A List for Everyday Inspiration

Things I like 

  1. Watching pelicans fishing at the beach. They are not known for their grace, but they fly over the water with such skill and precisely the right spot they dive straight down and come up with a fish. 
  2. Sunrise – especially on a crisp morning by the beach or over the mountains.
  3. Laughing until my belly hurts
  4. Spending time with family
  5. Historical novels
  6. History – in order to understand today
  7. Learning about different cultures. The more I learn, the more I realize we are not so different.
  8. Acoustic guitar, Flamingo guitar
  9. Singer-songwriters because they usually tell a story
  10. Old radio shows like Allen and Burns or Abbott and Costello
  11. The Cello
  12. Celtic music
  13. Salsa, Bachata – Latin music
  14. Dogs and cats – even though I have allergies
  15. Making up dishes with whatever food is in the cabinets and the fridge
  16. Local raw honey
  17. Oatmeal power pancakes
  18. Going out with friends to listen to live music
  19. Making up stories of things that catch my eye or my ear.
  20. REAL ice cream
  21. Hawaiian style pizza
  22. Watching live shows – especially musicals.
  23. Sitcoms 
  24. Movies and TV shows that depict seniors as very much alive and active like “Grace and Frankie.”
  25. Walking – brisk walking for daily exercise. Strolling if I’m walking the dog or sightseeing and exploring.
  26. Yoga – I’ve been at beginner level Yoga for half a lifetime. It suits me just fine.
  27. Old Country Gospel songs
  28. Meeting new people
  29. The summer rain – not hurricane season, just the warm afternoon showers.
  30. Seeing animals in their natural habitat.
  31. Museums
  32. Spiritual faith practice and some of the traditional religious rituals and customs.
  33. Hanging out at someone’s house to create something together.
  34. Poetry – doesn’t need to rhyme – a rhythmic verse will do
  35. Looking at old family pictures and keepsakes
  36. Looking at a situation from all sides. Put my feet in someone else’s shoes
  37. Singing with my heart and soul – to get lost in the words and melody
  38. The full moon and a clear sky full of stars.
  39. Watching the first snow. Feels like one is in a snow globe. 
  40. Walking on crisp freshly fallen snow, without freezing wind
Make a list
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

  Working to improve; I chose to write a list of things I like.  I set my timer for forty-five minutes of free thought writing.   Turns out this is still all about me.  #everydayinspiration

 

I write because…

I have stories to tell. I write because I want to make a difference in someone’s life. My head is full of ideas. Some are reality-based; they are the stories of people I’ve met who touched my life in some way. Some stories are what-ifs that swim around in my brain. I see something or someone that catches my eye and that sparks my curiosity. I wonder what’s beyond or why does it happen that way. Sometimes I see things and am overwhelmed with emotion, and I need to stop and sort it out.

I believe we all share a human experience and we learn from those who’ve gone before and even those who are coming up after us. Age does not give us all the answers. Everyone who crosses our path affects our life in some way. They leave something behind – either a gift or a lesson.

I have worked with people in different aspects of my life in various roles, and I have learned a lot about the human experience. If something I write helps one person take another look at a problem in their life, I will have served a purpose.
#everydayinspiration

Another work group to improve my writing.  Please bear with me.

Everybody Plays the Fool

Infect

When I saw today’s prompt, Infect, two blog topics popped into my mind, nasty oozing boils or sunshine and lollipops. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to where I want to go with my blog.  In recent days I read a great post by Leo the Nerdy Lion, encouraging new bloggers to find their passion, to find a voice and success will follow. He writes with humor, so I took it to heart.  Whether it’s to encourage writing, the arts or simply to be the best, we’ve probably all heard the saying “Find something you love to do, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” (Author Unknown from Quote investigator)

Infect – influence somebody’s feelings; to communicate an emotion such as enthusiasm or fear to somebody

I originally started writing this blog to vent and rant about politics and religion, but every time I start going down that path, it gets dark.  While politics and religion are things I’m passionate about, I don’t want to be stuck with the type of message.  Some days I may write about faith practices and social issues but generally,  I want to send out messages of faith, hope, love, and light in all shapes and sizes.  We all travel in that continuum of feelings from happiness to gloominess back and forth during our lives.  Where we stop or get stuck and which way we choose to go forward from there is so important.  

This morning I received a notification from an internet radio station with another subscription offer.  The gimmick was to put in the year of your graduation, and they will play all the top hits of that time.   Why not take a stroll down memory lane this morning?  “Everybody plays the Fool” was the first song and undoubtedly the one I could write about today.  I’d been blog surfing the last few nights, and among many creative, well-written blogs, I found a few broken hearts on the mend.  When I heard the song I chuckled, ain’t that the truth I thought.  Lots of us have been there.  Most of us manage to survive and move on in some manner. 

Today I want to infect you with hope, faith, love, and light.  Truly the most important is love.  Love yourself.  I’m not telling you anything new, you’ve heard it before.  I’m not talking about your looks or your style, your status – just you.  That presence inside that has love to give and wants love in return. Get to know that person.  Sometimes we walk around this earth, and we try to be everything to everyone.  We morph into what we think people want us to be and give what we think people want from us, but we don’t take time for ourselves to know ourselves, to love ourselves. 

When we make time to know ourselves, we can take a step back and look at our life objectively.  We are not afraid to ask the tough questions of ourselves or others.  We are not scared of the answers.  Whether in our personal lives or work, we all go into each relationship with certain expectations, certain assumptions.  We assume certain things are true for the others involved.  These assumptions can sabotage our relationships. Keep in mind that each person’s mind is coming from a different place.  Yes, you may have lots in common, but as I’ve said before our life experiences make us all unique in how we respond to specific situations.   You don’t know exactly what the other person is thinking or feeling.  Someone once told me “just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want, doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have to give.”   If there is nothing left in the box, it’s empty.  Don’t take it personally; there is nothing left to give.   

That being said, another wise friend told me: “enjoy each moment because you never know when the opportunity may come again.” Can you look back at your experience and find that there were enjoyable moments, maybe even moments that took your breath away?  Were there moments in which you gave love with all your heart and moments when you felt special and loved?  Keep that with you.  It is what it is, one particular moment in time and your life goes on.  The chances are that if you had that much love to give, your cup is still full and you have more to give.  There are different ways to share that gift.  Love has different shapes and sizes.  It may be another romantic relationship but don’t limit yourself to the possibilities. Look around; people are sharing love and addressing different needs all over the world.  Know yourself.

So why does everybody play the fool?  Why is it that fools fall in love?  Why do fools rush in? Some of it is hormones plain and simple.  The other reasons?  We believe in dreams and have faith in the future.

“To everything, there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Why does it hurt?  For the same reasons, because we lost our faith in our dreams when what we expected did not come to fruition the way we thought.  Change the pattern, re-write the story.   

“Do not cry because they are past!  Smile, because they once were!” (L. Jacobowski- courtesy of Quote Investigator)

 

PS- In addition to my Christian base faith, some of the ideas I have adopted in my life are from Dr. Miguel Ruiz books Four Agreements, the Mastery of Love and The Fifth Agreement.  You may recognize some concepts in my writing from time to time.

Reflections of A to Z Challenge April 2018

Blog A-to-Z Reflection [2018]

A few days after I had started blogging again, a blogger I follow posted her theme reveal for the April 2018 A to Z Challenge. https://promptlings.wordpress.com/2018/03/19/a-to-z-challenge-2018-theme-reveal/.   As I read her post, I got excited because this Challenge sounded like a perfect way to develop the habit of writing every day. My life is less hectic now, and I felt there was really no excuse but to be consistent with my writing.  I knew the exercise would help me to be more disciplined.  I also enjoy and actually fare better, when I am working with a team or in a community. I thought this was perfect!

Without much thought to the process, I clicked the link and signed up.  I did not post on all twenty-six letters, but I was glad that I was able to get as much done as I did.  The A to Z Challenge April 2018 did serve its purpose for my personal goals.  I have made blogging part of my daily routine.  I didn’t get much feedback, but I did enjoy exploring other blogs.  Because of my limited experience with blogging, I learned a lot from the different styles of writing, and of course, I enjoyed the creativity.  It also encouraged me to take more pictures when I am out and about. 

There were some issues that made the A to Z Challenge more demanding than it needed to be.   The first was I was sick the first week of the challenge and the next week I was trying to catch up until I convinced myself that was not necessary.  I breathed a sigh of relief and moved on.  Second, my theme was broad and not clear – even to me.  I chalk it up to the fact that I really had no clue what I was doing when I signed up, and I had no overall plan.   Sometimes I felt like I was on Sesame Street trying to find a prompt from random words for the “letter of the day.”   Somedays it was amusing to me as I sang … “the letter of the day is here…” in my head of course.   I was able to come up with a post whether from my unfinished work or an idea that popped into my head while humming that tune all morning.

The only negative thing I can say is that for some reason I did not feel connected to the group.  Perhaps I misread the instructions, and as I indicated I earlier, I didn’t understand the process.  I tried to get back to the original page where I had signed up to review the instructions, but I could not find it.  I did not understand it was a page outside of WordPress.com.  I did not get the daily badges with a different letter each day.  I still don’t understand much about the spreadsheet or how to post to a community page.  I’m hoping this will get there. 

Overall, there is no question that I would do it again.   Thanks so much to the hosts for organizing it; looks like there was a lot more behind the scenes work than I realized. I’m hoping I can get things straight for next year.   Looking forward to 2019.   Lindi Roze

 

Mental Health stories of courage and resilience Part 4

Y is for the true You inside

This post is the last of the Mental Health stories that I will share in honor Mental Health Awareness Month.  As I’ve written earlier, these are memories I carry with me from past experiences. I hope that in reading these snapshots, you can get a glimpse of the struggles for a  person who lives with chronic and persistent symptoms of mental illness and from that glimpse, gain understanding and empathy.  This mini-series resulted from the letter “Y” in April 2018 A to Z writing Challenge. If you’d like, you can go back to Part 1 and start at the beginning.  

I met Margaret as I did many of my clients, in a state-run psychiatric hospital to be a part of discharge planning.  As I had mentioned in my last post, Margaret was on the younger end of middle age. She had been married once and had a child, a boy named Shaun. The boy’s father had full custody.  Margaret had not seen her son, now a teenager, for many years.mother-daughter-love-sunset-51953.jpeg

Margaret carried a dual diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder with manic episodes along with Alcohol Abuse and Dependency.  Hospital records indicated that there was a family history of substance abuse by both parents and siblings. Margaret had lost contact with her family. She had lived “on the streets” or in psychiatric facilities for most of her adult life.

One of the first things that Margaret wanted me to know was that she “was not like the other homeless drunks.”  She wanted me to know she had lived in a big white house overlooking the Bay in a small posh town known as a summer retreat for famous people.  As she stuck out her arm in front of herself, she fanned her hand and wiggled spread fingers to make a point,  “and, I had di-ah-mends…”   

Whenever she was having a hard time, she would repeat the story to me with the same gestures and intonations.  She wanted me to remember. It was her dream to get back to that point in her life.  It was my goal to help her get as close as possible.  She was discharged to a women’s transitional residential program with seven other women and plenty of support.  The structure proved too much for Margaret.  There were curfews, chores and according to Margaret “the staff was pushy and some of the other girls were too young or too sick.” 

We started looking for safe alternative housing.  It was the 1990s. Margaret’s only income was Supplemental Security Income and the minimum allowance of food stamps. Today she would probably get a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs for that amount.  Without a housing subsidy, it was impossible for Margaret to afford even a room in one of the many rundown boarding room houses in the city.  We applied for a rental assistance allowance through a special grant designed for downsizing the state hospitals.  While we waited, Margaret’s boyfriend, Jean found a small attic apartment in an old triple decker. 

Jean was supportive of Margaret’s treatment and personal goals. We were able to adjust the subsidy request to use at that apartment.  With a place of her own, the primary thing on her mind was to see her son Shaun again. Margaret was able to open communication with Shaun and his father.  Now she could tell his dad that she had a safe place for him to visit.  Jean was able to borrow a car to meet her son for lunch near his home. It was the first time they had seen each other since he was a small boy.   She was so excited.  She bought a stylish blouse and slacks at the Salvation Army.  For Shaun, she purchased a gift from a local department store, precursors to Target or Walmart.   They tell me she looked fabulous.  It was very stressful, but she managed to get through it without hospitalization or too much disruption in her life.

It was a year later when Shaun got his driver’s license and a car, that he was able to visit Margaret.   From the moment she got the apartment, everything she did was with Shaun in mind.  Now, her little boy was coming for Christmas!  

Margaret and I would shop for her groceries and personal items at the beginning of each month when her Representative Payee would give her spending allowance according to her budget.  Margaret had planned and budgeted for Shaun’s Christmas visit for months.  She wanted to make sure she had enough for a Christmas tree.  She was extra careful shopping because she also wanted some ingredients for a special dinner.  After we secured her monthly staples, we were done, but with very little left for a Christmas tree. 

Margaret wanted a real tree for Shaun.  She didn’t want a dusty beat-up artificial one from a thrift store.  We searched high and low on that cold New England winter day.  Finally, in the back of a tree lot, Margaret spotted the perfect one.   It was short and lopsided, but not too scraggly and at least one hundred times better than Charlie Brown’s.  To Margaret, it looked like the one at Rockefeller Center. She negotiated and got it for eight dollars.  She cried silent tears as we drove home.

At my next visit, I saw the lopsided little evergreen sitting in the corner glowing brightly pexels-photo-264988.jpegfrom the lights and ornaments that Margaret had collected from around town – donation boxes, thrift stores, and friends.  The little Christmas tree did look like it belonged in a big white house by the Bay with strings of “di-ah-mends” to light it up.  Margaret had poured years of bottled up love for her son into decorating the tiny apartment for that visit. It was Margaret’s first Christmas in a long time as well, and sometimes she would become flooded with so many emotions. It was good to hear they had a lovely time.    

Margaret was a loving mother who also happened to struggle with distressing symptoms of a major mental illness.  I tip my hat to her this Mother’s Day wherever she may be.   

Each one of us has our own evolution of life, and each one of us goes through different tests which are unique and challenging. But certain things are common. And we do learn things from each other’s experience. On a spiritual journey, we all have the same destination. A. R. Rahman  (from BrainQuotes.com)

Please check out the links below for additional information for family supports as well.  Many times family and friends want to help but don’t know how. There is also information about Peer support groups and peer mentoring programs.  No one has to do this alone.

SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) at  https://www.samhsa.gov/

NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness (a grassroots organization run by families and consumers) https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI