– excerpt from Being Strong
Find it on Amazon http://tiny.cc/1s4cbz

Boundaries and Bandaids

A friend of mine recently had a baby. It’s one of those smell the roses occasions when family and friends gather. And there together we hold a precious new life. That baby, who moments ago just forced it’s way out of its mother’s body with such ferocity to cause most women to scream was sound asleep. Some women curse and have such a personality change during childbirth their partners don’t even recognize them. Bringing the now docile tiny creature into its new environment was a fierce activity. Both mother and child become war partners together.

From the moment we are born, we have jumped into the mix that we call life. If you believe in reincarnation, then your birth was part of the big circle, and possibly a choice you made. If not, this is your one shot life! Either way, we all have a birth.

Life is full of trouble, step in that shit! -not the Buddha

With birth comes the family. If yours is like mine, it’s quite imperfect. And sometimes actually violent. They might show up drunk to your wedding or set you up with potential dates so you won’t be lonely. My mom pretends not to understand what I’m saying. I honestly thought she didn’t remember stuff or was deaf for the longest time, and now I’m guessing she was playing her form of gaslighting. Why It’s So Hard to See This Form of Childhood Abuse

As adults, we have a few bruises to our psyche. Life is the ultimate obstacle course that taught us how to drive, and we know of nothing different. We develop quirks to help us cope. Keep your mouth shut and don’t tell the family secrets. Always clean your plate. Be polite. Don’t talk back. Hypersensitivities usually develop when children are traumatized at a young age. You might say some are trained to be fully aware of their surroundings.

Listen to your life. Listen to what happens to you, because it is through what happens to you that God speaks. It’s in language that’s not always easy to decipher, but it’s there, powerfully, memorably, unforgettably

      – Frederick Buechner

The strategies that made us are not the best thing to keep us healthy. We need to put away our childhood coping methods. The new software is required. We must learn new ways of caring for ourselves.

Your best protection isn’t cowering indoors. That’s a recipe for insanity. I know you’re familiar with stories of people who have tried such things — the crazed few. Knowing your truth is your salvation. What makes you smile and brings you joy? Find a way to grow your will power. Do something for yourself every day. Yes, it’s right for you to be selfish sometimes. Keeping boundaries and healing starts with your core. Begin by building your values, and your limits will follow.

Chronic Pain

People talk of spoons. You only have so many spoons a day. To some, this makes no sense. Why spoons? What about being poor with no credit cards. No cash. And your tire is busted. You don’t have $10.00 bucks and some lint in your pocket. There’s not a credit card to charge it on because you can’t get one.

The story of pain is about restrictions. Woven inside it’s barbs are reminders to go slower. Ease up on the anger. And always remember to rest.

Another way of understanding pain is to know there’s something always in your field of vision. It’s like a floppy hat you bat away but it keeps crashing on your face.

The teen who started the spoon story had Lupus, which is a limiting disorder. On the outside, everything looks normal. It’s the inside where things are not functioning as they should. It’s as if you have water in your car’s gas tank. There’s sputtering and stalling.

Most who suffer pain, try to hide it, even though it’s with them regularly. I know it’s influenced many decisions. How hard do I push in exercise? Not to overexertion. If I allowed myself to become dehydrated and too hot, it could trigger a migraine and muscle spasms. I’ve taken a lot of effort to prevent those, so moderation is better.

There’s a strange way of focusing when you have limited resources. It frees you to decide on priorities. It also lets you say no at times. Unfortunately, there have been times I desperately wanted to attend events, and I couldn’t. Understand it’s not an Ace card up my sleeve. I never play it like that for a reason most apparent. When I need it, I want it to be real.

I try to live optimistic, thinking of my dreams, but I have to keep my limits in view, to know how much I can accomplish each day.

How do you handle your pain or other limits?

Drug Addiction is Not a Crime

Don’t be stigmatized. Shake it off. Be free of traditional labeling.

With the new Federal regulations, there is a tightening on pain medicine, even for those with chronic pain. The label I feel stamped across my forehead is Addict.

Yes! Pills. Give me drugs. Stop the pain. A friend’s mom is a pain med junky, according to my friend. It’s been a driving force for keeping my friend away from the treatments. Maybe. There’s the ex-boyfriend who called my friend a druggie when she took her pain medicine. Ironic since he once lived in the tunnels of Las Vegas because of his illegal drug use.

Stigmatism.

I’m uncertain of how to help since there is the of money. If the insurance paid for the medicine, it’s great. If we pay for Ayurvedic or other Holistic treatments, then it is all personal money. Most of us aren’t wealthy. I asked my new pain treatment physician what other alternate treatments meant since the Federal guidelines state doctors are supposed to phase out opioids into different types he said they include physical therapy, surgical interventions, and steroid injections. But these come with copays and deductibles. We are talking about $300.00 to $1000.00s of dollars per visit with no guarantee of any success. Thank you Federal government for your love and concern!

It seems that every TV show and podcast topic lately has a splash of bias, making anyone who needs medicine appear to be a drug seeking criminal. Honestly, if all the answers were found in nature, then our bodies would damn near heal themselves. Even on my favorite show, Joe Rogan Experience, it’s one I can listen to while I work, it’s long and doesn’t need constant visuals. The one I was listening to, #1301-Laird Hamilton, was a health-conscious episode. Mr. Hamilton and Joe were bandying back and forth about people they knew who did outrageous marathons such as 125k. Quite impressive. My annoyance came at their assessment of their source of health. With much pride and enthusiasm, the guest kept repeating that people wouldn’t need medicine if they would exercise (as he does?) Seriously? In all cases?

Be Lucky Like Him

Yes, these big, God’s gifts to the world, do irritate me. There’s a blind spot in their Narcissistic vision. Humility. Mr. Surfer needs a reality check. Genetics smiled upon him. But….

When you have all of the answers, why bother looking anymore? I work in medicine and see the opposite side of the mirror every day. There are babies born without a chance to every run 125k marathon. Babies don’t do a damn thing right or wrong. Many times neither did their parents. Life happens, and we pick up the pieces. It is a fools arrogance to assume we have such control.

I want to be grateful for the gifts I was given, for each day, each person in my life. I want to create a better world for tomorrow. And love my people today.

Here are a few resources:

Gabor Mate is an Author and speaker. He has excellant YouTube videos. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction-Gabor Mate

Richard Grannon is a therapist and speaker I’ve followed for several years on YouTube. He has multiple courses on trauma recovery and offers a free course if you sign up for his emails. Spartan Lifecoach

How Stigma Against Addiction Devastates Pain Patients-Article

Talking Kitty Cat-Catnip Addiction HELP!! (Funny) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMnco5w7yeI

Survive Today

You only have to make it today! For some, that’s good news.

I grew up in the positive thinking days, the Name It and Claim It generation. Thinking made it so. The reason Aunt Marge had cancer was she was a negative thinking person. Our counterbalance was to cross stitch positivity and frame it. With that much potential to fail it’s almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning. I’m gonna fuck something up today.

Well here’s to the hearts that you’re gonna break
Here’s to the lives that you’re gonna change
Here’s to the infinite possible ways to love you
I want you to have it
Here’s to the good times we’re gonna have
You don’t need money, you got a free pass
Here’s to the fact that I’ll be sad without you

I want you to have it all – Songwriters: Becky Gebhardt / Mai Bloomfield / Mona Tavakoli / Chaska Potter / Jacob Kasher / David Hodges / Jason Mraz Have It All lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.- Jason Mraz

Survive Today: Take it in small bites such as thirty minute or 1-hour time slots. I can make it for thirty minutes by enjoying the sunshine. Sometimes I survive until Lunch approaching my work with a Zen energy, ignoring everyone for 2 hours. Or if I look past today, overlook the present time entirely, and peer into the evening, I can plan a good meal, pick a movie. I forget my sucky day.

Ways of making yourself smile: Watch some comedy clips on YouTube or Comedy Central. Make funny faces in the mirror. Read funny stories or comic strips. Listen to music. Walk in nature. Pet something fuzzy. Take a silly selfie. Be goofy. Rest. Take a day to lay around.

Help Another Person: Listen. Listen. Listen. Care about them. Be who you are around them. Show your true self. Be there when you can. Don’t be phony. Let them help you. Most important, be honest. If you are with them, be there. If not, quit pretending.

Accept Your Life: Stop changing. You’re complete. It’s time to get to know who you are. There’s an old phrase which states we should love ourselves as we are, broken pieces, scars, and bruises. Some of us got hung up on the damaged part and forgot the love. Forget that you need to be fixed. Stop running, stop hiding, and stop fighting life. It’s better to have ruthless acceptance. This is me at this moment. Overweight or underweight. Whether I love the me I perceive as I stare in the mirror each morning, or I hate my image, it is the bare truth.

If you hate the way you look, so what? Brush your teeth and go to work anyway. Your job will still pay you. Someone in Hollywood remarked that we must love our looks. Honey, we don’t all drive beautiful cars. I might have decent looks, and I’m happy enough with them. It’s good enough. Move forward and Survive. Thrive.

Check out: What If I Thrive?

Check out: The Flip Side of Failure

Check out: You Win

The Call of Duty

I’ve had a busy week, with a running-on-empty feeling these last few months. I know you can relate. There’s work we absolutely must do and other chores we let slide.

My cat has been sick for a couple of weeks, and I delayed taking Ms. Kitty to the doctor. I work late. And it is difficult to take time out for anything and taking time off work for a pet, that’s ridiculous. But, infected teeth care none for employer’s opinions. Problems get worse when ignored. This morning I realized this shit was real. We went to the cat doctor.

Tonight I’m chilling with my old girl as she rests. Movie time with Ms. Kitty. Her tooth was already out of her mouth, so no extraction was necessary. She received antibiotics and some temporary pain numbing. All is well.

Thanks, everyone for all of the follows and support!

Love your people!

Ms. Kitty
Ms Kitty

the top image is from Tiny Buddha

Queen of Hearts

I think of winter as silent and cold, a time when nature forgets. In the winter, seeds are dormant. Ever been there? Oh, I have. Silent, still, and unmoving. I was young and didn’t know much about life.

Growing up, I didn’t develop well emotionally. I had been asleep. It sounds cliche. Melodrama really isn’t my thing. But, there was a moment when something inside came alive, and the circuits connected. I awoke. That was when I recognized the brokenness surrounding me. And I wasn’t doing anyone good by living in denial. As it says in Genesis, 3: 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Well, I wasn’t naked, but my family wasn’t as perfect as I thought either.

“Images of the Goddess help to break the hold of “male control” that has shaped our images not only of God, but of all significant power in the universe.”

-Carol P. Christ, from: Rebirth of the Goddess

There’s a shame in my family, and it needs to be cleansed. I’ve been trying to heal through journaling, genealogy, therapy, talking with my family, prayer, and meditation. I sincerely hope to trigger healing in others. Hopefully this is helpful for others because I know I am not alone in this sadness.

We’ve had multiple decades of men in battle. Like bricks stacked upon each other, fathers and then sons have waved goodbye to families who wept for them. Women, whether they were mothers, sisters or wives participated as they could. For a family member, waiting would be agony.

Soldiers gave up personal freedom, hopes, and put their personal wishes aside for the call of duty. With their life on the line, and having to overcome fear every day, all they knew was to be strong. Survival was important. There wasn’t time for hope. It was mud, blood, guns, and keep yourself from freezing to death in the winter. Pay attention to their surroundings. Don’t get killed. Hoping and dreaming, that was for later. So, love was put to sleep. Remember the 1950’s? Duty was Queen. And she had no heart.

Generations of war created a lineage of patriarchy and abuse. Hearts were cold. There’s generational rape, molestation, child abuse, and years of silence. Shame. Try taking this history of pathology and develop a healthy person. Here I am, as well as my parents. I took my underdeveloped self and tried to create a healthy marriage with another. I say underdeveloped since I had no idea what love was. In my family genealogy, love has been asleep for a long time.

We know duty. Survival is our best skill. After that, we start having issues. And as most therapists will tell you, a person will gravitate toward what they know. Which is why people return to the same type of relationships over and over, like a reoccurring nightmare. Or you marry someone like your parents. We’re not only comfortable with the familiar, but it feels right. They fit you. They plug that void you need to fill. We call it love. Funny. Is it really love? Maybe.

I’ve been asking this question for years, what is love? Someday I might know the answer. I know what it’s not. Love is not pain. It is open and giving without holding the other person back from their potential. Love is not bullying, pushy, or brutish in it’s giving. Love is a gift. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are lying. If their “LOVE” comes with strings attached, then it is not loving.

Love your people today.

Arna Baartz -Artist (painting reposted from thegirlgod.com)

Healing With Fun

Flow states are those moments when we forget we are in a physical body, that we function with tasks and to-do lists, and that we require money and food. For a brief period, we are at one with the universe. Lost in the moment.

When I am creating, I am more comfortable in my skin. I become a better person. All creativity is a part of me. This is the greatest joy.

Everyone is talking about drugs which can take us into a state of mind, ecstasy. Is that what we need? I vacillate between wanting to face my demons head-on with the sword or to run for cover because I’m overwhelmed from their taunting. Shorter periods of flow is another option.

Jamie Wheal and Steven Kotler are two of the current writers and scientists studying how we function in a flow. If you’re interested in learning more, check out anything they have written or maybe their interviews on YouTube.

Dance, music, writing, art, conversation, playing, walking, researching a topic, cooking, being with friends, it can be anything you enjoy. The first people had orgasms and knew ecstasy. Possibly they had herbs too.

This is how we can to heal our trauma. With momentary lapses of forgetting, but not of who we are, or where we are. We remember ourselves deep within, the real self. We forget our surroundings. Letting go of the trouble that has spellbound us into thinking we are small.

We step out of worry into moments of love and enjoy real living, for five minutes today. We can learn to be in joy for ten minutes next week.

Be joy.

Cursing the Darkness

I curse the darkness.

I know I’m supposed to believe. I’m supposed to visualize good things and make vision boards. But in the end, you’ll find me yelling profanities out my window-maybe not literally, but figuratively I do curse the depression.

You will not torture me!

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light…-

Dylan Thomas

There are three common responses to abuse. Fight, flight, and fawning. Fighting, raging, not trusting anyone, that’s how some handle life. They walk taller, live faster, and work harder than others. But a cockfight is not my first tendency.

My first response to problems is panic! I freeze, like a fawn. I’m a deer in the headlights, and my mind stops functioning. I swear that running would be healthier.

Depression, that deadly chill, is why I curse the darkness. It’s a night which can swallow me, and I hate it. But, I force myself to face its ugliness. I build massive fires to fight the chill.

I curse the darkness. I use any of the tools I have. I love music and watching movies. Writing and studying my ancestry are more than a distraction; they bring me joy. These are my bonfires. My friendships. My family. Memories of favorite moments. I’ve stockpiled a cache of fireworks for whenever I need them.

I refuse to live in the darkness of my fears.

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914  1953

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”