“This Is The Life”  

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” ~Victor Hugo

There are some songs tell part of our own personal stories. “This is the Life” is by a band called Dream Theatre. This song draws you in first with the edgy but soft melody, then the lyrics. The song sets the scene. “In the heart of your most solemn barren night; When your soul’s turned inside out, Have you questioned all the madness you invite? What your life is all about?” This verse is asking you, the listener, when you’re up in the middle of the night, upset and pacing the floor, do you question your life? More directly, are you the cause of your own chaos?

There is a time of night from about 2am until 4am when all is very quiet. Aside from the night creatures making a little noise, all is very quiet, still, and calm. It’s a time when we can hear our Higher Power and our Ancestors more clearly without all of life’s noises. It’s also time when we can hear our own thoughts and feel guilt, shame, regret, anger and resentment. Sometimes we come up with the most brilliant ideas or we realize what we’re most grateful of.

As you listen to the song, the singer says, “Some of us choose to live gracefully, Some can get caught in the maze, and lose their way home.” Our life is a precious gift. You’re probably wondering how living a hard life is a gift. The reason is because our Higher Power has given us life. We are still alive no matter how screwed up our life is. Like many others before you, you can use those lessons you learned to teach others.

In life have the freedom to choose how we want to live. If we have not lived life in a very spiritual way, Our Higher Power can help to free us from our prison and guide us to start over. We don’t have to live like we’re caught up in a maze. We don’t have to live in a world of insanity while drama and chaos steals our energy.  We have the option to live gracefully or not.

Wishing you were someone else does nothing more than waste your time. You may think that person’s life is perfect or at least better than yours but in reality that person is probably dealing with their own demons. That person probably has better ways of coping with life or they just don’t show other people the pain they’re in. In other words, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Overall this song reminds us that our life and the choices we make are our own. We can invite insanity, drama and chaos in our lives or we can go with the flow of life. In the end, “Memories will fade, Time races on, What will they say, After you’re gone?

Thought for the day: “Life is kind of like the game Chutes and Ladders. Sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down. Every choice you make have consequences so choose wisely.” ~ Unknown

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

This Is The Life”  by Dream Theatre

In the heart of your most solemn barren night
When your soul’s turned inside out
Have you questioned all the madness you invite
What your life is all about

Some of us choose to live gracefully
Some can get caught in the maze
And lose their way home
This is the life we belong to
Our gift divine

Have you ever wished that you were someone else
Traded places in your mind
It’s only a waste of your time

Some of us choose to live gracefully
Some can get caught in the maze
And lose their way home
This is the life we belong to
Our gift divine

Feed the illusion you dream about
Cast out the monsters inside

Life begins with an empty slate
Fragile left in the hands of fate
Driven by love and crushed by hate
Until the day
The gift is gone
And shadows remain

Some of us choose to live gracefully
Some can get caught in the maze
And lose their way home
Memories will fade
Time races on
What will they say
After you’re gone
This is the life we belong to
Our gift divine
Our gift divine

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

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Hope

“Hope is a necessary concept”~Anonymous

Hope is a necessary concept? A concept? When I read this I had to scratch my head because a concept is an abstract idea or a general notion. When we hope for something we have an expectation that something good will happen, or we are optimistic about the future. So how is being optimistic an abstract idea or a general notion? What do we hope for?

To start with when we’re young we hope the tooth fairy will leave money under our pillow and that Santa will bring us what we ask for on Christmas Day. As we get older we hope to get good grades, pass our tests and graduate from school. Then we hope that we’ll fall in love, get married, have children, get a job with good income so we can provide for our family we also hope that company we’ve worked at for 5, 10, 20 years won’t close because of bankruptcy or to go out of the country. We also hope our children will have a good, or even better, life.

These don’t sound an abstract ideas or general notions do they?

The bottom line is that without hope we don’t set goals for our future. Yes, hope is necessary to have in life, but make no mistake, if it weren’t for people hoping that their specific ideas and inventions would work, we’d still be reading books by candlelight and using outhouses.

Thought for the day: Never lose hope and never stop dreaming.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts.

I have written on a variety of topics this past year that I’ve had this blogging page. I’ve written about experience, strength and hope, addiction, some of my personal life and, I have even a little bit on political stuff.  Now I’m asking for your help. I want to know what you like to read about.

Insight Into Some Of My Posts

Perhaps you’ve read some of my political posts. Maybe your views are different from mine and you choose to not read something that might challenge those views. Or maybe you’ve seen them but chose to not read them because, like me, you’ve had it with all things political. That’s ok, I understand but I hope that perhaps you will change your mind after reading one or two of them, or after you’ve read this.

I’ve written in the past that about 4 years ago I met a man in a social media group who changed my life forever. He wrote words of experience, strength and hope. His words rescued me from the cold, dark abyss that I had found myself in after some life changing events. He also wrote words of peace and love and encouraged many, MANY others around the world to love one another and make peace. About a year later he passed away and his family graciously allowed me to continue sharing his words on 2 conditions.  First and foremost that I don’t sell his work. Second, that I write my own thoughts and inspiration with his words until I felt comfortable enough to write my own thoughts and inspiration.

Which brings me to the present. I began sharing some of my own writing a little over a year ago on social media and then to this blog page about 6 months ago. It’s been a mix of my experience, strength and hope in life and with addiction. I’ve also shared my thoughts on current events, in particular politics, rather political policies and viewpoints. Some of my first political posts were more like rants but that’s because I have seen where America, the country is love, is headed. Each day I turn on the news and see something different that adds to the mess we seem to be in. I’ve currently decided to shift a little bit in honor of my Spiritual Mentor. I am going to work more towards spreading the message of hope, peace and love that my dear friend started.

I’ve also written that I’m more of a realist as opposed to a pessimist or an optimist. I see things the way they are – ugly as some things may be. I can’t stand political correctness and stuff that’s sugar coated. I don’t run to a safe space and I don’t call someone a racist, feminist, misogynist or homophobe because I disagree with them. I’m happy to reasonably debate a subject but I call it like I see it. Also, I look to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. I may back down or away from a overly heat discussion but make no mistake, I am not saying either one of us is right. I just choose to not add fuel to the fire by continuing to argue.

The best way I figured I could accomplish my goals was to write. If I question something I’m writing about, I look it up on some of the more trusted websites. I even cross reference some things so I can write about the truth because, believe it or not, not everything you see on the internet or social media is true. At any rate, I hope you read this and my other political posts and, whether you agree or disagree with me, at least consider another viewpoint.

Thought for the day: “There’s one side of the truth, another side of the truth and somewhere in the middle is the truth.” Today, why not try to “be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.” ~ Anonymous  “Remember, it all starts with you.” ~ Trent Shelton  

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Bucket List

Written April 30, 2017(edited September 20, 2017)

“The way you are living will have been your life” – Unknown

We’ve all heard someone say or we have said it ourselves. “I’m going to put that on my Bucket List.” So what the heck is a “Bucket List”? It’s a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill and life experiences you want to experience before you die. It probably gained notoriety after the 2007 movie “The Bucket List”. It is a comedy-drama film starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman that follows two terminally ill men on a road trip with a wish list of things to do before they “kick the bucket.”

I used to see emails and social media posts once in awhile that was a list of stuff the one may or may not have done in their life. What the receiver was supposed to do was to check off things you have or haven’t done in life. Some things were silly like the “Have you ever sang in the shower?” while others were “Have you ever traveled outside of your state or country?” It was a fun thing to do once in awhile. But what if you really were going to “kick the bucket” in a certain amount of time?

I have no idea how much time I have left in this world but yet at the same time, I know I’m not getting any younger. I remember thru my 20’s and much of my 30’s doing all kinds of fun things in the summer with my best friend. Things like hiking, swimming, fishing, camping, going to our county’s fair, other local festivals, or just go for a ride on a rainy day. We called it the loop around the lake and we’d stop at local fruit stands, garage sales and other local shops.

Unfortunately, over the last few years, we’ve done fewer and fewer things in the summer and each fall I kick myself because I didn’t do a fraction of the things I wanted to for one reason or another. It has really started to affect me the last few months.

I’ve had some health issues the last couple of years but none of my doctors can really definitively tell me what’s wrong. We may be getting closer to a diagnosis and, if it’s what one doctor thinks…well…I’m not going there today. They treat my symptoms with pills, those, side effects with another pill and send me on my way. No one cause is linked to another. One day on my way to an appointment out of town, a song I knew and loved came on and I listened to the words as I sang them. Each time I sang a verse I looked at my life and how I’d been living it, or not living it, the last few years.

Since that day, I’ve decided to make some changes. The first thing I’ve been working on changing is to learn to be more present in the moment. Quite often if I’m doing something fun, I am thinking of things that I need to do or stuff I should be doing other than having fun doing what I was doing. Rarely have I ever enjoyed the moment before it was over.

So this year I decided to do something slightly different. Instead of a bucket list of stuff before I die, I’m doing one for the summer. I want to do a bunch of things that I haven’t done or things I haven’t been doing the last few years. Even if we have little to no money there are things we can do in this lil corner of the world. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. I just want my best friend and I to be able to look back when it’s snowing and blowing outside and say, “Remember this past summer when we…?” “Yeah, I remember when you did…”. Even if our adventure had some major problem we can look back and giggle a little about it and decide to do things differently the next time.

No, I can’t make up for the time that was lost but I can do everything in my power to change it going forward. Yes, I will be busy with moving into my new home(which I will own) and I will need to get settled. I can however play hookie from housework and enjoy whatever comes my way that day. Besides, isn’t that what rainy days are for?

Thought for the day: This is the short version of My Summer Bucket List(I hope to do all these things at least once if not more. The check marks are things I have done so far):

Go to places like

  1. Panama Rocks
  2. The gorge
  3. The beach✔
  4. Flea markets
  5. Antique shops
  6. Kinzua country

Do things in nature like

  1. Hike of course
  2. Garage sales✔
  3. Swim(well maybe wade into) Lake Erie
  4. Paint my nails every or every other week✔
  5. Camp out
  6. Make a new garden at my new home✔

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

Acceptance

Written August 15, 2016(edited 2017)

“Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being EXACTLY the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” ~ Anonymous

Just so nobody gets mixed up on the definition of acceptance, as a friend of mine says, let’s get out the dictionary. Acceptance has 3 different yet similar meanings; 1) the act of taking something that is offered, 2) the act of accepting with approval; favorable reception, 3) a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations. Today I’d like to share on the third definition, a disposition to tolerate or accept people or situations.

I’ve been told that if I’m upset about something I’m probably having a hard time accepting it. As I think about why I’m irritated today, I realized what it is that I don’t want to accept. Life. I’m not accepting of how my life currently is – aka life on life’s terms.

For a number of years after I hurt my back I was pissed off because I couldn’t work. Part of my decision to not work was because it was to difficult physically and mentally. Some days the pain was so bad it affected my thinking. I resented myself for the decisions I made that led to the injury and leaving the workforce, rather my reason for leaving. I even resented my Higher Power for not answering my prayers for healing. At the time I didn’t want to accept my reality. I didn’t want to accept that even tho the injury was an accident, I did not listen to my doctor’s advise to take it easy which made the injury worse. I didn’t want to accept that I was disabled at an early age. Least of all, I didn’t want to accept that I would probably have pain for the rest of my life.

Today I have come to accept all of that including the bad decisions I made. I’ve even come to accept that my Higher Power guided me to and thru everything for a reason. Maybe it was a way to set the gears in motion to remove certain people from my life so that new people could come in. It could’ve even been to teach me what I needed to learn so that I’d be able to help others in a different way than I had for many years before all of this. It could’ve even been to prepare me for what I am going thru now.

As I write this, it dawned on me that the way I feel today is how I felt when I hurt my back. Pissed off and depressed because I have little to no control over what’s going on in my life. I hate physically feeling an 80 year old woman in a 45 year body. I forget that I have tools to move from a lousy mood and into acceptance. I can pray to my Higher Power and ask for the strength to accept that He has His reasons and a plan for me. I can also do a gratitude list when life gets to hard. It may not make everything OK, but it does help me to find good stuff within the bad.

I also need to remember some damn sayings that have helped me in the past. I call them “damn” sayings because they remind me of the Spiritual Principles that I try to live by, especially when I don’t want to. Principles like acceptance and perseverance. Slogans like “This Too Shall Pass, Just for Today, and the one that makes me crazy, “Check Your Motives”(simply because I don’t want to do it)

There are the little things that I can do too, like going for a drive, play in the garden and write. I can also remind myself that I have no control over anything outside of myself. I have no control over you, your actions or your feelings. I have about as much control over you or anything else as I do when it rains, snows or if the sun comes out. All I can do is accept what is and let go of the rest.

Thought for the day: If you are having a bad day and you’re feeling angry or sad, look inside yourself to see what you may not be accepting. Try doing any one or all of these things, you may begin to feel better. Acceptance becomes a little easier and your problems don’t seem quite so bad.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

“Who Is An Addict?”

You may be wondering why I am writing again about addiction. It’s my hope that when I write about addiction I can bring a little more awareness to this disease. There is a lot of stigma attached to it. Maybe what I share will give the addict reading this that hope shot they need to get help.

I’ll start with my disclaimer that I am by no means an expert in this field. I am a recovering addict who has contemplated and read a lot about the disease that wreaked havoc in my life. I have also put myself in my loved ones shoes and felt what they felt as they watched me descend into my self imposed hell.

A brief yet widely used definition of addiction is “The obsessive and compulsive use of a substance despite ongoing negative consequences, which may lead to tolerance or withdrawal symptoms when the substance is stopped.” This is the paraphrased definition from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR). This book is like the encyclopedia of mental disorders. Despite what many people say or believe, addiction is a disease. The drugs are just a symptom of this disease, it’s our thinking and feeling that is at the core of our disease.

The easiest way I can explain it, without all the medical jargon, is that it’s a disease that affects the mind in that a little voice inside us says, “Hey, This makes me feel good! I want to drink/swallow/smoke/shoot up/do whatever more! I want to feel like this again!!” This feeling can happen with anything; drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, gambling, smoking, chocolate, coffee, social media( 😉 )… just to name a few. It’s a disease of excess – using excessive amounts of “X” to achieve the feeling of “Y”. Many of us have an addiction to something, the difference is that drugs and alcohol lead to one of three ends – jails, institutions and death. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and often fatal.

Addiction can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime. Many people think a drug addict is some dirty homeless person living under a bridge with a needle in their arm or some gang banging thug on a street corner. No, a drug addict can be anyone we know and love. We are the person who is injured or had surgery, the teenager “just messing around”, the elderly person with arthritis. We are your favorite athlete, actor, musician, or other artist. We are the CEO of any business, or the cashier that cashes you out. We are the person of any age, suffering from any other painful, progressive, and incurable disease. We are that person silently screaming for help yet we refuse to get the help we need because of the stigma attached to it. Am I getting thru yet? Addiction also knows no bounds which means that it cares not about a person’s race, creed, religion, economic or social status.

I should know this. No one would’ve thought an old schoolmate or I would become addicts. It’s not like there was a representative from Addiction University at our college fair. Even at the job fair I don’t recall seeing anyone from Druggie Incorporated. No, we did not say we wanted to be addicts when we grow up.

It is not curable but it can be halted, or put in a remission of sorts. Some people can find the help they need with medicine, religion and/or psychology. Others find help thru self help groups like Gamblers, Alcoholics, Overeaters and Narcotics Anonymous. There addicts understand and can identify with each other. There is medicine to help with the cravings that we have. Many people view this as substituting one drug for another, but for many who are plagued with addiction it has been their lifesaver – literally.

A quote from the Dalai Lama that is very fitting. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.” Whether we want to admit it or not, addicts need help. We are people who need, rather deserve, loving, supportive help if we are to get the help we so desperately need.

I’ve learned from my own encounters of helping addicts that candy coated bull doesn’t help. Tough love does, but harsh words do nothing but hurt us and drive us further into the pits of our hell until our light is eventually and inevitably extinguished. Candy coating the truth keeps us stuck in our hell. A pat on the back while saying, “It’s ok” gives us the licence to use again. Asking why we did it and what we will do the next time helps us to confront our disease. I find that this opens the door for further discussion and tips to prevent another relapse, perhaps even another death. If anyone were to yell, scream and tell me that I’m stupid, it would only solidifies their justification to use. Think about it. How do you feel when somebody yells, screams and tell you you’re stupid?

Thought for the day: Mitakuye O’yasin(We Are All Related). This is more than just a Native American phrase. It is what humans truly are, all of us are made by our Higher Power and we are all related in one way or another.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts

“Who Is An Addict?”

You may be wondering why I am writing again about addiction. It’s my hope that when I write about addiction I can bring a little more awareness to this disease. There is a lot of stigma attached to it. Maybe what I share will give the addict reading this that hope shot they need to get help.

I’ll start with my disclaimer that I am by no means an expert in this field. I am a recovering addict who has contemplated and read a lot about the disease that wreaked havoc in my life. I have also put myself in my loved ones shoes and felt what they felt as they watched me descend into my self imposed hell.

A brief yet widely used definition of addiction is “The obsessive and compulsive use of a substance despite ongoing negative consequences, which may lead to tolerance or withdrawal symptoms when the substance is stopped.” This is the paraphrased definition from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV TR). This book is like the encyclopedia of mental disorders. Despite what many people say or believe, addiction is a disease. The drugs are just a symptom of this disease, it’s our thinking and feeling that is at the core of our disease.

The easiest way I can explain it, without all the medical jargon, is that it’s a disease that affects the mind in that a little voice inside us says, “Hey, This makes me feel good! I want to drink/swallow/smoke/shoot up/do whatever more! I want to feel like this again!!” This feeling can happen with anything; drugs, alcohol, food, sex, shopping, gambling, smoking, chocolate, coffee, social media( 😉 )… just to name a few. It’s a disease of excess – using excessive amounts of “X” to achieve the feeling of “Y”. Many of us have an addiction to something, the difference is that drugs and alcohol lead to one of three ends – jails, institutions and death. Addiction is chronic, progressive, and often fatal.

Addiction can affect anyone, anywhere, anytime. Many people think a drug addict is some dirty homeless person living under a bridge with a needle in their arm or some gang banging thug on a street corner. No, a drug addict can be anyone we know and love. We are the person who is injured or had surgery, the teenager “just messing around”, the elderly person with arthritis. We are your favorite athlete, actor, musician, or other artist. We are the CEO of any business, or the cashier that cashes you out. We are the person of any age, suffering from any other painful, progressive, and incurable disease. We are that person silently screaming for help yet we refuse to get the help we need because of the stigma attached to it. Am I getting thru yet? Addiction also knows no bounds which means that it cares not about a person’s race, creed, religion, economic or social status.

I should know this. No one would’ve thought an old schoolmate or I would become addicts. It’s not like there was a representative from Addiction University at our college fair. Even at the job fair I don’t recall seeing anyone from Druggie Incorporated. No, we did not say we wanted to be addicts when we grow up.

It is not curable but it can be halted, or put in a remission of sorts. Some people can find the help they need with medicine, religion and/or psychology. Others find help thru self help groups like Gamblers, Alcoholics, Overeaters and Narcotics Anonymous. There addicts understand and can identify with each other. There is medicine to help with the cravings that we have. Many people view this as substituting one drug for another, but for many who are plagued with addiction it has been their lifesaver – literally.

A quote from the Dalai Lama that is very fitting. “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.” Whether we want to admit it or not, addicts need help. We are people who need, rather deserve, loving, supportive help if we are to get the help we so desperately need.

I’ve learned from my own encounters of helping addicts that candy coated bull doesn’t help. Tough love does, but harsh words do nothing but hurt us and drive us further into the pits of our hell until our light is eventually and inevitably extinguished. Candy coating the truth keeps us stuck in our hell. A pat on the back while saying, “It’s ok” gives us the licence to use again. Asking why we did it and what we will do the next time helps us to confront our disease. I find that this opens the door for further discussion and tips to prevent another relapse, perhaps even another death. If anyone were to yell, scream and tell me that I’m stupid, it would only solidifies their justification to use. Think about it. How do you feel when somebody yells, screams and tell you you’re stupid?

Thought for the day: Mitakuye O’yasin(We Are All Related). This is more than just a Native American phrase. It is what humans truly are, all of us are made by our Higher Power and we are all related in one way or another.

***Please be sure to read more of my posts