A bit of book…

Adopting Elizabeth cont…

Mother seeing children off to schoolI could not believe what was happening. No! I was crushed. I felt small and lost. I was irate, too, but there was no one to call out to; no one to come to my aid. This punishment did not fit the crime, but it mattered not. There would be no second chance, no reprieve granted based on the extraordinary circumstances. As my classmates filed out leaving me behind, I could hear some of them snickering. The nun didn’t seem to notice.

An old building, the school’s floors creaked and groaned under the shuffle and weight of kids, teachers, and the visitors convening in the central foyer. The classroom where I sat was only steps from the spot where my mother would be standing now. Behind her, along one wall in that foyer, a full sized statue stood on an ornately carved pedestal. The Blessed Virgin, robed in blue with the infant Jesus perched on her right arm, watched over everyone. From her vantage point, she never missed a thing. My mind’s eye was creating the scene unfolding out there. Oh how I wanted to sneak to the door and look out. I did not. I was too afraid to move.

When I heard the introductions begin, my heart sank and a lump formed in my throat. My poor mother! She was surely smiling and nodding, scanning the crowd for any sign of me. She could have no idea that in seconds she would be mortified in front of all these people. My thoughts drifted to home and how much trouble I’d be in. My parents did not hit, but I could not help but wonder if this exploit would change that. It would be my father’s job to dish out the sentence.

As the applause ended, the sound of the principal’s voice snapped me back into the present. She was asking where I was. I heard Mother Petronella’s raspy voice reply forcefully, with no hint of apology, that I had been a bad girl, broken the rules, and was being punished accordingly. My mother’s disappointment and profound embarrassment oozed through the rough-hewn plaster walls and I started to cry.

****

When young, time ticks slowly and so although that day seems ages ago, it was in fact, less than two years. As I walked past the statue of Mary this morning, I realized she would have known all about who I was back then, too. Looking up at her glossy eyes, I wondered if she understood and felt pity for me. Did she think I had been wronged that day? I always felt I had. Would she perform a miracle for me today by erasing the past and making my nightmarish present reality change? Please, I begged. Please!

Remembering the events from before made this things worse which, seemed impossible because really, how could things get any worse? But knowing that all these teachers surely knew about me, everybody including Mother Petronella, was almost too much to bear. She probably acted as she did toward me and Mom because of it. Being adopted is a bad thing to be. She must have held my mother in derision for taking me in. Maybe my presence sullied her somehow and punishing us absolved her for having to teach me; be near something so wicked. She retained an air of smugness toward us after that. It was then I realized if I critiqued others’ treatment of me from this new perspective, a lot of people acted the way the old nun did.

As I sat down at my desk, I prayed that Mary would take me to heaven.

To be continued…

My wish tonight is for sun. Night is beautiful, a time of regeneration, rest, and calm. Seeds germinate in the darkness. Sleep comes. Peace. But we can also hide away bits of ourselves in the dark. Yes, it is okay to seek in the depths of solitude and quiet, but there comes a time when the light is needed. Invite it in. Do not be afraid. It illuminates a path for us out of the darkness.  Here comes the sun, little darlin’!

Until tomorrow…

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Joyously joyful…

EscarpmentOkay. No word of a lie, I’ve had a great day. No, an epic day laden with helpful people, good choices, and the road rising up to meet me. Tis good to be Irish…or anything else for that matter.

The plan today was to get those containers destined for the UK, to Toronto. I finished packing them, carried them up the hill to the parking area, and shrink wrapped them. I hoisted them in the car: two in the trunk, three in the backseat, and one rode shotgun. Roughly one cubic metre weighing about 250 pounds. I’ll tell you, carrying that last one up to the car was a slog. But, (patting myself on the back), I did it. I left at 11 AM which was part of the plan to avoid the heaviest traffic.

Finding Brytor International was easy enough but joy of joys, it was the warm greeting and help that was super sweet. Of course, not having to lift another box was icing. Whew. And things just kept getting better.

Anthony (my patient contact) tells me I had been correct with the information forwarded for the initial quote, so all that was left was for me to do was sign the papers. Chatting, I found out that the first load went across for probably half of what it should have cost me, so I felt pretty good about that. I’m becoming a bit of a reluctant expert when it comes to moving. The overseas move is coming in about $3000.00+ less than it should have. The move west is about $200 – $300.00 less.

Anywho, that piece of the puzzle is done and I’m lighter. Isn’t that the way, though? You do something that needs doing, and you reduce mind clutter. Relief! And that alone might have been enough to make the day fantastic, but it wasn’t that.

On the way home, passing by the escarpment, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of gratitude. A deep blue black sky travelled beside me to the north, while the sun and blue sky accompanied me on the south side. All the colours dotting the ancient rock formation against that contradictory sky was the stuff of the Group of Seven. A stunning scene. But that wasn’t it, either.

What it was, why I was so moved, was realizing that I am very, very blessed.

Tonight my wish is a quote by Marianne Williamson.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Until tomorrow…

Writing right…

Unlock Your Mind 28So today’s blog is a rant-y one. Messages, lessons, and opportunities. So much to learn. Will it ever end?!?

No. It’s not supposed to.

Okay, can I get it right? Yes, that’s the good news. The bad news is then I will move on because new messages, or challenges will present themselves. Arrgh!

Here’s what’s bugging me. Other folks’ behaviour BUT that just means I’m missing something. It’s not about them. If I get upset about something, or someone as is the case, it’s my issue. Not theirs. Hard lessons, though, damn hard.

OH, and if you’re asking what brought this on, a big beef is that I’m really unhappy with my writing these days. The sentence structure in my book is sloppy, the expression juvenile and trivial. I’m disappointed in myself so everything else balloons. Not to worry, though. All’s well, really. This is just a wobble. I’ll get my groove back. I just need to work harder and that’s perfectly fine. I’m up for it. Okay, now back to the other crap.

There’s probably two things that are getting under my skin with a degree of consistency. One is forgetting to acknowledge when help is given. (I kind of wish we had award ceremonies for the little things.) Thanking people is a holy practice. There are folks in our lives that go WAY out of their way to help us. Not acknowledging their efforts in a fair and public manner is hurtful. Period. And by the way, we don’t have to like them, but we do have to thank them. Without their assistance, or mere presence, we’d not have done whatever it is we are on about having done.

I’m learning this lesson gradually finding it cuts both ways. I’m a lone wolf, no question about it, but there are SO MANY people who have reached deep to help me. When looking at my life from this perspective, I’ve blessings too numerous to count. My life is beyond awesome, chockablock with helping hands. So it is with a large dollop of respectful humility that I say “thank you” to a list in my head that’s getting longer by the second. I think I’ll write their names down and keep them close.

The second and last issue today is finding fault, which is ugly enough, but there’s an addendum to this; finding fault with everything and going a step further to shut down another voice when it speaks out with a strong opinion. Annoying!

With both these things, I’ve a chance to act more kindly and extend more compassion to myself and others. As soon as I’m perfect, I can judge. Until that time, I’m called to get off my high horse, and serve the best way I can. That’s what’s fun about this blog and the re-do. I can write, putting out there, stuff that I’m trying to be. I do want to be the person who is openly grateful, publicly thankful, and who acts kindly toward others. I want to be able to disengage from toxicity but still send love to the situation. Obviously, I’ve a long way to go, but accepting my flaws is a compassionate move, too. I’m trying.

My wish tonight is a personal one. I wish to be a better writer. I’ve a cornucopia of storyscapes inside me, words and thoughts, all wanting to spill out on the figurative paper. The long held self-criticisms are fine as long as they spur me on to work smarter, write more constructively, and simply keep going in spite of it all.

All about the fear…

StrapI went to see “Martian” tonight. It’s superb. If you enjoy movie going, treat yourself. I love Matt Damon…sigh. LOL

Another bit from Adopting Elizabeth, as promised.  It’s no Matt Damon movie, but I hope it’ll be to your liking nonetheless.

“When in the first grade, my teacher was a nun known as Mother Petronella. Unlike most of my peers, I had already been to school. Precocious and needing structure, my parents had enrolled me in a Protestant school not far from our home for kindergarten classes. I went three days a week and loved it, so my expectations were high. I knew the full week would suit me perfectly. But this nun was not the pretty and kindly Mrs. Laing.

At first glance Mother Petronella seemed an odd choice to instruct such young children. She was older than most of the other teachers. But it was her disciplinary techniques she was most admired for. She knew how to keep youthful minds focussed and little bodies, still. At year’s end, students left her classroom well prepared for what was to come so other teachers were grateful to her.

Her rules were adhered to from the start because of the strap. We learned all too soon what the broad, thick, belt like piece of leather was for. She would slap her skirts with it while walking between us. If anyone was chatting or daydreaming, a desktop would reverberate with a loud “plonk” when the leather hit wood. Approximately two feet in length, Mother Petronella’s weapon of choice was always close by. She seemed to delight in intimidating us with it. No one doubted she would use it on us because she told us she would. And, since corporal punishment was common practice, we knew it was only a matter of time before she would make good on her threat.

She seemed to particularly dislike the boys, boxing their ears and cuffing them across the head if they lagged behind, or mumbled, as boys do. Before long, one of them spoke back to her. We froze as he was ordered to the front of the classroom. Shortly, we got to hear the sound the strap makes when it contacts flesh. Goosebumps covered me and I tried to look away, but could not. I stared, mesmerized by fear and curiosity, holding my breath as the flopping leather is swept into the air with the command, “Hold out your hand and keep it still!” The little criminal, his freckled face turning to crimson, fails to remain stoic in spite of his best effort. The tears come and the snot follows. She berates him repeatedly, directing her words toward us with quick and direct glances. Once spent, she sends him back to his seat. I cannot say for certain, but I think she was smiling.

When it came my turn to bear the sting of Mother Petronella’s wrath, it was very public. She did not beat me, but I wish she had. The wounds she gave me were deeper and more permanent than any the strap would have given. Recalling that event today, I see the irony in it.

An assembly had been scheduled weeks prior with my mother the keynote speaker. As president of the Women’s Hospital Auxiliary, she was coming to educate all of us about the work and contributions of the charity she proudly managed. I was very excited, happy to show off because my mother was the honoured guest. My enthusiasm mounted as the time drew close.

According to the rules, we had a procedure to follow when getting up. We stood in an ordered fashion on the count of three. One: sit up straight. Two: swing legs to the right. Three: stand. In my childish exuberance that morning, I stood on the count of two. Mother Petronella glared at me and demanded that I sit back down. Assuming I was being asked to perform the ritual properly, I began, only to hear her laughing. “No. You will sit and stay there. There will be no assembly for you.” ”

My wish tonight is for hugs and kisses. That’s it. Just hugs. And. Kisses. Give them, take them, give and take some more. Exquisite, yes?

Until tomorrow…

With help…

FallBeautiful weather here today. Soft autumnal breeze, lots of sun, and warm enough to go jacketless. A perfect fall day, actually. At work, I tested my first truly blind client. What? Well, even legally blind folks might pick up fragments of light and movement somewhere in their visual field under certain circumstances. This dear soul, however, has no acuity in one eye at all, as we found out today. The other eye is not great, but allows for limited vision. That seeing eye has adapted. The body, however, continues to be ravaged by the diabetes that is gradually erasing sight.

Often, I have compared attitudes about, and responses to, depression with diabetes. People diagnosed with it, accept the latter disease, take their insulin and watch for symptoms of wonky sugar levels. They sigh resignedly when told their lives are likely to be cut short, their limbs weakened sooner than normal, their eyesight challenged, etc. They accept the prognosis, get their prescription, and go about their day. They do not hide. They are not ashamed. Even if they’ve abused themselves and were told this end was possible, they bear little or no responsibility. And this is acceptable.

Why is depression so different? Here’s a question for you: If you had your druthers, would you make yourself ill? I’m going out on a limb with the answer, NO. So why is a mentally ill person stigmatized and shunned?

Nobody sneaks around when they’re sick. Uh uh. They discuss their symptoms on Facebook then get their arse to a doctor, or the hospital. Depressives seldom speak. Sad but too true.

Part of the problem is our reluctance to seek professional advice. It suggests some kind of failure. I still feel that way, but know without doubt that I’d be long gone if I’d not sought a doctor’s help. Here’s a thought. Like most illnesses, let’s get folks to the experts first, and then, let those people make a diagnosis. Once a problem is discovered, a solution can be determined.

Studies prove that radical changes in diet, weight-loss, increased exercise and adequate rest with relaxation, bring better balance to the diabetics’ sugar levels. If these adjustments don’t reverse the disease, changes in lifestyle certainly slow the degenerative effects. Given help, our bodies can adjust, shift, and adapt, get well, or at least, better. But it means making real change.

Similarly, depressives can alter their long term. Like our bodies, our minds are magically able to adapt, but we need help, guidance, and support to do the work. Sound like most illnesses? Yep.

My wish tonight is for appreciation. Let’s remind ourselves about the blessings we do have. Let’s list the good things only. What are you grateful for in this moment? It’s easy to find tragedies, and sorrows. They are a part of all our lives, too. But let’s get back to the joys, and send love, and light to those suffering. Maybe our prayer will enable them to share in the appreciation of a beautiful fall day.

Until tomorrow…

Still breathing…

meditateAt one point after going to bed last night, I almost got up to write, but thought better of it and finally fell asleep. The idea keeping me awake, however, is still with me so I’m going to make it the topic of tonight’s blog.

When I first dreamt up “from Prozac to Zen”, it was to be a platform to write (talk) about surviving depression. Because procrastination is a nasty habit, there was no follow through happening. I did keep talking about it, but let worry about what the blog would look like, how it would unfold, and whether I could write well enough, keep me from doing it.

On my birthday, my daughter laughed at me and said, “Why don’t you just do it.” It goes without saying, I did, but started with a challenge: To post for 365 days, re-doing myself by whatever means, along the way.

There was nothing formal, no story-board, no lists or spreadsheets, just an unfettered intention to appraise myself publicly, and along with honest retrospection, illuminate behaviours causing me harm. As awareness grew, so would accountability. The topics would show themselves each day. It was more important to blog daily and keep that promise than concern myself with content. Needless to say, the topic of depression was somewhat shelved until last night, that is. Down from its perch it came demanding an audience.

Over these 200 plus days, I have touched on many parts of my history. I have shared my diagnosis. I have sugar-coated much of the struggle, stigmatization, and strife caused by this disease, however. Why? I’m unable to adequately describe in 500 words – give or take – the throes of a depressive episode. There is a morose tendency to romanticize this disease and I needed to steer clear of that. Also, I’m a survivor. That’s what I wanted to highlight but fear I have occasionally trivialized the issue.

“Adopting Elizabeth” is a fictionalized version of my childhood. As I work toward its completion, memories flood back. Cathartic for the most part, acknowledging my own lies and well kept secrets, is hard. Disseminating actions not influenced by mental illness is almost impossible for me. But it’s not about excuses. Not at all. It’s about forgiveness.

When still a single digit, I tried to figure out how to die. It seems unimaginable that someone so young, and so innocent, could be in so much pain that death was desired. Deterioration, however, was rapid and the depression, relentless. Although there were several suicide attempts over the years, fate intervened each time. I am deeply grateful for that intervention.

So what’s this about forgiveness? Well, I have come a long way, working faithfully to get well. Forgiving others is easy for me now. Myth and misunderstanding surrounds all kinds of mental illness. Even the experts cannot concur, so blaming anyone else’s failure to cope or help is actually stupid. Few “get it”. Trust me. Fewer still can really help. Regardless, it is necessary to forgive others if you are prone to blaming. Stop the story about how so-and-so did such-and-such. Stop it. It’s not helping. At all.

The next step is self-forgiveness. I can pretend well enough. I can say the disease made me do it, and maybe it did, but I still need to take responsibility and make changes that help myself. I’ve hurt others, no question. I’ve hurt myself. I’ve squandered most of my gifts and talents. I’ve put myself and others in dangerous situations. I’ve lied. I’ve cheated.

I’ve also tried to do good. I’ve tried to live well. I’ve tried to love. A lot of my trying was a fuck-upped mess. At least I tried. And, I’m still trying.

As the mind removes the thick, well-formed cobwebs of psychoses, right actions begin to flow. Slippages are to be expected, but they become less. Patience is very becoming, yes?

My wish tonight is that we listen. Just listen. Listen to the birds, the wind in the trees. No judgment when you hear honking horns, crying babies, or barking dogs. Listen. Go beyond the sound. That’s mindfulness. Quiet the mind. Listen. Be still. Know. Just know. Ah ha.

Until tomorrow…

Short…

DancersAlthough it was rainy and cold today, it was a glorious day. I’m happy. No, I’m no further along on my ‘journey’ at all, but I feel positive about everything. And, I am grateful being here, safe and warm, and supported.

When I write supported, my fingers stumble a bit over the keys. Perspective. Attitude. If I feel supported, I am. And as soon as I see myself as that, it is so. It’s that simple.

I’ve a wee cold so my head’s fuzzy. You know that upper sinusy ache when you’re blowing your nose all the time? All is well, otherwise, just a bug that’s decided to settle in for a bit. It’s a good reminder to me to watch my fluid intake, take vitamins D and C, and avoid dairy. Mucus is not my friend, and there are a lot of things I can do to avoid getting overrun by it. LOL

Have any of you watched Adele’s new video for “Hello”? Goodness, she’s a force. While watching, I got to thinking about the range of emotion she conveys in her lyrics and voice. She’s a chanteuse of depth and wonderful talent, no question. There’s such enthusiasm there. I want some.

So that’s my wish tonight. (Yes, short blog.) Enthusiasm. I know I’ve wished for it before, but tonight I understand the power it holds. It keeps you young, involved, interested, and active. Wanting to get up in the morning, throwing your arms wide open to both sun or the rain, dancing for no reason, and laughing just because, are all signs you’ve a zest for life. Hold those exuberant moments close to your heart, hug the joy they bring and then feel the enthusiasm they’ve inspired deep in your bones. Ah. Life is beautiful.

Until tomorrow…

Book…

INun can’t believe it’s been two weeks! I last posted from Adopting Elizabeth on October 7. I’ve got to get better at doing this. Another bit below.

“When the car stopped, I could not open the door. I was terrified; frozen with my head down and my hand on the door latch. I thought maybe I’d be like Lot’s wife and dissolve into a pile of salt as soon as I showed my face in the schoolyard. That would awful, but preferable to seeing, and being seen by, everyone.

“Honey, get out. I’ve got to get to the office, and you’re going to be late.”

He leaned toward me to open the door, but I beat him too it, avoiding his attempt to kiss me goodbye at the same time. I closed the car door without looking back.

Walking into the schoolyard was not easy. My legs felt like rubber pegs attached to lead feet. I managed to drag myself, one step at a time, toward a window by the doors. I scanned the scene peripherally, wondering when the pointing and jeering would start. I sat on the sill praying the bell would ring soon.

The basement windows were encased with green coated chain link fencing material to prevent breakage from things like sticks and balls and children who might fall against them. As I leaned against the wire, I desperately wanted to dissolve into it. I still felt a spooky, dirty kind of sick like you might feel when you did something you knew was bad. I had not done anything bad, though, had I?

In the schoolyard, most of the kids were behaving no differently than they would have any other day. In my mind, I don’t know what I thought would happen, but I suppose it was that everyone would want to shame me further the way kids can do. I was comforted slightly when my fears were not realized in full.

My so-called friends were standing in a corner near the door and surely discussing me, but that was to be expected. Two of them separated and made their way toward me. A lump formed in my stomach, but I steeled myself as best I could for what might be coming, and looked up. My mind was still all jumbled up in the chaos of new emotions and the words “just adopted” which, was obviously a despicable thing to be. Looking past them, I realized in that instant my whole world was new. Not the lucky kind of new, but an earthquake that wipes out your house and town and all the people you know, new. Before they spoke, the bell rang.

****

Catholic school circa 1960 was the domain of an order of nuns known as Ursulines. Pre Vatican II dictates were closely adhered to by the 20th century followers of Angela Merici, their 15th century foundress. When this particular group of Ursulines settled in Ontario, they erected a motherhouse and school in Chatham. Before long they were teaching in many Catholic schools in the region.

I loved these strange women who smelled of chalk and starch. Their faces, scrubbed clean, were mostly stern and expressionless. It was impossible to tell what shape they might actually have been underneath all that serge. Over two underskirts, they wore a black tunic belted at the waist by a woollen belt, and then covered it all with a scapular that draped loosely from neck to ankle. Another name I would sometimes hear for that last piece of fabric was holy habit. I was not sure why there were two names and wondered if there was some subtle difference in the apron-like attachments. Later, of course, I understood that by covering us, we women were made holier somehow.

What I liked most about their garb, however, was the coif, or headpiece, with its sweeping linen wimple. As comfortable as I assumed the dress was, I was sure all that stiff material on their heads and around their necks must be horribly uncomfortable. Still, for me, it all added to the mystery of them. I couldn’t imagine the dedication to routine required just dressing up every day, and always wondered if those beads hung from hooks at their waste, bruised their legs. At least they could not sneak up on anybody as the massive rosary would rattle, wood against metal, when they moved.

Walking past the two sentinel nuns at the GIRLS doorway that morning, their arms tucked under that holy habit as was custom, I wished I was one of them, grown up and protected by the folds of the habit. In my mind, I was towering over all these evil children, untouchable and powerful. My right hand was holding a yardstick in case anyone need a smack for talking, or falling out of line. Satan’s hand was free to graze the beads of my rosary, a constant reminder of Mary’s sacrifices and the glory of God, in whose name I would dole out mercy and punishment, equally. And I, in spite of being so young, knew a lot about the former and the latter.”

Wishing everyone a restful evening.

Until tomorrow…

Sleep inspired…

Dream1Today was especially sweet, starting after a good night’s sleep. Don’t ya just love those, the night’s when you sleep well, I mean? Since giving up all shapes and colours of booze, my sleep is better. My diet is also simpler which helps, too, methinks. For more years than I know because I didn’t keep track, I woke every two hours. You could set your watch by my pattern and it was getting to me. But finally, I’m sleeping and it feels really, really good. Of course, it’s not every night, not yet, but I’m working on that.

One sublime sub-text of a deep slumber are the dreams that show up. I adore dreaming. I think I’ve already mentioned my first psychologist was Jungian and therapy evolved via a discussion of my dreams. I learned tons as you might imagine. At some point, however, I gave up on analysing my dream narratives and subsequently stopped keeping track of them. I’m not suggesting I’m remotely ready to do either yet, but can feel the desire to get back there. I know it will help with my exploration of ye olde subconscious connection to some not-so-helpful triggers and the like. It’s been decades, but I’m pretty sure I remember enough to give it a go when I’m ready.

All this talk of dreams is making me tired. LOL

I wrote quite a bit today and am increasingly pleased with the content. Wow, who would have thunk? It’s only taken me twenty years. You can’t know (or maybe you can) what it’s going to feel like to write, The End. Fair enough, I’m months away from that, but it is happening. I mean, when I started this re-do, I had no idea what I was getting into and here we are, over 200 posts!!! Some have been better than others, and there’s been some vlogs along the way, too, but the real point is, I’ve done it. I’ve posted every day for over 200 days.

There has been repetition, yes. It’s not like I’m writing uniquely inspired discourses of between 500 and 700 words every night, but when I re-read all these at some point down the road, I hope at least a few of them will have been worthwhile in both thought and word. But hey, I’m not looking for accolades, just pondering, is all.

So, my wish tonight is for determination. When your heart is calling you into the woods, as it were, it can be challenging and oh-so-hard to keep your focus. Being determined to finish something, or start something, is good. We all know what it feels like to purge, yeah? Sometimes it is a big job! But if we keep our determination keen, we can clear that closet, clean that shed, and re-purpose a whack of stuff we’re not using. I’m determined to clear away anything and everything that is holding me back, or cluttering my vision. It might not be super easy, but the results will be super great.

Determinedly until tomorrow…

Perspective…

RoseToday’s been a pretty good day writing wise – yes, for real this time. I’ve come up with a plan to post book excerpts twice a week and I’m going to shoot for Tuesday and Friday. So, end of this week there’ll be some more of the story, and I hope you’ll enjoy.

I’m doing it this way because I’d really rather edit it a bit before posting it. My regular blogs aren’t edited and I’d like to deploy some real writing chops to ya’ll with this book. I’ve a lot more invested in that story overall. Anywho, that’s the plan for now. Heaven knows it could change in a breath.

So I talked to my English kid this morning who told me my goods have arrived. Yay. They got rained on so I’m a bit nervous about damage, but trust she’ll do her best to minimize it. Everything went into storage so it’s not like she could sort through it. Putting my faith in faith at this point. She did tell me that she’s getting really excited about me coming. That was lovely to hear. I shared some of my concerns and together we talked them through. Overall, I feel much better and am, likewise, getting anxious to get going. But you know that.

I had another learning today around language and love that I’m noticing more and more how sneaky our patterned responses are. It’s not enough to think generally, mantra platitudes, or gaze sanctimoniously from the 50,000 foot level. We have to inject the changes into common speech and be diligent about out words. They come from our thoughts, go into the ether before coming right back to us.

On Ellen, I saw a beautiful young man who broke his neck. Bam. Life changing. Thing is, he was smiling, laughing. His attitude was one of gratitude. It’s all about perspective, what you focus on, what you think.

Gratitude means just that. Being grateful. I am grateful. Watch that you don’t slip into the trap of saying, I should be more grateful. Uh uh. I. Am. Grateful.

You’ve a choice. Be happy in the moment, or tell yourself you’ll be happy. I. Am. Happy.

Happiness is a bi-product of gratitude. Truth.

Is life hard? If you say so, it is. Is life easy? If you say so, it is. Perspective. What’s yours? You can point out how there’s a war, or that life’s a mess, or how you broke your neck and are paralyzed, but what’s your real attitude about it all? Are you a victim, are you at the whim of all the shit around you, or…? Hey, it’s stuff. It’s going on. We all have to deal. How you feel and think about it informs your reality, though. What’s your perspective? Are you safe right now? Have you called your insurance company? Do you focus on getting a great wheelchair?

Perspective is everything. Happy people who feel grateful get caught in wars, have accidents, and break stuff. They cope, they smile, they look for and find, good. Their words do not reflect their difficulty, rather, their love of life and others.

Tonight I wish for the perspective born of happy gratitude.

Until tomorrow…