A useful skill

puzzleTomorrow I go to do a Mediation. I volunteer as a mediator for court mandated (and sometimes chosen by people) help with settling problems. Doing this brings an interesting perspective to my own life.

Working with the cases I see opens a world where pettiness and anger are often primary. Money, of course, is at issue but sometimes the silliness is overwhelming. Compromise is not a word that most of the clients have any knowledge of. You would think that the aggravation of filing a suit, having to go to mediation, not settling and then going to court would make someone think logically.

In most cases that I have mediated logic has gone out the window and the opponents are functioning from feelings alone. (Of course this is not the case when the case is about money owed to credit card companies or others similar.) I am talking about two people who cannot settle their differences because of some underlying emotion.

Compassion, understanding and listening are important things to learn and use. Many times just listening allows us to hear what is underneath and find out where the real pain is. Listening to both sides is critical to the mediation process and in our lives. Real listening is truly absorbing not only what is being said, but what is not said.

listening2

I feel useful helping but I have also learned to value the opportunities that show up in my own life where kindness and understanding can defuse the problems. I can see the times where my own willingness to compromise has solved the issue. I am not patting myself on the back but being grateful for learning that, the majority of the time, there there are better ways to handle things than to file a law suit. Sometimes people just need to be heard. This requires someone actually listening.

 

Tossing and turning

Today I am so tired. I hardly slept at all last night. Saying that makes me want to go on the with the son ” tossing and turning, turning and tossing, tossing and turning all night.”  I guess that speaks about my age. In 1961 I was finishing my last year in college and looking forward to getting married in June of 1962.

 

The movie “American Graffiti” tole about this era andwas the precursor to Grease. I still love all the music from this time. It was magic to me. Everyone knows the following song. Bette Midler used it in the the film Beaches. Hope you enjoy this little memory from the past.

 

 

 

A Serious Problem

Caveat: This blog talks about the partners addiction and suicide.

addiction2

Recently our family has watched a (for me) distant member continue to self destruct. From early on in his life he has been addicted. I suspect alcohol at first but quickly drugs. He has been to rehab many times and now in his twenties he was in a serious accident with his transportation. A short while before this he was hospitalized for an overdose. In the hospital following this latest incident it seems he has expressed that he couldn’t cope any longer.

I can imagine that to have spent most of your life battling addiction, always needing drugs, in and out of rehab unsuccessfully, it would be difficult to see anything in your future except continued pain. I can understand the desire to end it all.

Several blogs have talked about that kind of hopelessness. It is devastating to feel that there is nothing that you can do to stop the circle of pain. Most of the blogs that talk about this have suffered from mental health issues and many have found help with medications, therapy and coping skills. Unfortunately, I know several families who have suffered with the problem as it relates to addiction and wish there were more successful help for sufferers. Some people are helped by rehab but there are those for whom rehab is not enough. It has made me suspect that for these people there are underlying problems, possibly mental health issues, that have never been identified and addressed.

touched by pain

It makes me suspect these victims have spent their lives self-medicating their unaddressed mental health problem with drugs and/or alcohol. I hope that as we look more carefully into the people who are suffering with this that more help can be found.

Love quotes

Today many people are thinking about love. Here are some different quotes to think about.

eskimo words

The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love                                      Margaret Atwood

 

I know of only one duty, and that is to love.                      Albert Camus

edel-illo

Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another. Thomas Merton

hugs

 

They invented hugs to let people know you love them without saying anything. Bil Keane

 

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. Lao Tzu

The-best-way-to-destroy-an-enemy-is-to-turn-him-into-a-friend

 

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are a whole not parts

It has been two weeks since I was so sick with IBSD. I have been so well in general that the episode completely blind-sided me. Now I am experiencing the hangover. Since these particular episodes always occur between 9 and 10 in the evening I get anxious each night around that time.

The irony is that this kind of episode only crops up, at the most, once a year. It will take weeks for it to fade from my mind and then I will be fine.

journey-to-wholeness

It is so amazing what we can do to ourselves. I am fine physically but my mind clings to the latest event. So what to do? I have increased my prayer and quiet time, continued my regular routine and let that event become a memory that will fade. Learning and using coping skills is such a critical piece to our health and wholeness. We must remember that we were created as whole beings….not separate parts. Everything that we do affects our entire being.

One of the problems with out medical systems today is that we are not see this way but as different parts managed by different physicians. Not only do they not see beyond their specialty but they seldom communicate with each other.

wholeness2

 

We must learn to be our own advocates. Even if a physician ignores or puts you down for your concerns and conclusions about your care remember who sees the end result. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind and if you have someone who can’t accept that change to someone else. Never let a caregiver dismiss you. Each of us is just a important as the person caring for us. Never forget it.

St Valentine💖

I though it might be interesting to look at one of the stories surrounding St. Valentine. He has been retained as a Saint by the Catholic church and there are many versions of his life. This is one of them.

St. Valentine, the Real Story

Flowers, candy, red hearts and romance. That’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Well, maybe not.

The origin of this holiday for the expression of love really isn’t romantic at all—at least not in the traditional sense. Father Frank O’Gara of Whitefriars Street Church in Dublin, Ireland, tells the real story of the man behind the holiday—St. Valentine.

“He was a Roman Priest at a time when there was an emperor called Claudias who persecuted the church at that particular time,” Father O’Gara explains. ” He also had an edict that prohibited the marriage of young people. This was based on the hypothesis that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers because married soldiers might be afraid of what might happen to them or their wives or families if they died.”

“I think we must bear in mind that it was a very permissive society in which Valentine lived,” says Father O’Gara. “Polygamy would have been much more popular than just one woman and one man living together. And yet some of them seemed to be attracted to Christian faith. But obviously the church thought that marriage was very sacred between one man and one woman for their life and that it was to be encouraged. And so it immediately presented the problem to the Christian church of what to do about this.”

“The idea of encouraging them to marry within the Christian church was what Valentine was about. And he secretly married them because of the edict.”

Valentine was eventually caught, imprisoned and tortured for performing marriage ceremonies against command of Emperor Claudius the second. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison.

“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, whose daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.”

In the year 269 AD, Valentine was sentenced to a three part execution of a beating, stoning, and finally decapitation all because of his stand for Christian marriage. The story goes that the last words he wrote were in a note to Asterius’ daughter. He inspired today’s romantic missives by signing it, “from your Valentine.”

“What Valentine means to me as a priest,” explains Father O’Gara, “is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that —even to the point of death.”

Valentine’s martyrdom has not gone unnoticed by the general public. In fact, Whitefriars Street Church is one of three churches that claim to house the remains of Valentine. Today, many people make the pilgrimage to the church to honor the courage and memory of this Christian saint.

Written by David Kithcart of CBN

The past lives with us

Many times when I am reading other’s blogs I see the tragedies they have endured. So many had childhoods fraught with abuse, neglect and pain. My life has been so different. I makes me wonder why I have been plagued with anxiety and IBSD. Then I remember that even though I grew up in a loving family attitudes and ideas about parenting were different.

Pat & Murrel Clark
My mother and father

My mother was isolated from me when I was small. I remember little about it. She was diagnosed with TB that she caught from my paternal grandfather. She had a very mild lung case and was allowed to stay at home in a separate part of the house. Unfortunately, the TB attacked her adrenaline gland and the doctors were unaware of this. She was well for a while and then by my early teens had declined and was quite ill but no one was able to diagnose her disease. The ins and outs of that period are for another post.

Do-parents-sit-down-and-tell-their-kids

The bottom line is that I was aware that my mother was very ill but the family never talked about it with me. It was thought that you didn’t share this with children. She was in and out of the hospital and my aunt would come to help and keep me entertained by taking me shopping. Needless to say this was not a good coping skill to be learned by a teenager.

Just prior to succumbing to her illness she was diagnosed with Addison’s disease and lived to be 95. I know now that those years of her illness were terrifying for me and explain anxiety and fear of illness. Anxiety and all its companions also run in my family.

It is nice to know why I suffered in those years and it is wonderful to have coping skills that keep me sane. So much was not understood in those days and mental health was not discussed or treated. Women had the vapors and spent several days in the hospital with “nerves.”

Even though mental health is not treated as well as it should be it is much better than in my growing years. I am grateful for the strides that have given others help and hope. I pray that things will continue to improve and that one day things will be much better.

With tears in my eyes

I have loved this song since the first time I heard it. I have been blessed with people in my life who have held me up from my parents and family, to my husband and friends and my God. They have all been so patient through my struggles with anxiety and IBSD. The song always brings tears to my eyes remembering how their love has held me in the midst of trials. My life would not be the same without their presence. Some are gone now but their love is never gone. Others have filled in the spaces especially my children, grandchildren and wonderful friends.

This song makes me feel so grateful!

What ifs

what ifs

It is so easy to fall into thinking that we can control outcomes in life. When things don’t work the way we want we start with the “What ifs.” If I had only finished something at work faster, if I had only been nicer, if I had turned left instead of right. Depending on the situation we can blame ourselves for what happened. We can also blame someone or something else. One way leaves us feeling guilty and the other way exonerates us but leaves us angry and wanting to lay blame on someone.

responsibleThere is also the problem of responsibility. Some families have solved their children’s mistakes so many times that the child has no sense of responsibility for their actions. They have not suffered any consequences. Unfortunately, we need to be held accountable early on in life or when something happens that can’t be fixed then the result can be devastating.

 

Life is unpredictable. When we are truly at fault we need to take responsibility but we can’t take on guilt for the vagaries of the world. Knowing the difference between these two is a critical life skill.

When situations arise take a hard look and sift through what happened. Learn to use some perspective and don’t take on things that are uncontrollable. Don’t lose yourself in the “what ifs.”

Dogs are a joy

There is no question that I love dogs. My two bassets give me great pleasure. We never intended to have dogs this big. We have always had standard dachshunds. My son just showed up with the first one at the door. A friend of his had to let the dog go and he knew that we were suckers. We kept her (Tillie) and when the dachshunds crossed the rainbow bridge we got a rescue as a friend for her. The two of them are now a bonded pair.

IMG_2802
Tails hanging down as they monitor the yard

They brighten my day by their antics. Bassets are stubborn by nature and when called to come will do so….at their own pace which resembles a snail. Alternately if they don’t want to come at all will go behind a bush with the hope that you won’t see them at all. Strangely enough if I say “I see you” they come out.

Crash, so named by foster family as he was hit by a car) will bark at the door. Thinking that he wants to go out (they have a dog door in the back) one of us will get up and open the door to discover that he doesn’t want to go out. He wants us to let Tillie in.

When we are gone excitement ensues. Towels are pulled from racks. Laundry is removed from the basket in the laundry room and all couch pillows are pushed to the floor. None of these things are damaged…just rearranged.

IMG_2226

At 5:00 PM play time arrives and they chase each other around the house, in and out the dog door and around the yard. Barking commences and when Crash catches up to Tillie she lets out an ear curdling screech. The sound penetrates every room in the house. We need ear protection.

Without them things would be boring.

For them and us Life is good.