A Rock And A Hard Place? Or…

Life’s sweet spots sometimes come towards the end of big struggles. I admit I create many of my own struggles, wrestling with how to be kind to a perpetually irksome person, or with the plight of the nearly-extinct white-bellied spider monkey. Oh, and how my country, the whole world even, can be a place where humans can actually live.

In the midst of these inner writhings, I haven’t remembered yet that I’d asked God and His/Her Universe to please get me to a higher level of understanding,  whatever it takes.  So, if I’m to be truly honest, what I’m really asking for is to feel better. I want to be more peaceful, less in turmoil, more comfortable in my own skin. To cross this or that particular demon off  the list.

At the beginning, when I’m miserable and churning, I see my need for divine intervention. I know I need to do the simple-sounding work of letting go. Simple, but not easy. I begin to feel alone in the struggle. Where are you, God? I’m showing up to this mess, which you apparently led me to do. Now what?

Feels like I’m between a rock and a hard place. A very gray area. I sit like a cartoon character with that wisp of smoke sketched above his head. No words. Unhappy. Feeling sorry for myself.

I could just keep griping to the heavens, but, although I do have lots to be concerned about, I’m not very happy being habitually miserable. I decide to go into town early in the morning for a quiet coffee.

I don’t feel like going to my usual haunt where people know me, so I walk up the street to another one. There’s a giant peace symbol painted on the side of a building. Never noticed it before. On close inspection, one can see that the paint is old. Guess I hadn’t walked in this direction on this street in this spot for a while. The peace symbol mocks me. I smirk.

In the coffee shop, I hesitate for a moment when I see a familiar face–dang! The homeless guy. He’s usually in the other coffee shop. Not in the mood, but I nod to him. Sigh. I ask him if he’d like some breakfast today. He says yes. I’m glad when he retreats to eat his breakfast on his own. I’m not very good company.

Later that day I go to see my mother. To keep my thoughts from going all gloomy as I drive, I hit play on my podcast list. On Beingthis time with Glenn Beck formerly of Fox News as guest. (You can read the transcript with a click on the link above.) Here’s the gist: host Krista Tippett spoke with Mr. Beck about how he had been an extremely anti-Obama Fox News personality, then converted to Mormonism, and now sees that no matter where we are politically, we can find the things we have in common with our political opposites. I am (was?) Glenn Beck’s political and religious opposite, but there he was, addressing one of my own concerns, an echo of what I’ve been thinking. His about-face challenged and humbled me. I cried, there in the car. The interview took me out of my own head and gave me a little bit of hope for the future of my country and the world. This has been one of my biggest struggles lately.

Almost at my mother’s house, I notice for the first time ever the skyline of the city beyond her town. Never noticed it before, even though I’ve driven down that same street a million times. I used to live on that street, for crying out loud! Never, ever noticed that skyline. Didn’t realize the city was that high up on a hill, or how beautiful it is on a cloudy day. I was astounded at how I could have had such limited perspective. Again, tears, and a strange relief.

I went on that day to cross off to-do’s, both pleasurable and mundane. I may have smiled a little. There are still life’s very big questions. That’s OK, I think. Between the rocks and hard places, there’s the universe, powered by Love, which I call God, always with me in the struggle.

 (Oh, and what book has my attention lately? Accidental Saints–Finding God In All The Wrong People, by Nadia Bolz-Weber. More on that later, perhaps.)

Stuck In The Weeds (Again)

Been a while since I posted. I was “in the weeds” for a while, again. In a funk. Really stuck.

What the heck! Do I like it there in the weeds for crying out loud?!?

Could’ve been all the rain last month, and the stupid cold temperatures, (Not. Normal.) Could be I left my job last July and don’t know what the heck to do with myself 10 months later. Maybe it’s Donald Trump’s popularity. And, was mercury in retrograde?

<Sigh>

Eventually, when I got quiet enough to listen, I realized that I was having symptoms of–drum roll please–stress.

I was a little embarrassed to have been roiling about in my misery all that time, only to come up with “stress” as the reason. It’s just not that interesting. So cliché.

But there it was, the truth of it. Stress. Light started to pierce the fog. I began to understand what to do. I started a list.

  • Medical bills
  • No job or direction
  • Taxi-cabbing everyone everywhere
  • A kid with some special needs
  • Getting Mom into new house
  • Concern for my dear husband’s job stress
  • Worrying about my DH coping with physical changes caused by cancer
  • Worsening physical problems of my own
  • Me, not talking about it
  • Me, not taking care of myself

The weather’s nicer now. Sunshine helps, especially if I actually go out in it. Exercize helps, too. (Dammit!) And naps.  Eating real food. Meditation and prayer. I did more of all the above, but the very best help came from a friend, when we met for mini-golf and lunch.

I hadn’t been up for much socializing. My body was expressing my stress level, and I just had to do something. I really wanted to keep avoiding, stay right where I was in my my own little patch of yuck. And, weirdly, I also wanted to be not there. I didn’t know what to do with myself. But my friend did. She can reach that place where I curl up and hide, and she does it in the kindest, gentlest way. And, she hears from God.

It took me all the way through mini-golfing and most of the way through lunch before I blurted out, “I have been struggling.” Then this friend, a gifted, compassionate listener, did for me what I could not do for myself: led me out of the weeds.

Not for the first time, I quietly marveled at my impressive ability to hold onto dark, stinking thoughts, beliefs, and feelings so tightly, despite the misery they cause me. It’s a skill I developed a long time ago. And it no longer serves me.

During this time of transition–coming out of scary family medical issues, quitting my job,  questioning my understanding of God’s place in the universe–I’ve prayed for help getting to the “next  place,” wherever it is, whatever it needs to be. I naively thought that this wouldn’t take God very long. Ha! If you want to know who isn’t is in charge, just ask God to take you where you need to go. For me, I always get what I ask for, and it’s never in a way I expected. It’s actually better than I expect, every time.

My friend told me, in a nutshell, that:

  1. God’s crazy about me.  In fact, God’s doing cartwheels because of me.
  2. God wants me to now enjoy the garden I sowed (the literal garden in my yard, and the one in my head–because they are now BLOOMING) when I was working through my struggles.
  3. God isn’t condemning me for struggling.
  4. God wants me to “get in the boat” with Him/Her and give Him/Her the oars. (Not the first time I’ve received that message…)

So, now that I’ve been reminded, I’m letting God’s universe of Love set me free every day. The worries do still nip at my heels. I fight fear and doubt daily. But, now, I’m sharing my struggles with people I trust. And you. Hope it helps.

Birthday. Birthday? Birthday!

Here’s to me on my 55th birthday!  I’ve gotten to that part of life when I’m glad to be alive and celebrating another one. Nevermind how the mirror is not working properly–showing me some older woman’s reflection. I know that I’m young on the inside, therefore I refuse to complain overmuchly about how “young people” butcher the English language (didja catch that? “overmuchly”), and aren’t even taught to write in script, and can’t read a regular clock, and who wear the kind of clothes I’ve seen on prostitutes in TV shows. Kids today!

Well I love ’em.  I love the challenge they present just by existing in the world with me.  In the college town where I live, students walking in the street, green solo cups in hand, wearing leprechaun hats and green beads, remind me of my good old days. Including the ones where I learned what I definitely did not ever want to do again.

I love the babies in strollers and remember my own bewildering and bewitching baby, now a bewildering and bewitching teen. I love the kids toddling around at Panera who explore the open space near the fireplace, like the pre-schooler who plopped into the chair next to mine this week and gravely warned me “You can’t get too close to the fire, or it will hurt you.”  I love the kids jaywalking across Main Street in skinny jeans and black Doc Martens.  I think I should get another pair. They still make the same ones I wore 25-ish years ago.  Man, I like those shoes.

I love older young people. They are dealing with huge issues, some I never had to deal with at their age. I love when they share their pain, and I get to listen and love and help a little. I love to find out what music they listen to, too. Too many people say to me how there’s no good music anymore. Not true! Don’t believe anyone who says this. Find a radio station or YouTube channel or live venue in your town and GO!

I love that my grandmother and father were so youthful in their own ways, and how my mother is so young even in her eighties. My mother, who loves the new music at church along with the old.  Who says, “You have to change, or you’re not growing.” (A shout out to my cousins here. They are young-at-heart, and the coolest.)

I love the child I was and my youthful nature. Through all the struggles of life, including dealing with my quirky self, I find myself feeling profoundly grateful. ‘Cause I learned how. How to be grateful for it all. How to struggle through. I learned that life is short. I learned that every single person, at every age, has something to give, a gift so important and just for me.

Thank you, everyone in the world.  You’ve meant everything to me, and I mean it. I need you. We need each other.  Preferably working together toward the common good. Now, go do that. I’m gonna eat cake. ‘Cuz it’s my birthday, and I can.  

♥ ♥ ♥ Peace ♥ ♥ ♥

Yes, My Eyes Are Glued To My Phone

imageAll these cartoons and snide comments about people using their phones and other devices kind of irritate me. You’ve seen ’em. Like so much other commentary flying around social media, these are smug judgments about how people at dinner tables are immersed in what’s on their devices or taking pics of the beach instead of looking at the actual view.  Some of you reading this probably squirmed at my use of the abbreviated word “pics,” didn’t you?  I know this, because I do that myself sometimes. We humans (or is just Americans?) tend to use something helpful and then run with it.  Vitamin C comes to mind.  Too much supplemental Vitamin C can mess with your kidneys.  So we overuse our phones and forget the other beings in our vicinity.

We are also a judgmental species, a trait that, I guess, stops us from drinking sour-smelling milk and attaching ourselves to people who threaten our security.  (Oh, wait–I do that a lot… But that’s a topic for another post.)

Well I just want to say that I’m writing this post on my phone in a coffee shop right now, people, and I like it.  You may even be reading this on your mobile device. So, take it easy, pooh-poohers of all things strange and wonderful!  Technology isn’t inherently evil. Neither is choosing to use it in public or within groups, IMHO. This morning, I read my meditation, checked email, messaged a lonely friend, and replenished my daughter’s lunch account, all on my phone.  I’m enjoying my quiet time away from home, where there are too many distractions.

You perhaps are now thinking of those folks you know who are always their phones in your presence, even when you’re having a conversation, even when you’re really, really needing them to listen, for God’s sake!

I know; I have been on both sides of that situation. There is definitely a need for device use etiquette. I think the rules are the same as any other social environment: when you’re talking with someone, give them your attention. Look them in the eye. Use some sort of cue to let them know you heard. Respond. And, if you’re bothered by their phone addiction, tell them.  I have a friend who does this in the nicest way, and now I put my phone away when I’m visiting with her and other humans. One exception: I always glance to see if a text or call is from my kid or other family.

We can handle our phones the same way we’d put down the newspaper or book we’re reading. As for the dinner table? Same rules as always: no reading (or gaming or Instagramming) at the table, kids!  (Or at the party. Or in church.). Unless, of course, the entire group is reading/playing/posting together, which is great fun.

So there’s my 2 cents. I had a great time writing the above at my place before the fire in the coffee shop.  BTW, I had a great conversation with my poet friend after that. My phone was across the room in my purse.

Peace and Joy.

There are books on Amazon about device use etiquette. Here’s one that looks good, although I haven’t read it yet: Electronic Etiquette: Cell Phones, Netiquette, Social Media? Oh my…

 

Still In The Eating Phase

IMG_5046Before the holidays, as you may have read, I started reading “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I haven’t gotten very far; I’m still reading about her eating phase in Italy.  I’ve also been in my own eating phase–eating the last of the Christmas chocolates, eating up time as I hibernate with my bestie Mr. Netflix. Also eating up the good and light-filled spiritual messages that manage to penetrate my January stupor.

It’s OK, though.  I’m OK.  No need to be hard on myself. Just changing gears, as I seem to always be doing, as we all have to do. Some things I happily eat up (not caring so much about others’ opinions, setting boundaries). Some things have been forced down my throat (my husband’s cancer, aging, my child taking Driver’s Ed). And some things I invite right in, despite the harm. (“Hello, Negativity!”  “Hello, Apathy!” “Hello, Overwhelm!” “C’mon in!”)

Do I want to feel terrible?  Sometimes it seems that way.  But I don’t love feeling terrible.  There are too many fantastic things to enjoy, and heaven knows how little time to enjoy them.

I gave a pep talk to my teenager recently about trying a different approach to the same struggles.  I told her about the idea that humans will usually stick to what’s comfortable, that we tend to keep doing things the same way, even if we don’t really like being there, because there’s some kind of psychological benefit we’re getting.       Maybe someone will feel sorry for us.  Maybe we’re afraid of what’s next.  Maybe we need to wrestle with something before we can let it go.

I’m calling this post “Still In The Eating Phase,” because it really is just a phase.  The heartache, frustration, impatience, fear–whatever we feel about our situations–is just a part of the whole of our lives.  We can go ahead and be in the good/bad/ugly of it.  We can decide not to spend too much time there.  Then we can find a way to let it go, even if it’s a little at a time, even through our sobs or our rages.  (Heck, I am the biggest kicker and screamer I know.  God has to sometimes drag me by the ear ’til I finally make the change, the change I asked for.)  I say:

Go for it!  Embrace where you are. Become ready to let it go.

Then, go do what you love.


Feeling my feelings is one of the tools in my healing toolbox.  It’s an ever-growing arsenal.  What phase are you in?  What are your go-to helps?  Comment or Email. You may say something that someone really needs to hear.

An interesting article: “Are You Addicted To Unhappiness?”

To buy the book, click here: Eat Pray Love


 

 

RE-Vision: A New Year To Play With

Here’s what I wrote on FaceBook early in this new year:

I usually come up with a personal theme each new year, a guiding thought. This year, it’s “Do what you love.” As I regroup after a hectic holiday season, I think about the 5 a.m. wakeup tomorrow to get my dear daughter up for her first day back to school. Blechhh! I don’t want to leave my cozy holiday cocoon–morning coffee in the glow of Christmas tree lights, pondering the lyrics of seasonal music, the warmth of connecting with so many dear people these past weeks. Going back to the old and usual doesn’t feel much like doing what I love, but isn’t it, really? And, if not, what will I do to change it? So, tomorrow, I’ll make it my good pleasure to wake up with my daughter. It’ll be my joy to sit down at my computer, work on my blog, pay bills, and put in some hours at my job. Do the dishes, plan dinner, solve some personal problems, take down the Christmas tree. All in peace and comfort, and with joy. Until God sends me to do something else. That’ll be something I love, too; I know it.

Ah, so sweet and peaceful was I…

Here’s what my FB post, had I written one then, would read a mere three days later:

Peace and comfort and joy? Yeah, right! Getting my teenager out the door for school after a long holiday vacation is like waiting for molasses to pour out of a measuring cup and into the bowl. The last time I signed her into school late, I wrote in the Reason For Lateness column: “Ask her!”  The Christmas tree’s needles are crunchy and brown and falling off in waves, and why did I feel compelled to put so many dang ornaments on it?!? Our kitchen counters aren’t cleaned off all the way yet, and the laundry is piled high in the bedroom. We need groceries, and my dear mother needs a ride to the dentist. I have work (the kind that pays) to do.  I’m tired!  Next year, I’ll handle Christmas differently…

Uh-huh. Maybe. But, instead of getting on my own case about what’s done and what needs doing, I’m deciding to let it all the heck GO!  And be easy on myself, for heaven’s sake.

In October, I revised my list of goals/visions from last year, labeling it “REVISION.” Here’s a piece of it:

REvisionList

I jotted this on a tiny piece of note paper in about 6 minutes.  A very inspired and inspiring woman encouraged me years ago to write a list of what I wanted down on paper, to create a  vision for my life, in detail. She’d done it and wound up achieving what she’d envisioned.  I didn’t attempt mine until years later. Recently, to my surprise, when I looked over the things on my first one, almost everything had been achieved, acquired, or improved. (Cool, right?)  So I had to write a new one!

Why don’t you try writing a vision list? Here’s what I did:

  • Sat in a coffee shop, alone, having hot coffee and an egg sandwich.
  • Realized how right and good it is for me to eat a decent breakfast.
  • Looked at my FaceBook notifications on my phone.
  • Realized it might be better for me to put the dang phone down and enjoy my food and the atmosphere and the freedom I have to just be there in that cute little coffee shop.
  • Felt cranky because it was too warm for October in my neck of the woods.
  • Felt cranky because I thought I would know by then what I was going to do next with my life.
  • Realized it’s good to be in touch with my feelings, and even better to do something about them.
  • Eventually started to notice what I was thinking about.
  • Put what I was thinking about on paper, using one of my favorite pens. Plus, the paper was from a note pad that one of my favorite peeps gave me.
  • Realized for the zillionth time that, noticing is important, starting with noticing how I’m doing, if I’m hungry, what I’m longing for.
  • Realized I felt extremely grateful.
  • Whispered “Thank You” to God.

FYI: I wrote this second list in October. Now it’s time to write the next one.  Because all but one thing on this list has happened.  Exciting! Top of the next list?  “Do what I love”–my aforementioned theme for this new year. I’m pretty sure I’ll be posting some day about how that’s going.

If you write a vision list for yourself, I’d sure like to know what it was like for you, how you did it, and/or how things are happening in your life as a result. You can comment on this post, or send a message. And, always, I appreciate getting “Likes” on my posts, if you’re so inclined.  Thanks for reading!

BTW:  The talented and kind woman who inspired me to write my first list is Kathy Dempsey. I read her first book, Shed or You’re Dead 31 Unconventional Strategies for Growth & Change, which tells her hard-to-believe personal story and how it inspired her to achieve mucho success inspiring others.  You can get to her web site here.

 

Eating, Praying & Loving Through The Holidays

The celebrated and movie-fied book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert lived in the dusty back row of my bookshelf for over a year.  I tried reading it once before, but got hung up on this sentence in the introduction:

“Sincere spiritual investigation is, and always has been, an endeavor of methodical discipline.”

I’m not a big fan of the D-word: discipline.  (If you know me, you are probably shaking your head vigorously in agreement. Stop it! 😙)  Anyhow, my spiritual path has been guided more by J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Not all those who wander are lost.”

I’ve started reading Eat Pray Love again, because I had the movie on recently while cleaning out my side of the bedroom 😷 in preparation for Christmas.  I found myself cleaning only during the commercials and sitting on the bed watching when the movie came back on.  So, I decided to read the book as a sort of meditation, a focus, for the month of December.

Elizabeth Gilbert’s story speaks to some Very Big Questions with which I’ve been wrestling for years.  In particular, why am I, a so-called cradle Lutheran, steeped in church tradition and Bible-reading and such–so extremely uncomfortable with the idea that the only path to the Divine (whom I call God) is through a rigid script that goes something like this:   1) Realize you’re a sinner.  2) Repent from all your sin.  3)  Confess your sins to Jesus.?

I mean, what about the person sitting on a rock somewhere in Jabip in the mountains.  What if they don’t know the salvation formula?

I know; I know: Paul said in the book of Romans in the Bible that here’s how you are saved.  Please don’t get your Christian panties in a bunch.  Couldn’t we just entertain the idea that people need to embrace living in Love and then share that Love with everyone?  Wouldn’t living in Love be our salvation?

Okay, I’m not looking for a debate here. I’m a big fan of Jesus. He has shown me the way to heaven, although I’m not talking about where I go when I die; I’m talking about where I’m already a citizen and where I can learn how to act like it.

But I digress.

Two-ish years ago, my husband began a before-mentioned (in another post or two) cancer-curing journey. Three months before that was the surgery on the back of my teenager’s skull to give her brain enough space to hang free. Before that, five emergency trips to the hospital in two months for my mom.

They all got better, thank God!  Except for me.  I got worse.  I’ve spent the last year-ish recovering from the worry and hurry of addressing my loved ones’ needs. (FYI I’d do it all again for them.)  I’ve been learning lots and, in the process, shedding a whole lot of stuff that has weighed me down for years, stuff that had become a habit.  Fear. Worry. Dread. Hopelessness. Guilt. Toxic Shame. Hesitation to act on my own behalf. Caring about what people think about what I’m doing or how I look. Self-Criticism. Wondering endlessly about getting it right spiritually.

That last one is the latest to go.  Worrying about my questions about Jesus’ purpose and plan for me and all people. You see, I noticed that Jesus did something amazing for humanity, yes, and also said that we would do greater things than he did.  There are so many places in the Bible that hang me up, that make the God of the Universe that I know so unrecognizable that I’ve been known to toss the whole notion of God right out the nearest stainglass window.

You see, I see God (aka Love) in people who don’t profess Jesus as their savior.  I’ve seen God in people who do bad things. (Ahem! Like, all of us.)  I saw God in a dog the other day. Really!  Here’s her pic:

Gloria Closeup

And let me say here that I know the hackles of many a Christian will be raised by these notions I’m putting forth. I know that they will point to the Bible and say, “It says right here that…”  But I have a problem with that.  I think that, perhaps, we’ve gotten the Bible a little wrong here and there. I can’t see God excluding anyone, for any reason, from His/Her Love. I can’t. It’s too capricious. God isn’t capricious. The Universe is designed to be good to all, isn’t it, no matter how we act? God The Father & Mother Of The Universe is loving, supportive, perfect, inclusive, forgiving. Right?

Or, perhaps we can lovingly agree to disagree.  And we can pray for each other.

Back to my story. What I’m reading in Eat Pray Love is resonating deeply in me. It’s about emotional and spiritual and geographic journeys.  It’s about leaps of faith. I relate to so much in what I’ve read so far.  Five months ago, I left my job of umpteen years. Didn’t know why at the time, but I needed to.  Since then, I learned that I’d been living with lung-restricting stress from all those family emergencies, and that I needed self care in a way I’d never needed it before.  That realization has brought me to mind-blowing heights of insight and inspiration, and down to my knees as I surrender, one by one, my need to hang on to unhealthy habits of thinking and doing and being.  I know I’m loved by the Lover Of Everyone In The Universe.

Today I see madness in my city, country and all over the world. I’m shocked, as I’m sure you are, at the daily news of bloodshed, political shenanigans, unbridled greed, and…but, wait!  I remember to stop daily, breathe, and I see what I have, where I’ve been, and that Love is with me.  I’m eating good spiritual food. I’m praying for and consciously loving everyone, including the people I see as enemies. I’m terrible at it, sometimes.  I don’t let that stop me, though.  Please don’t let it stop you.

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I’m an Amazon Associate.  If you want the book, click here: Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia  by Elizabeth Gilbert.

My Survival Toolbox When Facing An Emotional Meltdown

A great post on a great blog called “Emotional Sobriety: Friends & Lovers.”

Emotional Sobriety Means Healing Mind, Body, and Soul

16111868174_d5d684d63b_zI use the following resources when I feel I have lost my way:

1.  “The Guest House” by Rumi (check out his other writings):

“This being human is a guest house, every morning, a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness. Welcome and entertain them all, even is they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of all its furniture. Still treat each guest honorably, they may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice: meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.  Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

2.  From 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem (author-Glenn Schiraldi:

“S.C. Hayes reminds us that we all carry burdens–perhaps memories, partially healed wounds, worries, self-doubts, or fears. Rather than trying to ignore, deny, or hide these, you can…

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Tools For Slogging Through Mud

I was SO attached to the summer.  And now, it’s over.

I use the change of seasons to learn again to adjust to things I can’t control. My latest railings are against, among other things, aging, cancer, fall allergies, and government gone amok.

And rude people.

So many people seem to have big control issues. (Never me–ha!) Why do some folks have to drive like maniacs so they can cut in front of me ONE SPACE?  What’s going on with those who are constantly IN MY BUSINESS, telling me what I ought to do as if I’m four years old?  Those people.  And, what about the ones who decide who and who cannot come worship the God of love in the same space as they do?

Rude.

But, then I remember.  I am like them sometimes, and so are you.  Perfectly imperfect humans. Unless you’re the Dalai Lama.  Or Jesus.

Dang!

With lots of help from many sources, and because I was in so much emotional pain way back when, I learned mostly the hard way about the fragile balance of controlling: what’s mine -vs- what’s yours to take care of.  As a codependent type, I still sometimes struggle (despite all the growth I’ve experienced) with trying not to steer someone else’s ship, or, conversely, letting them steer mine.  Then there’s the way I can avoid people (instead of having a conversation) when they’ve overstepped my boundaries.  It’s complicated.  But I have come really far and generally am free of the huge, hairy, codependent thingy tugging at my heart.

As always, the keys are to keep at it and find (and frequently use) tools–books, meditation, videos, humans who listen, stickies on the mirror, connecting with my inner Artist–anything that helps, because working on your issues should, IMHO, never be done without the perspective of connecting with someone or something outside your messed-up self.  I have a growing list of proven (i.e., in my experience) tools here.

There have been healing tools I’ve tried which haven’t worked for me, so my sterling advice is:

Use what works for you

Again, I say: use what works for you. It sounds trite, but I spent too much stress-producing time trying something that I sensed was not for me–another codependent behavior.  So, yeah, use what works for you.

Be good to yourself!  I’d love to hear about your own journey. Just comment below.

Here are links to a couple of books on my shelf and/or iPad® that have helped save me from myself and from Mother Nature:

          

COLORING BLUE

A FRIEND BROUGHT ME TWO COLORING BOOKS  when I was hugely pregnant at age 39 and suffering with tree-trunk ankles.  My particular (read “peculiar”) emotional state could have been described, I guess, as “touchy, stressed, and a little crazy.”

My relationship with my husband was, at the time, very strained.  I was filled with fear about how to have a baby and what to do with it when it arrived.  Oh, yeah, and my father had died just months before the baby was due.

So, I guess I had a lot to be stressed about.  Ya think?

The coloring books my friend brought were nothing like I’d seen before.  They were printed on translucent, plasticky stuff, and the drawings were beautiful, one book of angel pictures, and one of butterflies.  Along with the books, my friend gave me a brand new set of colored pencils.  She gently told me I could color and relax while I put my swollen feet up.  It was a small act of great love, and I did as she suggested.

And it helped me through.

Self care is a litany I recite often and practice slightly less-often.  I always come back to it, though, as I do in my posts.  Coloring is in my Self-Care Toolbox, along with doodling with pencils, good pens, or Sharpie® markers.  It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it.  I pride myself on coloring outside the lines, actually.

Go ahead and find something to do with your hands that frees your mind from worry and fear for a little while.  While you’re at it, you may find yourself praying or meditating or even hearing from God. (It happens to me!)  Washing dishes does it for me.  So does showering or driving or cutting up vegetables for dinner.  But coloring doesn’t ever feel like a chore.  And it’s COLORFUL.  I need more of that in my life, don’t you?

Oh, FYI:  colored pencils didn’t work well on the translucent pages, so I switched to my trusty Sharpie®s.  Crayons worked, too.  I suggest you check out what kind of material the book is made of and use what works.

Here’s one of the books my friend gave me. You can click on it to buy from Amazon, if you’d like.  They have loads of other ones, too.

And here are a couple I’m putting on my wish list for Christmas:

Click On Images To Purchase