Posted in Communication, Coping, Friendship, Inspiration, Personal Development, Relationships

A Friend, Frightened, Tired But Not Powerless

Photo by Aimee Vogelsang on Unsplash

“I am bent, but not broken. I am scarred, but not disfigured. I am sad, but not hopeless. I am tired, but not powerless. I am angry, but not bitter. I am depressed, but not giving up.”

Author unknown

I have a friend, a special friend…I think of her often. She wanders in and out of my thoughts.

Do you know how that feels? I miss her now that she is no longer here. We used to sit and drink coffee together and talk about random topics. Not important issues really, just the everyday events and experiences of life. We laughed! She had a knack for making you feel good.

I liked spending time with her, but we did not see each other often, not every week, and sometimes it would be a month or longer.

Then there was an inexplicable change. I could feel it, but I could not put my finger on it. There was a flash of feeling, a question. What was it?

We spent a bit more time together, she stopped by more often, and she asked to go with me a few extra times. Nothing dramatic or compelling, only slightly different. There was a whisper…..

Then, nothing. There were no emails, no phone calls, no visits…only silence.

It did not seem unusual at first; the difference was slight. It felt more like a shift back to the old normal. There used to be times when we did not talk or see each other. But it did not feel right.

Then there was an email. I was so excited. She was back. Open the darn thing, I could not open it fast enough. Where have you been?

Shock! It was not where have you been. It was where she was now.

She had turned her world upside down.

It all came rushing together. Now I understood. There had always been hints, little bits of insight about her home life, and there had been more chunks of it right before she disappeared. I knew she was unhappy, but I was stunned when I read her words.

There had been a small window of opportunity, and she jumped through it. She ran. There would not be any more casual conversations over coffee, not anytime soon.

She had been planning this for a very long time. There just needed to be that time, the right time. I had no clue.

I was stunned, and I was in awe of her. She was such a strong, scrappy woman. I sat there, re-read her email and cried. I was sad for her and what she had been hiding. She had told no one.

She was miles away, such a long way. In another state at the other end of the country, but I had no address yet, and no phone number to call. A request not to tell anyone and the information that someone would probably contact me looking for her. The plea, so urgent, please pretend you have not heard from me.

The call came, then again and again. So many questions. Where is she? Had I heard from her? He needed to know. He questioned why I did not know, why I could not answer him.

I lied, of course, I lied to him, over and over again. No, the answer I gave him, was always no. No, I have not heard from her. I am worried too; I hope she contacts you soon. When she does, please tell her I am thinking of her. They were all lies. He was not worthy of anything more than that. I would protect her.

He told me he was going to the police to file a missing person’s report. Shit! Now what? She does not want him to find her.

What should I do? She was going through so much, trying to settle in and make a new life. She was afraid. There was the constant worry that somehow he would find her.

I sent off an email, not sure it would reach her. She was in the process of changing everything. Please call me. I need to talk to you. Waiting for that call was agony.

I knew if he filed a missing person’s report, they would find her. He would know where she was. She called, and we talked for a long time. What should she do? She decided to contact one of his relatives. In the end, he did not file the report.

He never talked to her directly. Eventually, there was contact by email. He demanded she come back. He would change; things would be different. Yeah, when pigs fly!

She hired a lawyer. There were mutual investments and property. She had to deal with that, and eventually, it happened. Finally, it was no longer necessary for any contact. She still had the fear that he would find her.

Gradually life went on for my friend. She created a new life, but it was different. She was different. There was the never-ending relief that the relationship was over, but she was having a difficult time finding a new rhythm. There were so many changes.

It has been almost three years. I miss her. I miss the smiling face, the twinkle in her eyes, the warmth she radiated. She was, and, is my friend. I no longer take her for granted.

We still talk, of course, and email back and forth. It is not the same. The friendship and the way we care for each other has not changed. It is the same, but it is more intensified now. I want to be able to sit next to her and drink coffee. My dream is to surprise her. Buy a plane ticket and knock on her door.

You see now there is something new, a new threat, my friend has cancer.

What happens now? Will I ever see her again?

Posted in Coping, Inspiration, Learning, Personal Development, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

When Life Is Overwhelming Feed Your Soul

Photo by Arul from Pexels

“Today, whatever is good for your soul, do that.”

Author Unknown

Sometimes life gives us surprises and that is okay…most of the time. There are times when it feels overwhelming. It may not even be a big deal, but it feels that way. Sometimes it really does become a big deal because of one small nugget that pushes us over the edge.

Everyday “stuff” piles up and we keep pushing through it, telling ourselves it will be okay. Then there is one day, a small moment in time, when it is just too much. Our resolve to just keep pushing comes tumbling down.

You have a lot of responsibilities and you are so busy. You have a great attitude and you are happy. You love your life. You love your family, your job, and all of your day to day activities.

You are making it work. You are tired but that’s okay, it’s all worth it. That’s what you tell yourself and you are right, it is worth it.

The question is, can you keep doing it when one more thing is added to your pile of “stuff”. Can you? Hopefully. But what if you can’t?

You may not realize you are feeling stress. When you operate on overload day in and day out, it feels normal. You don’t want to acknowledge that something could go wrong. Even when there might be little niggling doubts circling around in your peripheral vision. If you do not recognize it, it is not really there.

Some people thrive on stress because it pushes them to be more productive. But how much stress can you handle?

That’s a good question, one that is difficult to answer and will be different for everyone.

How will you realize when enough is enough? When will you recognize it is becoming too much? There will be signs. You may have been experiencing them for some time, not realizing what they were. Those little niggling doubts, that you chose to ignore.

What are some of the possible signs? Here they are:

Fatigue – it is one thing to be tired, you are used to that, it is normal. Fatigue is something different. When you are tired, which happens to everyone, a good night’s sleep will usually take care of the problem. You wake up refreshed and with energy. Fatigue is overwhelming. A good’s night sleep will not eliminate fatigue. You may find that, although you are so very tired, it is difficult to sleep. You may develop anxiety, have difficulty concentrating,and experience a decrease in stamina.

Headaches – when you are stressed your body may react by increased muscle tension. Stress can also cause your body to release chemicals which dilate your blood vessels causing a headache.

Sickness – Your immune system can be affected by your stress level. You may be at an increased risk of multiple colds which may lead to respiratory infections. Sniffles become normal, and you blame them on allergies, but they may be a result of stress.

Digestive issues – I know this one well. I was experiencing a stressful situation and all those niggling doubts all cascaded at once. I developed IBS, Irritable Bowl Syndrome. It was excruciating, embarrassing and very inconvenient. Having IBS was stressful which, of course, made it worse.

Appetite – Stress has an impact on your eating habits. You may lose your interest in food and lose weight, or go in the opposite direction and eat when you are not hungry. Many people eat to attempt to make themselves feel better.

Anxiety – Anxiety is a person’s reaction to stress. It is not a physical reaction so much as an internal or mental response. Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event, or something with an uncertain outcome. Let’s face it, we may all experience anxiety on some level, like when you have to give a speech, or you are having an interview. That is normal and it is okay. It is when anxiety becomes excessive and recurring that it becomes a problem. It is a concern, and considered a disorder when it is severe and lasts for an extended length of time.

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” 

― Tina Fey, Bossypants

We all know about stress on some level, but none of us want it to become overwhelming. None of us wants to live a life filled with the negative, mind numbing issues listed above. What can you do to get back to your “feel good” place? How do we nourish our soul?

You may be wondering about “soul”. How do your define it? There are many theories about what the soul is, and what entity has a soul. Do humans, animal, earth, etc.? I won’t attempt to discuss that here. As far as humans are concerned I do believe we have a soul. It is your essence. It is not physical, you cannot see it. It is more ethereal consciousness, an awareness of ourselves, our energy and emotions.

Here are some ways to feed our soul:

Breathe – We rarely think of our breathing. It is an involuntary action, automatic. We rarely think of it, but on some level we should. Make it a practice a few times a day to stop, and just breathe. Think about the movement and relax into it. It will calm you and make you feel better.

Smile – Smile often and mean it. When you smile there are all sorts of good neurotransmitters activated that make you happy and relieve stress.

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Be Still – Stop, be quiet, Rest and take time to listen to yourself. Listen to you soul. What is it telling you? Find a quiet, restful spot. Somewhere peaceful. Sit in the shade of a tree, look at the sky, watch your child sleep. Let yourself go and find peace. Learn meditation and practice it, if for only a few moments each day.

Go outside – I have mentioned many times before, being outside is my happy spot. It will calm me each and every time. Take a walk, go to the park. Take a ride in the country, some place where it is quiet and little traffic.

Spend special time with special people – Your family and the people your always feel good being with. Spend quality time, have a quiet conversation and be sure to smile and tell them how important they are to you. Give out more hugs!

Music – music soothes your soul. It is relaxing, refreshing and can transport you to a calm contentment. Everyone has a different type of favorite music. Sing along, maybe dance, and let the music work it’s magic.

Read – Transport yourself into another world by reading a bit of fiction. I love Science Fiction, Fantasy and a good Mystery. Relax and read, if it is just one chapter a day, it will make you feel better.

There are many things you can do to feed your soul and you need to do it each and every day. You also need to recognize when you need to make some changes to eliminate the cause of any stress.

It is important to take a step back and look at the cause and effect. It may be time to make some important changes in your life. Life is short and it is precious. Do not let stress ruin how you experience life. Accept how you feel, that you are stressed and that it is negatively affecting you. Start making changes.

 “Let your joy be in your journey—not in some distant goal.”

—Tim Cook

As always, thank you for reading my blog. Don’t be “Blorft”, relax and do something joyful today.

Posted in Coping, Depression, Inspiration, Positive Thinking, Potential, Self Improvement

Quote Of The Day

I am Bent, but not broken. I am Scarred, but not disfigured. I am Sad, but not hopeless. I am Tired, but not powerless. I am Angry, but not bitter. I am Depressed, but not giving up.

Author Unknown
Photo by Download a pic Donate a buck! ^ from Pexels

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed today’s quote.

Posted in Bigotry, Coping, Death, Grief, Killing, Political, Tradegy

When Tragedy Strikes – Mass Shootings In America

Photo by Vladimir Palyanov on Unsplash

We all have expectations. There is a picture in our head of our perfect life. Those are our hopes and dreams.

As we experience each day, there is a rhythm, like a song we hum in our head. It is our life moving forward as we planned it. Each day fits inside our plan with some minor variations caused by the unexpected. Those small bumps that happen but they are minor. Nothing too eventful. We make some adjustments and then the rhythm continues.

Until that changes.

We don’t plan for those significant events that can come crashing down on us. The nasty events that are part of life, no one plans for them. We acknowledge that there is always a possibility of something life- shattering to hit us and obliterate us, but no one ever thinks it will happen.

When it does,life as we know it is gone, changed forever. There is no rhythm, the song we hummed in our head is over, it is out of tune, and there is no longer any comfort in it.

As I was beginning to write today, I was drawn to this topic. I did not understand why. It was making me uncomfortable. There have been no tragedies or life-altering events in my life or anyone close to me. I had no reason to write about this, and it was off topic of anything I would choose to write.

I was uncomfortable enough that I was contemplating deleting what I had written and start over. So I decided to take a break. I went outside with my dog and cat for a walk.

When I came back inside, my feelings had not changed, so I made a cup of coffee and decided to play a computer game. I felt I needed to understand this. As I was casually playing the game, my thoughts were weaving in and out of this writing topic. Then it dawned on me. I can put a name to it.

Two mass shootings within 24 hours. One in El Paso, Texas and one in Dayton, Ohio. It is overwhelming, and I did not realize the impact it was having on me.

How do the families of the victims cope? I cannot get my head around it. How do you adjust to it? This tragedy takes me back to Sandy Hook and the disbelief I felt that day. I was awash with grief for the parents and the siblings, other family members, and for the community. Sadness and grief overtook me then and again today.

I choose not to offer ways to cope today for these families or their communities. There are better people than I to take on that enormous task. I can only offer you my grief and my love and depth of feeling. Words do not suffice today.

We cannot let this continue. It has to stop. It cannot become our “new normal” as I heard questioned last night on the national news.

How have we come to this place in time? Why is there so much hate? Why the urge to kill those we do not know? Why are some of us so intolerant?

We cannot eliminate hate, but we can soften it, educate and change some people’s perspective. There will always be killings in some form or another.

It is time for change, and it is up to us. It is our responsibility.

There is one thing we can do. We can demand, as is our right, to ban any form of an assault rifle in the hands of any individual. These guns were created and designed for use by the military. That is where they belong.

An individual does not need a mass killing weapon.

I firmly believe that all assault-style weapons should be made illegal and confiscated.

Unfortunately, our President and the members of Congress, in particular, the Republicans, have not accepted their duty to do so.

Mass shootings should not be a political issue, but they are. The politicians are a large part of the problem. Those with their hands extended, accepting the money from lobbyists, in particular, the NRA. It should not be a money issue, but sadly, there will be money made.

It is not a mental illness issue or a hatred issue. It is not a glorification of violence or about troubled youth watching video games.

This is a moral issue. It is a compassion issue and a love for humanity issue.

It is bigger than any one individual. This is about all of us.

By not addressing the ability of any assault weapon to kill multiple people very quickly, we are showing to the world that Americans have no moral compass. We can save lives. Why aren’t we? Pass the damn law.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. But that’s unacceptable. As others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t ‘too soon”. It’s much too late.

Ezra Klein

As always, thank your for reading my blog. Have an uneventful day. I wish you all well.