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.

 

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

Insecure Writers Support Group – Bouncing Back From Rejection

“I really wish I was less of a thinking man and more of a fool not afraid of rejection.”
― Billy Joel

A lot has happened since I last wrote here in August. September 5th I celebrated my 50th birthday, and so was out of town for the Insecure Writers Support Group. I hate missing it. I enjoy reading others’ blogs, and being able to share my own insecurities and fears.

Well, last I shared I had submitted a story near and dear to my heart to Glimmer Train Press. Usually, when I’m rejected from them, it happens quickly. They get something like 40,000 submissions and have two people who read them, so they have to be fairly speedy. But two weeks passed by and I still hadn’t heard anything, my story was still “in process.” (Yeah, I checked the status every day – lol.)

Finally, one day I checked, in a hurry and not even really thinking. It had been at least a month and I was getting my hopes up. When I read the status as “complete,” which meant basically “thank you for letting us read your story, but it’s not what we’re looking for at this time,” I felt . . . numb. I didn’t cry, I didn’t shout, curse, or any of those things. I felt really numb.

I posted on Facebook that my story had been rejected and many friends came forward to commiserate and to encourage me to resubmit the story immediately at other journals, other magazines. One offered to read it and make suggestions. The outpouring of support shook me out of my numb state and helped me see different perspectives.

It was, after all, one journal. Glimmer Train Press itself admits that it usually rejects people many times before it accepts something from them. They are not an easy journal. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean it’s a bad story.

I’ve already submitted it to two other magazines, and I’m thinking about looking at addiction journals, since it’s based on a true story.

I hope you are all doing well. Write on.

Peace out.