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.