Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Looking within

"If you want to understand others, 
look into your own heart." 
Johann Schiller

I read this quote this morning in my OA reading and it really struck a chord with me. Recent events in the world are really igniting a lot of controversy and anger amongst the people I'm friends with on Facebook. I see on my newsfeed a lot of posts and articles for and against a lot of different issues such as war, refugees, peace, terrorism, and religion. I, for the most part, stay out of any debates I see going on. I know that participating is not likely to change anyones minds and will just make me feel really awful.

The hard part for me is when I read things that seem cruel and filled with hate for others because they are different. I have a hard time understanding that. My wish is for Universal Love and Acceptance - that I love the way my Higher Power loves. I, being human, often fall sort of that wish, but I do try and I find it hard to understand others not having that same goal.

I know in my heart that I can still love others even if I disagree with their politics, their personal philosophies, their religious convictions, and even their hatred. I don't have to agree with them to love them.

In trying to understand where they are coming from, I need to turn to my own heart and look deep inside myself because there is where I will find the answers. I feel fear, disappointment, dislike, maybe even hatred (though I'm not really sure of that one), joy, love - all these things drive us - well I'll just speak for myself - they drive me to do and say things I'm not always so proud of or so sure of in hindsight. I may make decisions based on one of these feelings and I may even have the best of intentions, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to sometimes hurt others or cause pain. It is scary how I can get so caught up in my visceral reactions to events and feelings that I lash out or try to blame outside myself. I will even often try to take responsibility for things that are so far beyond my control that it doesn't make any sense, but I feel so strongly that someone must take that blame and I have no one else to blame, so I blame myself. 

Today, I look inside myself, and see the reflection of others in myself and myself in others. We are not so different. I think we all want the same things, safety, love, acceptance, joy, hope - the crux is that many of us disagree on how to get those things. 

I'm saddened by the conflicts that are going on in the world and I'm saddened by the conflicts that are going on on the newsfeeds of my friends on Facebook. I'm saddened by the conflicts that go on inside myself. There is little I can do about the conflicts outside myself, but I can reach out my hand in love and acceptance in spite of our differences and I can work on the conflicts I find within my own heart.

And I can hope that by doing so that I make some small difference in my world.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Universal Love and Peace

It's been awhile - I've been in a bit of a writing slump. I just haven't had a whole lot to say, but the attacks on Paris last Friday the 13th really brought to a head all the thoughts and feelings I have about the many places on our beloved planet that are suffering from war and persecution. It was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I knew I had to take some sort of action, but knowing that there is not a lot I can personally, physically do, I decided that some sort of energy work was what I was called to and I decided to invite others to join me.

Saturday, I was inspired to create an event on Facebook, a virtual candle light vigil for Universal Love and Peace. I set the time for the evening of Sunday the 15th from 8PM EST to 11PM EST. I then invited a handful of friends. I created this event expecting a few of us would light our candles and find some peace in our world. Word spread and I was blown away by the response.

When I went to bed at midnight - yes you read that right midnight - there were over 1500 people participating in the event, posting pictures of the candles they had lit in their homes. Over 20,000 people had been invited. I changed the end time of the vigil to 8PM EST on the 16th so people could continue to post and share their light and love with the world, because yes there were and still are people from all over the world joining in.

The thing that amazes me the most is that when I created this event I inadvertently set the settings on private, so every person who participated had to be invited to attend and it all started with the less than 25 people I invited.

Response to the event was so great I created a Facebook group to continue this work on a regular basis. Here's the link:

I've already scheduled another event, a vigil with the focus on Hope for next Sunday evening (more details are on the group page) and I hope to have a vigil like this every week for now perhaps eventually changing to once a month. People are reeling with what is going on after the Paris attacks, so they are focused right now and I think many of us need this. I know that world needs it and will always need it, so I want to continue manifesting light and love for my beloved planet and Her people for as long as I feel called to.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Transitional times

Well first of all there's this: 

Yes I cut off my dreadlocks.

This was a decision that was a long time coming - I'd been thinking about it for a few weeks when I finally did it. It was time. I felt called by my spirituality to have dreadlocks and I felt called by the Universe to let them go. I had begun to use them to hide behind - my being was wrapped up in my appearance instead of who I am inside, my outside was no longer reflecting my inner journey. So, much to my family's dismay - it was time for them to go. I feel much lighter and more authentic - more me. I can focus on my inner journey instead of my outer appearance. It is kind of scary and to be honest, I miss them sometimes - I miss who they made me appear to be. But this is more honest and now I can really focus on my spiritual work. That is part of what's scary too, I can't hide anymore, not that I've been very good at hiding on this blog, but in other aspects of my life I do very well.

This all happened after I returned from an unschooling conference in New Jersey. It was the Life Without Instructions Conference and I came home feeling more committed to unschooling than ever before. I felt supported and less alone. The kids and I went without my beloved and we had a wonderful time in spite of missing him. I took time out for myself - I practiced good self care, while at the same time letting myself be honest and vulnerable. I gave the kids more freedom than they've ever had and I think it was really good - I think it built more trust in our relationships. I feel as though I grew as a human being and a mother. It was a very good experience all in all. I sometimes wish I could go back - even if it's just for a few hours - to get recharged. I admit this experience is one of the reasons I was able to be brave enough to lose my dreadlocks and put myself out there - no more hiding.

Real life waited for me here at home. Everyone got sick when we got home and we've all been battling colds, ear infections and the like since we got back. We're all on the mend now and the kids and I agree that it was worth it - we wouldn't have changed a thing.

I've faced some challenges since getting back. I've embraced the transitions in my life and I've committed to my spiritual journey through the 12 steps - I'm working daily with my sponsor - we've begun step four and I'm being challenged beyond my comfort zone, but I know I'm doing what's necessary for my recovery - one day at a time.

I've also faced some difficult times at our homeschool co-op and have discovered that I can not be what everyone wants me to be and that I can make mistakes and be talked about behind my back without it destroying me or my serenity. There are a lot of angry people in the world and I won't lie and say it doesn't hurt, because knowing that there are people who never took the time to really get to know me have decided to not like me or what I do hurts. I can't control how other people react to me or my decisions though, so I will do my best to keep working my program and be who I am to the best of my ability. My self confidence is shaken and I'm feeling really really vulnerable, but I will continue on to the best of my ability until I can't do it anymore. Then I will step back and take care of myself. I'm not there yet - I can still try to put myself out there - for now anyway. Co-op so far (we're only a few sessions in) is not as positive an experience as it was last year - I'm hoping that it will get better, but my expectations for the year were obviously too high - I need to just live in the moment to the best of my ability and take it all one day at a time. 

So that's where I'm at. I have some big plans coming up next month. I'm doing some work on my core beliefs using a kit that some good friends developed and I'm writing a book for National Novel Writing Month. I've decided to write a memoir about my struggles with depression. I want to focus on the journey through my last depressive episode with my family, but I'm going to let my muse take me where she wants to go - the Universe will guide me in my writing and it will be whatever the world needs from my story.

Last but not least, I'm at 253 days of abstinence - that's 8.34 months without sugar and white flour. I'm still trying to find the food plan that helps me lose the weight, but my abstinence is strong and my serenity keeps me going. One day at a time.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Morning Musings

Okay, if you read my last entry you know that I've been at an unschooling conference this week with my kids. It's been an amazing journey, but one constant I've maintained while here is my morning routine. I do my OA step readings, say my prayers, and do my meditative coloring with my coffee and light box. While sitting here coloring, I've been going over some of the choices I made to share of myself this week in some of the sessions. I've been open and vulnerable, sharing about my suicide attempt, my struggle with Arlo's death and depression, and my spirituality. I was thinking about how that made me feel and why I shared those things. I felt the inspiration to sit and write about my musings.

When I was a teenager and young adult and even just before my last serious bout of depression, that I would have shared these things from my past to garner sympathy and expressions of love. I was very needy at those times in my life and I needed, or rather thought I needed, to feed on that energy. Wow have things changed for me. Now I share these things for many other reasons. I share my struggles with mental illness to educate and to reach out to others who maybe feeling the same so they know they are not alone and that it does get better. I share about my loss because that was a defining time in my life and a lot of what I've been through including my responses to mental illness was colored by that experience. I share about my spirituality because that is part - a big part - of who I am, I'm a shamanic, druid, 12 stepping, pagan. I'm more willing now in my life to share of myself because I'm in a pretty good spot and am finally beginning to feel that I'm worth knowing.

All these things just are - they are facets of who I am and to hide them would mean hiding my light and I don't want to do that anymore. Did I second guess myself after sharing - Hell Yes! I was afraid the first day I talked about some of those things, but as the week went on and I realized that the people around me wanted to know who I am, it got easier. I no longer share this stuff to garner sympathy and to get kudos - I share them to, hopefully, help others to see things can get better and that a family can survive trauma and even thrive once they come out on the other side.

I wish sometimes that I didn't have depression and that my kids didn't have to see me at my worst, but on the other hand I believe the Universe give us all, the experiences we need in life. My children, though it was difficult, have learned compassion, independence, and how to come out on the other side of a trauma stronger and more able. This is a lesson I sometimes wish they didn't have to experience, but they are richer people for it. I try to protect my children sometimes to their detriment I believe, so the Universe took matters into Her own hands and brought the lesson my children needed through me.

Okay that got deep fast. It felt good to get it out on this page though. It's amazing to me the way the Universe showers us with blessings - even if they are hidden inside darkness - there needs to be darkness to see the light and to be honest, coming out of the dark into the light is one of the best feelings in the world.

These are just a few of the things I learned this week. How blessed am I.....

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pushing my boundaries - in a good way ;)

Okay well this week from Monday through Thursday my unschooled children and I are at an unschooling conference - the Life Without Instructions Conference - in New Jersey. I'm pushing myself outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways, just by being here and honestly other than being a little tired and a lot anxious - I'm doing really well.

As many of you may know a few short years ago I struggled with a really bad breakdown of sorts after a long bout of depression - I ended up in therapy with my husband by my side clutching a stuffed bear the hospital gave me and the blanket my little Arlo Edward was wrapped in at the hospital (Arlo is the son I lost through miscarriage). I was unable to attend therapy for quite a while without my husband - I was really unable to do much of anything without him. This began a really dark period of my life that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital because I was trying to die by starvation. It was my third suicide attempt - feelings I thought I'd worked through in my teen years raised their heads again and this time I was ready for the help I desperately needed.

Why am I telling you all this? Well for a long time after that - years actually - I was too socially anxious to go anywhere without my beloved husband. I rarely, if ever went anywhere without him. Last year we started attending a homeschool co-op, the kids and me - without my beloved - that was a huge step for me. He eventually started attending with us (car issues) and I have to admit I was relieved because even after a few months it was really hard for me. Now I find myself hundreds of miles away from home, at a hotel, alone with the kids, pushing myself to connect with strangers. Luckily a couple of friends are here, so I have them to go to if I get too uncomfortable, but there are many, many many more people I've never met before.

Originally my beloved was supposed to be here with us and I've attended a bunch of talk sessions that blew my mind and I knew would be of great benefit to him as well, but in a lot of ways I'm really glad he had to stay home. I'm so proud of myself to putting myself out there and pushing beyond my comfort zone. I've met incredible people and I've shared of myself - I've let myself be vulnerable in a way I couldn't for a really long time. I'm also learning to trust myself again and to more importantly trust my kids on this journey of unschooling.

They, especially my daughter, has just blossomed before my eyes. The first day was really hard for me because I felt abandoned by my children - imagine my surprise - I really thought I was doing well at the letting them be free and trusting them to be off on their own making friends. I was wrong - I cried that first night in my room alone because they didn't want to spend time with me. I worked through it though - talked it out with my husband - shared my feelings with my teens. They assured me that they loved me and promptly took off to do their own thing. Isn't that beautiful, they are so assured of my love and my trust and that I know they love me, that they could take a few minutes to reassure me and then knew that I'd be okay. Wow! How far we've come from me sitting in a near catatonic state on the couch in so much pain I couldn't communicate with them - them on the phone with their father - him panicking calling my therapist.

I share all this not to gain sympathy, but to share my joy and serenity that I've come through the darkness into the light and now I'm able to be here, as anxious and nervous as I am, to share my light.   I also share this for others who may be in a dark place in their life to tell them - to tell you - Don't Give Up - it does get better - it may take time and work and patience and love, but it does get better. I'm a great example of that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

A little bit about hope

As most of you know I suffer from a sugar addiction, compulsive overeating, and depression - not necessarily in that order. One thing in common among all of these is that these conditions, diseases as you will, all steal my hope. When I'm in the food - I can see no way out, when I'm depressed I can see nothing but despair; my hope disappears. Overeaters Anonymous has given me that hope back.

OA is a way of life and it has changed mine for the better. Not only does this program help me battle my compulsion to eat it also helps me battle my depression. How you may ask? By supporting and emphasizing my relationship with a Power Greater Than Myself, my Higher Power. The program teaches us in steps 2 and 3 that this Higher Power can be anything really even the fellowship of OA itself, I just need to accept that I need that Higher Power. My Higher Power is the infinite love and light of the Universe Herself and She is conspiring to shower me and us all with blessings. This is where my hope originates from.

I have to admit I have a bit of a thing for hope, because you know, my name. Hope is such a wonderful thing. That feeling deep down inside that not only is everything going to be alright, but it is as it should be right now in this moment. That's what hope means to me - the knowledge that I'm right where I need to be on my journey of self-discovery. Right now and I hope for many years to come - that journey follows along the 12 steps.

While in program I've come to a new understanding of my Higher Power and thence strengthened my relationship with Her. I've come to a deeper feeling of hope in my life. This program has taught me and blessed me in so many ways and I've come to rediscover great hope in my life.  The tools are a form of hope for me - working with those tools is consciously acknowledging hope in my life. Every time I take time out of my day to pray, meditate, write, read my literature, or call my sponsor, I see hope - hope in action.

Nature is a huge example of hope in my life - it's also the major way I connect with my Higher Power outside of meetings. That connection, whether it be in nature or in a meeting with my OA fellows is in and of itself hope. I see my Higher Power in the sunlight dappling through the trees, the wind blowing gently (or not so gently) through the air, rain falling from the sky, and in the eyes of my OA fellows and my family and friends. I find hope when writing on this blog in my own words - words revealed through my introspection and connection with my Higher Power.

Hope is all around me if only I'm in the right mindset and openness to see it. The program tells me I need to be Honest, Open, and Willing. I find hope in all these actions. I must be honest about my struggles, open to my Higher Power, and willing to accept and see hope in my life. Honesty, Openness, and Willingness are keys to success in program, but I think they bring are necessary in every aspect of my life. That's why this program is a way of living, not just a way of working - I don't just work the steps anymore, I live them.

A lot of this is stuff I realized working with my sponsor. This relationship has given me such hope in my life - hope that I can get through one day at time, hope that I can beat back the depression, hope that I can live the program to the best of my ability and beat this disease of compulsive overeating. Is it easy? No - it's simple, but for me it's not possible without hope.

I see hope in so much around me. I find hope inside myself and my relationship with my Higher Power. I see hope in the actions of my OA fellows, because let's be honest, just showing up is an act of hope.

One of my greatest experiences of hope every day comes to me in the Serenity Prayer. This prayer is such a mainstay of the program that I often just recite it by rote without being mindful of the words, but when I take that time to really listen and hear what I'm saying I see such hope. "God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change..." - this tells me that there are things out there that I have no control over and that's okay because my Higher Power has it handled. "The courage to change the things I can....." - this tells me that I can change some things and that I need courage from my Higher Power to do that - it also tells me that my Higher Power is willing and able to give me that courage - it exists deep down in my soul in that connection with the Universe - I just need to find it and use it. "And the wisdom to know the difference..." - once again I'm being given permission to fall back on my Higher Power to find wisdom to know the difference between what I can control and what I can't. Talk about an experience of hope - this prayer, for me, is all about hope. I use it as a reminder that I'm not alone - I have the support and love of a Power Greater Than Myself to get me through anything life throws at me - that's hope.

Hope is a blessing in my life and I'm very lucky to have that daily reminder in my very name. It's sort of ironic that I have this name being that I live with depression. Perhaps that is the Universe's way of keeping me around and helping me to as Jared Padalecki's campaign says "Always Keep Fighting".

Part of the fight for me is acceptance - that seems a bit of a oxymoron - fighting and accepting, but accepting that this is not something I can control, accepting that I need  a Higher Power to find hope in my day to day life, and then using the tools I am given to keep up the fight - the tools of the program to battle my addictions and the other tools I've developed to battle this depression. I can use both sets of tools to fight for my very life. I have life threatening diseases - compulsive eating, addiction, and depression are all life threatening and let me tell you that was a difficult truth to accept. I need to accept that and use that hope my Higher Power gifts me with to battle on. My story isn't over and I'm so blessed to have a Higher Power that brought me to this program. The twelve steps of OA are changing my life and they are giving me hope.

One Day at a Time is all that is asked of me. Hope supports and helps me through that one day, every day. Hope and the love of a Power Greater Than Myself - the very Universe Herself. Oh how I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015


I'm feeling a little guilty right now. I made a decision today to not join in with a homeschool co-op that is meeting near our house. Part of me feels like I should for the kids' sake, especially for the girl, but with my commitments to our other homeschool co-op, OA, training on my bike, and my other spiritual work I just think it would be too much. The question is should I cut back my stuff for the sake of my kids?

It's difficult making these kinds of decisions. As a parent my first instinct is to just go for it if it'll make my kids happy, but then I have to stop and take stock of the whole situation. Yes, my kids would probably have fun, but I would end up stressed out and cranky all the time and that wouldn't be good for any of us.

Right now I'm in a pretty good place. I've been abstinent for over 6 months, I'm attending meetings regularly, I'm doing step work with my sponsor, I'm in close contact with my Higher Power daily, I'm riding my bike, and I've just started another program of self discovery a couple of friends published. This work I'm doing is important. I need to find time for it all because ultimately my work makes me a better person and that makes me a better wife and mother.

I'm already committing to 2 hours of classes and an hour of a knitting group plus being the adult advisor for the teen group and on one of the committees for our Thursday co-op. Adding more to my plate right now just wouldn't be good for me.

Reading over this so far, I'm embarrassed by how many "I"'s there are. I feel selfish and self centered. Now this blog is about me and my journey, so it makes sense that I would use a lot of "I" statements, but my instinct in reading this is to push myself aside.

See what I mean? Finding the balance that I need to take care of myself and my family is damn hard!! I need to remember that taking care of myself is taking care of my family. That's a hard one. I'm used to sacrificing myself for others. Putting myself aside and doing. This pattern has led me to self destruction more than once - the last ultimately ended in a suicide attempt. My depression and that struggle is real, my addiction is real, and I need to be honest with myself and take care of myself or I just become incapable of helping anyone else.

So, I made a decision that I feel was best for me and by extension for my family. It may not be a popular decision and I may on some level feel I should be able to do more, but I think it's the right decision.

Now I just need to let go of the guilt.....

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The hill

The hill that beat me.......

Well today's ride was a set back - notice how I did that, what I really wanted to say is that it was a failure, but I'm working on negative self talk, so I changed it. This is the hill that did it -  Looking at it in the pictures it isn't nearly as intimidating as in person, but believe me - it was really steep and really long and  I didn't make it up it - I only got a little over half of the way up when my legs just stopped working. There were tears. There was lots of negative self talk. There was talk of giving up completely and never riding again. Duane and the girl stuck by me though. They encouraged me to walk to the top of that hill (which was a challenge in and of itself), get back on my bike and finish my ride. My goal was to ride 8 miles today and I did in spite of having to walk up this hill. Still I feel as though I failed. 

I learned something though. That little self destructive voice that I've been working my whole adulthood to quiet is still there - it has less power than it used to, but it's still there. My first instinct, even after all the work I've done on myself, is to put myself down, call myself a failure and want to quit. Ultimately, I've made progress because I've learned to listen to that voice, really take a honest look at those words, and make a decision to move on without believing them. I didn't give up - that's the real progress and the next hill was hard, but I chanted in my head "I think I can, I think I can" like the little engine that could, until I realized that I didn't think I could, I knew I could - that chant changed in the middle of that next hill to "I know I can, I know I can". And I did.

Ultimately, I realized that my flash point of negative self talk is self destructive and I can not and will not believe it. Honestly, was I ready for that particular hill? No, I wasn't, but that's all right - I'm still training. I've only been doing this a couple of months. My first ride was 2.15 miles and was on a bike trail off road - today's ride was 8 miles on the road - that's a huge accomplishment and that's what I have to focus on, not the one hill I wasn't ready for. My body is changing and getting stronger with every ride I take - that is what I need to remember when the negative self talk starts.

This is a lesson that bleeds over into the rest of my life. There is less negative self talk in my head then there used to be, but I realized that I still do it in subtle ways. I need to be better about my self destructive tendencies and focus more on the positive. I'm a beautiful, powerful creation of the Universe and I deserve to be happy, healthy and loved. That starts with a better understanding of myself and stronger self love. 

Today was just a reminder that I'm still a work in progress and that is okay. I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be doing the work I'm destined to do. It's about the journey, not some preconceived destination. My journey is mine and it is beautiful. 

Oh, and I will complete that 10 mile ride on September 10th because I won't give up.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


"The remedy of all blunders,
the cure of blindness,
the cure of crime,
is love."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

The older I get and the longer I live here on this beautiful Earth, the more I realize and experience that love is the key to it all. Love is the answer to all life's questions. 42 may be the answer to life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adams, but in real life - in MY life - the answer is actually Love.

In all I do, I try to be sure it is rooted in love. Sometimes that love is love for the Universe, sometimes it's love for my family, sometimes love for my friends and sometimes it's even love for myself. When I act or speak from a place of love, I contribute to the blessings showered on us by the Universe because as Rob Breszny says, "the Universe IS conspiring to shower us with blessings". I truly believe this and when I lose sight of it, I'm reminded when love enters again into my heart.

Random acts of kindness are truly acts of love. I try to remember that when someone reaches out to me or when I reach out to another. Everyday things in my life that seem little are actually very big when I remember that it is love that is behind it. The sun shining down on the Earth is an act of love from the Universe. The wind blowing a breeze on a hot summer day is an act of love. Lending my favorite fan to my daughter to cool down her room during a heat wave is an act of love. Giving my son room to make his own mistakes and learn from them is an act of love. Being present to listen to my beloved vent about the challenges of his job is also an act of love. Being in a 12 step program is an act of love to myself that ripples out to show love to my family and friends. Prayer is an act of love as is meditation. Eating healthy local foods is an act of love for myself as well as the farmer that supplied it.

Love shared ripples out and becomes bigger and bigger - so big it can not be contained and eventually helps to change us all into better people. It supports my journey of self love and growth. Love begets joy and hope and adventure.

I'm riding in an organized ride in September called the New England Parkinson's Ride to raise money for Parkinson's research. I'll be riding the 10 mile route in honor of my grammie who died 20 years ago and suffered with Parkinson's Disease for many years. This is an act of love - my love for my grammie and my love for myself because as I train for this ride, I see changes toward health in my physical, emotional and spiritual self. Exercise is an act of self love and as challenging as it is, I see the bounty it provides in my life every day.

I also discovered a beautiful group that facilitates love today thanks to a video I saw on Facebook. It's called More Love Letters and the website and story behind the group is at I'm planning on getting involved with this organization because quite frankly I believe - I feel in my gut - that the world needs more love and I know I'm called to do more with my own love. This group is about writing love letters to folks who may be struggling or to leave letters anonymously in public for folks who may need a little love in their lives to find. What a simple but profound idea and action. A simple act of kindness - of love - can change lives. And taking that step to reach out and help another just brings more love into my life.

That my friends, is the Universe showering me and you with blessings.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Wisdom teachers

"The three teachers who impart wisdom: suffering, thought and a truthful heart."
-Welsh triad (translated by Caitlin Matthews)

August 8 from The Celtic Spirit Daily Meditations for the Turning Year
by Caitlin Matthews

Yes I know I'm a bit late writing about this one, after all it is the 10th, but it's taken a couple of days of pondering to really wrap my head around this quote. 

Suffering is definitely a source of discovered or learned wisdom. As a matter of fact, I think our culture tends to really emphasis suffering as a way of learning about ourselves or developing our art or even just making us a better person. It seems sometimes that suffering, though necessary, gets a lot of attention that lends to the passing judgement on some who "have it easy". Can we learn wisdom without suffering? I think so and not only can we learn without suffering, suffering doesn't necessarily mean we are going to gain any wisdom. 

Now I'm not knocking wisdom imparted by suffering - I've learned my share of hard and simple truths from suffering and I think many people who take the time to use the other teachers in this quote are more apt to find wisdom through that suffering. I think it takes a great deal of thought and seeing things through a truthful heart to reach a place of wisdom in our lives with or without suffering. I also believe that one can gain wisdom in one's life without suffering. That truthful heart and living thoughtfully can definitely help one find the wisdom of life all around us.

Suffering is not necessary, but I do believe it is universal. An experience doesn't have to be huge or life threatening to cause suffering. I also think it is part of my journey to find a way to live that transcends suffering - to find peace, serenity, hope, gratitude and joy in things that once would make me suffer. And ultimately, when it's part of my journey, to transform that suffering to wisdom.

When my little Arlo Edward died, I suffered. I mourned, I shut down, I felt such pain and I never want to go through that again, but I can't in all honesty say I regret it. I would love to have my little boy here with me now arguing with me about his chores or sitting with my as I read him Harry Potter or just watching cartoons with his siblings, but his death taught me so much about myself and about Spirit. I was pleased to carry him, even for a short time, in my womb and I thank the Universe for that experience. That experience - that loss - lead me to my therapist and to OA and the people that I've met there. The experiences that have happened since then were tainted by that and I gained so much from those experiences. But I needed thought and my truthful heart to gain wisdom from all of that. I also needed the thoughts and truthful hearts of others to teach me and help me get out from under my suffering.

A truthful heart is key to success in a 12 step program. Honesty with myself is how I grow and become closer to the Universe and fight my disease. There is a term "brutal honesty" that is very appropriate to this part of the journey, though I prefer to think of it as loving honesty. Being honest with myself and my sponsor (yes you read that correctly I finally have a sponsor!) is an act of love toward myself. Being able to look at my actions and feelings honestly with love and compassion helps me to gain that wisdom about myself and to grow as a mother, wife, woman, and human being on this planet.

I don't know about other people's journey, but I do know that all three of these teachers: suffering, thought and a truthful heart are necessary for me to know wisdom in my life. I'm sure there are others who can gain wisdom without suffering, but I think the other two are key with or without it.

Now wisdom is such a fancy word, but as I approach my cronedom, I find it more and more appropriate to my journey. I truly believe my sponsor and the other people in my life impart wisdom to me in their words and actions. That wisdom is the Universe making Herself known and using those folks to teach me and guide me and show me the wisdom of the Universe.

I'm so grateful for those lessons. I'm grateful for that suffering. I'm grateful for thought. I'm grateful for my truthful heart. And I'm grateful for the people that have been put on my path to impart wisdom whether they were aware of it or not.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Guilt.....What a uncomfortable and powerful feeling. It's hard for me not to act on my feelings of guilt and by that I mean try to bury them under food. I want to eat when I feel guilty. I know it doesn't made sense to anyone who has a healthy relationship with food, but to other compulsive eaters or food addicts, they understand what it is like to try to fill up the empty with food.

I hate to admit it, but I often feel a lot of guilt. I always have. I'd love to blame my parents or the different Christian teachings I grew up with or that I was an oldest sibling, but honestly I don't think it really matters anymore why I feel guilty at the drop of a hat. What matters in my life now, is that I look at it and feel it and work through it - without eating.

I went through a very depressed period in my life after my little Arlo Edward died - years of worsening depression that ultimately resulted in a suicide attempt. I've healed a lot from that experience - my depression is under control through the use of meds and some intense therapy - I've even healed enough that I don't need the therapy anymore; I like to say I graduated ;). There is however, residual guilt over this period in my life. I was not a good mother when I was in that deep dark place and I was not a good wife or friend. I lost my 2 closest friends during that period and I feel guilt about all that.

But......I'm working on it - I have the tools now - thanks to therapy and OA and my lovely shaman teachers - to work through this guilt. In my head I know I have nothing to feel guilty about - I was sick and the final waves of consequences from that time were bad - really bad - but I can't take responsibility for other peoples actions or continue to beat myself up for something that was out of my control. I didn't mean to get so sick - it wasn't something I chose and when I realized how sick I was I got help and began to heal. As a matter of fact, I was already in therapy when the suicide attempt happened. I talked to my therapist about it because I knew I needed to and with her help spent a week in the hospital (yes a psych ward) until I was no longer a danger to myself.

So, now I have many tools to help me with my guilt. I now no longer eat to try to numb myself to it - thanks to OA - so I sit with it and deal with it and use my tools to try to get over it. I think it shows my selfish side trying to take responsibility for stuff that's not mine - feeling guilty for other peoples actions can be seen as selfish or at least self centered. I don't want to be that person. I want my heart to be filled with compassion and love, not guilt and darkness.

I'm a work in progress, so I've not conquered all my feelings of guilt, but I'm working on it. That's what matters; growing as a person to who the Universe has called me to be - listening, working at it, letting go, moving on, praying, meditating all help me to get over my guilt. Because right now, in this moment, I really have nothing to feel guilty about and that, my friends, is progress.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Okay - I am desperately fighting the anxiety I feel at reaching out and calling my OA fellows. I need to call my sponsor, but I feel such anxiety about it. Interacting with other people - reaching out - gives me a sick feeling in my stomach and makes it hard to even function. My throat is closing up and my heart is pounding and it's still too early to make that call. I have to sit here with these feelings for another hour or so.

Anxiety is such a mystery to me. I don't know why I feel it or how it's become such a crippler in my life, but there it is raising up it's ugly head making itself known. I'm frozen with it. White knuckling through the goals I have set myself. It's important for my recovery that I begin making more connected relationships outside my immediate family. That means reaching out - and that means setting myself up for the possibility of rejection or betrayal.

I admit it - I'm scared. Afraid to the depths of my soul of more rejection and betrayal from those I admire or those I feel drawn to and those I want to make a deeper connection with. What's most worrying to me is that I feel this way about people that I already know care about me. But then again, I suppose a lot of it goes back to that feeling of unworthiness. I feel like I don't deserve close friendships - close relationships outside my immediate family.

I don't have the best social skills. I tend to not know what to talk about to people so I sit silently and uncomfortably with friends or acquaintances until those people feel as uncomfortable as I do and walk away. And I can't blame them.

An example is a friend from real life that I have an active friendship with on Facebook - we message each other and talk via the computer, but when I'm with her in person I just don't know what to talk about. I'm just frozen with fear of making a fool of myself or being too needy or silly or loud or obnoxious.

I do sometimes make it past my discomfort and interact with people, but later, on the way home or lying in bed trying to sleep, I begin to second guess every word I said and wonder what the ones I was interacting with are thinking about me now. I know I shouldn't care what others think of me - what matters is the relationship I have with myself and my Higher Power, but those insecurities are something I still need to work on.

It's really hard. I have some social situations coming up. First I need to get over my anxiety and start working with my sponsor - that means phone calls and face to face time. I also have a gathering I'm going to at some friends' house on Saturday - I'm looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time. I just need to remember to work through the anxiety the way I work through my addiction: one day at a time - one hour at a time - one phone call at a time - one moment at a time.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

An update and perhaps a new beginning of sorts

Well, the depression is much better. New meds and my body adjusting to a sugar free life have definitely made an impact. I've also begun exercising! I'm riding my bike 3 times a week - I'm up to 5 miles right now and I'm training for a 10 mile ride in September to raise money for Parkinson's research. I'm pretty proud of my growth over the last few months. I'm 160 days abstinent - that means 160 days without sugar and eating only 3 meals per day with nothing in between and no trigger foods. My portions are getting smaller as my body adjusts and my body is definitely changing.

My program - OA - is not going as well. I've have managed to remain abstinent, but to be honest that abstinence is a gift from my Higher Power. I've done little to no work spiritually and I haven't been working the steps. I'm still going to meetings, but not as regularly as I should. So after a particularly inspirational meeting yesterday, I finally asked a woman I admire to be my sponsor. This is a first for me - I haven't really worked with a sponsor, but I know that I need help working the steps or I am bound to relapse. I don't want to ever relapse again - the last one sent me into such a deep dark spiral - I never want to go there again, so I'm going to use the tools the OA program lays out for me and work with my new sponsor.

I've been thinking about what I want or need from a sponsor since I asked her yesterday. I'm still contemplating that. My first instinct was the I need someone to be accountable to - but after praying about it and thinking about it I realized that's not what I really need or want. I have my family to keep me accountable and they do a really good job of it. What I want and need from my sponsor is unconditional love and support and guidance through the 12 steps of OA. Someone to share my thoughts and work with who understands and can help guide me through the process. That doesn't mean that I won't occasionally need to be called on my stuff - I know I sometimes try to deflect and hide and I need someone to help me see when I'm doing that so I can be honest with myself. I think I also need someone to cheer me on when I'm doing well and to help me see when I'm ready to move on to the next step. I have a tendency to stay stuck - stagnant - frozen in indecision when something is hard for me. I will work through something and then just sit with it because I don't want to let it go.

I'm so unbelievable blessed to have such wonderful support in my life. To have a roof over my head, healthy food for my belly, love and hugs and kisses to feed my soul, a Higher Power that loves me unconditionally, and my fellows in OA that celebrate with me, understand my struggles and support and love me.

I'm also so grateful for this journey life has brought me on. It's been a bumpy road from time to time with many ups and downs, but there is very little I would change. I am who I am because of the struggles I've endured, so I'll take it all and work through and continue to grow.

I'll probably be writing here on this blog about my OA journey more than I have been because I think it's important for my recovery and abstinence. So you all should be seeing more of me here. Sorry I've been gone so long, but I haven't really had a lot to say cuz I've really just been coasting. It was nice, but it's time to get back to work. I have growing to do!

Friday, April 10, 2015


Okay - so here's the deal. The depression is BAD like deep dark hole bad. I finally broke down and saw the doctor about 3 weeks ago and changed my meds and after about a week it got a bit better. But just this past week it started getting bad again. I'm sleeping more, but I'm tired all the time. I don't know if it's just side effects that will eventually subside or if it's just the meds  not really working. On another positive note, I'm not having suicidal thoughts any longer, so maybe it is helping a bit.

Oh and to top it all off, my doctor, who I've had for almost 12 years is moving to Florida. I have to start all over with a new doctor, never mind the search for a doctor who has similar beliefs about medicine and health.

That's really all that's going on with me. I'm struggling - I won't lie - I'm considering giving up OA - I'm just to depressed to work the program the way I should and I'm just not giving to it what I need to to get healthy emotionally, spiritually and physically.

I've been sugar free for 53 days and unlike last time, I'm not feeling the positive changes I was expecting. I'm still tired, still depressed, still in a lot of pain. Being overweight is not easy and not for the faint of heart. It's exhausting and painful and hard to escape from. Having said that I've lost 10 pounds in the last month.

Trying to keep sight of the positive and make small changes little by little. I've been abstinent for 53 days - I need to focus on that and pray that my meds make the changes I need to I can take the next steps toward better health.

I'll get there - I just need to have hope and be positive. Sigh - easier said than done most days. I've come so far, I just need to relax and let the universe shower me with the blessings that are there for me to see.

I'm going to try to be better about chronicling my journey on this blog - I've just been too depressed to write anything the last couple of months. Maybe the fact that I'm writing this is a good sign that the meds are working......Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Wow am I tired of being tired and just feeling down. I have no energy and am finding it hard to function. On the other hand the weather is changing and I am starting to notice moments of spring's promise. That cheers me up a bit.

I saw my doctor last week and we changed my depression meds - it's been a couple of years and it's common to need a change after that amount of time. I've been on the new med for a few days now, but haven't noticed any real change except that I'm sleeping better. It takes time for a new depression med to have affect though so I'm not worried. I have a follow up appointment the end of next month to talk about whether there have been any changes, I hoping this new med will help.

Depression is so difficult to live with. On one hand I know all these wonderful things that could help my depression, eating well, exercise, fresh air all are extremely beneficial. But.....yes isn't there always a but? Anyway all these things would help my depression but I don't have the energy to partake because of the depression - see what I mean. I just can't seem to get out of my own way.

I just have to trust in the Universe, that the lessons I'm learning from my depression will help me in the long run. I just have to get through the darkness and find my way back into the light. One day at a time, one step at a time, one moment at a time. It's a lot like my abstinence. I can't necessarily see the benefits to giving up sugar and trying to eat healthy, but if I'm just patient and take it a day at a time then I well see and feel the benefits. As a matter of fact I've already lost some weight - so there is that.

So here I am plugging away a day at a time. Trying desperately to believe that my Higher Power is here for me and that I'll reach the light on the other side of the darkness that is my depression. I've lived with this mental illness for a lot of years now and to be honest part of me is tired of it. Sometimes the temptation to give up is so great. But I don't. If I could get this far there is no telling how far I can go. I can live a happy life - I've done it before. I just have to trust that there is light and joy and good feelings on the other side of my exhaustion and depression. Trust is hard though. Just when I think I've beaten this mental illness for good - it comes back again.

The good thing is that when I stop and think about it - underneath it all is a spark of hope. Underneath it all I love my life. I love my family and my home and my pets - well the dogs anyway - I just lose track of that sometimes while I'm stumbling around in the dark places in my mind. Depression can do that - make you lose sight of what is really important.

Ultimately, I am grateful for this battle with depression. I've learned a lot about myself in this battle and I've overcome so much. I just wish the battle was over. Statistically though it's likely that I will be fighting this battle off and on for the rest of my life. The more depressive episodes one has the more likely one will have even more. Well, I've had a lot. I've been depressed off and on since I was 9 years old. This is not a new battle for me.

It's interesting the language I've been conditioned to use in regards to my depression. Battle and fight are two words that I don't hesitate to use in regards to depression, but the are things that I often try to avoid in my life. I'm more about peace and harmony and letting go. Maybe that's why this struggle continues. Maybe I need to try to change my mindset about the whole thing. Food for further thought.

Anyway, I'll continue on. Grateful for the experiences in my life that make me stronger and bring me closer to my family. Grateful for the past and all I've learned from it. Grateful for a new day to work through bit by bit looking for the moments of hope and joy.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Well it's been a bit since I last blogged. I'd like to say a lot has been going on, but it really hasn't - same old same old. My abstinence is still in place - cleaner and more comfortable, but still a struggle. Those sugary foods are still craved and they still call my name and I want to eat them, but I don't - I won't.

I want to say that I'm in a better place right now. Spring has begun to make itself known and that has raised my spirits a bit - that along with the weight I cut from my dreads has lighten my soul a bit.

I'm still struggling though.

I made an appointment with my doctor for next week to reevaluate my depression meds - hopefully we'll be able to come up with something that will support the work I'm trying to do because right now I'm sort of frozen in inaction. I can't find the energy to do much of anything. Lots in my life is suffering right now including my relationship with my kids, my beloved, myself and my Higher Power.

I'm trying to keep plugging along, but it's getting harder. I'm just really, really tired.

I pulled a muscle in my back this week, so that's slowing me down as well. I'm uncomfortable in my own body and mind and that's really blocking me right now.

I try to find the positive and I know - I really know deep down that it's there - I'm just having a hard time seeing beyond my own discomfort.

I find that if I can  list what I'm grateful for perhaps I can get myself out of my funk - so let's give it a try.

Today I'm grateful to my Higher Power for being there for me even when I'm having difficulty being there for myself.

I'm grateful to my beloved for supporting me and taking care of me especially when I'm incapable of doing it myself.

I'm grateful for my children - for their empathetic hearts and the help they give me around the house when my physical self is limited.

I'm grateful for the lessons of my losses in life and the lessons I've learned and am learning from my depression.

I'm grateful for good local food that nourishes my soul as well as my body.

I'm grateful for my OA fellowship - they are the reflection of the love my Higher Power has for me when I'm having a hard time finding it myself.

Gratitude can help me find my way to my source - I just need to remember to look at life with a grateful heart.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

something positive

It seems silly, but I've made a positive change in my life. I got a haircut - or rather a "dread cut".....

The top picture is a few weeks ago and the bottom is this morning.

It may seem silly but I feel so much lighter and not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. The last time I had dreadlocks I cut them all off not too long after losing my son, Arlo during my pregnancy. I realized that I was holding a lot of my mental and spiritual pain in my hair. I think I've been doing the same now. I've had this set of dreads for about 5 years and the depression and pain I've felt over that time has been trapped in my hair. It may seem an odd concept, but I really believe it's true. I feel lighter, less weighed down, maybe even happy. Things are looking up.

Spring is coming and after contemplating this move (even considering cut them all the way off like I did 8 years ago) for months I finally started cutting this morning. I just decided to do it. My beloved helped put in these dreads and he helped me cut them down to a more manageable length. They are a bit shorter than I intended, but I have to admit I love them like this. And one thing I can count on is that they will grow again.

So here I am with a symbolic first step with my hair and my life. 

It may seem silly or odd, but this really makes me feel like everything will be okay - even more so that as much as I may feel like I'm struggling right now - it's all for a reason and really I'm okay. I'm making the steps and learning the lessons I need to learn right here - right now.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Wow I really need to work on my interpersonal skills.....A situation has cropped up for one of my kids at our homeschool group - I think it's probably typical kids learning how to interact stuff, but my first instinct is to quit. Unfortunately, this is also my daughter's first instinct. No matter how much I try not to let my baggage weigh my children down - it does.

My kids are well aware of my struggles - they even visited me in the hospital after my last suicide attempt. They get that I have depression and that sometimes I have a hard time holding things together because of my illness. I try to teach my kids that my own shortcomings and habits do not have to be theirs, but still I see my own behaviors reflected in theirs, especially my daughter.

So this means I have to work through my discomfort and try to learn to interact with others in a healthier way and to stop running away from things that are difficult. I'm outside my comfort zone here. I've spend some years in isolation thanks to my depression and I've dragged myself and my kids out into the light because it's better for us. But now we have new skill sets to learn.

Now I'd love to tell you that these are skills I need to relearn because I lost them during those years of isolation, but honestly, I've always been socially awkward. I either try too hard or I shut down completely. I come off as needy and clingy or snobby and out of touch. Of course that's what I think others think of me - I don't know for sure, because I can't know what others think or feel.

A lot has to do with expectations I think. I expect people to dislike me, so they often do. I try to be a good friend, but I don't know that I succeed - I think maybe I close myself off too much.

So, now I have to watch my kids struggling with some of the same shortcomings. I've wrapped them in cotton wool trying to protect them from being hurt, but I've ended up doing them a disservice. In trying to protect them from others, all I've done is really make them lonely and craving the company of their peers. I'm trying to rectify that now, but sometimes I fear it's too little too late.

It's hard being a parent. I try so hard to do what I think is right for MY children based on my experiences and sometimes I get it all wrong. Yes, I've failed in some ways, but I have two very special, loving, compassionate, intelligent kids. Yes maybe they are a little late to the friendship thing, but they are learning and growing with every new experience and all I can do is grow and learn with them.

I think that's what I'm trying to do right now. So......I'm not going to quit. I'm going to try to communicate with others and learn how to work through an uncomfortable situation and try to trust that all will work out for the best. My kids will learn from it as will I. And isn't that what life is all about really? Stretching and growing and finding new reasons to love ourselves?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

unhealthy thoughts

I weighed myself.......I'm at my highest weight right now - ever. Deep inside I knew weighing myself was a bad idea because quite honestly this information does nothing for me except make me feel bad about myself.

I want to cry. A number on a scale is making me so upset that I want to cry.......

Not my best idea, but I need to just accept this information and move on. I have 16 days of abstinence, so I'm on the right track.

Unfortunately, it's not that easy to just accept and let it go. I'm a worrier and I'm a bit of a guilt addict. Not the healthiest of emotions I know, but very real just the same.

I knew my weight was out of control - every bit of my body feels it - I just didn't know it was that bad.

Oh yes I did - deep down inside I really did - that's why I went back to OA (Overeaters Anonymous). I knew my weight was really bad because my self esteem has been at what may be it's lowest and that leads to bad thoughts.

I admit it, I've been having really bad thoughts -  I've been thinking about suicide again. I do not have a plan nor do I think I'm in any really danger of following through or moving beyond thoughts, but just the fact that I'm thinking about it should be a warning sign, a wake up call. Thinking about suicide is not something new for me - attempting isn't something new and I hate that my mind goes there. It feels like I will never be able to find good health again and I really feel helpless and that just makes this deep dark hole of depression that much darker.

I went to a belly dancing class a couple of weeks ago and I loved it, as hard as it was - I haven't been back. My back and knees hurt too much. I'm trapped in this body, unable to fight my way out and not only that, I'm living in a deep dark hole of depression. Both contribute to old patterns of behavior and since I can't eat, I've begun thinking about suicide again.

Once again, I have no plan and I'm not at any real risk, but I have been pondering why it is that my mind goes there. What about my past experiences makes it okay to think that this may be in any way shape or form an option? I know that statistics show that people who have a major depressive episode are more likely to have another than someone who's never had one - this is true of suicidal thoughts too I believe.

I guess in some part of my subconscious I must think that this is a good way to find help because honestly every attempt in my past has been more about a cry for help than an actually wish to be dead. I want to be well much more than I want to be dead - it just doesn't feel like I'm capable of being well, so being dead seems like a viable option.

I've been pondering this for a while now and wondering if I should blog about it - that's why I haven't blogged in a while - I just didn't know if I really wanted to talk about it. But being real is what I'm attempting in this blog. Opening up to share my journey with addiction and depression in the hopes that it may help someone else.

I don't think it's normal to have suicidal thoughts the way I do, but if any of you out there do - know you are not alone. These thoughts are just that - thoughts and I do not have to act on them. I won't. That is not what my Higher Power wants for me. I need to take these thoughts and use them as a tool toward better health and happiness.

This is sort of an intense blog post, I realize that, but this is where I'm at right now. I'd be lying if I said any differently. Maybe it wasn't appropriate to put this out there, but I felt is was important as part of my journey. Staying silent and keeping it to myself will only add to the darkness and the possibility of my acting on those thoughts. Taking those thoughts out and bringing them out into the light will make them less scary and make me actually face them and work through them rather than hide them and let them fester.

So here I am. Being real, sharing the bad stuff along with the good stuff. I'm not happy right now, I'm not comfortable with myself or my journey. I try to be grateful for all I have and I'd love to tell you it's working, but right now I'm just going through the motions and saying the words. I'm a little numb and a lot sad.

This too shall pass though. I have a loving Higher Power who has gifted me with a loving supportive husband and family. I just need to be open and honest and keep on keeping on.

I do, however, think it's time to call my doctor and see about having my meds adjusted. I really shouldn't be having suicidal thoughts. It's also time to get serious about my 12 step program - yes going to meetings and reading the literature is important, but it's time to get a sponsor and really start working the steps.

Blessings to all of you and if any of you are having similar thoughts please reach out and ask for help - you are not alone. Just like I'm not alone, we just have to reach out for help.

Monday, February 23, 2015

It all comes crashing down (or at least it seems to)

Well my world has all coming crashing down or at least it feels that way. Last week the timing belt went on my VW station wagon. It was stressful and uncomfortable, but we got through the breakdown with no injuries or accidents. The car just quit at an intersection and some kind folks helped push the car into a parking lot - all was dealt with. Hubby called around and got some quotes and it seemed like it wouldn't be much more than an inconvenience. I managed to stay abstinent and even kept my Serenity for the most part (yes I had to say the Serenity prayer a lot). I had a lot to feel grateful for.

Anyway - the car went to the mechanic today and things are worse then they seemed - the engine needs to be replaced. I'm not feeling so grateful anymore or serene......

I'm stressed - we have 2 homeschool co-ops we belong to and we would have to give up one if we go to a one car family, but only if Hubby would be willing to tweak his schedule. The kids and I would be stuck at home even more than we are now. We don't go out a lot, but we do enjoy the occasional trip to the beach in the summer or one of the state parks. I take the kids to see their friends from time to time and all of that would end.

The worst part is that I feel guilty about it. Isn't that stupid!? I mean there is no way I could have known this would happen or have any control over the situation. Cars break down - it happens - they wear out and stuff just happens. I'm feeling a little guilty about the purchases we've been making lately, but even that happened because we didn't know the car would crap out. We just bought a new washer and dryer - the old ones were older and didn't have very good energy efficiency, so ultimately we'll save money and it was really kind of needed, but now it's money that could have been spent to save the car. It doesn't matter in my warped mind that we couldn't have known the car would die at the time of the appliance purchase.

I'm just so self centered that I feel the need to make something my fault that really isn't. I feel like there is something I should be able to do to fix it all. I can't, so I feel helpless and yes that leads me back to unhealthy thinking and cravings for food I shouldn't eat. Gosh those old patterns are hard to break!!!

But - I will. My Higher Power is reminding me that I am not in control here. The Universe is conspiring to shower me with blessings even when it doesn't feel like it. Right now I just need to focus on my abstinence and my belly dancing class tonight and trying to do what is healthy for me. So....I'm sitting here writing on my blog instead of eating and when I'm done I'll go make some art to help me work through it all.

I'm angry - angry that this happened, but I don't like anger so I'm trying to turn it inward. I'm frustrated - having that second car with our lifestyle is kind of important and just as I seem to be getting a handle on so much I'm reminded that I don't need to have a handle on it. I just need to trust and man is that hard for me.

My beautiful daughter keeps telling me that it's all going to work out. "Out of the mouths of babes". She's right - I know somewhere deep down inside that all will work out, but just as we seem to get things together financially - something happens - like the car breaks down.

Oh well.....

God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

ponderings on gratitude

Gratitude is such an important concept in my life. I try everyday to think of things to be grateful for and to be honest many days it's the same things over and over. I can not stop being grateful that the Universe saw fit to partner me with my soulmate and best friend or to be the guiding force for 2 young souls that show me so much about the world and myself. Just the family I live with is enough to be grateful for everyday.

Does that mean everything in our family is perfect? Of course not! We fight, argue, cry, make up, ignore each other and do all those little things that drive each other crazy every day, but and this a big BUT - we remember always that we love each other and we apologize like crazy and try to do better. This is something I am oh so grateful for - that we can accept each others shortcomings and forgive, forgive, forgive.

Making amends, or asking for forgiveness, is a very important part of any 12 step program, but I think that forgiveness itself is just as important. Even if the person we are making amends to is unable or unwilling to forgive us, we have to forgive ourselves in order to move beyond the circumstances and feelings of the situation we are making amends for. I hope that makes sense. In our family, I have no qualms whatsoever about making amends to my children for my shortcomings as a mother or a human being. I ask their forgiveness and when they inevitably give it to me, I have to take the next step and forgive myself as well.

There are a few instances as a mother that I have fallen very short of my own expectations - times I feel I've really messed up. I've apologized to my children, to my Higher Power, even to my spouse and all have forgiven me, took me so much longer to forgive myself. I have great gratitude that my family seems to forgive me so easily and I'm grateful that after quite a few years I've finally managed to forgive myself for some of these failings. That doesn't make it easier though. I still carry some of that baggage around. And to be honest I find myself grateful for that as well. Sometimes the load we carry can teach us very important lessons - lessons of humility, self worth, joy in letting go, love, and hope.

So today I'm grateful. Grateful for my Higher Power - that Universal Love that lifts me higher and reminds me I'm worth something. Grateful that the Universe has gifted me with such a wonderful loving family to be of service to. Grateful for my baggage and the lessons I learn carrying it and putting it down.


Thursday, February 19, 2015


That's how I'm feeling in regards to my body - betrayed. Every little thing makes me short of breath and my back hurt. Just getting up to walk across the room is work. I hate this so much and I can blame no one but myself. Blaming doesn't help though - so self forgiveness is a key part of this process for me.

So is getting up and moving. Monday I was invited to take part in a beginner belly dancing class. I decided after a lot of debate in my own head to attend. My daughter and I arrived with no expectations and ready to try to have some fun.

I won't lie to you all - it was hard - fun but hard. It was hard emotionally as well as physically. It's hard to be the person in the back of the room sitting watching everyone else while trying to catch my breath. I loved the experience and hated it too. Mostly I just felt self betrayal. I cried on the way home - embarrassed that I've let myself get to such a place - unfit, unhealthy and unhappy. So many physical activities I want to take part of and right now I just can't.

The worst part is that I need to work through the pain to get to the other side. I have to be uncomfortable to rediscover comfort in my body. We need to work together, my body, my mind and my soul to find a place of physical health and I'm not talking about weight loss here. I'm sure weight loss will happen, but if I could do the physical activities I want with the body I have I would - I can't - my joints ache, my back hurts, I have a hard time breathing. So the goal is fitness, but part of that is weight loss. Mostly I just want to be happy in all aspects of my life; physically, mentally, and spiritually. That's what the 12 steps are for - to help me find that balance of health, through connection with my Higher Power - "He/She will do for me what I cannot do for myself".

The good news is that after I cried Monday night, I realized that I had had an abstinent day - no refined sugar at all. We stopped on the way home to pick up some oranges for a snack that night - not ice cream and let me tell I felt like I'd earned ice cream - but the reality is I'd earned something better for my body so water and oranges it was. And I've stuck to it - 3 days of abstinence and counting!

As part of this whole awakening of my mind and soul, I've made some decisions about my physical form. I've ordered a new yoga mat and strap so I can start up with my yoga practice again. I've also uploaded an app to track walking on my iPhone. Hopefully these tools will help encourage me to continue moving my body. And yes, I'm going to continue with the belly dancing class. The instructor is a friend and is so very supportive - the class is also wonderful in their support and I didn't feel in the least judged by any of them, so as hard as it was for me I am going to continue. I feel strongly about working through my baggage and continuing because honestly - I had fun! It felt good to move my body, to dance. I love to dance anyway, so this is good exercise for me.

It took me a few days to really sit with my feelings about Monday night and what the experience dredged up for me, that's why I haven't blogged until now. Tuesday morning my reading from the OA book For Today was about getting our self worth from our Higher Power and not from others - it really resounded with me after the night before. I'll be honest here, I was afraid all those young girls with their thinner and fitter bodies were judging me. I don't think they were, but even if they were - I shouldn't care, I was there to help myself get healthier and have a good time. I felt the Universe was calling me to be there as a form of self care. I have to be true to that on this path of recovery.

So that's what's going on with me - a goal set to get up and move my body along with 3 days of abstinence so far. My but God is good.

Monday, February 16, 2015


Hey all. My daily reading this morning, in the OA book For Today was about prayer, and that got me to thinking about my relationship with prayer over the years. Praying for me now is a lot different than it was when I was a teenager and young adult. I think a lot of that has to do with the diversity of my spiritual journey. When I was a Christian my prayers were sort of like a to do list. I bothered God a lot with my petty problems and wants and gratitudes, but it never sat right with me - I always felt a little silly telling God what He already knew, so I stopped praying.

At least that is what I thought. In actuality I continued to pray, but rather than a shopping list of thanks and needs - I let my feelings do my talking for me. I would say to God, "You know what is in my heart so take that as my gift and that will be my prayer for today." That kind of stuck with me even though when I left the church I stopped calling it prayer.

I switched my focus to gratitude and study and quiet. I've had a block about the word prayer for a long time now - my relationship with Christianity and all mainstream faiths is complicated to say the least and the language of those faiths left a bad taste in mouth. Words like God, faith, prayer all had a lot of baggage for me.

Thanks to my journey into OA and the reading I've done over the last few years that baggage is being slowly cast aside. I can reclaim the word prayer and redefine what it means to me. Right now I'm reading the wonderful book by Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self and something he talked about really struck me yesterday. The word contemplation has got me really rethinking and redefining my concept of prayer.

In the good periods of my life when I'm spiritually connected to the Universe, I always tried to spend a few minutes in quiet, preferable outdoors. I'd sit in the sun on my glider, on my deck and just close my eyes and BE. I'm beginning to realize that this is prayer. My preconceived notions of prayer are about making noise and then taking time to listen. But it was always about words for me - words to God and words back from God that I thought I heard in my heart. Now prayer is about feelings, intuition, love. There is definitely a place for words in my prayer practice - I try to recite the Serenity Prayer every day at least once (now that I'm back on my path and not wandering in the dark of the forest), but I now try to focus on how those words make me feel - to try to find the serenity behind the prayer rather than just make noise with the words.

I think the reality is that there are as many ways to pray as there are people on this Earth. I can not define what prayer is for anyone else - I can only define what it is for me. Contemplation, feelings, sometimes words, Shamanic Journeying are all prayer for ME. And that's okay. How I pray isn't as important as just taking the time to pray.

Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Self Love

First off - I need to thank all my wonderful readers.  I'm overwhelmed by the support and well wishes that were expressed here and on Facebook. I'm a little in awe that my little blog post made such an impact.

So one of the things I talked about in that post was that Self-Love is my word for the year. I'm not going to lie to you - I have the typical Libra response to this. On one hand my instincts are to dismiss the idea of self love immediately out of a conditioned response that I must be being very selfish and self centered if I focus so much attention on taking care of myself because that is what self love boils down to for me - self care and self love go hand in hand. On the other hand I have another deeper response that is hard to listen to that tells me I'm worthy of love - even self love and my intellect tells me that in order to love and care for others more fully I need to love and care for myself.

There is a battle going on inside of me - two voices yelling at each other. 'You are worthless - you screw this up and that up - you don't do enough for others - you're selfish and useless!' The other yells in response to this voice, 'What are you talking about?! Just being a being of light and love makes me worthy! I think of others first a lot of the time! I try to be a good wife and mother and friend - to be a good, compassionate, loving, nonjudgemental person! Why am I beating myself up this way. I know deep inside that I deserve good things.' These two voices battle it out inside me. (Don't worry they aren't actual voices - just my subconscious battling it out)

Being a Libra, my first instinct is to listen to both voices and begin analyzing both sides of this argument. I can find honesty and truth in both sides so I end up frozen in inaction unable to listen to either voice, because honestly in some ways they both make sense.

A friend sent me a link to an interview with Richard Rohr and Oprah Winfrey. Now, honestly, I'm not the biggest Oprah fan, not that I have anything against her - there is just so much hype surrounding her that I just don't really pay attention. (Let's be honest, I'm usually doing the introspection thing). Anyway, this interview just really struck a chord with me - Richard Rohr's concepts just blew me away. So I bought his most recent book Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self. First I have to let you know I just started reading it - I'm taking it slow because I have a lot of AHA moments while I'm reading and I need to let the concepts sink in. He talks about the search for the True Self or the soul and that the False Self (false not meant to be a negative term here) that we show the world. There is a place in our development of self for that false self - that self we label and show to ourselves and society. The goal, however, is to dig deeper and find the true self deep inside.

I think those two voices in my subconscious are my true self and false self battling it out. I think my false self is scared, because I'm beginning to listen to my soul - my connection to the Divine, to God/ Goddess, HP. Part of me is really afraid to believe in my own self worth because then I have to start to put myself out there and trust again - in myself and others - to trust the Divine Light of the Universe.

So I've made a decision while writing this post. It is time to listen to God. It's time to embrace my self worth - to hold my soul gently in my heart the way The Universe cradles me in love. It's time to let go of self loathing and acknowledge my false self, but then listen to my true self. I am worthy. I am loved. I am a divine creature of light and love.

So let's hear it for self love through self care. I've already made some steps in this - I took a personal retreat a couple of weeks ago and went away by myself for a couple of days - it was very loving and relaxing and recharging. I've agreed to take a belly dancing class that a friend offered to let my daughter and I take - I need to move my body if I'm going to get healthier. I've ordered a new yoga mat (my puppy chewed a huge chunk out of my old one) and a yoga strap so I can get back to my yoga practice - once again I won't make any progress if I don't move my body. And - I'm much closer to banishing sugar from my diet - I'm almost ready to ignore the siren call of refined sugar. I wish I was there, but I know how difficult and long the detox process is, so I'm still putting it off. I'm close to just accepting that I'll have a few weeks of discomfort to get to a place of better health.

So that is my ramblings for today. Thank you all once again who took that time to read this and respond either here or on Facebook. Your comments and support mean more to me than you can know. I choose right now to accept the love and care from all of you that I'm still struggling to give to myself. You are my mirror reminding me of my worth - so I have great gratitude for each and every one of you - even if you just choose to be compassionate and not comment that I need to stop being a whiny so and so and get on with my life.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Jason Mraz - "3 Things" (Live @ Mraz Organics' Avocado Ranch)

This song just really struck me after the overwhelming response I got from yesterday's post. I'm filled today with a sense of hope and great amounts of gratitude for my life and my family and my community. Blessings.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

rock bottom

I think I may be there - that rock bottom that so many addicts have to reach before finding real sobriety. My body has turned against me - I'm at what I believe is my highest weight and I can feel every ounce of it. I'm having a hard time catching my breath and my back hurts almost constantly. I'm feeling helpless and at the complete mercy of my addiction.

Just a couple of years ago I was in the hospital for a suicide attempt - I think I was in better shape physically then than I am now. Emotionally I'm not better than I was back then. My addiction feeds my depression and my depression feeds my addiction. I'm caught in a state of stasis.

I know how to get out of this low place - I need to work the steps and go to meetings - I need to give up sugar. Sugar is killing me little by little - I can feel myself dying and let me tell you it is not a good feeling.

So I've been deep in contemplation about how to go about changing my life - finding the strength to actually do the work I need to do to get out from under the control of my addiction. I've been praying and trying to figure out what is lacking in my life. Trying to figure out why I'm frozen.

I thought maybe I should go see my doctor and get my meds adjusted (I'm on a couple of antidepressants), but that doesn't seem like the right answer. I know the work I need to do is spiritual in nature, so I've turned inward and I've discovered a few things about myself.

I've come a long way since that hospital stay. I'm no longer suicidal - so nobody panic! But I realized, I still have not managed to find consistent love for myself. I'm starting to believe that I can not listen and hear the love my Higher Power has for me until I discover that love in myself. This was a bit of revelation.

I was reading a friend's blog ( and she introduced me to Christine Kane's website ( and the concept of the word for a year. I did this worksheet and realized that my word for this year is Self Love. That is what I'm really focusing on for myself.

I think the process of working the steps while simultaneously working toward self love will finally get me back to a place of abstinence. I will open to the love my Higher Power has for me and I will know peace.

Yes that means I need to be more faithful about attending my OA meetings because I can not do this alone. First and foremost I need my Higher Power, but I also need my community, those who understand this disease and who love me for who I am - only because I need to be loved.

That doesn't mean that there aren't others in my other communities that see my worth. I have great support from my Facebook family and my homeschooling community.

A lot of this self reflection was spurred by a lovely woman who went through her own battle with suicidal feelings this past Autumn and was quite public about her experience. Her strength reminded me of my own. She reminded me of my worth and all that I've worked for in therapy and in my spiritual life. It's taken me a few months to finally figure some of this out, but her ability to be as open about her struggle as I was when I went through my own battle reminded me that I matter - my struggle matters and by sharing what I'm going through I may be able to help others while helping myself.

So I have decided to return to my blog. I've been away from it for a long time - months and months, but one of the tools of program is writing and I've discovered that my blog is a wonderful way for me to reach out to others to share my experiences, but to also get the support I so desperately need.

I've been isolating - all I've been doing is what I absolutely have to for my kids homeschooling groups. I haven't been letting others know that I need help. So this is me letting you know I need help.

I have a wonderful community of people who care about me and see me for the beautiful being of light and love that I truly am. I can't see that right now, so I'm going to let you all see me and remind me that I'm worthy - that I'm loved - that I'm beautiful - that I'm not defined by my struggles, but rather by who I am.

I have a long way to go and right now I can't do it alone, but I've forgotten how to ask for help. So here I am asking for help - just a word of encouragement or an invitation for coffee or even just a prayer. I don't know what else to do. I've tried to do it on my own, but one thing has been made clear to me - one thing my Higher Power has communicated to me is that I do not have to do this alone.

I'm not alone and I need to believe that I'm worth helping - that I'm worth loving. That I make a difference by just being. My friend Jenn in that last year of her life showed me this and somehow I've lost track of it all. I feel her healing love, gently reminding me that I don't have to be alone and that I have to be strong enough to not only ask for help, but to also believe I deserve it.

So thank you. Thank you for reading this blog post - I've sort of cut myself open and let it all out here on this page. Thank you for not judging and just reading this with compassion and love. Thank you in advance for whatever you may feel comfortable doing even if it's just a quick prayer or even a loving thought. I've made an important step with these words - thank for being witness to that.