Holiday Peace Be With You

peace_3 Peace, both individual and world peace in general, has everything to do with the 3rd step I’ve learned in Al-Anon – made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. 

Yesterday was both Humbug Day and Look at the Bright Side Day. How unusual, even ironic, to have two polar opposite views and feelings during the season occur on the exact same day.

I have had to revisit Step Three a whole lot during the last few weeks. Because of my codependency, I sometimes still have issues with boundaries. I let other peoples’ feelings leak over into me, and think that my positive feelings about the season should be enough to lift anyone’s spirits. It’s like I forget about the invisible line that separates me from other people.

It used to be for me, if you and I went to a movie and you didn’t enjoy it, it became a personal affront. I almost couldn’t stand the idea that you didn’t like it, didn’t have a good time, and felt like what you were saying was “I didn’t like you. I didn’t like being around you.”

In the past while, since Thanksgiving, I’ve come across several people I care about who are – to put it bluntly – humbugs this year. They would rather the season pass, the days go by, without acknowledging anything special. It started to bring me down. A couple times I even got angry. I was losing my own joy and inner peace. My serenity felt lost at sea.

Then I remembered that part of the Third Step is turning other people and their lives over to God. I remembered, when the alcoholic in my life was drinking, that I used to pray, “God, this is too big for me to handle. I don’t know what to do. But nothing is too big for You, so I’m turning this (person, situation) over to You.” And I would feel, if not immediate, then very soon after a peace wash over me.

That helped me this morning, when I logged onto Facebook and again saw an expression of humbug over Christmas. I turned that person over to God, and I let it go. Peace and happiness over Christmas day are both an inside job. Nobody can ruin that inner peace unless I let them.

I wish you peace and joy this holiday season. And I hope your day is lovely. I pray we can focus on the people around us, the loved ones we are with, thankfulness for what we already have as opposed to what we don’t, do only what we can, or do even less, and remember that serenity doesn’t guarantee a trouble-free existence. It does mean that we can maintain inner peace though the troubles. I pray we can look on the brighter side, and let go of what we can’t control.

Peace out.

kids

Hold Out A Helping Hand

helping-hand Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. ~William James

Do you realize that things you do, even little things that you might think nothing about, resonate with people for a long time? It’s true. We might not see the consequences of our actions immediately.

I wrote a guest post for a friend’s blog sometime this past year. It was about my experience, strength and hope as a woman who loves an alcoholic. I wrote from my heart, but I had no idea it would make a difference. Several months after I wrote it, I got a Facebook message from my friend saying that she still gets people who read that post and sometimes comment on it.

It amazed me, that statement, but what I realized about giving, whether it’s your testimony at a meeting (or on a blog), your time, your money, whatever we give . . . comes back to us ten-fold, in that – well, it makes us feel good. I don’t know the science behind it, and I’m not going to pretend I do, but I know I read somewhere that helping someone else boosts our own moods.

Feeling down this holiday season? Volunteer somewhere. The Salvation Army still needs bell ringers in my area (I did it a couple of times, so I know) and they must need them where you are too. Check HERE to find help on how to be a bell ringer.

Just be kinder, gentler . . . if we look around us, we can find all sorts of ways to help others this season. Know a neighbor who spends the day alone? Invite her to your home for Christmas, or take her a plate to eat. Open doors, smile more, be patient with store clerks and other patrons, and try not to swear in traffic. 😉

Hoping your day is lovely.

Peace out.

 

Eight Easy Exit Egresses!

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So, you’re at a party and you’re read to go home. Trust me, I’ve been in this spot many times. Just as my own take on things, here are several ways you can take care of yourself and not call too much attention at the same time:

1. Park a little ways away from the madding crowd: When you arrive at the party, try to park away from the cluster of cars. In other words, don’t box yourself in so that it becomes a hassle (so-and-so needs to move his car, which is behind whats-his-name’s car, which is behind your car . . . ). Even if you have to park a block away, it’s worth the extra effort.

2. “I have to go let the dog out.” Pets are a fantastic excuse for having to leave a party that’s still going strong. If you have a dog, bring it out and make it earn its keep. 😉

3“We need to check on the kids.” You’ve left the kids to fend for themselves, and they’re just at that age where they are competent enough to be alone, but you need to make sure they haven’t trashed the place or started their own party. Wonderful.

4.  Take a break. If you just can’t leave yet, take a break. If you smoke (which I am in no way advocating, but I am addicted) use that as on excuse and take a smoke break. Leave the room for a few minutes to clear your head. If you are at all like me, sometimes the voices can get overwhelming at a party, to the point where I’m seeing the person’s lips move but I can’t make out what they’re saying. That’s when I know for sure, I need to get out of here for a bit.

5.  Go to the bathroom. Everybody uses the restroom during a party, don’t they? If you don’t make it a practice. When in there, do a 30-second stress reducer. Make a fist. Find the place on your palm where your 3rd finger touched. With your thumb on that spot on your palm, and another finger meeting it on the back of your hand, massage that exact spot for 30 seconds. It’s a guaranteed stress-reliever!

6. Text your partner. If you’re with a spouse or significant other, text him/her that you’re ready to go.

7. Plan ahead. Know ahead of time that you have somewhere else to be (another party, you social butterfly?) and let the host know you won’t be able to stay long.

8. Decide on a signal. This one only works if you’re with someone else. Similar to texting, but something you both agree ahead of time that will be your signal to go. A nod of the head, touching the earlobe, bending down to tie your shoes, putting your hand in your pocket, saying a special word (mistletoe or dreidel, anyone?) . . . any of these can be your go-to signs.

Well, I hope this has helped. With Christmas and Kwanzaa approaching, and Hanukkah just past, we still have some parties and places to go.

Peace out.

Take Pride in Small Achievements

our CHristmas tree Finally finished the paper-chain around the tree. It’s up, it’s beautiful (I guess), and I’m supremely happy. I only have to make a tinfoil star for the top, and that’s really optional. I could buy one at the store just as easily. But—I feel like making one.

That’s my mom and dad’s wedding picture in the background. I sure wish Dad could have been around to see this tree. But I believe in heaven and the afterlife, and I fantasize that he’s looking down from heaven and can see it.

This will be a short post. I’m still whacked out from staying up all night the night before last. Something I will never do again! Twenty-nine is definitely too old to continue to pull all-nighters. 😉

Be proud of the small things you achieve. Cut yourself slack on the things that don’t get done. Be gentle and go easy.

Peace out.

This Too Shall Pass

ThisTooShallPass When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, I’m reminded by this slogan to hold on loosely; when things are going well, as they sometimes do too, I remember to hold on loosely but treasure each moment. Nothing lasts forever, and this too shall pass. 

I made a choice yesterday in reaction to confusion, anger, and fear—none of which are, of course, good foundations for decision-making. I decided to stay off Facebook until December 26th. There had been too much sadness, arguing, and general ugliness which I witnessed, and there were some other personal issues involved.

Holidays can be so difficult, especially if we have lost a loved one during this time of year. A staggering 25% of losses occur during the holidays, for various reasons. What happened last Friday will add to your stress and difficulty, if you let it. 

I don’t always remember to hold on loosely, but when I do, it makes it much easier to practice that other tried and true slogan Let go and Let God. Just—let it go. It doesn’t mean we don’t feel sad and concerned about the families going through this holiday without their loved ones recently lost in Newtown, Connecticut. It means we give it to God, because it’s too big for us to hold. And YOU have a life to live . . . that’s not selfish, that’s a fact.

Take care of yourselves, and each other when you can. Be sure you get plenty of zzz’s (some people swear by five hours of sleep, but it’s recommended that we get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Eat properly. This means sitting down once in a while and not standing at the microwave, unconsciously eating while you ruminate about your to-do list. Pray. Pray again. Even if you’re not sure you believe, what can it hurt? Play. If you are living in an area of the world lucky enough to have snow right now, go out and build a snowman. I saw a hilarious picture of a snowman built upside down, with the arm sticks pushing down into the snow, as if he were doing a headstand.

Caveat: I feel it’s important to say here that I don’t always follow my own advice, so that’s a gentle warning to you, dear reader. 😉 I don’t nearly get enough zzz’s, because I have a dog who wakes me up sometimes in the wee hours of the morning. And last night I didn’t sleep a wink, finishing paper chains for our Christmas tree. I’ve been off my diet for the past month or so, but I plan in getting right back to it today. I’m learning how to play, but I’m no expert. So the words you read here on this blog are written by an extremely fallible human being.

But I do believe that this too shall pass. 

Peace out. take_care_of_yourself

Celebrate the Underdog!

thriving through the holidays Today is National Underdog Day. Established in 1976, National Underdog  day keeps our unsung heroes in mind. The term underdog is believed to have come from the shipbuilding industry. Planks of wood were called dogs. Two men were assigned to supervise the placing of these dogs; one from up top, and one from under, in the pit, where he got covered in sawdust and mud. So today we tip our hats to the underdogs, the unsung heroes who are never expected to make it out of the pit.

I’m a big movie buff, and the greatest movie underdog of all time (in my humble opinion) is Rocky Balboa. No one ever saw this guy coming. Who would’ve expected a nowhere nobody to come from left field and win the way he did? He had many obstacles against him, but he plugged away. Nobody believed in him, but he kept going.

To say that these times, right now today, are tough for people around the world, is largely an understatement. I’m confused, feeling unsafe, and unsure of an environment I thought I knew pretty well. As one who (I hate the word “suffers” but I never know what to say) struggles with several mental health problems, I know in my heart that we need better resources out there for people who are mentally ill. That’s what we need. That is all. (That is all period, not That is all as in “oh, piece of cake!”)

In the meantime, I hope you will take to heart the 10 things listed in this picture. Are you an underdog? *gasp* Then there’s two of us. Maybe we should start a club. 😉 Are you having a hard time wrapping your mind around what happened on the 14th? I think there’s a club for that, too. It’s collective grief, and it’s not a sign of weakness to cry (as some of us were raised to believe). Rather, it takes immense strength to show one’s heart to others. Tears, sobbing, crying . . . all of that discharges pent up feelings and helps us heal. Only then can we truly let go.

Peace out.

 

Take A Nap!

pooped Things can get pretty hurried and fast-paced during this time of year. Although taking a nap is generally a good idea under normal circumstances, during the holiday season it should be a rule. 😉 

I posted earlier this month about dogs, and how we should try to be more like them. Animals know intuitively when they need a break. Dogs are not far removed from their wolf ancestors, who needed to conserve energy for hunting and gathering. When I take my Lucy out for a walk, you would think she’s on a hunt. Her nose is constantly to the ground, unless she hears a noise. Then she has to see what’s going on. 😉 But when she’s not playing, walking, eating, or otherwise occupied, she sleeps.

I find it difficult to sleep during the day due to some of the meds I take for bipolar disorder and CFS. But this is what I do when I know I absolutely need a nap and I’m having trouble. I go into my bedroom, close the blinds, get a light blanket, and turn on a cd, maybe Sleepy Rain: With Delta Brainwave Pulses. I have other cds I listen to, including a Brahms Lullaby for babies. 😀 Hey, whatever works.

Just be sure to get lots of rest this holiday season. It helps your immune system fight off these nasty colds and flu that are making the rounds.

Peace out.