Gratitude

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How do you find gratitude in a world of never-ending suffering?  How do you find gratitude in your own life if you live with the chaos of anxiety, depression and panic disorders?

Finding gratitude is a journey as individual to each of us just as our lives are uniquely different.  For me,  when I could easily be consumed by my limitations or simply by the news cycle, I like to check in and make a dedicated effort to see things with a grateful heart.

Some days it’s easy to feel grateful.  I may have accomplished a goal, had a pleasant conversation with someone I love, or enjoyed a moment of calm and clarity.  On bad days, when everything seems to feel off, whether depressed or hyper anxious, it’s harder to feel grateful. Oftentimes, on hard and challenging days, I need a gentle push back into the here and now to remind me to just be grateful for being exactly as I am. I think it’s those days when I consciously seek to find a moment of bliss and beauty that the feeling of gratitude feels more poignant.

Quietly, I acknowledgement that others are also suffering and that everyone is on their own journey, following their path, enduring their own pain,  and walking with their own demons.  It’s while in this repose that I can connect with the universe, nature, and all of humanity, sharing my thoughts and healing energies.  What I ask of the universe for myself, I ask for all those who suffer.  I find comfort in this continuing circle of energy and in the warmth of it’s flowing gratitude.

Just as you share in suffering, you can share in the joy of all that surrounds you.  Take at least a few moments each day to pause and feel what is around you.  What makes you smile?  What stirs your heart? What do you find beautiful and special? What are you grateful for today?

Today,  I am grateful for this blog and my ability to let words flow as both an aid to my healing and as an outlet for creativity.  I am grateful that my feelings go forth into the universe as energy to be shared.

Love, light & peace…..always

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2017 to 2018… Hangover

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The clock struck midnight and 2017 is over and 2018 has begun.  But I suspect the feel of 2017 is far from over.  I think it will carry forward without pause into 2018.  Leaving aside personal matters, politics, natural disasters, and world events,  to me 2017 has been a year of disappointment.  Disappointment in humankind.  Never have I felt so attuned to the negativity and cruelty of others.  I am talking about neighbors, both locally and globally.  I am talking about everyday actions and statements that demonstrate the lack of empathy, caring, and downright cruelty that exists within the human psyche.

Read any article, any social media post and you may understand what I am talking about.  Look around your community at the poor, homeless, those who appear defeated by life, or at those who just need a helping hand, a smile or a kind word.

Anyone who is different, a different religion, a minority race, another sexual orientation, has differing opinions, or is from a lower economic class are treated with contempt from the majority of the population who enjoy a degree of prosperity, wealth and health.  They are often brutally assaulted by word and deed or simply ignored to the point where they are invisible.  The lack of kindness, empathy, compassion and civility towards one another is to such a degree that it’s creating a chasm all across the world.

Hatred and contempt have filled the hearts of humankind, which has led to all sorts of vile speech and deeds.  Whether anonymously from behind a computer or smartphone or in person on the street,  it has become commonplace to put hatred unapologetically on display.

I write this not to assign blame or to analyze the origins and causes of the behavior.  I’ll leave that to others to debate.  Although I do believe we, the people of many so called democracies, stand at a precipice that can have grave consequences.   I simply write this as my observation of life and events that surround us.  I write this with all the hope in my heart that kindness and love will rise above the hate.

In order for love to win it must start individually within the hearts of everyone.  We must allow the love to enter and grow within us; to manifest and spread to those around us, both near and far.  It must be our unselfish intention to bring love, kindness, and goodwill to all members of our human race just as we ourselves yearn to receive such in return.

My sincere hope for 2018 is that the light of love and peace will be accepted and returned by all the hearts of the world,  Then, perhaps, love will indeed triumph over hate.

The Christmas Pendulum

Christmas is near
Full of sadness and cheer
Decking the halls and jingling bells
Special drinks from hidden wells

Tears drawn out by revelry
Singing songs in melody
Feeling like tangled lace
Putting on my happy face

Tis the season for mixed emotion
All I want is to be at the ocean
To feel the breeze and taste the salt
Maybe then I won’t feel at fault

Memories of Christmases past
Make the present overcast
Yet to be present is my goal
Enjoy a little happiness without coal

I Will Persist In Order To Resist

This country and indeed the world is a horrible place filled with hatred, inequality, misogyny, homophobia, islamophobia, and antisemitic behaviors, just to name a few.

Intolerance rules from the top down and lends justification to those who harbor thoughts to act upon them. It’s a sick and cruel world full of unprovoked shootings and mass carnage with no regard for human or animal life.

The toxicity of this time makes those of us already struggling with anxiety disorders and depression struggle all the more. And it has swelled our ranks with new sufferers at a time when privileged, uncaring, self serving, loathsome government officials want to strip away healthcare. They are causing the need for more but are to selfish, beholden, and blind to see that fact.

America, the self proclaimed bastion of justice and democracy leads the way in this new world order of intolerance, violence and hatred. We are where they want us; splintered, divided and fighting among ourselves. Slowly, democracy, if it ever truly existed, is fading.

For my own well-being I’ve vowed to not engage any longer in negativity. I keep informed and at times it’s a struggle to not virtually engage in the discourse, but it does nothing but cause me more turmoil.

I can only lend my voice to love, harmony, inclusiveness and peace. It is what I must do to survive, heal and thrive. It is what I must do to prepare myself for the bigger fights yet to come, for they loom closer on the horizon each day. When they do come we will all have to choose on which side we stand; love or hate, right or wrong. It is now, and will remain, that simple.

Love, light & peace…..always

“caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

Letting Go

What do you do when you can’t let go of toxic emotions, fear, and endless swirling negative thoughts? What do you do when you can’t let go of pain, from all sources, that keeps you in an endless loop of heartache and misery?

Seriously, I would like to know the secret of truly and fully letting go of something.  I am not sure I ever have completely let go of anything.  This clinging is what has compounded over the years to produce my current state of ill health.

I still suffer from the illnesses I’ve talked about in my posts, which in this post shall be referred to only as the illnesses.  I’m not attempting to take anything away from their cause and effects, rather, I am linking them to a root or major contributing factor in their development.

I came to the realization that in some way they are all rooted in my inability to let go.  To let go of fear, grief, and pain is something I strive to do everyday, with every therapy session and with every thing I read or listen to.  Try as I might it doesn’t seem to be enough.  My intellectual self is aware of the impermanence of life and I try constantly to be present in the moment.  I think I’ve made great strides in that regard.  Yet, I find I cling to the past as a person clings to the edge of a building, afraid to fall.

This clinging to the past, to my grief and to my pain feeds the fear.  I am afraid to fall.  I fear what is around the next corner, my next step, tomorrow and the days beyond.

If I am being honest with myself, my personality is heavily slanted to these behaviors.  I am stubborn, persistent, relentlessly curious, and obsessed with finding answers.   In many ways throughout my life these qualities have served me well professionally and personally.  What once helped propel me through life is now taking my life away,

I can’t change my personality so what I am looking for is a way to adapt my personality traits, how I utilize them, and how I emotionally react to them to better serve the current situation and the person I am now.

I’m participating in a new therapy approach that I believe is guiding me on a path that will enable me to better let go of things.  I’ll have more on my experiences with EMDR in my next post.

Love, light & peace….always