Enabling is a word that keeps coming up around me. There are some who would say I'm "enabling" in that judgmental kind of way in my current situation. OK, everyone gets to have their own opinion based on their own understanding. It's not personal. But here's the thing, I know how to find my own truth. I know truth lives in kinder action with awareness and intention, understanding, and peace, and lots of practice and reflection on what works and what doesn't.
So I'm going to enable finding my own truth, and come out of judgment, fear, worry, guilt, and whatever else is going to delay this process. And then I'm going to include the education and guidance from others, and my own wisdom, and years of training and practice. Yes, I am enabling! I enable the conditions for connection, compassion, clarity, communication, care and contribution to possibility. I enable love and the way it shows up and sounds in unique, ever changing, individualized situations.
I enable the kind of conversations that are conversations, not opinion and judgment dumps that I'm "enabling". But if that's what shows up too, great. I can consider if I am, and if I'm not. Thank you, it's always good to look. It leads me to consider the tools, methods, and skills that might contribute to change in any given situation, back to what is true and doable.
My first priority is to enable love. I don't need to explain it, apologize for it, or do some kind of dance defending it. I'm enabling a conversation that includes my truth and process, if someone wants to join me. I'll enable that conversation. And I respect if that's not something they want to or are ready to do. These are the conversations I'll enable. And I'll enable myself to navigate into and out of whatever conversation and opinion is introduced. Neither one is right or wrong, either leads me to keep asking me what feels right, true and kind based on my pursuit of education, wisdom, life practice, growth, and that it proves to work. It's not about opinion, it's about truth and life application that works.
The great thing about this practice is that it transfers to every interaction and communication with my son. What do I want to enable? LOVE. What is that going to look like and sound like? What do I need to do for me to re-connect to it? What will get in the way of that? What thoughts or fears will delay me, interrupt me showing up as LOVE, with LOVE? And I will question them. Why does it all matter? Am I living my intention? What do I need in order to navigate all of this?
For me, the thing that matters most, the bottom line of it all is that I keep trying. I want to enable all of this, and it must start with me so that I am better able to create it with my son who needs it from me, and especially when he can't get there on his own; when he's not loving himself; when he's doesn't sound particularly loving; when it's hard for him to even receive love feeling shame and unworthy. That's when it matters most for me to enable love, the kind of love (not fear) that is going to allow me to show up with my son through the muck and not muck it up, or at least not muck it up as often as I used to, not perfect, and possible of growth and connection.
I'm enabling? Yes, yes I am. I'm trying to enable LOVE. Care to join me?
What are you enabling? Let's enable Love. Love wins!
Just yesterday, and again, it must be 50 times already, at least 3 in the last few months, he's left detox. In seconds I'm flooded with disappointment, disgust, anger, and then the grief, the deep sorrow, the relentless fears feel all consuming. I drop to the floor, my body can't even hold itself up.
I am all too familiar with this scenario. I've learned to accept it all in me, welcome it all, let it all have its life, create time and space for the whaling cries, the swollen eyes, the inability or desire to speak. It's become my sacred grieving. When that all has it's time to be expressed, I question one of my thoughts, "he won't live through the year". That's the journey, the questioning. I do The Work of Byron Katie, the simple process of questioning my thoughts. It holds me in its questions, in my desire to journey, to see. I welcome all of it, and whatever truths I trust are revealed in the process. Half an hour later, truth finds me. Peace arrives. I'm off the floor.
It might be true that my son may not live through the year with all the using, the other medical conditions he has, living on the streets with nothing but the clothes on his back, having zero community, and on an on. And still, I can't know how long his life will be, how it will be, so I get the hell out of God's business, out of hell, and into my own business of what is within my power. Anything else just plain hurts! I start to distinguish between my vivid imagination in fear and facts, get into the present moment. I'm on the floor questioning my thoughts, as far as I know my son is alive somewhere, he's resourceful and unbelievably resilient. Yes, he's left another detox, but my choices are revealed. Do I continue and deepen my own form of detox or leave the journey of mind detox, leave much needed self care, do I stay withll the things that support my life, or leave? I stay!
All this fear, when questioned brings me from laying on the floor sobbing, to sitting up, holding my shoulders straight, breathing deeper and slower, the suffocating grief in my throat is relieved. I am left with utter simplicity, one job, one singular intention as the clarity of not knowing where my son has walked off to and what he will co-exists and sits right beside me. We're ok there. I don't know, can't know, and in that not knowing, the awareness of love itself, that energy of love replaces the fear. I get up, I feel the peace of it, I get moved. Simple.
My only job is to love. How can I return to my job and quickly, the invitation that the stress makes is so compelling. I slow down to question whatever thoughts and beliefs are going to put layer upon layer of confusion into my mind, the physical stress of that, the mental anguish of that, and take me away from my most important job. With the thought, my son doesn't even make it through five minutes in my mind, I have him dead this year. With the thought, I am a wreck. That's all ok, but my soul wants love! I want love, I need love! That's how I want to live through this year, whether he does or not. And he needs this from me! I need this from me! I need to give it because of the situation, because he left detox, because maybe one day he'll call. What CAN I do? I call me, I call upon love to take me from fear and back into its calm, peaceful, wise guidance. In these scary situations, real or imagined, I know the way out is to go in. I do The Work. The way is to care for my fears which brings me into the purity and power of love, no conditions, re-connected again, contributing to peace at the very least in me, touching my heart, breathing all that in, imagining hugging my son with that, communicating this love so he has a better shot of hearing it and feeling it if he resurfaces. I use what I've learned and skills developed. If my son calls me, it will not be my fear I give. It will be my love!
Fear just does not communicate what we so desperately want to give, to be, to share, to have. Love does! It is the only job that makes the most sense before all others. And in that deeper truth, my senses know beyond a shadow of a doubt to love him where he's at whether I know where that is or not, in any condition, because he lives, that might last and it might not. My love, love itself can last! It shows up to guide me, in the questioned fears, this simple process that so profoundly brings me on this journey from the floor in fear to standing in the power of love. It might not be easy, but it is sure a whole lot easier than before I took the journey. I become the light in the darkness, having walked into it and out of it, lighter, able to shine on. This is the journey, take it!
Drugs don't win here. Love does!
In gratitude and peace,
February 6, 2022
It is sooooo easy, sooooo deep the need to want my son to choose life, that he should choose life as his body, mind, and spirit decompensate, as the desperate need for him to live and live a healthy life envelopes all of me. He's an 8 hour drive away, I don't have any idea where he is, don't know if he has his own phone or borrowing one, don't know what he means when texting he needs help. What do you need, I'll drive there, tell me please I feel the desperation of it all. When will he text again? More need to know, the needs are falling like torrential rains. Because I need him to choose life! How easy it is to have these wants, needs, and shoulds, and how easy it is that the stress of believing them unquestioned grows. However, what is true is that stress itself is the invitation, laying out the red carpet for Inquiry. Is it all true?
It's nearly impossible to just drop a thought, especially when life hangs in the balance, especially when it's my child. So, I don't try. I cry. I let that fear live, and I cry. It honors all of me, and it honors the situation. I know I can question it when all my beliefs, and reactions have lived their life too, not so scary anymore, it becomes a sacred experience of grief, of fear, of self-compassion. Doing this for me helps me hold the space for me, and for others, for my son. Sacred space, sacred feeling, sacred experience. The sacred shows up for me, holding me in it all, and holding my son in this too.
In another quiet space, I wonder what else might exist other than the only story of needing my son to choose life as I wait for the next text that he'll go to the hospital. With the thought of needing him to choose life, I'm desperate. I'm in his business of what he chooses, a place I have zero control, not much influence at the moment even, hours away in another state, phone not working, magical thinking that if I need this enough that somehow energetically it will impact this situation, impact his choice, that somehow this need will help me. No, I simply and truly do not need this thought to help me, and it will not help my son to be in the stress of it.
Instead, as I sit in silence, breathe and wonder what else is possible, who I'd be right here and now, in this crisis and without the thought I need him to choose life, there is more space for all of it, as is, as is! I am breathing, I am questioning my fears for truth. I know truth liberates me and my son from my imagined nightmares. I stop arguing with reality. He is on the streets, his mind and body affected by weeks, months, years of using drugs, does he even have the capacity to choose life when his body aches in pain and need of comfort that a drug can provide? What life? The life I think and imagine is best for him? Am I god here to now know what everyone needs, what their path is, to dismiss the many paths that any life can take, has taken? Who would I be, who am I without the thought of needing him to choose anything? Available.
I need to choose life! For me, and for my son! This is the truest of all. Without my clarity, compassion, what I can contribute in peace and support, how I communicate from that place, we're at risk of worse conditions. I need to choose life, and show up in such a way that I am available and on purpose. I choose to welcome the life this fear and grief is apparently moving in me, I choose to question those fears. I know the truth will be revealed quickly, gently, and it can live in me. I choose that! I choose to give this renewed heart and mind to my son. I choose to be prepared if he texts again, to choose the drive to find him, scoop him up and get him wherever he needs to go, if he so allows. I choose his life if he welcomes my help. And I choose to understand that for now, he may not be able to choose life the way I think he should. These stories, assumptions, expectations, wants, needs and shoulds let go of their grip on me, and on my son.
What remains, always in the revelation of Inquiry is Love. I love me this way, I love him this way as is, I send him love from this place, I am available for more love this way without the conditions that he make a choice I think he should make. I'm here for you sweet boy (because I'm here for myself). I'm here and we'll figure it out, together.
It is so very true that the truth shall set you free, when you know it. Is it true that I need my son to choose life? No. Would it be nice if he does? Yes. What I really, really need more than that is love in the here and now, in the conditions of this reality here and now, to return to it in myself, to share it from this more peaceful place of meeting life as it is. It's been my experience that fear will most likely show up again, and again. And Inquiry can bring me directly to the truth where love lives. I choose that! Thank you, and so it is, and so it can be, and so it shall be. I choose life, I choose love. I choose to give that to my son. Text or no text, his choice or not, whatever may come. Drugs will not win here, do not win here. Love does!
January 28, 2022
My son has gone missing again, no phone again, no other contacts, no clue how to reach out to him. The depression, the addiction, the holidays it seems have swallowed him up, again. My mind so easily goes to thinking and believing this is the time, this is goodbye.
My mother's health is quickly deteriorating. Is this the time, is it time for hospice? My mind easily thinks and believes I am returning to see her and this is goodbye.
My mind is lost in the goodbyes, the gasps of breath, the fall of tears, the heaviness in my heart. My mind has just said goodbye to my son, to my mother, goodbye to hope, goodbye to anything other than sorrow. I have said goodbye to possibility. Perhaps it is really saying goodbye to possibility that hurts the most. Yes, I think that is it. Lost in grief, I say goodbye to the awareness of love in the mix too. This I have found to be the most painful, not the circumstances necessarily but the goodbye to Love itself that awaits my awareness of it, again.
What if it is not goodbye? What if it is hello? I bring my mind to that question, and it says hello to the invitation. Hello. Without this suffocating and exhausting limp into goodbye, the hello's begin:
Hello breath, hello opening heart to love itself, to the presence of a deeper love and intention to feel it and live it even amidst the grief. Hello to the possibility of healing - my mother's, my son's, my own. Hello to that! Hello to not knowing, not playing god - always a welcomed and comforting hello to that! There is comfort and possibility in simply not knowing, the inability to now know, and to be with the conditions of life now, knowing love finds me, holds me, moves me, continues on, remains. Hello to that!
This is hello. Hello to loving now, from the deepest and wisest most connected parts of me and imagining the heart to heart connection, the energy of love shared through time and space. Hello to it filling my heart, circulating and bursting out in its lightness, in the light of love. This is hello in this day, and any day. Hello to that!
This is hello to more surrender and choice to accept that which I can not change. And a hello to the next part of that ... It is what it is, for now, and now what can I do? A hello to what is possible, to what I can do, and within my ability. It is a hello to some challenging times and, therefore, a hello to knowing the deep healing work that invites me, has so abundantly been shared for me along the way, through time, with such special people. Hello gratitude!
This is hello to sharing time, love, and peace with my mother who miraculously is growing stronger. This is hello to creating the inner peace within me this day to share with my son wherever he may be, in whatever condition. The energy of love, of peace has no concept of time and space, it travels deep and far. This is hello to do what I can to return to that peace. This is hello to the wisdom that anything else is a goodbye to a truer connection to love. The very thing that will always hurt, the goodbye to it that is the little bell, even the loud gong, that reminds me to turn the goodbye into a hello.
Love does not leave, it is I who say goodbye to it when in fear and the imagined fearsome future, when believing thoughts even for brief moments that would shadow all the various ways love can and will say hello.
If there are to be goodbyes, the hellos are there too. Can I know for sure that it is goodbye. No, no I can't. Even in the earthly goodbyes, the hellos will present themselves, if I say hello back. Yes, there is grief, and simultaneously the hello enters in. Hello Compassion. Hello Peace. Hello Gratitude. Hello Love.
To all the possibilities of "this is hello".
My son called. Again, he left another sober living home. Same reasons again. Same explanation. Same wants from the world, the staff, even himself, and from me. That alone feels heavy. The stories of hearing all his wants that do not yet have solutions grow and grow. But the day is not yet done.
My sister called. She wants me to change. My mother wants and needs me to do this and that. Work needs me. A friend wants my time. He wants. She wants. They want. So many wants from so many people, from so many directions, so it seems. Feeling overwhelmed by not enough time, not enough energy, not enough to give half of them what they want and surely not when they want it. And it is impossible to give my son what he wants. Now what???? I do The Work, because it works!
Believing the thought, he wants something from me (that I can't give), is suffocating, I'm immediately on guard. I notice my ego wants to defend me, give me permission to scream "no!" or "I can't". The cost of believing this thought and all the stories that come with it is that I disconnect and go into protective mode. More than that it hurts to make my son the reason when I need him, and he needs me to be connected.
And without this thought running in the background, being the end all guide of my choices (because it's not!), I become calm, curious, breathe slower and deeper. I ask him, what is it you really want, need at this time? I am honest with myself and him if I want to and can give what is being asked, and that is after I clarify what is being asked of me. Guess what, he's just venting! He doesn't want anything of me, and even knows I can't make that kind of magic happen.
But that's not it for me. I really want to understand what this thought is doing to me, to my relationships. Because when I believed he wanted from me that which I can't give, I'm very stressed out. And without believing this thought and all the stress of it, I am free to be curious and connected.
He wants, she wants, they want, when questioned, leads me to be curious, to communicate through it all while connecting to an open mind and an open heart. Because what I really, really want is to be that and share that part of me. I want me to show up that way despite the requests for my time and attention. I want me to take care of me, slow it down and consider if and how I will give. What I really, really want is to live out the stated intention to be present, build connection and communication, trusting myself to nurture my body, mind and spirit. It's the only way I'm going to be able to navigate these current and changing circumstances.
Who would I be without the thought "he wants something from me"? Present, connected, curious, contemplative, communicating, kind, creative. That's how Love guides. Being moved from fear to Love, the truth is revealed. It is less about what another wants, and how Love wants to be lived through me and in me. As it turns out, it's what I want to.
As this year comes to a close, what perfect timing to release the overwhelm, to actually have it release me. And to be thankful for it, as it is the overwhelm that led me to question the thought and stories where the truer story is revealed. That's the power of doing The Work of Byron Katie. It shows me a way to easily find these deeper truths within the stress, and to slow down and identify how to live it.
For today, it is lived by making time for grief, for some tears, for the reality that, at least for now, there is little I can do but work on my own inner peace so I can be available hopefully for another call, for another request. I look forward to my son wanting something and everything from me. How else am I going to learn and practice this letting it all just be, and allowing Love to find me and live through me, to come to these deeper realizations that my most important job, my deepest want is just that, to connect with all of this.
I imagine the next want that is requested of me will remind me of what it is I truly want: The lived intention, the practice of holding space, breathing, listening, being curious, seeking to understand, inviting his ideas, communicating with care and carefully. How wonderful he is sharing all his wants with me. I get to hear him. I get to hear Love.
More anger, blame, raging, unfinished sentences, again. Is my son ever going to be light, calm, sweet, wise, funny again? Will he ever learn to forgive, to release the past, move on? We're on the phone again, I'm listening in silence, feeling bombarded hearing his anger at the world. It's a landmine and my silence seems to prevent escalation, maybe. It's not a conversation, but another dump. These calls are becoming sad, and tiring truth be told. The thought "he's lost to me" returns, deep inside me, again. The pain returns, again.
How can I know absolutely that he's lost to me? Breathing in, relief. I can't. It's been a long time since I've heard the sweet one, but the truth is I can't know if he's lost the way I'm imagining the future. When I believe he's lost though, my world stops. The tears flow immediately, in abundance. The fear of him living this way is in abundance, the grief once again is in abundance. There's nothing else to do but sit with it, feel it, it's heavy. There's a part of me that considers that if I believe he's lost to me, somehow I'll be able to withstand these waves of grief better, be able to navigate these calls better, but the cost of believing this thought (as the only truth of my all knowing how the future will be) is even heavier than the grief. I'm lost in a raging sea that takes me under, and I put my son in there too, losing connection, the very thing that I need desperately, him too. And I know I can find it again. That's my chosen path, and I know the way.
What's possible if he's not lost to me? What's possible if the thought that he's lost might not be all true? What is it I'm looking for really? Who I think he should be, how I think he should live his life, how I think he should sound? That's a whole lot of shoulds! Who's lost now? I'm lost in thought and ruling the universe, again. Good to see! The phone call, hearing him this way was not easy but he was there, I was there. The future doesn't even exist yet. Good reminder! It will always be lost in its not yet, non-existence, can't know, you've been living in the I don't know the future your whole life, and catching up to that truth. For today, this call, I found connection, and it sounded like my son that way, me that way, and for now it's good, good enough. I heard his voice after weeks, he's alive. He's thinking, trying, reaching in and reaching out as best he can. Aren't we all?
This fear left unquestioned will have me lost in it, and then everything else follows down that dark hole. I've come to know that love will follow me anywhere, all the time, and can lift me up again and again and again. Found each and every time. And, I can help it out. By supporting Love itself, I support me, I support my son, I support the world for more peace. Fear is the invitation, the reminder that I'm lost in some painful beliefs and stories. Doing The Work is the fast path to greater understanding by slowing down and holding the fear, thought by thought, taking it by the hand, welcoming it to show me the way up and out of the dark hole.
I find love, I find connection, I find truth, I find freedom. Or does it find me? This is where I'm going to find my son, as is. He's not found until I am. He's not found until my fear is understood and transformed back to love by finding the truth that lies beneath and around the fear. More gratitude, found. Losing fear, finding truth. Love, loving, loved, again. What a phone call!
You see me struggling, you’ve seen me up, down, and everything in between. I may seem lost in addiction. And you seem to get lost in your fear and worry. Please notice where your fear takes you. You have me behind dumpsters, cold on a street corner, laying on a dirty floor, you’re waiting for that call with all sorts of stories and scary images. But I'm not there. Will you notice that you’re seeing me only in your imagination, and in images of the past and future? That's not the real me there. Even if I can't be reached, please break free of your fear and imaginations. Please remember my goodness and my life. My spirit and love live beyond fear, and always in your heart. Look for me there. Look for me in the good, in the living. Look for me and honor me with your life. I cannot do this for you, will you do this for me?
Please tell me you love me, and what you're willing to tolerate, or not. Tell me your priorities and stick to them yourself, show me you’ll take care of yourself. I might eventually hear you say no. I hear you so much better when you’re calm and keep it simple. And just repeat it or don't answer the phone when you’re overwhelmed. This is helping me. When you repeat what's not working for either of us, it just keeps not working. Just be clear and honest with me. You are strong in a gentle delivery. I need this. It helps me with my own fear, and helps you take care of your own. I cannot do this for you, will you do this for me?
I want your love. I want you to love me as I am whether I live or die. Trying to fix me is beyond your control and obsessing on this will kill your chance at any peace. It's your fear that makes you do that. And you make me responsible for it. I'm under the influence of drugs. Drugs have their way, it’s just the reality of things. You must choose a different way when I cannot. I love you and I cannot express it right now. Just trust in that love, even though it's silent and difficult to see. Please remove this pressure from me that I have to get fixed and take care of your happiness. Please seek your own healing. I cannot do this for you, will you do this for me?
Live your life so I don't have to feel the shame of taking it from you. I did not take your life from you. I don't have that power. So please don't give it to me, or to drugs for that matter. I don't want that for you either. God gave me a life and a death, same for you. If and when I can choose differently, I will. Will you? Show me the way. If I ever recover, I'll need you to be clear and strong. I’ll always need that at any stage of addiction. Healing is possible for me, and for you. You be the one to start, to continue, and thank you for that. I can't do this for you, and please, please don't wait for me. God has plans for me, and God has plans for you. Staying in pain is not His plan for you. I know it's not God's plan to have me addicted but God is going to use my life in ways we both cannot imagine. Find every way to live and inspire peace and joy in this life. I cannot do this for you, will you do this for me?
I know you love me very much. I love you back, I really do, even when it doesn't look or sound like that. Nothing can destroy our love. I am with you always. God created me as love, and you are too. It is indestructible. Remember this and you will remember me well. I love you. Know this, but I cannot do this for you, will you do this for us?
Your Child, and God’s
Another holiday, and another time that he would not be home for the holidays. In fact, he has no home, he’s under an awning on the side of a building on the streets, with only the clothes on his back and a light jacket. The temperature decreases while the rain increases. He’s hundreds of miles away.
It had been days since the last contact with anyone. I prayed to talk with him, to know he’s alive, and now it’s so hard to hear what he’s saying. It’s hard to imagine his condition. At these times, it’s all too easy to get distracted by my thoughts and imagination, it can take my mind hundreds of miles away.
Just the night before, I held myself and other moms in questioning the thought “my child is wasting their life”. What timing! I’m so thankful for the greater truths shown to me, so divinely inspired, that I will not waste time or his life by putting him in a future I can’t know, by disregarding a purpose given to him by God – despite and maybe because of addiction. I will not waste his life or mine by allowing fear to overshadow or consume this precious phone call with him.
On this phone call, we are connected on this holiday, a day that can be any day, holi-day, a holy day. It doesn’t mean it’s some ideal concocted in my imagination or the dreams I created years ago. It means I join the reality of things and join him on this call. On this day, I am very aware we are both in the moment, heart to heart, I am listening, I get to hear his voice, not trying to change or fix him, not preaching at him, only meeting him with love where he’s at.
Someone gave him a jacket, he confirms he knows some places to get a little food, and has some phone numbers to use to access resources, that maybe some day he might use those phone numbers, that he is aware he made some choices that led him to this current situation. I respond that I hear great wisdom and healthy intentions. Over time, we’ve learned to connect in silent, mutual understanding, even an understanding of what I’ll give, and what I won’t. It’s not always so peaceful, but on this phone call it is. On this day, and any day, I am so keenly aware that most precious thing I can give is a love that has no conditions.
He wishes me a Happy Thanksgiving. Though I can’t say those words back to him, my communication is loving, supportive, and loving him where he is, how he is. I’ve had to work really hard to get there, and continue to work at that so I can meet us both in this more loving place, more often than not. Is it happy? By what definition of happy? In the moment of connection, there is a sense of happiness that we’ve at least connected lovingly, but only when any expectations for some kind of unrealistic ideal is released.
Grief is present, however, I am still so grateful to have heard his voice, grateful for these moments, always grateful for these moments. Love holds me, and holds him, and will guide us, in this moment and any moment. His home is in my heart, always. There, he is home on this holy day!
From my heart to yours, may there be peace!
It was about year ten of my son’s addiction, and nearly his fiftieth relapse. He had attended at least twenty treatment programs and not finished many of them; it was about the fifteenth time I had no idea where he was or if he was alive, with no means of contact. It was about the hundredth time I considered the possibility that I might not see him or speak with him again. It felt like the millionth time that fear made itself well known. My choice was clear. Either I would put all the tools at my disposal to work, or I was going to go into a deep, dark pit of suffering. I chose to deepen and increase gratitude. In my experience, gratitude holds me immediately in the stillness of God’s presence, in love, in grace.
“I do not understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.” ~ Anne Lamott
So how do we find gratitude within these circumstances? Why would we make the effort? I wholeheartedly believe it’s because this is how we supercharge our love (unconditional love) and bring power to recovery—our own and quite possibly our children’s. It brings us into our hearts and out of our fear. Gratitude is one of the most powerful energies for us to embody if we are going to thrive. It is a way of being that helps us to show up in helpful ways in our own lives, for our children, and in the world.
“Gratitude is an antidote to negative emotions, a neutralizer of envy, hostility, worry, and irritation. It is savoring; it is not taking things for granted; it is present-oriented.” ~ Sonja Lyubomirsky
Research from Harvard, Berkeley, Cornell, and other institutions reports the power of gratitude. Gratitude is beneficial in many ways: it increases resilience, reduces symptoms of depression, increases a sense of happiness, improves self-esteem, improves sleep, inspires physical exercise, reduces pain, lowers blood pressure, strengthens the immune system, lowers stress, helps you live longer, and makes you more understanding, compassionate, helpful, and kind. It improves relationships, improves decision-making, makes you more creative, increases productivity, makes you less self-centered, inspires generosity, increases spiritualism, and increases optimism. Wow!
Who wants some of that? I do! If you’re reading this and saying, “I want some of that, too,” I invite you to grab a piece of paper and pen. Let’s take a look at some of the ways to invite, inspire, and exercise our power in gratitude!
1. Name at least three things for which you are grateful. Be very specific as to why you are grateful for them (for example, sunshine: it warms my home, it feels so good on my shoulders, it nurtures the garden, it lifts my mood).
2. Name at least three things that you brought to this day that were uplifting for you, for another, for a relationship, for your job, for your home, etc. Be specific about the choices, qualities, values, and strengths you brought to these things (for example, I reached out to a friend, I listened to the divine whisper to reach out, I practiced love, I shared laughter, I listened, I offered support, I felt fulfilled).
3. Name at least three things about your child (children) for which you can forever be grateful. Do not let fear and struggles overshadow this exercise. Notice if your thoughts bring you there, and bring your focus back to fully appreciate the love (for example, his bright smile, how he played with his trucks in the garden, how he played card games with his friends, his humor, his big heart).
4. Name at least three things that addiction has inspired in you. Be specific (for example, I have learned greater patience, I have a closer relationship with God, I have learned to ask for help and receive it, I have said yes to deep healing and greater purpose).
Now that you have a list of the many things for which you are grateful, what do you notice? How do you feel? How can you practice gratitude in your days? What time of day works best for you, and what do you need to make some time and space to bring some deliberate attention to gratitude? How do you think this will benefit you and your child?
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~ Melody Beattie
Gratitude is always just a thought away, always available for us. Let us bring focus and care to what we can do today. That is how we meet our tomorrows as they arrive. Today, there are things that have been blessings. Yesterdays have given us memories that are blessings for today. Let us align with the divine blessings that even addiction cannot claim. When we do this, we become the blessing. May you be blessed!
I was just starting to relax. I had dropped my son off at a treatment center, a center I knew would be just what he needed. We had the intervention, we had the plan, we gave the choice - take it or leave it. He went.
Ten hours later, he left. He left to the streets with no ID, no money, in a state he'd never stepped foot in, knowing nobody, no phone. Lost!
My mind immediately went into fear! I lost my son. He's a John Doe. I made it worse. I never should have insisted he go there. Just feeling powerless. Now what? What was clear is I was losing me to fear, to my imagination, to worst case scenarios, and I was losing my son there too. I was essentially putting him into all those stories. As if I knew? None of it I knew for sure, but that didn't stop the stories ... yet. Thankfully, I also knew some tools to find clarity, to find calm, to find what would turn out to be the greater truths, even when my son was seemingly lost.
I held all that fear, I chose the thoughts that were the most painful first, and I questioned them. I have found The Work of Byron Katie to really help me through fear, actually it found me, but that's another story. The Work gives me a process to see all the perspectives available to me, and turn fear upside down and all around. On the other side of fear is the love that will transcend and overcome the fears only too pervasive and frequent when addiction shows up too. And love holds me and guides me to reconnect and find me, and find my son.
He's lost? I could believe that as the only story, but there's more to that story that is just as true, even truer. My son is clearly in my my heart, he's in the gratitude I can find and name, he's in my faith and trust that he is God's, he is in the unknowns and his own path and journey between him and God. When I get out of God's business, I can join Him and be led into my own business of taking care of me and my fear and doing the next thing that makes sense. My son is in the stillness, I can hold him safe in my heart and send him love through the airwaves, he is a part of my very being - separate but not separate. As if he could ever be lost there, it just impossible! He is in how I choose to think of him and the choices I make to navigate this fear and situation. He is in photos, he is in other people's children, he is in members of my family, in my friends, he is in my God given calling and purpose for healing and sharing recovery starting with my own, he is in my prayers for strength and trust, he is in the love I grow and give (not in the love I receive back).
It was a few days before my son made contact. Wherever he was he was not lost. It turned out he was only lost in my stories. He was where he was, doing what was happening, and God had him no matter what happened or could happen. I just don't get a vote on it all. I may not like it, but it is the reality of things. The reality of things is that I don't have that power to claim him as my own and to know all these things. And, I do know a God who will use it all powerfully for purpose.
I found my son physically, yes and with so much gratitude. The greater truth revealed that has stayed with me is that he is always in my heart, and always with God. That is the safest place for him to be, and the safest place for me to get to, so I can love him well, no matter where he is or how he is. Love will hold us both and remain. When I consider unconditional love, this is what it means for me. Truly no condition that I get what I want, when I want it, if ever. I get what I get and love will show up there too.
Would I choose this path to peace? Probably not. But it is the path that has chosen me. And it has certain realities to it, and great purpose too. If called to love, it is this unconditional love that calls to me to find it, and do whatever possible to put myself in it. Not an easy task to drop all my conditions, but so worthwhile.
If it was not worthwhile, if I was not worthy of it, and surely my son is worthy of it, these ways would not be present and available. There's be some other lesson. This lesson is how I find my son whatever the condition. The other way of being stuck in fear is just too painful. It feels far more peaceful, kinder and loving to make the choice to question all this fear than to give my son to the fear where surely he would be lost to me.
Perhaps it's by feeling lost sometimes that we are actually found, and especially when we allow ourselves to be found and seek to find our way back. The way takes courage and some effort, and it will reveal a love that transcends addiction and fears.
If I am to feel lost again, if I am to ever believe my son is lost to me, thank God literally for the guidance and inspiration find my way back again to love. And that is where my son will always be found too. That is where we all can be found.
Weeds or Wishes ?