The little children shall

It had to happen. The children needed to lead. The time of decision was approaching. The time of no turning back. The final test.

Ragnarok wasn’t a precise term, but it was sufficient enough to make people take notice.  Armageddon, the Second coming – the Rapture. Whatever, as long as they took it seriously. As long as they remembered, passed it down from generation to generation, so the idea was set in them, like DNA. It wouldn’t do for them to forget.

But the children – they were the ones we had been waiting for. Not us. That message that came through the Hopi nation wasn’t for us. It was for our children.

But not all of them.

Conservation of matter works with intelligence and ability too. It turns out there is only so much to be handed out. So instead of it being averaged out like it had in the past, it was sharply skewed now.

They  first noticed all the children with autism, with Asperger’s, those on the spectrum. How could they not?

But the others. They are only now appearing. They were among us all along. The bright-eyed ones. The awake ones. The leaders, the visionaries, the inventors.

They were created out of the same stuff as the loners, the suicides, the school shooters. They had the same chance to pass over into the darkness, the danger. Both had the same level of aspiration and anxiety. Both had the same level of craving and desire that are standard issue with all humans.

But the heroes, the saviors, were the ones who had learned to delay their appetites – not to do without, but to shave up. they learned that the best indeed came to those who chose to wait.

They were not born with this ability. They did not have any more “will power” or “discipline” that the other children, the lost children.  They did not have greater IQs either. But somehow they chose the correct path, the slow but sure one, the one that leads to hope, and more importantly, they stayed on it.

The fast way, the quick way, the instant gratification way was the easy love, but the slow quiet death.

They weren’t especially unloved or ignored, these shadow children, these suicides, these school shooters. Some of the saviors were also from broken homes, homes with just a mother, or even just a grandmother. Some of them were equally bullied at school, equally lost and confused.

In many ways they were the same, made up of all the same ramshackle, tumbledown stuff of any normal childhood, the same despair and grief we all experience in isolation, all feeling uniquely alone, unfairly overlooked.

The bright ones, the awake ones, were different in that they chose to not idolize their lack and loss.  They didn’t identify with it. They didn’t name themselves “divorce” or “ignored” or “poor”. They worked with what they had, no matter what it was. They made a torch out of a spark, and used that flame to light the path.

The others fed on their pain, growing it in secret, nursing their injury (the same thing the others used as a stepping stone) and growing it day by day, into a pearl as large as an ocean, a chasm as vast as a canyon.

They grew their pain (the same pain) into a weapon, a feeling of frustration, of being-owed, of an account balance fallen short. They forgot (or never knew) that their pain wasn’t special, wasn’t personal.  Or rather, it was personal, because it was part of being a person.

But they took it as a special unspecialness, an intentional slight, a deliberate attack, instead of as a challenge, a choice.  They could have chosen to rise above, to fly clear of the debris and dirt of the world. They could have chosen to ignore the noise of all kinds that swirl around, but instead chose to allow it to infect them, chose to see it as an attack instead of an opportunity.

The ones who will lead us now, the little children, they will be our healing, if only we will listen to them.

We too have a choice.

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The Hope rock

I have been a member of 615 Rocks for a few months, but have realized that I’m not very good at painting rocks.  There is so little space on the rocks, and I’m not sure how to work with the uneven surface.  I have a lot of different crafts I do so I’m unwilling to master another one.  I’m becoming too scattered.  I need to focus on one thing.

But I had this little pile of rocks I needed to do something with.  So I spray painted them copper and wrote inspiring words on them.

I took these three rocks on my wanders on Friday, 11/17/17

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I left the “Hope” one at the CVS in Hermitage.

It was found by Rachel Michelle, who then took it to the CVS near Harding Place.  She said “I found it the day I turned in my two weeks notice to begin a new better job!!! It was the sign I needed!”

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Someone else took it to Vanderbilt hospital, where it was found by Jess Robertson, who said “Couldn’t have found this rock at a better time or place! I think I’ll hang on to it, we can definitely use a little “HOPE” right now!… Found it as I sit with my husband recovering from heart surgery…much needed!…I plan to rehide it once he’s discharged…prayerfully it provides the same hope for someone else’s family!”

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How nice to know that one little rock  – with nothing more than a simple word, can inspire so many people.  It is wonderful to see how it is touching people’s lives.

 

There is hope after diagnosis

A guy came into my workplace yesterday, obviously experiencing the mania that comes with unmanaged mental dis-ease. He was raving about conspiracy theories and the Temple Mount – said he was even frisked by the police in the Holy Land just 50 days ago.

Little does he realize but I speak Crazy fluently, being a citizen of that country. I’ve also taken classes and read books on how to safely interact with people who are on the edge of “dealing with it”. I enjoyed the challenge of the conversation, but was also reminded of how far I’ve come.

Today is marks the 17 year anniversary of the last time I was in a mental hospital. There is hope after a diagnosis. Since I started taking care of myself, I’ve had the same job for 16 years, I’ve been married for 12, I’ve published four books and I have excellent credit. You can have a mental disorder and be fine – with proper care (a lot of it is self-care).

Like many people, I went through the trap of thinking it was a temporary thing and got off the meds (which weren’t good for anyone anyway – they no longer prescribe the one I took) and went off the deep end again. I went to the hospital again (both times self-initiated) and got on different meds that gave me clarity so I could start taking care of myself. It is hard to be “normal” when the high is so vivid and interesting. Everything is connected. Life is 31 flavors when high with mania – but only vanilla when “normal”. I’ve learned how to be in the middle.

A lot has to do with getting enough exercise, eating right, and enough sleep. Writing helps me a lot. But Americans aren’t into self-care for anything – do whatever you want and damn the consequences – and blame them on someone else. This is true with every disease we have.

The only way out is to –

admit that there is a problem,

that it won’t fix itself,

that it is chronic (think heart disease, not the flu),

and that you have a lot you can do to help yourself get better. It isn’t all about the meds – but they are important.  Look through my “Survival” book list for books that will help you help yourself.

 

Most of all – remember that a diagnosis is not a definition.  You are a person who has a mental health diagnosis.  You aren’t the disease.

 

 

Peace is possible

We tend to have a set of blinders on when it comes to peace. We forget that the world isn’t always at war. Let us focus on times of peace that have happened – times when long-standing disagreements have been resolved. What “could never happen” has happened before and can happen again.

I invite you to recall specific moments of peace –

The end of apartheid in South Africa.
The removal of the Berlin wall.
The peace accord in Ireland.

All of these conflicts seemed to dissolve overnight, yet they required the intense energy and attention of many people who prayed and worked for their resolution. All along it seemed hopeless – too big to fix, too large to solve.

Do you feel the energy of the change? A huge shift in energy occurred that made it possible for peace to flow.

Now take that energy and push it towards today’s issues –

Israel and Palestine.
Race relations in America.
Refugees fleeing war and poverty.

These seem bigger than us, impossible to resolve. And yet the past tells us otherwise. There is hope. Change is possible.

Keep pushing.
Keep believing.
Keep working.

The Dragonfly

Once, in a little pond, in the muddy water under the lily pads, there lived a little water beetle in a community of water beetles. They lived a simple and comfortable life in the pond with few disturbances and interruptions.

Once in a while, sadness would come to the community when one of their brother or sister beetles would climb the stem of a lily pad and would never be seen again. They knew when this happened that their friend was dead, gone forever.

Then, one day, one little water beetle felt an irresistible urge to climb up that stem. However, she was determined that she would not leave forever. She would come back and tell her friends what she had found at the top.

When she reached the top and climbed out of the water onto the surface of the lily pad, she was so tired, and the sun felt so warm, that she decided she must take a nap. As she slept, her body changed and when she woke up, she had turned into a beautiful blue-tailed dragonfly with four broad wings and a body designed for flying.

So, fly she did! As she soared she saw the beauty of a whole new world – and a far better way of life than what she had ever known existed.

Then she remembered her beetle friends, and how they were thinking that by now she was dead. She wanted to go back to tell them, and explain to them that she was now more alive than she had ever been before. Her life had been fulfilled rather than ended.

But her new body couldn’t not go back into the water. She could not get back to tell her friends the good news. Then she understood that the time would come when they, too, would know what she now knew. So, she raised her wings and flew off into her joyous new life.

-author unknown-

(This was read at my Mother-in-law’s memorial service, and I think it is worthy of passing on)

Poem – the key in the rubble.

Just by being stubborn
you can get to be the person you have been.

Many people have to be able to do the work.
Maybe they should not be afraid.

We have buildings in our childhoods.
We have buildings in our hearts.

Inside each person is the key,
located in the middle of an argument,
buried under the pain of grief.

Our pain is our teacher.
Our hurt is our healing.

Without judgment
without fear
without turning away

look into your life.

Look into your own building site
among the abandoned rooms,
the peeling paint,
the broken bricks,

and find your heart
Again.

This is the day…

One of the advantages of being human is that we have memory. We can do the same thing over and over again, making tiny adjustments, until we get it perfect. We can use this time and our awareness to make something really awesome occur.

One of the disadvantages of being human is that we forget. We do the same things over and over again, and we think we are doing them the same way and we aren’t paying attention at all. Our routine becomes mindless repetition.

I was in the middle of my yoga practice this morning. Currently it includes a warrior series – warrior one, two, and peaceful warrior. They are pretty predictable, but there are a lot of little adjustments I can make to improve them. In the middle of the practice I remembered that I needed to set an intention for my practice today. An intention is kind of like a prayer, but it has a little more focus.

An intention can be to heal yourself, or for the healing of someone you love, or for the healing of the world. You set your mind on a path, like aiming a plow at a field. Aim it well and dig deep, and you’ll reap an amazing harvest.

I said “God, I dedicate this day to you.” And then I got a strong feeling back – every day is God’s day. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

All we do when we bless something is to remember. We are giving credit where credit is due. We are reminding ourselves that it came from God. We are giving back what has been given to us. We are being mindful that this amazing thing didn’t just happen out of nowhere. It wasn’t an accident. It is a gift, made for us to appreciate.

It is the same idea in giving the firstborn unblemished male offspring of the herd up for sacrifice. It isn’t the second born – you don’t have a backup. You don’t know if you are going to get another one. It is admitting that if it weren’t for God, you wouldn’t even have that one.

God’s math is different from our math.

Be thankful in all things, and in all times, for everything. The more we notice things to be thankful for, the more things we notice.

This isn’t the “prosperity gospel”. This isn’t about attracting wealth. This is about creating new eyes and a new heart. It is about creating a sense of wonder and amazement and thankfulness. When you start to look for things to be thankful for, you change. You soften, and open up. It becomes like an Easter egg hunt. You find one or two at the beginning, and then it leads you to the secret cache where you realize that everything is a gift, and everything is something to be thankful for.

That is the meaning of Easter as well – new life, new growth, new birth. There is always a chance to begin again. Why not now?

Sure, I know it isn’t Easter. It isn’t the New Year either. But the same idea holds. Every day is a good day to begin again, slate wiped clean. God offers this to us every day, and we accept this gift by being thankful.