Lead Me Not Into False Expectations

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end” -Semisonic

It’s another New Year, another time for new beginnings, resolutions (if you’re into that sort of thing) and a blank page in a yet unwritten book. I am wary of making resolutions due to the fact they are usually slightly unrealistic. If I were to make a resolution that I wouldn’t go all Hulk-like in traffic, but I had done nothing to change my frame of mind or manage my emotions, then I’m fairly certain my effort would be met with failure, or at the very least an inability to magically transform my commute from December 31, 2016 to January 1, 2017. When you think about it, it’s really just a change from one calendar to another; from a Sunday to a Monday. If my resolution is to not drink but I have a full cupboard of alcohol that I see every time I reach for a glass, it will be more difficult to not grab that bottle and have “just one” drink. If I haven’t dug deep to find out the “why” behind the drinking then my resolution is dependent upon my mood; if my mood goes dark and dangerous and I haven’t developed any healthy coping skills, then guess what? Chug-a-lug. Another great reason for my resolutions to fail is that I make them based on what I think I should do, not what I really want to do. Making a resolution to lose weight, so that the hot guy I have a huge crush on will notice (and hopefully fall in love with) me. Making a resolution to start attending mass on a regular basis because my parents (God rest their souls) would be pleased, as they look down upon me from Heaven. Or even better, so that I can get in God’s good grace and therefore avoid the fiery alternative. These are all great resolutions, as great as resolutions can be, but they are doomed to be unsuccessful if I haven’t invested in them long before January 1st.

I prefer to set intentions rather than resolutions. They are much more forgiving, loosely defined and honestly, give me an out if things don’t go according to plan.

in·ten·tion
inˈten(t)SH(ə)n/
noun
1.
a thing intended; an aim or plan.
“she was full of good intentions”
2.
MEDICINE
the healing process of a wound.

– Google Search

I love the second definition because the majority of my intentions do involve the healing and recovering from wounds, be it physical or emotional. My intention is to forgive those who have wounded me, but that may take not days, but years. My intention is to forgive myself for the wounds I have inflicted on others. My intention is to accept my faults and failures and love myself unconditionally, which will be my intention for every New Year until my Last Year.

I feel the danger in resolutions is that they lead us into false expectations; by changing my physical appearance, I will find love. By doing things for others, I will be accepted and loved. It’s not the resolution so much as it is the expected outcome. Realistically losing weight will not guarantee that the hot guy falls in love with me, especially if he’s gay, married or simply not interested. Not drinking alcohol is a great resolution, but there is much more involved than just not raising a glass to my lips. Forgiving others is a great idea, but that means letting go of old hurts and grudges. If they have been your constant companion for years and help you to feel righteous in your belief that they are in the wrong, then it will take much more effort than simply thinking you forgive them. One must take personally responsibility for their role in what happened and own up to it. My dad used to say, “It’s not the making of a mistake that should embarrass a person, so much as their failure to benefit from it.”

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Learning from mistakes so that we don’t make the same ones over and over is more helpful (in my experience) than making a resolution that is unrealistic.

So, Happy New Year to one and all! May this year bring you comfort when you’re distressed, company when you’re lonely, a hand to hold when you’re frightened and a safe harbor during Life’s many storms; the courage to face your fears, the strength to slay your dragons and the faith to believe that there is more to Life than just crossing days off the calendar and making unrealistic expectations. Peace and love to you all!

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Heavy Heart & Prayerful Soul

It is with a heavy heart that I wrote this post; yesterday I heard the news that Robin Williams had taken his life. I cannot imagine the pain he must have endured all the 63 years he lived. I cannot claim to know him, to diagnose his condition (if one existed) but I do know that with great brilliance and talent there is often a heavy price that is part and parcel of those gifts. Whether it’s mental illness, loss of privacy due to fame, addiction, or simply the demons that all mankind must bear, each as one different as the person who carries them. What the public sees and what the individual experiences are usually two completely different things. If we were able to see the demons, snarling and snapping hateful, vile things in our ears, then perhaps we would be able to know that no matter how pretty, how rich, how handsome, talented, or morally just a person is, they are not immune to suffering, be it mental, emotional or simply a haunting memory of regret. All too often, we see what we want to see and believe what serves our purpose. People with mental illness know this and it is as if we all have a script of how we are to behave, so as to not appear different or worse, UNWELL. That’s the word that means a trip to the Not So Funny Farm, a series of new medications that make you fat, flat, and absent. Absent of passion, of creative thoughts, pleasant dreams and restful nights. Robin Williams was a genius in making people not only laugh, but FEEL. He was a Live Wire of energy, emotion, humanity and love. I have yet to watch one of his movies or hear an interview of his and not feel moved either by laughter, sadness, hope or just plain love. He delivered, Big Time. It is said that we treat other people the way that we want to be treated and I believe that he loved us as much as we loved him, but the pain was greater than all of us. I cannot condone nor critique his choice, only pray that he has truly found peace and can feel all our love reaching out to him, like a Live Wire.
You have fought the good fight and now I pray for you Eternal Peace, Ever Lasting Love and a return of one thousand fold the kindness and compassion you’ve shown others. God Bless You, Robin Williams. You will live on in our hearts forever.

Note: Please join me in the Out of the Darkness walk if you are in the Sacramento area. For more information, please click on the link below:

http://www.afsp.org/

Seriously? 2014? Already??

Hello again, whomever is still out there reading. I’ve been away quite a long time and I must apologize for that. I have had a few changes, some good, some not so good, but I wanted to share them with you and speak on a topic that is timely; namely Thanksgiving and giving thanks.

I moved to a cute little apartment over a garage at a private residence which is 100 times closer than any of my previous dwellings and has the added bonus of having the most incredibly caring and thoughful landlady. She is wonderful and makes the most delicious cake and other yummy items, such as pomegranate jelly….mmmm….so good.

At any rate, that is one of the good. The not-so-good is that my beloved Neko got very sick and I had to have him put to sleep. The good in that is that he didn’t suffer unnecessarily, he had the best 3 years any cat rescued from “Death Row” could have and was loved more than words can say. He saw me through some really depressing, difficult times and gave me the unconditional love that only animals and small children give so effortlessly. I will miss him, but comfort myself with the thought that he is in good company on the Other Side.

So, update completed and on to the “meat” of this post. Thanksgiving and giving thanks. I would like to believe that I give thanks on a daily basis, but I would also like to believe that I will someday win the lottery; in order to win, I would have to play and in order to give thanks daily I would have to take some time from my “Bitch and Moan” fund and use it instead to focus on the positive. Sounds simple and easy to do but trust me, it’s neither. It is very difficult to see past the negative, which I liken to a basketball player trying to block your shot; hands in your face, rocking back and forth, distracting, frustrating and in your face. It hides the good stuff, filling your vision and your mind with Nothing Nice. However, with effort and the right motivation, you can push aside that negativity and reach (stretch – keep reaching, you’re almost there!) for the positive. Sometimes I have to get really creative, but it does work, when I make it a priority. So, this Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for my family, my friends, my professors, fellow classmates, co-workers and people that smile back at me when I smile at them in the store or on the street. Basic human kindness is an accessory that never goes out of style and never gets old. Share it, give it away, pass it along; it will always come back to you.

This time of year it’s very easy to get caught up in the mass hysteria that is The Season aka Christmas, Thanksgiving & every other holiday that you are pressured to acknowledge soley by your purchasing power. As if a wrapped present of any kind could help someone who is lonely, struggling to find meaning or starved for simple affection and kindness. Our gifts to each other should be gifts of the Self: our time, our (undivided) attention, a phone call, an e-mail or even an old-fashioned Christmas card in the mailbox, sent snail-mail, like back in the day. Just those things that you can’t get from a store (ok, the Christmas card you could get from a store, but it wouldn’t be signed or mailed) These are the most valuable and most valued gifts of all.

I will do my best this year and into the New Year to remember how far I’ve traveled, who has helped me on my journey and how I can send that kindness and compassion back into the world, every day. I don’t know where 2013 has gone, but it sure did move fast. I hope I will value my hours, days and months in 2014 and know at this time next year that I kept my promise to myself and focused on the positive, even when it was difficult to find or I simply believed there was none to be found.

For all of you who take the time to read my blog and haven’t given up on me, I send you great glowing beams of love and thanks. May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends and food; may your Christmas shine the light of kindness on others and may the New Year bring you all your heart desires.

Love and peace to you all!

Michelle