From belonging

A is for Acceptance

Acceptance is a difficult concept to deal with, even if we’re not talking about alcoholism. None of us wants to be unacceptable, or excluded from a group, whether we’re small children, adolescents, or older adults. The synonyms for acceptance are many, among them approval and recognition. I know a young woman who is gay. She has found a woman she loves, is very happy, and engaged to be married. Most people she knows are very happy for her happiness, but not all are as accepting. Some are even judgmental, saying she and her partner would always be welcome in their home, but they would…

What Could Be Scarier Than a Great White Shark??

Happy ninth day of Twelvetide. I wish you health and prosperity this day, and a modicum of sanity as we go and be with various family and friends that we may have a genuine love it or leave it sort of ambivalence toward. Living with ambivalence is not for sissies. Let’s assume for a bit that you don’t live in or anywhere near Flint, Michigan, and as far as you know it’s safer than it’s ever been (since that great white shark in the 70s) to dip your toe back in the water. I give you three simple words. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS If your heart beats a little quicker…

Happy Holidailies!!

So, hi! Here’s the thing; I feel like I should be apologizing, since I haven’t blogged, or written at all, since my dramatic farewell post on April 8th of this year.  What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn’t blog, even though I tried prompts to help me write, I tried freewriting, I even signed up for National Novel Writing Month, but I couldn’t get myself to write a thing. Ah, well, it’s a hard time of year for me. Sixteen years ago this moth my dad died. This year, instead of getting easier,…

Rejoining The Human Race

Amazingly, it’s been almost five months since I last posted to this blog. And I pay for it! LOL  I’m not sure I still remember how to do it. Have I been through some struggles in that time? Of course, but you know what? So have you, so have we all! I’ve experienced some major triumphs, too. Do tell me yours. Here’s another thing. I don’t know how you feel about it, but I’ve really missed you guys. I’ve missed the camaraderie, the comments, the back-and-forth, and just knowing someone out there is reading silly things I’ve written. You probably…

Follow The Leader

Most of us remember the game “Follow The Leader,” which involves a child being the leader of a line of other children. The children are supposed to copy everything the leader does. Those who fail to do so are out of the line, until one is left standing behind the leader, who then  becomes the new leader. It’s similar to the game Simon Says,  which requires a group of at least three children, preferably more. The leader gives directions to the other participants, trying to catch them out. If they follow the directions starting with “Simon says touch your toes,” for instance, they…

Birth Order

Last year, on one of his visits home from San Francisco, my brother Paul brought a t-shirt he’d bought which bore the saying “Mom loves me best.” He wore it to an outdoor picnic at which most of the family was in attendance; it was very funny and caused quite a lot of discussion. Even more funny, he left it with me when he went back! 😛 Paul is the second to youngest of seven siblings. I’m the youngest. My sister Carol is the oldest, then there’s Greg, Steve, Jerry, Jimmy, Paul, and me. My sister said she prayed and…

Zany

I don’t like the word zany as it applies to mentally ill or anxious people. It’s the same as saying “crazy,” and it’s placing a stigma on a population that has enough to deal with on a day-to-day basis. I’m not even sure I like “mentally ill.” Sure, I have three separate anxiety problems, and bipolar disorder, but does that make me mentally ill? Does someone with diabetes say that she is physically ill? Of course not. She has a problem with her sugar, and she’s hopefully taking care of it. We all of us exhibit crazy behaviors now and then. None…

Are YOU My Sponsor?

“If I am not for myself, then who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, then what am I? And if not now, when?” ~Rabbi Hillel I am currently a sponsor-less (wingless, rudderless) member of Al-Anon. This year September will be three years that I’ve been in Al-Anon, but my former uber sponsor and I parted ways amicably over a year ago. Since that time finding a new one has reminded me of the childhood book Are You My Mother? in which a baby bird is hatched while its mother is away from the nest and it…

The Blogosphere Status-Checking Neurosis

Come on. Admit it. You check your FB status more than a couple times a day, and get a little charge every time somebody “likes” it, or the more the comments pile up. Want some help? Okay. My name is Chris, and I’m a status-checking junkie. In fact, I’m thinking I might close my FB account for good. Have to think some on that. Here, read this quote from Finding God in the Dark: “The blogosphere is reality television for people (conservative Christians) who consider themselves too good for reality television . . . Status updates about perfect playdates or craft…

You Are Enough!

Accept everything about yourself—I mean everything. You are you and that is the beginning and the end—no apologies, no regrets. — HENRY KISSINGER Here’s something not everyone knows about me. As much as I love the holidays, it’s still hard for me to be around other people for too long, even family. I never know what to talk about. I’m on disability, so I can’t talk about work. I do read the news, so I can talk about that to some degree, but I don’t argue well. 😉 So when it comes to arguing a point, I always lose. I…

Volunteering As A Way Of Belonging

Ever hear of the 80/20 rule? I used to be a member of a Southern Baptist church, and this rule definitely applied there. 80% of the work is done by the same 20% of the people. So, when a new project or something would come up, and volunteers were asked for, a few minutes of strained silence would ensue before the same people would inevitably volunteer; which, of course can lead to burnout and disillusionment. It’s no different with any other organization, whether it be a 12-step meeting or a community choir. Someone has to volunteer. Someone has to step up, take…

To Avoid or Not To Avoid – Need Help!

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.” –Aldous Huxley I hope you are awake, Gentle Readers, because I need your advice this morning. There is an anniversary celebration at my “home” Al-Anon meeting, the Peace at the End of the Road meeting this morning. There will be a breakfast followed by an Al-Anon speaker, an AA speaker, and an Al-Ateen speaker. I’m psyched about it. Except for one thing. The Al-Anon speaker will be Karen, and she’s someone who REALLY hurt my feelings at a non-al-anon function, trying to “school”…

Accepting Our Choices

It’s hard to make a choice in life, then walk away without a quick glance back to wonder, “Did I do the right thing? Could I have made a better/healthier/more helpful choice?” At least, that’s how it goes for me. Take this blog for instance. I don’t know how many times I changed the “theme,” the basic looks of he blog before I finally settled on this one. And it’s still hard. Every time WordPress comes out with new themes I allow myself to “window shop,” but I do NOT buy. 😉 It’s tough love on myself. Sometimes I would…

Steps to Success; How Sweet It Is!

How sweet it is, indeed!! Sunday afternoon I went to something called The Irregular Writing Meetup of the Mid-Michigan Prose and Writing Group. It was called Irregular because it normally meets on Tuesday nights in Ann Arbor. A factoid about me: I have a touch of social phobia. So lots of times, I desperately want to do things, but I find myself unable. So far, there had been three times I keyed in yes I would be to the Tuesday night meetup, and hadn’t showed, out of nightmarish fear. What changed this time? 1. I asked for help. I told my friends on FaceBook and my therapist and my…

Five Steps To Knowing Yourself Better

Yesterday we talked about how there can be a disconnect when dealing with codependency. A disconnect within ourselves, with who we are, what our own needs, emotions, and feelings are. Today, I would like to present five ways to get to know ourselves better. There are, of course, many ways. These are just five to get you started: 1 Make collages: Any magazines will do. Family Circle, Redbook, Vogue, Cosmo, to name a few. Sit down on the floor or at a table with several magazines spread around and a pair of scissors. Then flip through the pages and cut out…

Let Go and Let God in Everything

In white water rafting, if you go against the current, if you don’t paddle very hard toward where the flow of water is going, you’re likely to capsize. I know this from experience. I only did it once. 😉 It was enough. Today at Senior Choral practice there was a lot of uncertainty. Those of us who had been there last Friday and auditioned for solo or small group singing parts had expected to hear about possible songs we were going to be singing. James, our fearless leader, said, “Now, we’re picking songs based on what we think might sound good for…

Unconditional Love

When life is lived with doubts, or suspicions, even jealousies, it can be hard to believe one is loved. When a 12-year-old, a 13-year-old, so desperately wants a baby what she’s looking for is the kind of unconditional love a child gives a mother and a mother gives a child. Ellen Barkin The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross I never knew what unconditional love felt like or looked like until I met my super sponsor in Al-Anon. She told me she would always love me…

Withdrawal

Withdrawal sucks. No two . . . okay, well maybe two words about it. It’s been over 24 hours since I checked my blog stats. Now, before you start snorting Pepsi out your nose and all over your computer screen, please realize this is a very big deal for me. In the not-too-distant past, I’ve been known to check my stats anywhere from 1-8 times a day, to see how many likes I’ve been getting, what posts are most read, etc. Even now, my fingers ache oh-so-bad to just click over and see how things are going. Knowing where this comes from…

Conscious Contact and the Novi Senior Choral

The 11th step from Al-Anon states: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. According to Dictionary.com, the word ‘conscious‘ means: 1. aware of one’s own existence, sensations, thoughts,surroundings, etc., and 2. fully aware of or sensitive to something (among others that you may peruse if you wish 🙂 ). Some synonyms of conscious are understanding, sure, vigilant, watchful. Contact can be seen a few different ways: touch, actual touch; meeting between two people; a nifty friend or acquaintance who can garner you influence. I’ve been trying to improve my conscious contact with…

Whole Vs. Hole

Right, I was going to post more pics of Tweetybird. Well, I got sidetracked by preparing to write my novel, Where is Faith?, for Camp NaNoWriMo, starting tomorrow. I promise I’ll post pics tomorrow. Pinky promise. 😉 Today I want to talk about a book I’m currently reading and about how a certain passage resonated within me. It’s a YA novel called Clean by Amy Reed, about a group of teens in a rehab together. They are asked to write essays about themselves, what got them in their situations and so forth. One of the teens, Eva, writes so beautifully, she breaks my heart. Here is…