Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Gratitude---No New Year's Resolutions For Me

My friend Slade Roberson wrote an article on his blog Shift Your Spirits called "Stuck on Outcomes." Slade tells us about how his ego took over his life for a short time recently with a list of "shoulda, woulda, coulda" items and how it affected him.

To use some of Slade's own words, "The Naggot (which is the personification of my ego) got a hold of the microphone some time in the wee hours of the day after Christmas and I woke up already listening to some Shoulda Coulda Woulda Telethon, broadcast live on the Ungrateful Channel, right from my own Special Place In Hell."

Don't you just love Slade's wonderful sense of humor. I know it is part of the reason that I continue to be drawn to him and his blog Shift Your Spirits.

When in his article Slade started talking about how he doesn't do New Year's Resolutions, he really caught my attention. I used to make half-hearted attempts at writing resolutions each year just to beat myself up because I could never follow through and stay focused long enough to do them. I always wondered why I couldn't stick with them. Read Slade's article to see why he says he is a Scanner. I am not sure that I understand the concept fully. Maybe Slade can explain the concept here in a comment?

One thing Slade asked his readers to do was a 2008 Gratitude List. Here is my version of that list. I hope you will take the time to write your own.

2008 Gratitude List:
1. I am grateful for my on-line friends such as Slade Roberson, Corinne Edwards, Stephen Hopson, and so many more who have lead the way for me this year with their shared words of wisdom and their sense of humor.

2. I am grateful for my family and friends who I love very much. Our family and friends are often our greatest teachers because they know us so well and therefore they know which buttons to push to bring up whatever issues we may need to work on.

3. I am grateful for the guidance of my Spirit Guides and Guardian Angels and Ascended Masters. In 2009, I choose to become a better listener.

4. I am grateful for the bad stuff that happens in my life. Why? Because they bring the gift of knowledge and growth to my life. Everything has a purpose for happening and being.

5. I am grateful for my sense of humor which can lighten any heavy load. Laughing at myself is sometimes the best medicine that I can give to myself. No one puts me on a higher pedestal than I sometimes put myself.

6. I am grateful for the people that I meet who are wonderful examples of "what I want to be when I grow up." I may grow up but I don't ever want to grow old and set in my ways.

7. I am grateful for all of those people who have taught me about courage and love. Most of these people I have never met in person. Do you ever wonder how many people are affected by your actions and attitudes? I do.

8. I am grateful to God for all of the talents that I have been gifted with in this lifetime. In 2009, I want to find new ways to use those talents to help others.

9. I am grateful for every minute of Life that I have experienced---past, present and future. Without my past, I would not be who I am today. Without the present, I wouldn't know the joy of being. With the future comes new challenges and new lessons and new joys and excitement.

10. I am grateful for the year 2008 with all of its many lessons and challenges because I have grown through it all. Some of 2008, I would not want to repeat so I hope that I learned all of those lessons.

11. I am grateful to those people who bring love and joy into my life. I have been truly blessed by the people who have shared my life whether the time shared was just a few minutes or years.

12. I am grateful to be who I am and look forward to who I am becoming. I have grown to love who I am. I am excited about who I will become.

Well, Slade those are my 12 for 2008. The year is only a few days away from being over. It has been a glorious year and a challenging year for me in so many ways. I know that 2009 is going to be as good or better. Happy New Year to all.

Here are links to some of the articles that have enriched my life today:
"Stuck on Outcomes" written by Slade Roberson found at http://sladeroberson.com/manifesting/stuck-on-outcomes.html/

"HOT FLASHES - and other tragedies of life" written by Corinne Edwards found at http://www.personal-growth-with-corinne-edwards.com/hot-flashes-and-other-tragedies-of-life/

"Detox Your Home And Feel Brand New:" written by Carole Fogarty found at http://thehealthylivinglounge.com/2008/12/29/detox-your-home-and-feel-brand-new/

"Stepping into Spiritual Authenticity" by Andrea Hess found at http://www.empoweredsoul.com/blog/2008/12/26/stepping-into-spiritual-authenticity/

"Stephen Hopson Interview with Lance of Jungle of Life, Part I or II" written by Stephen Hopson found at http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com/2008/12/24/stephen-hopson-interview-with-lance-of-jungle-of-life-part-i-of-ii/

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Is Over For 2008

Christmas is over for 2008. We drove early on December 24 to spend the day with my husband Daniel's family in Benton, Louisiana. For those of you who don't know, Benton is north of Shreveport, Louisiana. My husband and I were both born Red Necks rather than being Cajuns from south Louisiana. I was in high school when someone told me that I was a Red Neck rather than Cajun. The only French that I know is the little bit that I remember from high school French class.

About 10 years ago, my sister-in-law and I got together and decided that we would take the pressure off of Daniel's mother of having to cook for all of the family gathering such as Thanksgiving and Christmas at her house. My mother-in-law is a very healthy 86 years young and we want to keep her that way as long as we can. We all love her so much. She is a wonderful matriarch for our family. We don't want her stressed out over holidays. So most years we have Thanksgiving at our house in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Christmas Eve at my sister-in-laws house. We spend Christmas Eve night at my mother-in-law's in Springhill, Louisiana. All three of us cook a portion of the meal and transport it to either my house or Janet's (my sister-in-law).

Christmas Day we get up early and drive to Mt. Pleasant, TX to spend the day with my family which consists of my family, my brother, my sister, my sister's two daughters and their families. My sister and her two daughters decide which of their houses we will meet at, usually at my youngest neice's house but not every year. This year we were at my oldest neice's house an hour closer to Dallas between Sulphur Springs and Yantis, TX.

Christmas Eve day we spend a total of 4 hours on the road. On Christmas Day, we drive 2 hours to Mt. Pleasant and then at the end of the day 3-4 hours on the road back home depending upon the number of stops we make between Mt. Pleasant and Hot Springs. We got home about 9:00 Thursday night. It usually takes 3-4 days to recover from our trips to Louisiana and Texas.

We only do this once a year, Thank God. I love my family and Daniel's but neither of us likes the road time to visit everyone. Christmas is usually the only time of the year that I see my brother. This year he has his own car so no one had to go and pick him up. He lives about two hours away near Vivian, Louisiana, north of Shreveport.

Christmas this year came with above average warm temperatures. I wasn't able to wear any of my Christmas sweaters because it was in the 60's and 70's and too warm. Today we are under a Tornado Watch and a Lake Wind Advisory Warning most of the day and evening. This storm system spreads from Houston, TX to parts of northern Louisiana, most of the state of Arkansas, parts of Missouri, and north into parts of Illinois and a few other states.

Here is a wish that all of you had a Merry Christmas and that you will have a wonderful Happy New Year and a glorious 2009

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How Clean Are Your Windows?

A friend sent this email to me a few days ago. I can't give you the name of the person who originally wrote it since it is going around the in the cyberworld without the source being included. Here it is.

The Window Through Which We Look
"A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, the young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
'That laundry is not very clean', she said.
'She doesn't know how to wash correctly.
Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.'

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:
'Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.
I wonder who taught her this?'

The husband said, 'I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.'

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look."

As I have said before, what you see about your world and other people always comes through the filters of your ego which are created by your experiences and beliefs. When is the last time that you cleaned the windows of your mind?

Related Articles:

The Law Of The Garbage Truck

We Can Only See Who We Are

Limiting Beliefs May Be Holding You Back or How Incest Is Still Affecting My Life

What Other People Think About You Is None Of Your Business

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Birthday Memories

December 11 is my birthday. I am a Saggittarian with a joy for life and a thirst for knowledge and travel. I have been blessed to be multi-talented. I am a great listener, a writer, an untrained artist, and a craftswoman (mostly self-taught).

I love meeting and spending time with people. My taste in friends is varied so some of them don't mix well, much to their loss (my point of view, not theirs). I am a small town, Southern U. S. A. girl at heart. I love music in most forms with the exception of opera and rap.

I grew up in the 1950's and 1960's but was not brave enough to become a flower child. Even though my birth chart says I have the possibility of being promiscuous, I never have had that particular urge. Every person that reads my chart points this out to me. One person even argued with me about it and insisted that I was. Maybe this is a blessing from the incest that I have never acted out in this area. I have never believed in free love. Love always comes with a price. I don't mean that in a negative way. Involvement of my heart is a price that I will willingly pay. Love, for me, comes with committment.

Now for the birthday memories, as my title says. The first memory is from my 16th or 17th birthday. It doesn't matter which year. They were very similar. Most of my birthdays, because they are in December, are cold and rainy. If it doesn't rain, they are still usually cloudy. This particular December 11, for lunch, I left the school and walked to downtown Plain Dealing, Louisiana and bought a candy bar at the local five and dime store. Back then our school lunches were 25 cents a day. Usually I would skip lunch the whole week so that I could eat in town one day of the week with my $1.25. I remember the day looked the way I felt, sad and lonely. We had moved to Plain Dealing when I was in the middle of the school year of the tenth grade. I left all of my friends behind at Haughton High School. I really missed them. We had all been friends since the fifth grade when we move to Haughton, Louisiana. Moving to a small country school in the middle of the year doesn't make it easy to make friends especially if you are extremely shy like I was.

My next birthday memory is more joyful. It was my 24th birthday. I was married and pregnant with our son Jeremy. We lived in Asheville, North Carolina. We were 900 miles from most of our family. Daniel threw me a party and invited two couples from our Natural Childbirth class. It was a wonderful night of laughter, birthday cake, and discussions about our dreams about being parents and time spent with new friends. I enjoyed every minute of being pregnant back then. For the first time in my life, I felt beautiful.

My next birthday memory comes from ten years ago. We had just bought our home back in October 1998. My mom died in November of 1998. Daniel and our son and daughter decided that I needed cheering up so they threw me a surprise birthday party. Several of my friends helped out by inviting everyone from my small church. I don't think I ever counted who all came. They made it a potluck so that Daniel just cooked hamburgers and everybody else bought a dish. I worked that day at the bookstore. Daniel picked me up from work and then drove the long way home so that I wouldn't see all of the cars parked out on the street until the last minute. I was so tired, it took a minute or two for me to decide to be pleasantly surprised and thankful for all of the trouble that he and the kids had gone to that day. It was a joyful celebration of family and friends.

This year's celebration will be scattered over several days of small get-togethers. Daniel and I went out for lunch together on Wednesday because he is working on Thursday. Jeremy will take me out for a meal some time later. Two of my friends will each take me out to separate meals to spend the time together with them. Our daughter will call me sometime on Thursday to wish me Happy Birthday from Idaho where she lives. We miss her and she is happy living in Idaho. We like to visit Idaho but for us, Hot Springs, Arkansas is home. It is where my heart is.

I wish for each of you a wonderful Christmas season.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Doing Good Deeds

Today I went to get my haircut and on my way into the building, I opened the door and stepped aside to let a lady go in before me. She was so surprised at my actions. She thanked me and told me that with the day that she was having, she really appreciated me opening the door for her. I smiled and told her that I was glad that I followed my impulse to open the door for her.

When is the last time that you extended such a small courtesy to another person without expecting anything in return. I didn't plan to open the door for the lady. She was far enough away that I opened the door and stood and waited for her to get to the door. A little voice inside nudged me to open the door for the lady. Boy was I glad that I did when she told me she was not having a good day.

I am not telling you this because I want your praise. I think we should all do things to help each other, not just at Christmas but all through the year. I didn't think about how my actions would affect the other lady. I simply followed the impulse that said open the door. Go out of your way to do something nice for someone else. It doesn't have to cost you anything except maybe a little of your time. It doesn't matter if the other person expresses their appreciation like my lady did. It is nice if they do but it isn't a requirement. Use the Christmas season as an excuse to do something nice for someone else. Choose to do some good today.
Have a glorious day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanks Giving

As I was thinking about Thanksgiving coming up this week in the United States, I decided to write an article about Thanks Giving which should be about more than just one day out of the year. I haven't written an article about Giving Thanks in awhile. One of my online friends, Stephen Hopson does one every week writing a Gratitude article about the things he is grateful for during his week. Stephen's articles always remind me of what I have to be thankful for in my life. Check out Stephen's blog found at http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com/ .

Well, that first paragraph for the article was written a day or so before Thanksgiving. I intended to finish writing the article a day or two after my Thanksgiving guests went home. Instead, my husband and I came down with a nasty stomach virus. Daniel was over his in two days. I took a little longer---4 days. Now I am well and able to write again so it is time to finish this article.

I am glad that we have a holiday in the U. S. called Thanksgiving. It kind of says, "Hey everyone, stop what you are doing today and look at what you are thankful for in your life." We should all do that on a daily basis, not just once a year. Thanks Giving is something that would enrich all of our lives and put us more in touch with our inner core of Love. Gratitude is one of the most encouraging, uplifting emotions that we can choose to feel. Acting out of gratitude---giving back---is one of the best actions that we can take to bring joy to our lives and the lives of others. Why do we need a holiday to remind us of that?

What are you Giving Thanks for today? Feel free to add your list to mine in the comment section of this article.

Here is my list:
I am grateful for the comments that my readers leave on this blog that tell me how much they care and what my words mean to them.

I am grateful for my wonderful husband, son and daughter, son-in-law and each of my four grandchildren who I love dearly and who each returns my love. Children show you how to open your heart to unconditional love.

I am grateful for my wonderful friends who enrich my life with their love and friendship.

I am grateful to my online friends who encourage me in my writing attempts and help me move forward when I sometimes feel stuck in the trama of the past.

I am grateful for my home, my sanctuary, that my husband and I have created over the past 36 years together. Home is where my heart is. My husband keeps that safe for me. I love you, Daniel.

I am grateful for this spiritual journey that has taken me to places I could never have imaged going to. What a world of adventure and excitement my life has become.

I am grateful to my God and my angels and guides for being with me through this lifetime and all of the lifetimes before.

I am grateful that sometimes I can catch glimpses of the bigger picture of Life so that my small corner makes more sense to me.

I am grateful for all of the talents that I have been blessed to have. How they enrich my life!

I am grateful for Love, Courage, Joy, Hate, Fear, Sadness. They all bring lessons that enrich my life.

Let me hear your ideas of what you are grateful for everyday of your lives.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Raw Salad Dressings

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, I wanted to share my idea of a raw salad dressing with you. I have tried one salad dressing called Liquid Gold Elixir from page 102 of The Raw Food Detox Diet and I didn't like it. It called for lemon juice, garlic cloves, ginger, soy sauce, raw honey and olive oil. To me the lemon and soy sauce were too strong of a taste. I don't really care that much for oil and vinegar salad dressings and the taste of this one was similar to that. I like Ranch salad dressing on my salads. On page 113 of The Raw Food Detox Diet there is a recipe for Raw Ranch Dressing but I haven't tried to make it yet.

I started experimenting and came up with the following recipe with avocados that I especially like. That is the fun part of eating raw---experimenting with new ways of combining foods.

Avocado Salad Dressing:

In a blender, combine the following ingredients and Pulse until well blended.
2 avocados
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup water
1 teaspoon (or to taste) McCormick Lemon and Herb Seasoning
6 Tablespoons (more or less to suit your taste) honey

Store in the refrigerator. You can also add any other herbs that you like. So far, I have added dill weed and celery seeds.

Avocados are good and good for you. I am working to include more raw foods into my diet. Stephen Hopson from Adversity University ( http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com/2008/11/20/end-of-the-week-gratitude-theme-53/ )has been my inspiration for including more raw foods into my diet.

The Singleton clan is coming to our house for Thanksgiving. They haven't been here in two years for Thanksgiving so the house is getting a thorough reorganizing and cleaning. I am looking forward to their visit. I am still making the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for everyone else. I will eat my salads and raw veggies and fruits along with a Quorn meatless and soy-free turk'y roast that I bought for myself. With The Raw Food Detox Diet, I can still have the turk'y roast as long as I eat it for supper. Natalia Rose uses food combining in her book. I was already familiar with the concept of food combining from years ago.

To all of my American readers, I wish for you a glorious Thanksgiving Day with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Week Of Introspection

I don't get my feelings hurt by another person very often because somethings just aren't that important. Today I did and I immediately felt tears come to my eyes and start to fall. As a person who was raised to not feel, I don't always know what to do. Just letting myself cry seems wrong to me somehow so I stop the tears.

It seems this has been a week of introspection. Here are the thoughts that have been going through my mind. Maybe some of you have the answers. I don't.

When the tears started, I was feeling left out and unworthy and little---little as in a disappointed child, a hurt child who was feeling left out and not good enough. Even writing this, the tears want to come. Why does it always come back to the inner child who obviously still hasn't healed? I guess that I just answered part of the question. How long does it take to heal the inner child? Will she ever be completely healed? Will she always be hanging around waiting for someone else to come along and hurt her? I don't know how to change any of that. As much work as I have done on myself, the inner feelings still wait in ambush to spring out of hiding when she is given the next opportunity to express her hurt. It isn't as if the hurt hasn't been expressed over and over again through the years of counseling and talking. Does it ever completely go away or change to joy and laughter? Can you have joy and laughter without the hurt and tears?

Is it as simple as making a decision to stop hurting? Is it as simple as deciding to not feel empty and worthless any more? If I decide to just feel happy am I being true to myself or am I just in denial of what I really feel?

I can feel like I am happier than I have ever been for awhile. Then sadness starts to creep in. Is this the way life is because we live in a world of duality as some religions teach. Can you really be happy all the time? I haven't found that to be true for me.

Can I stop myself from getting my feelings hurt by a simple decision to not feel that way? Am I not being true to myself by not feeling hurt and let down? Feelings are such a mystery to me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Power Of Your Words

"There is power in the words that we speak. Whether we speak words of encouragement and wisdom to one another or words that bring tears to someone's eyes, we acknowledge the power of words." From Marianne Williamson on A Course in Miracles at Oprah.

The above statement by Marianne Williamson and A Course in Miracles is true whether you are speaking those words to others or speaking those words to yourself. My words to myself over the past few days have been very negative with the result that I feel like someone has died inside of me. What is the topic that I have been dealing with in my mind the last few days? Judgments about myself that I was afraid a friend might make if she came to visit as she planned to do to see our Fall colors this week.

I have an older friend who wants to come to visit and see our gorgeous Fall colors. I am supposed to call her and let her know what it is the right time---when the colors are at their peak. Well that is this week. I haven't called her---why? Because my house is a mess. It is not up to company, by whose standards---mine. In my heart, I know that my friend isn't coming to visit my house. She is coming to visit me and no matter how bad my house looks, she won't say anything about it.

So where is the judgment coming from? Inside of my head, I hear my dad telling me how bad of a housekeeper and person I am. I am not a good housekeeper. I am a collector of things and of information so I have books and papers in stacks around my computer, my bookshelves and the couch where I sit at night to read and watch TV. I know that doesn't make me a bad person except that I still sometimes hear that voice in my head that says I am. Most of the time, it doesn't bother me and I know it isn't true. Other times, like this week, it does get to me. There are other things that I would rather do than housekeeping all the time. So I collect and stack until even I can't ignore it any longer, then I sort and put away and throw away and clean until all of the stacks are gone. Then I start all over again. I am not really lazy. There are just so many other things that I would rather be doing.

Now you know my biggest secret that you didn't know (unless you have visited my house unannounced). It doesn't bother me as much as it used to. I have learned that my friends will love me anyway no matter what my house looks like.

Why am I writing this? I started out fearing being judged by my friend. Then as I worked it out in my head, I realized that the judgments weren't about my friend. They were about me. Some part of me is still judging me by the standards that came from my dad when I was a child. I bought into his garbage then and I still am today. Yes, I could be a better housekeeper. I could hire someone to help out if I needed to. That isn't the real issue.

The real issue is the value that I put on myself, how I feel about myself inside. The real issue is the words spoken inside my head that still say "I am a bad person because . . ." I am not a bad person because of what my house looks like or doesn't look like. Any person that judges me for what my house looks like isn't a real friend anyway. I don't have any friends that judge me that way. I was doing it to myself, again. It always surprises me, these days, when I find a negative tape from my childhood that is still affecting me as an adult. This is another instance where I just need to love myself though the hurt until I can know that I am a good, loving person no matter what my background of abuse is. I will not continue to be a victim of that childhood.

Do you still have any of these tapes that occasionally catch you by surprise?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dream Interpretation

One day last week I had a dream that I want to share with you. I didn't write it down immediately or at all until now. That is one of the first things you will learn in a Dream Class is to write down your dreams as soon as you wake up and remember it. Because I didn't write it down I have lost a lot of the details. What I do remember is important to me. Here goes:

I remember that Daniel (my spouse) was with me on a bus with a small group of people. We filled the back half of the bus. The front half was empty except for the male bus driver. I only remember two of the other people. One was a curly, dark-haired little boy of maybe 9-10 years old. (I don't actually remember him being on the bus until later in the dream.) The other person that I recognise is one of my younger aunts. (She is only one year older than me.) I know that Daniel and I are on vacation.

The first part of the dream, once we get off the bus, I have lost the memory of. I know that the group was walking somewhere and that the little boy causes trouble of some kind. I remember thinking he was being really mean. I didn't like him. That is all that I remember of that part of the dream.

For the next part of the dream, we are back on the bus, still sitting in the last half of the bus. Daniel decides that it is time that we go somewhere else and decides that he is going to drive us. He is in the driver seat and I am standing beside him in the isle. I am not afraid but I do tell him that he is driving too fast. (I know what is going to happen next.) I keep telling him to slow down and he ignores me. Next we come over a small hill and see that the bridge isn't there over the water. My feeling is that the bridge has somehow submerged. There are a group of people nearby. I think some were on the bridge as it submerged. I don't have a clear picture of this part. The submerging is just a feeling that I had about the scene. I think the people were maybe soldiers but I am not sure. They weren't panicked. They were orderly.

Daniel finally sees that he needs to slow the bus down but it is too late. The forward momentum carries us into the water. I see the bus submerging and everyone in the water. We all start to come out of the water. In the way of dreams, I know I was in the water and then I was back on shore looking at the water. Most of the people are out of the water with me. A person comes out of the water to my right. Next I am aware of Daniel on the shore and my aunt on my right side. I see the curly haired little boy just barely under the water. He is staring upward. My aunt and I each step forward into the water to pull the little boy out. My aunt takes his right arm and I take his left arm and pull him out.

The little boy immediately attaches himself to me. His arms and legs are wrapped around my chest and he is holding on so tight that I feel that we are almost merging as one. At this point I woke up. I could still feel that little boy wrapped around my chest as if he were real.

Just writing down this dream now so much symbolism came back to me that I had almost forgotten. All week this dream has stayed with me in the background of my mind. Two important things jumped out at me.

(1.) I didn't wake myself up before hitting the water. For years, I have had variations of dreams of coming around a curve or over a hill and the water being across the road. Until the past two years, I would wake myself up before hitting the water. I have always had a strong fear of drowning. Two years ago I started sometimes going into the water before waking myself up. In this dream, I was in the bus totally submerged in the water. I also chose to go back into the water to help the little boy out.

(2.) The little boy represented a disowned, shadow part of myself. When I first saw him in the dream, he was doing something to get into trouble. The child in me didn't get into trouble. I strived to be the perfect child throughout my childhood. It was less painful and less dangerous if I was the good daughter. I shut down the independent, adventurous, mischievious child, the troublemaker. I didn't let myself be any of those. In letting the little boy cling to me and even merge with the adult me, I have reconnected with that shadow child that is a part of me. I feel really good about that.

I took a dream class about eight years ago and loved it. I was blessed to have a wonderful teacher that taught me that everybody in your dreams represent some part of yourself. Vehicles are about the way you move through your life. Some books on dreams can give you good information. Some don't. I go with what feels right for me personally in interpreting my dreams. You are the only person who knows what your dreams really mean. Books can help but they don't know your symbols and what they mean to you personally.

One of the books that I own mainly because it was on sale at my local bookstore is called The Complete Dream Dictionary written by Pamela Ball. It tells me that "A bus journey is that part of our lives where we are aware of the need to be on the move, but particularly to be with other people, with whom we have a common aim. Such a journey has to do with our public image." (page 142)

(page 140) "The whole symbolism of driving in dreams is particularly obvious. It represents our basic urges, wants, needs and ambitions. If we are driving we are usually in control, though we may be aware of our own inadequacies, particularly if we do not drive in everyday life. If we are uncomfortable when someone else is driving we may not believe in that person, and may not wish to be dependent on them. When someone else takes over, we become passive." Well, until about twelve years ago, I didn't drive in my every day life. My husband did all the driving. I was definitely in the passive mode then. Daniel could represent my own aggressive, stubborn male half who thinks he is always in control and doesn't take direction from others very well. So maybe, I need to listen to my feminine, passive side more in traveling through life. Both sides have value.

(page 138) "Driving into water can be interpreted as trying to find the parts of ourselves which we have suppressed. It can also suggest taking risks which we might not normally do.
Drowning indicates that we may not be in control of our emotions properly and may be in a situation where we can be overcome by them. We are pushing ourselves to the limit.
Floods, being by their nature chaotic and destructive, symbolise the uncontrollable 'welling up' of emotion which can destroy our known way of life. Eventually there has to be some sort of cleansing process."

The above interpretations agree with what I learned in my dream class about my water dreams. In interpreting dreams, you can go into great detail or you can go with the feelings that you bring out of the dream. I do believe that our dreams can teach us a lot about ourselves if we are willing to work with them. I could have gone into a lot of the other details of the dream such as why was everybody sitting in just the last half of the bus? I just wanted to give you a taste what it is like to look at your dreams. There is valuable information in our dreams. I hope this gives you a nudge to start recording and looking at your own dreams. Happy dreams.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Raw Food Diet Adventure

Recently Stephen Hopson of Adversity University has been on a raw food diet. I have experiemented with eating sprouts and raw foods myself in the past. I even took a class just before Christmas last year. The food was wonderful. I just didn't stick with it.

Some of you know that I have been a vegetarian for about 11 years. You might ask what is the difference between being a vegetarian and eating raw foods. Being a vegetarian, I cook most of my foods just like all of you meat eaters. I love soups in just about any form, especially in the fall and winter months.

Well, reading Stephen's articles on his raw food adventure has inspired me to give eating raw foods another look. The book that Stephen used and I bought a copy of this past week is
The Raw Food Detox Diet
written by Natalia Rose. The subtitle to the book says "The Five-Step Plan For Vibrant Health and Maximum Weight Loss." Natalia Rose is a "nutritionist and founder of the Raw Food Detox Weight Loss Program."

I love that I can go on the internet and research any topic that comes to mind and find information that is useful. I did that with Raw Foods. I found and also purchased two DVD's to use for inspiration and information in this new journey.

The DVD Simply Raw, Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days
"chronicles six Americans with diabetes who switch to a diet consisting entirely of vegan, organic, live, raw foods in order to reverse diabetes naturally. The participants are challenged to give up meat, diary, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, soda, junk food, fast food, processed food, and even cooked food - as well as go without their loved ones and many of their creature comforts - for 30 days. The results are amazing." (The above quote came from the back of the DVD cover.) After watching the DVD, I was inspired.

The second DVD that I purchased, I haven't finished watching yet. It is called
Raw For Life, The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of The Raw Food Lifestyle.
This is a two disc set that includes interviews of 30 experts.

I am still reading The Raw Food Detox Diet. I also bought another book by Natalia Rose called Raw Food Life Force Energy and a book by Jeremy A. Safron called The Raw Truth The Art of Preparing Living Foods.

As you can see, I have a lot of reading ahead of me. That is how I always approach live. I love the search for knowledge. I never approach any new endeavor half-heartedly. I love digging in and finding new information. I read somewhere that it is a trait of most Saggittarians.

I have also subscribed to several raw food newsletters this week. One of those that Stephen recommended is called Raw Success written by Matt Monarch and found at http://mattmonarch.blogspot.com/ .

You can find Stephen Hopson's articles on his own raw food adventure at the following links:

Update on the Raw Food 30-Day Experiment

Raw Food Journey: Let's Clear Up Some Myths

End of the Week Gratitude Theme #50

Be sure to check out Stephen's articles.

I am not going to eat 100% raw foods. That is not my goal. For me that just isn't a factor right now. I love my coffee and soups too much. I also love cheese. I will reduce the amounts right now. Cheese is just about the only dairy that I do still eat with an occasional ice cream. I use goat milk in my coffee because I am lactose-intolerant. I know how cheese affects me and I still choose to eat it. I will begin to substitute goat cheese more for the dairy cheese but I don't see myself totally giving up cheese at this point. That could change in the future. Natalia Rose does not make going 100% raw a requirement of her diet. For most of us, that is totally unrealistic, at least in the beginning. I am going to ease into this change. I am looking forward to making some of the recipes in her book.

Like Stephen, I will keep you posted with my changes. As of this morning, I have already lost one and one-fourth pounds from just one day on the diet. I had Stephen's Favorite Green Smoothie drink yesterday and today. You will find his recipe for this in the last link above. My kitchen is stocked with a huge salad that I made yesterday and lots of other fruits and veggies to be consumed over the next few days.

I hope that all of you are having a really great day. The Autumn weather we have been experiencing here in Arkansas lately has been invigorating. Autumn is my favorite season.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Poem - You Can Fly. . . But That Cocoon Has Got To Go!

This has long been one of my favorite poems. I don't know where I first saw it or who the author is but I wanted to share it with you.


And I don't think it was talking about butterflies.

But the risk--oh, the risk of leaving the swaddling
warmth of a cocoon. My cocoon. My status quo.
My. . . deadening security.
To leave the known,
no matter how confining it may be--for an unknown,
a totally new lifestyle--
oh, the risk!

Lord, my cocoon chafes, sometimes. But I know its
restrictions. And it's scarey to consider the awful
implications of flight. I'm leery of heights. (Even
your heights.)
But, Lord, I could see so much wider, clearer
from heights.
And there's an exhilaration about flight that I
have always longed for.
I want to fly. . .
if I could just have the cocoon to come back to.
Butterflies can't.
Probably butterflies don't even want to--
once they've tasted flight.

It's the risk that makes me hesitate.
The knowing I can't come back to the warm, undemanding
status quo.

Lord. . . about butterflies. . .
the cocoon has only two choices--
or die
What about me?
If I refuse to risk,
do I, too, die inside, still wrapped in the swaddling


Author Unknown

Let me know what you think about this poem?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Responsibility and Adult Children of Alcoholics

From "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses," Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 2007, page 61:

"If we were in the role of defending or protecting other family members, we may have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility for those around us. Blaming ourselves for the alcoholic's behavior can weaken our self-esteem and lead us to believe that every conflict is our fault. Likewise, if we assume others are out to hurt us, we might habitually guard ourselves against real or imagined threats.

'I felt personally responsible for everyone's unacceptable behavior.'

Often the coping mechanisms we learned as children in order to survive get in the way of our developing meaningful and trusting relationships as adults. Identifying how we were affected by alcoholism is not about blaming the alcoholic or other family members for all our problems. Rather, it's about taking responsibility for our struggles so we can begin to heal. As children, we may not have had the power to change our circumstances. Now that we are adults, we can make that decision for ourselves."

I could take the above statement, "I felt personally responsible for everyone's unacceptable behavior." a step further and say the I felt personally responsible for everything that went on in my world and for everybody that was in my world. Because of my dad being a dictator when I was a child, I felt so out of control of my life. The result was that when I left home, I stepped into that dictator role and became a control freak. When I first started working on myself in Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) and Al-Anon, that was the first thing that I discovered about myself. I was a control freak.

Where did the control freak come from? She came out of my feeling responsible for everything and everybody. She came from my fears of failure of being responsible. For the first half of my life or more, fear was the main emotion in my mind and in my body. Fear was in control of my life. I certainly wasn't.

Responsible wasn't what I was. Super-responsible was what I strived to be. That meant if you came into my sphere of life, I tried to fix you and whatever your problems were. I didn't do it in a mean way. I just wanted to help. That was what I told myself and you, if you asked. You see, my feeling good about myself came from helping you. If I could fix you then I had some value in this life other than just taking up space. I didn't know that I was telling you, by my actions, that you were too stupid to think and act for yourself. Al-Anon taught me that, when I was ready to hear it.

That was the day that I stopped doing everything for my children and husband. Of course, being an Adult Child of an Alcoholic that meant I went to the other extreme. Instead of doing everything for them, I did nothing for at least a year or more before I realized that wasn't healthy either. Of course, I wasn't home much either. When I wasn't working with my husband on a parking lot, I was probably in an Al-Anon or ACA meeting or reading a book about being an ACA. Going to meetings all of the time was also an extreme, maybe a healthier extreme but still an extreme. I went to a lot of meetings over the next 10 years. Finally I realized that there were some things that I could do that weren't me being controlling or super-responsible. They were appropriate things for a parent to do for their children. Doing extremes of behavior and feelings is a characteristic of being an Adult Child. It is called All or Nothing Thinking.

I am talking about my life from the view of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, but these issues are the same for an Adult Child of any kind of dysfunction. Dysfunction is always fear-based.

Related Articles:

Let Go And Let God---Al-Anon Slogan

Boundaries And Inappropriate Behaviors

Growing Up With Alcoholism In The Family

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spiritual Blog Reviews Did A Review Of Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker

Much to my surprise, when I looked at my emails this morning, I found that the blog "Spiritual Blog Reviews" had written up a beautiful review of my blog "Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker."

Please click on the following link and read Darcy's review found at


Leave a comment on Darcy's blog and let her know what you think of her review. Then come back here and leave a comment and let me know what you think of the review.

I cried through reading the whole thing. I cried because Darcy had written the article so beautifully. I cried because of her words of praise. I cried because she really gets the reason that I write my articles on incest. I don't write because I am on the pity pot, complaining about how unfair my life has been. I write because of my desire to reach out and help others have a better life.

Sometimes the writing and revisiting the pain does get to be a bit much for me so that I back off for awhile. Even with all of the recovery work that I have done, I still have difficulty doing the feelings involved with this heavy work.

Darcy's wonderful review and your comments let me know that I am accomplishing my goal.
Thank you Darcy and to all of the wonderful people who read my blog. You are all important to me.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Incest---86% Would Believe Their Daughters

Dr. Phil did a survey on his site recently that asked the question, "If your daughter came to you and said that your husband had inappropriately touched her, who would you believe? Daughter or Husband?" 86% said they would believe their daughter. 14% said they would believe their husband. That makes me feel good. One of the biggest fears of mine that kept me quiet was the fear that my mom wouldn't believe me if I told her about the incest. You can't imagine how crippling that fear is unless you feel it for yourself. To me, the abuse was more acceptable than the fact that my mother might not believe me. That is a very sad state of affairs.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Serenity Prayer

"God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

This simple, powerful prayer is one of the first things that I learned in Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings.

From the book "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses" written by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., page 173:
"Serenity doesn't come by avoiding the difficulties in my life, but by walking through them with the help of my Higher Power and my recovery friends."

Avoiding your difficulties in life is the same as living in denial and only works against you. Denial never solves anything. It just adds more challenges on top of what you are already avoiding.

The Serenity Prayer doesn't ask God to remove the situation or difficulty. It asks for help to change your reaction to the situation or difficulty. Sometimes the only thing that you can do is have the courage to realize that nothing but you can change. Changing the other person is never an option. The only person you can ever change is you. The other person is the only one who can ever change the other person. This kind of acceptance can bring you peace.

The Serenity Prayer is one of the most useful tools that I have ever found.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Are You Playing The Victim Again?

This morning a friend called me after reading my recent post "Growing Up With Alcoholism In The Family" and asked me if she was hearing me playing the victim role? She was afraid that I might be getting sucked back into that garbage. I told her no that was not happening at all. I told her that my writing that post was strictly to help others. She was glad to hear it.

To me, one of the best ways to stop playing victim is to be able to reach out and help others. I haven't played the victim role in a very long time. That just isn't who I am any longer. I would never want to go back into that sense of helplessness and hopelessness that comes from being a victim.

Why do you ever choose to be a victim? Is it karma that you are working through with the other person? Is it because you lack the courage to leave a relationship or situation that you are familiar and comfortable with? Is it because you are fearful of being alone? What keeps you being a victim could be any of those things or something else.

The main reason to stay a victim is that you are getting something out of the role, otherwise, you would stop. You would say, "No more. This doesn't work for me."

As a child, you don't have a choice to be a victim, especially if the perpetrator is your parent. As an adult, you always have a choice. I know that as an adult, you may not be aware that you have a choice but that choice is always there waiting for the awareness to come.

People talk about courage as if it is something that some of us have and some of us don't. I don't believe that. You all have courage waiting to be used when the need arises. It isn't something that I have and you don't. When you are pushed hard enough the courage will come forth. I can acknowledge that yes I have courage and have used it to change my life and so do you have that same courage when you want to use it.

I don't see courage as something that just heroes have and everybody else doesn't. You all have it. You just have to choose to use it.

Today, if you are in a bad situation or bad relationship, I encourage you to, "Just say no." as the advertisements against drug abuse said a few years ago. That simple word, "NO" can change your life. If you are in a violent situation and can't make the change by yourself, ask for someone's help.

You don't have to be a victim unless you choose to.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Growing Up With Alcoholism In The Family

From "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses," Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 2007, page 60:

"Growing up with active alcoholism
Some of us who came from alcoholic homes feel that we grew up too fast. We carried a burden of responsibility that was too much for any child to bear. The mood of the alcoholic often became the center of our lives, determining whether we had a good or bad day. Each of us had different coping mechanisms. Some tried to be the best child possible, believing we could prevent the alcoholic from drinking, even if just for one night. Others coped by rebeling or acting out. This may have been the only way we knew to get attention, even if that attention was negative. Because alcoholism is a family disease, we may also have been affected by our non-alcoholic parent, siblings, or extended family members.

Some of us grew up with parents who were emotionally or physically absent, while others grew up with physical violence and verbal abuse. Some of us were sexually abused. Still others became our parents' caretakers. We may have become so accustomed to living this way that we didn't even know something was wrong. Others recognized early on that something was wrong, but didn't know what to call it or how to change it.

As children, focusing on the alcoholic and other family members helped us survive. As adults, we struggle with keeping the focus on ourselves. We may question our intuition and our ability to make good, sound decisions---whether we're choosing what we want to do with our lives or what to order at a restaurant."

My dad Raymond grew up with an alcoholic father and a co-dependent mother who secretly took money from her husband's billfold to buy food to feed her children. Raymond was the third oldest of thirteen children. I have been told that he helped take care of the younger children. I also know that he left school in the fifth grade to go to work in the fields with his dad. Raymond was never very smart. He could barely read and could only write his name with great difficulty. When I was eleven years old, I knew that I was more intelligent than he was. As an adult, I wondered if he had some kind of learning disability. Many children of alcoholics do.

When Raymond was fifteen years old, the family's house burned to the ground with all of their possessions and his fourteen-year-old sister Emma Jean still in the house. This was after she got their youngest brother who was just a baby out of the house. Emma Jean was home taking care of all of the younger kids when the fire started.

I don't know how much my grandfather drank when Raymond was a child. By the 1950's when I was born, he drank every weekend and was a very mean drunk. I don't know at what point in his life Raymond started taking care of his dad when he got drunk. During my childhood, we visited my grandparents almost every weekend. When my grandfather Jodie would get drunk, he would get verbally abusive. I remember some weekends where Jodie got physically violent with a belt and some of his kids would run away from home for the weekend until he stopped being drunk. The verbal abuse was the worst.

I remember that Jodie would be lying in bed and Raymond would be sitting on the side of the bed arguing with Jodie. Raymond would argue with Jodie attempting to calm him down so that the violence wouldn't escalate from verbal to physical. Jodie never got physically violent with Raymond. It was always with one of the younger kids. Raymond was always of the mind that he could control Jodie when he was drinking. I only remember one time in my childhood that Raymond got offended by something that Jodie said and we left and went home and didn't return to my grandparents' home for at least a month.

When I was a teenager, my grandmother Emma started leaving Jodie for short periods of time. She never stayed gone for long. One of those times when I was in the seventh grade, she and the younger kids left and Jodie came to live with us. At the time we rented an apartment in an old motel that had been converted to apartments. Jodie rented one near us. I remember that as being a very stressful time. My mother Cordelia then became Jodie's target for verbal abuse when he was drinking. Thank God that time with us was very short. I remember Cordelia crying several weekends when the verbal abuse would start. I remember Jodie and Raymond arguing about it. Finally my grandparents went back together.

When I was near the end of my junior year of high school, Emma and my youngest aunt Virginia who is only a year older than me, moved in with us for a few weeks. Virginia and I were both in the eleventh grade together. Jodie came after a few weeks and talked Emma into coming back home with him.

The point that I wanted to make with sharing this story is that Raymond grew up as a caretaker for his parents and that trait was passed on to me. I was taught to take care of Raymond's sexual needs and of Cordelia's emotional needs. These traits are passed down from generation to generation in alcoholic families.

I learned this when I started going to Al-Anon and started looking at my parents as people with childhoods of their own and issues of their own. Knowing all of this about my parents helped me to be able to forgive them. Each of us really does do the best job that we can raising our children with the tools that we have. Sometimes that job is just not good enough as in the case of abuse. Most parents don't intentionally set out to hurt their children. We all see and react to the world and the situations of our life through the filters of our own experiences. In Raymond's eyes, he probably thought that he treated his kids better than Jodie treated him.

The first time that a friend took me into a meditation that involved seeing my parents as loving me, I couldn't see it. My friend suggested that I see both of my parents as children and hold them in my lap and love them as I would my own children. With many tears flowing down my face, I was able to imagine seeing them in my lap as innocent little children. I could start to love them and feel love flowing from them to me with that visualization. That was the beginning of opening my heart to my parents.

Related Articles: The following two articles explain why I have started calling my parents by their first names rather than by Mom and Dad.

Shame, The Abuser's Friend --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/06/shame-abusers-friend.html

Why Do We Get Stuck In The Blame? --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/06/why-do-we-get-stuck-in-blame.html

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Nothing New Under The Sun

How many times have you noticed that the same idea seems to show up over and over again in your life. Every blog you seem to read is about personal development or dreams or spirit guides or abundance or something else that different writers seem to pick up to write about unknown to each other at the same time?

Earlier in the week I read an archived article written by someone, sorry but I have read so many new blogs this week that I don't remember who you were, that was afraid someone else might assume that she had taken his idea and written about it on her blog and then didn't give him credit for having the idea first.

I think the Universe cycles and recycles ideas and those of us in tune with those ideas pick it up and write about it. Is it synchronicity or just luck that everyone picks up on the same idea at the same time?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What Does Forgiveness Mean To Me?

As you all know, I have been reading several books on the subject of forgiveness and I have been sharing information from those books. Well, I am reading another book called "finding forgiveness, A 7-Step Program for Letting Go of Anger And Bitterness" written by Eileen R. Borris-Dunchunstang, Ed. D.

The book gives writing exercises which I am going to do to see what emotions come up for me and to see if I have any more forgiveness work left to do. The first journal exercise is to write about what forgiveness means to me. So here goes.

What does forgiveness mean to me? Forgiveness means not being in extreme emotional or physical pain because of the tension of holding in all of my rage. It means not making myself sick from the stress of holding it all inside of me like a volcano or a pressure cooker with the pressure set too high, just waiting to blow up.

I had to quit writing for a minute because I started coughing so I have some resistance to doing this exercise. I am willing to be willing to do these exercises and the forgiveness work that follows.

Forgiveness means letting go of the rage and seeing the hurt underneath that the rage has been covering up. I am in a safe place and in a safe relationship that allows me to do this work now.

Forgiveness allows me to nurture and love myself without blame or guilt getting in my way.

Forgiveness means I can let go of the need for revenge and hate and realize that justice doesn't always happen in the manner that I expect it to.

Forgiveness means feeling compassion for myself and others who have lived with incest and other forms of abuse and survived. It is also feeling compassion for those who didn't survive.

Forgiveness, for me, means seeing my dad, Raymond, as the wounded child that he was. Raymond hurt so bad inside that he couldn't control his reaching out and hurting others. I can clearly see that Raymond only felt in control when he was controlling others. He was a frightened child stuck in his own pain and not knowing how to get out. That is why he drank and became an alcoholic. I can only imagine the fear and guilt that Raymond lived with daily. I can feel compassion for the frightened child that was Raymond.

I can't tell you the date or time that I started forgiving Raymond. It was a gradual process of letting go a little at a time. It doesn't mean that I don't sometimes find myself angry at what he did. More often, today, I sometimes find myself sad because of the way the incest affected my childhood and my life as an adult.

Grieving is part of the process of forgiving. I have grieved for the parents that didn't love me the way that I wanted to be loved and cared for. I have grieved because I didn't love myself enough. I have grieved because I was so afraid. I have grieved because of the imaginary family that I always wanted that never existed. I have grieved for the young woman who wanted to be a virgin on her wedding night. I have grieved for the girl who wanted to be honest and wasn't because of the family secrets that she was forced to keep. I have grieved for the little girl who just wanted her daddy's and momma's love. All of this has been a part of the process of forgiving that I have experienced.

Forgiveness has also been about the freedom to become me --- to come out of hiding and out of fear which keeps me from really living.

Forgiveness has become a gift that I have given myself. It had nothing to do with Raymond and everything to do with me.

Forgiveness, for me, was a change of attitude. Where I once saw darkness, I now see light. Where I once had tears, now I have laughter. Joy is part of my life today. Fear rarely visits.

Forgiveness enables me to see the lessons that I have learned that make me the wonderful, powerful, loving, compassionate woman that I am today. Today I have the courage to reach out to others.

Forgiveness has released hate from my life. I no longer hate myself or my body. I love me.

Related Articles:

Acknowledging Your Grief And Releasing It --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/acknowledging-your-grief-and-releasing.html

Grieving Again --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/grieving-again.html

Forgiveness Starts With A Decision --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/forgiveness-starts-with-decision.html

Healing And Letting Go Of Repressed Emotions --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/07/healing-and-letting-go-of-repressed.html

Forgiveness, Done In Layers --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/ 06/ forgiveness-done-in-layers.html

Breaking The Silence---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 4 --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/breaking-silence-incest-may-be-part-of.html

Family Secrets---Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Part 5 --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/family-secrets-incest-may-be-part-of-my.html

Forgiveness Is For You, Not The Other Person --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/forgiveness-is-for-you-not-other-person.html

Prelude To Forgiveness --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/prelude-to-forgiveness.html

Childhood Memories ---http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/10/childhood-memories.html

Compassion Begins With Me --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/11/compassion-begins-with-me.html

Compassion, The Ultimate Act Of Love --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/12/compassion-ultimate-act-of-love.html

A Day In The Life Of An Incest Survivor --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/02/day-in-life-of-incest-survivor.html

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Protecting Ourselves From Hurt

From "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses," Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., 2007, page 60:

"If we lived with violence in our homes, we may have learned that the best way to protect ourselves was by hiding or withdrawing. As adults, we may believe we have to hide certain parts of ourselves in order to be accepted or loved."

As a child, I definitely hide who I was. The biggest part of me that got hidden was the child. By the time I was 11 years old, I didn't behave like a child. My children taught me what it meant to be a child---playing games, throwing temper tantrums, laughing out loud for the shear delight of laughing, crying when they were hurt, hating mom when they didn't get their way and saying "I hate you." I wasn't allowed to do any of those things when I was a child. I probably had toys but I don't remember playing with them if I did. By the time I was 11, possibly before that, I had the responsibilities of an adult in my family. Even today, I can do super-responsible really good.

Part of my forgiveness work has been to feel the sadness and loss for the childhood that I wasn't allowed to have. As an adult, I have had to learn how to play. I have learned to not feel ashamed and guilty when I play.

I wasn't allowed to say "No" when I was a child. That is one of the reasons that the incest happened. I didn't know that I had the right to say no when an adult abused me. I find that those feelings from my childhood are still playing a part in my life when I am not being focused.

Recently I allowed pressure from my husband to cause me to say yes to a job opportunity that I wasn't interested in, did not seek out, and didn't want. For two weeks, my blood pressure would not stay in the normal range as I struggled with my feelings about this job that I had said yes to. The job was offered by a friend who cares about us. That made more pressure that I put on myself. I am not saying that my friend or my husband either one put this pressure on me. I did it all by myself by not following my own gut feelings and saying no. A few days ago, I talked with my husband and then emailed our friend that I was changing my mind about the job. (I emailed because I am better with the written word than the spoken word in expressing my real thoughts.) For days before I finally figured out all of my feelings, I was getting messages from my guides about happiness in the work place.

As a child, I was forced to hide my feelings. I even went so far as to hide them from myself. In Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings, I learned to feel. Even today, I sometimes take awhile to figure out exactly what it is that I am feeling. I have learned that when I am feeling angry, I have to look beneath the anger to see what I am afraid of. Being angry is safer than being afraid for me, maybe for most people.

As a child, I hide my body behind dull, neutral colors of clothing. As I have often said, I worked at fading into the background, not wanting to call attention to myself. I didn't want to call attention to myself because the incest made me ashamed of you knowing the real, unclean me that I hid. I didn't want your attention because it might be sexual which I didn't know how to handle. The paradox is that I craved your attention and love. I felt so unloved, so unclean and I was afraid you would see that uncleanness. I was afraid that you would think I was a tramp. I was afraid of your judgments because I was making those same judgments against myself. I was afraid that you would mirror those same thoughts back to me.

I wanted to be a boy because, I thought boys didn't get sexually abused. I know different now but as a child I didn't. As a child, I was a tomboy, wanting to hide the female in me. I played outside; I climbed trees; I ran everywhere; I wrestled; I played baseball and volleyball all in an attempt to separate myself from the incest and my feelings of rage and hurt. I believed if I wasn't a girl, I wouldn't be hurt. In recovery, I finally made my peace with being a female and have worked on balancing my male and female parts. Today, I love being a woman. I also enjoy my male half.

As the above quote says I have worked on accepting and loving all of my parts and bringing them out of the shadows to make myself whole again. The accepting had to begin with me, inside myself, saying, "I love You." That are no bad parts of me. They have all served me in some way to make me into who I am today---a person that I am very proud of. I love the strong, caring woman that I am today.

Related Articles:
Biography---Part 1 --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/biography-part-1.html

Being Honest With Myself --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/being-honest-with-myself.html

Keeper Of My Creativity --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/keeper-of-my-creativity.html

Labeling Myself vs. Experiencing What Is. --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/07/labeling-myself-vs-experiencing-what-is.html

Incest May Be A Part Of My Life Series---Introduction --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/08/incest-may-be-part-of-my-life-series.html

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Dare To Forgive

"Dare To Forgive" by Edward M. Hallowell, M. D., Health Communications, Inc., Deerfield Beach, Florida, 2004, page 72:

Dr. Hallowell called his plan for forgiveness a practical method. He lists the steps as acts in a play.

Act 1: "pain: feeling wronged and wondering what to do."

Act 2: "reliving what happened and reflecting on it, using your beliefs, intelligence and imagination to help guide you. Ask yourself, What do I want this pain to turn into? "

Act 3: "wrestling within yourself, or with others, as you heal, working your way past anger and resentment to a peaceful place."

Act 4: "taking stock and moving forward."

I am reading several books on forgiveness. I rarely only read one book at a time. I am like a sponge needing to absorb all that I can on a subject before I take time to reflect on what I have read. Then I either take it in and make it mine or if it doesn't work for me, I let it go.

Another quote that I want to share with you is from the book, "Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses" written by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, 2007, page 66:

"Forgiveness does not mean we forget the past. Nor does it mean we accept repeated mistreatments. After all, many of us have learned valuable lessons from our past that helped shape who we are today. Eventually, however, the burden of carrying around our pain can take its toll on us. If we're finding it hard to forgive, we might still be in pain. If this is the case, we might benefit from allowing ourselves more time to heal before we even begin to think about forgiveness.

Ultimately forgiveness is an action we take to free ourselves from the pain we've been carrying. Forgiveness creates space in our lives for our own healing. In fact, forgiveness can be an important step in taking care of ourselves. We can forgive and rebuild our damaged relationships, or we can forgive and still choose to distance ourselves from certain people who continue to be abusive.

When we think about forgiveness, we also consider those mistakes we have made for which we'd like to make amends. Perhaps we have neglected to see our parents as people with their own challenges. After all, many of our parents grew up in alcoholic homes too, having faced many of the same experiences we faced. Or perhaps we've been clinging to our resentments. If we've been emotionally withholding in an effort to punish someone else for their past mistakes, we may have amends to make.

Having empathy for our parents' struggle doesn't mean we excuse or accept abusive behavior. When it comes to forgiveness, we can love someone and still hold them accountable for their behavior. We can have compassion for the alcoholic and other family members even if we hate the effects of the disease of alcoholism on our lives."

I know that is a lot of quoting. Thank you for staying with me through all of those words. The words from the experts and two different sources show you what has worked for me in my recovery long before I read either of these books. I support the information because I know it works if you are willing to do your own work of recovery.

In forgiving my father, I wasn't able to allow him back into my life. He was still an active alcoholic. My mother never left my life. She lived with my family and me for 14 years during which time, I was going to Al-Anon and Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings and Incest counseling, getting in touch with my anger and other feelings and learning about forgiveness and what it meant to me. She only asked why I was going to meetings once and she didn't pursue my answer to find out why. She asked but she didn't really want to know. My mother had her own unresolved issues that she wasn't willing to look at so she couldn't deal with my issues either. Instead she held in her own anger and fears and they affected her happiness and her health causing heart problems which eventually killed her.

Why am I again working on forgiveness? Because I don't want to die from a heart condition like my mother did. Because I know that forgiving will bring me relief and release from the pain of hating and anger. In order to be happy, I will forgive others and myself for real and imagined transgressions. In order to be free, I will forgive. Can you forgive the people in your life who have harmed you? Tell me or someone else about it. It truly helps to share our pain. Besides, it is Step 2 above provided by Dr. Hallowell.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Name It, Claim It, Make It So---Intention To Hear Your Spirit Guides

Slade Roberson recently wrote an article called "You Can Hear Your Spirit Guides". You will find the link to this article at the bottom of the page along with some other links with information about Slade. In the article, Slade says, "If you wish to communicate more effectively with your spirit guides, the number one thing you need to tell yourself and your guides is that you are open to their presence and to receiving their guidance."

Here is the intention that I set for hearing my guides:

I am open to being psychic. I do hear my spirit guides in whatever form they choose. I play a significant part in the forming of my world.

Like most people, I was a little afraid of my psychic abilities. I was more puzzled than afraid. I really didn't know what to do with these abilities. Sometimes they are right on with the messages that I receive and sometimes, because I don't have the whole picture, they make no sense to me. The messages are easier to receive when the messages are for me rather than for someone else. If the message is for someone else, that means I have to risk voicing the message and being wrong in front of someone else. What if they look at me like I am crazy, like I have totally lost it? What will I do then? I have learned to present the information anyway. Whether I understand it or not, it is usually understood by the person that needs it. I am doing them a disservice by not presenting the information.

If you are interested in learning how to hear your spirit guides, Slade gives classes occasionally. I have taken two of the classes and greatly benefitted from them. Slade teaches you how to be more aware of the psychic hits that you get from your guides on a daily basis. We totally ignore so much of what our guides send us because it doesn't come in the form that we expect it to. That is why my affirmation says, "I do hear my spirit guides speaking in whatever form they choose."

If you are interested in learning more about your spirit guides and how to contact them, check out Slade's blog, Shift Your Spirits. Start with the article linked below. If you like what you read spend some time checking out the rest of Slade's articles.

What is your intention toward hearing your guides?

Related Links:

You Can Hear Your Spirit Guides --- http://sladeroberson.com/spirit-guides/you-can-hear-your-spirit-guides.html

Epiphanies From Freaking Out --- http://lightbeckons.com/2008/09/09/epiphanies-from-freaking-out

Ghosts, Spirits, Seances - and a story --- http://www.personal-growth-with-corinne-edwards.com/ghosts-spirits-seances-and-a-story/

Stephen Hopson Interview with Slade Roberson of Shift Your Spirits, Part I of II --- http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com/2008/08/26/stephen-hopson-interview-with-slade-roberson-of-shift-your-spirits-part-i-of-ii/

Stephen Hopson Interview with Slade Roberson of Shift Your Spirits, Part II of II --- http://www.adversityuniversityblog.com/2008/09/02/stephen-hopson-interview-with-slade-roberson-of-shift-your-spirits-part-ii-of-ii/

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Spiritual Instead Of Religious

I just looked outside my house to the street to see a bus from one of the area churches dropping off about 5-6 teenagers in the neighborhood to go walking door-to-door to do what that particular church calls soul-saving. I live in the Bible Belt of the South (USA) so this happens quite often. Sometimes it is teenagers. Sometimes it is adults. This is a practice that I have never been comfortable with, no matter what church I was attending at the time.

To me, my spirituality is personal, between God and me. If someone asks, I will talk about it but I don't feel the need to try to "save" someone else. If I want to influence others, I think my actions---how I live my life---is a better way to do that than talking to change someone's mind and beliefs.

I have never felt right telling someone that my religion is better than theirs. I believe how you live your life is more important.

We are all on our own journey back to God. How we get there is up to each individual.

Most of the time that someone comes to my door to discuss religion, unless they were invited by me, gets politely turned away. I don't feel the need to be convinced by them that my beliefs are wrong and I don't feel the need to convince them that their beliefs are wrong. We are each exactly where we need to be in our spiritual journeys.

Someone asked me once why I read and used the information from so many books rather than just following the original 12-Step information that I was given. I think that my answer could also apply to why the world has so many different religions. Not everyone learns the same way. What appeals to me and helps me learn and remember may be different than what you need to learn and remember the same subject. I think that is why we have so many different religions in the world. Different ways of processing need different ways for information to be presented to the people of the world. Does that make sense to you? You may process information, religious or otherwise, differently than I process that same information, therefore, you and I may need the information to be presented in different ways to each of us.

Also, we aren't all on the same page at the same time. That can further complicate things. Different page, different time, doesn't mean that I am any more or less spiritual than you are.

Related Articles:
What Is God --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/03/what-is-god.html

Are You Judging Others As Less Spiritual Than You? --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/12/are-you-juding-others-as-less.html

Ego-centered selfishness vs. Spirit-centered Selfishness --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/03/ego-centered-selfishness-vs-spirit.html

Tools Of The Ego --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/04/tools-of-ego.html

Friday, September 5, 2008

Hurricane Gustav Has Left The State

Well, Hurricane Gustav has finally decided to leave Louisiana and Arkansas alone and move on to Kansas City and Chicago today.

The rains started in Hot Springs, Arkansas just after midnight on Monday morning and didn't stop until about 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night. We had wind gusts up to 35 m.p.h. We lost electricity at my house at 2:45 a.m. on Wednesday and got it back on around noon on Wednesday. Wedesday evening, the news said that 86,000 Arkansans were without electricity. Thursday evening, Hot Springs still had 19,000 without electricity; Little Rock had 14,000. Most of our Entergy electric crews were sent to Louisiana before Gustav hit Arkansas. Entergy was able to re-direct some crews from Missouri as they were passing through on their way to Louisiana. Hot Springs got almost nine inches of rain. We have small tree limbs from our pecan tree and oak trees all over our yard from the winds. Quite a few roads were closed because of flash flooding from the rains.

With all of the electricity off and the flooding that we got and winds, we were still blessed to have not gotten any worse damage than we did from Hurricane Gustav. You don't usually think of a hurricane being that big or that powerful once it has gone inland for hundreds and hundreds of miles but Gustav was huge.

I heard that in addition to the hurricane that Louisiana got over a dozen tornadoes over the past few days. I don't think Arkansas had any tornadoes. It is hard to keep up with weather reports when you don't have electricity. We did have a radio on our local station during the day.

The weather this entire year has been strange for Hot Springs---more rain and cooler than usual for Arkansas. This time last year, we were in a 4 or 5 year drought. We aren't now. We have gotten plenty of rain this year, before this week and Hurricane Gustav. I hope that Gustav is gentler on Kansas City and Chicago than it was on Arkansas and Louisiana.

Can you imagine what the world was like before The Weather Channel?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Acknowledging Your Grief And Releasing It

From Opening our Hearts, Transforming our Losses, written and published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Hope and help for families and friends of alcoholics, 2007:

page 45:
"By taking responsibility for our own lives, we begin to recognise that our happiness isn't contingent upon what others do or don't do."

"When we apply our slogan 'Let It Begin With Me,' we stop waiting for others to meet our needs and instead look to ourselves. This does not mean we have to 'do it all,' or that we can't count on anyone. Rather, we learn to stop expecting our needs to be met by someone who is incapable of doing so. We can feel disappointed and let down without our whole world falling to pieces."

A friend who read my last article "Grieving Again" wrote me and said that I seemed to understand the grief and how it is interconnected in my family and its history. That got me to thinking.

I do understand the grief. I have lived with it for so long. As Adult Children of Alcoholics, that is what we do. That is what depression is, unresolved anger and grief that, instead of being expressed, it is turned inward on ourselves. My friend also said that I seemed able to walk through my grief. Yes, today I can, but that wasn't always true. If you could see the child that I was standing beside the adult that I am today, I doubt that you would recognise the two as being the same person other than the physical characterists that we both share.

The child was extremely shy and withdrawn into her own little world of a few friends and her books. Outsiders rarely heard her speak. She didn't have an opinion about anything that mattered. She was terrified of people and life. She dressed to fade into the background. She craved your attention and love as much as she feared it. She felt totally alone. Fear was her main companion. The child, Patricia, felt that there was a hole of emptiness where her heart was supposed to be. She was afraid to feel anything. Patricia knew that if she had to feel all of the pain that she carried inside that she would die. The pain would be too much. She would curl into the fetal position and never come out. If Patricia started to cry, she would never stop. She had so many tears stored up inside. The only anger that she knew was the rage of her father and the silence of her mother. With the rage of her father, Patricia knew what to expect. With the silence of her passive-aggressive mother, she felt crazy. In some ways, the passive-aggressive behavior was more destructive by its silence.

All of the anger was hidden under a ton of grief, waiting, hoping to be acknowledged by someone. Anger is a power struggle that a small child has no way of winning, if she can even figure out how to compete in the game with the adults. Patricia felt so powerless as a child, like she had no value to anyone. That is the main reason that I stopped using the name Patricia for many years as an adult. I didn't ever want to feel that powerless again. Feeling powerless was beneath the majority of my fears.

Except for family, I refused to answer to Patricia until about 5 years ago. That was when I finally started working with my grief, coming to terms with it and took back the name of Patricia. Sometimes, even today, I can feel that blanket of darkness trying to work its way back up and over me. Today, I can recognise it and say, "What's going on? What am I feeling?" Oftentimes, just acknowledging that I am feeling another layer of grief coming off of me is enough to lighten the load and release it.

Any new grief, such as my uncle dying last week, is enough to bring up the old grief that hasn't been fully released. As my friend stated, I can, today, walk myself through my grief as it arises. Thanks to my friend for the new awarenesses that you gave to me about my grief. Taking responsibility for my own life and my own feelings was a very important step in letting go of my grief and finding happiness in my life. Take that finding happiness a step further to making happiness in my life. Nobody else can do that for me or for you. We are each responsible for our own happiness. For me, happiness has to begin with me. For you, happiness has to begin with you, or not, your choice, just as it is mine.

Related Articles:
Grieving Again --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/08/grieving-again.html
Grieving---A Necessary Process For Healing --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2008/05/grieving-necessary-process-for-healing.html
What's In A Name? --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/whats-in-name.html

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grieving Again

Grief, like forgiveness, isn't a one time thing. I just got home late last night from a trip to Louisiana for the funeral of my dad's oldest brother. My uncle was 80 years old and died of a blood clot that happened after a minor falling incident that happened on a walk to his mail box last week.

Funerals are always a sad occasion. At my age of 56, they are also beginning to be the main way that I reconnect with family members from my parents' families. My dad was the 3rd oldest out of 13 kids born to his parents from 1927-1950. In addition to 13 kids, my grandparents unofficially adopted one of my younger cousins and raised him too.

Some of my dad's family, I am close to and some I am not so close to because of the age difference and distance that we have always lived from each other. There are lots and lots of cousins that I haven't seen much since we were all kids and now we all have children and grandchildren of our own. Nine of my dad's brothers and sisters are still living. My grandfather died in 1989 and my grandmother in 2001 just a month after my dad died.

Uncle Odis took on the title of "Old Man Caldwell" when my grandfather died. As one of my younger aunts commented yesterday, Uncle Odis has now passed that title on to one of his younger brothers.

I wasn't close to Uncle Odis. He did do me a really big favor that I will never forget. Two nights after I left home at the age of 19, my mom finally told my dad the truth that I wasn't coming home. She also told him where I was. Mom called me to tell me that Dad was on his way. She told me to call Uncle Odis because he was the only person that my dad ever listened to. I called him and he came. We sat out in the front yard of my friends' house in Uncle Odis' car so that my friends wouldn't have to deal with my dad. My dad and I talked; I agreed to go home for the weekend only to talk some more. After my dad and I left my friends' house, Uncle Odis went in and talked to my friends. I didn't know this part of the story until years later. Uncle Odis told my friends that if my dad ever came back to shoot him. Uncle Odis was a policeman for 28 years and retired as a Captain. Uncle Odis was probably the only family member that recognised how dangerous my dad could become when he was drunk. Mean drunks seem to run in the Caldwell family.

Despite the circumstances, I enjoyed seeing all of my aunts, uncles and cousins that were well enough to make it to the funeral. I even met some new relatives that I hadn't met before. Welcome to the Caldwell family.

We aren't an easy bunch of people to get to know. We are, most of us, as the Catholic priest described Uncle Odis, bossy. Another choice description would probably be opionated. We know what we think and want and aren't afraid to say so. We also love strongly. We are red-headed Irish even though most of us didn't actually get the red-hair. We feel things strongly. We have quick tempers. We are family, disfunctions and all.

Uncle Odis' funeral and the resulting family gathering brought up feelings of grief for me, not so much for Uncle Odis but for my dad. I was surprised to feel tears coming two different times. I remembered the death of my dad, the stress of being the oldest child who had to make all of the arrangements, the grief. Being in charge of everything when I had not had much close contact with my dad for years because of the alcoholism and incest was very difficult. It isn't surprising to me that I ended the day yesterday with a migraine.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fear Expressed

"When fear is expressed, we recognise it as anger, abuse, disease, pain, greed, addiction, selfishness, obsession, corruption, violence, and war." --- A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles written by Marianne Williamson.

What an incredible statement!!!

I never thought about all of those things as coming from my fear. When you stop to think about it though, how true that statement is.

I have read the statement that everything that is not love is fear. I just didn't get it as clear as this statement makes it for me.

Are you living with fear or love?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Forgiveness Starts With A Decision

From the book "Dare To Forgive" written by Edward M. Hallowell, M. D. in 2004, pages 17-18:

"But habitual, active forgiveness, the kind of forgiveness that elevates your life and makes you a healthier, happier, more effective person, does not happen by accident, by revelation or by the mere passage of time.

Forgiveness comes from a decision you made long ago to live in a certain way. You don't have to be religious; indeed, many religious people can't forgive anything. You don't have to be a goody-goody; indeed, many goody-goodies are secretly nasty. You don't have to become a saint, take special vows, undergo therapy or get on some medication.

All you really have to do is look for the best in others and in yourself. When you try to do that, you set forgiveness in motion."

Forgiveness isn't easy when you have been deeply hurt or betrayed by someone that you love. Forgiveness isn't immediate. It takes time and effort to let go of the hurt and anger. Forgiveness isn't a one-time event and it is done. It is something that you have to face over and over again until finally all or at least most of the hurt is gone. Then you are free of the pain. You still remember; it just doesn't hurt as much as it once did.

Is forgiveness worth the time and effort? Sure it is. So much of your life can be affected by holding in the anger and hurt. Once you can finally release those strong emotions, you feel better mentally, emotionally and physically. Forgiveness can make you a better person.

Related articles:

Forgiveness, Done In Layers --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/06/forgiveness-done-in-layers.html

Prelude To Forgiveness --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/prelude-to-forgiveness.html

Forgiveness Is For You, Not The Other Person --- http://patriciasingleton.blogspot.com/2007/09/forgiveness-is-for-you-not-other-person.html