Secrets – When You Hold and When You Receive

There is a saying that we are as sick as our deepest secret. What happens when we keep what we see as our most shameful or hurtful secret to ourselves?

stock-photo-20604007-young-woman-looking-through-red-curtains-rear-viewSecrets have a tendency to fester and grow until they consume us. They can infect our mental, physical and spiritual health and  because we don’t reach out to someone else for comfort, guidance, healing, or even a listening ear, we feel alone. The secret most often takes on a life of its own. It can double, triple and often quadruple in our minds. Are  we really objective about our own transgressions or do we minimize or maximize?

12363983-upset-mom-with-frustrated-daughter-over-green-backgroundIf we stay in our own heads, we are not exposed to reason or forgiveness of others or ourselves. Most often, when we hold secrets concerning our emotions, circumstances, incidents or missteps, the knowledge becomes like a splinter. It may start out like a splinter of  minor thought, action or event but it festers into a pus filled volcano of emotion that can no longer be contained. That emotion can take the form of anger, confusion or sadness. Have you ever exploded at someone in unreasonable circumstances and wondered, “Where did that come from?” We have shamed, blamed and punished ourselves for so long that the pressure has built up to a point where it can no longer be contained.

19287090-dice-un-secretoAm I suggesting that you open up to everyone you know? No way! Choosing who you tell is as important as the telling. Choose someone with whom you feel totally comfortable. Sometimes a total stranger can be that person because they can be unbiased and have nothing to gain by betraying your confidence. Trust is an important ingredient in choosing someone to whom you are willing to expose your vulnerability. I ask myself if the secret is just too juicy for them to repeat?
Family conflictThere is often a worry that we are putting someone on the spot
by asking them to keep our secrets. When you are put into the position where you feel that the secret needs to be repeated, just remind yourself  that it is not your story to tell. If our confider wanted others to know, they would have told them. By repeating the secret, we are telling them that they were right not to confide in anyone and next time they won’t and are back to square one. Also, repeating the secret to someone who may be affected will inhibit the confider’s opportunity to work through the situation on their own. Confronting or admitting deep held secrets is an opportunity to grow and/or gain confidence.

Even the word “Secret” has taken on a bad word connotation as in: not being nice to keep secrets, secret life, secret meeting or secret bank account etc. I rarely have secrets that I have not confided in someone. Some think that I should not “tell on myself” but I choose to live happy, joyous and free and to me that means purging myself of my secrets and accepting forgiveness even if that forgiveness is only my own.

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Impeach Donald Trump Campaign

I recently signed a petition to Impeach Donald Trump. I am not advocating that anyone follow in my footsteps, I am just passing along information to anyone who might be interested.

Because I signed the petition on their website, I received the following about the latest development in the campaign to Impeach Donald Trump which reads as follows:

In a unanimous vote, the City Council of Richmond, California, approved our resolution to become the first city to call on Congress to launch an impeachment investigation of President Trump.

Last night, two more communities just approved our resolution.

The citizens of Alameda, California brought our resolution before their city council, which unanimously supported it. And in Charlotte, Vermont, Town Meeting members voted for our resolution. The momentum is growing, and we are counting on people like you to jumpstart this movement at the local level.

After we announced Richmond’s win, many of you emailed us asking for ways to bring this resolution to your city and state. To get you started, we added a new page to our website with resources and materials to pass a model resolution in your community.

Here’s a quick overview of what we posted to download and share:

A PDF of Our Model Resolution
A PDF of Our Guide for Local and State Resolutions in Support of Impeachment
A one-page flyer about our campaign
You can reach out directly to resolution@impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org
New videos sharing campaign news, here
We also shared materials provided by our allies working in Alameda, California. As this campaign continues to grow, we will add new tools for you to use in your own organizing. We are frequently updating our “News & Updates” section and our “Resources” page, so be sure to check back in. Please reach out to us with your progress and any questions you may have.

Here are some suggestions for next-steps you can take on your own:

Look up your representative, decide if it makes the most sense to reach out to your state or local officials. Remember, it’s ok to start small.
Don’t be shy! Connect in person with your friends, neighbors, co-workers, students, religious leaders, family members. Find a meeting place, and start talking.
Follow-Up! Find a way to keep in touch with everyone. Gather email addresses and phone numbers. Create an online group with tools like Facebook, Slack.com, Patch.com, Google Groups, and Yahoo Groups.
Keep us in the know! Email us your questions and updates via: resolution@impeachdonaldtrumpnow.org
You are so critical to this campaign! If we work together, we can build further pressure on our Representatives to introduce this resolution before Congress.

We’re on our way! Let’s keep it up!

All of us at Impeach Donald Trump Now
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20 Years Later

Have you ever looked at the ways that you and your spouse complement each other, how you  are alike, and how you differ?

Danny and I complement each other in these ways:

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  • I like the soft fluffy french fries, he like the crispy, skinny ones.
  • I like the middle slices of bread, he likes the heel.
  • I like to feed the fish, he likes to feed the cats.
  • I like to pull weeds and he likes to cut the grass.
  • I like to decide where the pictures will go on the wall, he likes to hang them.
  • He likes to clean the garage and I like to clean the house.

 

We have these things in common:

 

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  • We are both people persons.
  • Neither of us ever met a stranger.
  • We both like spicy foods.
  • We have very similar tastes in decor.
  • We both love left-overs.
  • We both love nature.
  • We both love cats and fish.
  • We both love Subaru’s.
  • We both enjoy off-road adventures.
  • We both like to eat out at the same restaurants.
  • Our family backgrounds are similar.
  • We are both family oriented.
  • We both like psychological thrillers.
  • We have the same spiritual beliefs.
  • Our family backgrounds are similar.

 

We have these differences:

 

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  • He is the glass half-full and I am the glass half-empty.
  • He is oblivious to his aches and pains and I am sensitive to mine.
  • He keeps his own counsel and I verbalize everything.
  • He is the dreamer and I am the realist.
  • He researches everything and I fly by the seat of my pants.
  • He is task oriented and I get side tracked.
  • I am impulsive and he is methodical.
  • If I think something, I voice it. He thinks about something before he voices it.
  • I stick, he runs.
  • What’s his is yours, what’s mine is mine.
  • He is athletic, I am not.

 

The thing is…

We have had scary moments.

 

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We have had ecstatic moments.

 

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We have had angry moments.

 

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We have had peaceful moments.

 

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We have been on the same page.

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We have been in different books.

 

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But after 20 years, we are still two halves of a whole.

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Life Happens Too!

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With every move we gain and we lose. We lost the creek but gained a forest like back yard and more isolation. Not really isolated but the houses are further apart. The first time we came to this house, I stood on the back deck and felt totally at peace. Our back yard is nothing but Pondorosa Pines (very tall) and all is very quiet. However, it is winter and the snow birds are back in warmer climate. In the mornings when I fix my coffee, I stare out the window and the sun shines through the pines yet we lost the view of the stars every night through the ceiling skylight over our bed. I don’t feel the loss as much as I feel the sense of wholeness and I can feel myself evolving. I guess it has become a combination of our home in Texas and our house on the creek.

The house itself has radiant in-floor heating and two fireplaces. There is a main floor and a walk out fully finished basement containing two bedrooms (one being Danny’s office) and a media/family room. The master and a bedroom (my office) are on the main floor. The main floor is totally open. We have reserved the living area upstairs as a quiet area – no television. It has a fireplace and is set up to be more formal. We enjoy solitude or spending quiet together time there. Our bedroom is huge and has a sitting area. Ceilings are Alder wood as are floors except the bedrooms which are carpeted. The house also has nice architectural features. There is a downstairs patio and an upper deck. It is a nice place for Danny and me to be separate together. Though it is a rental, we have full permission to make it our own with paint etc.

I have started a Law Enforcement Transcription business and am in the assessment phase of a contract. I have done the first part and am awaiting the results. It was more difficult than I anticipated because law enforcement transcription has to be verbatim and though I have always been good at voice recognition, when the voices are similar – not so easy. I did enjoy the work and am looking forward to improvement. Having done clerical work within a police department and having a soft spot in my heart for it, I am truly excited. I do have to say that doing this work without the benefit of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and blood pressure meds made it all the more difficult.😬 Note to self: Order your mail-order refills early. I love that I work from home and have the privacy of my own office.

Christmas is bought and shipped. We are having steak for our Christmas dinner which is a luxury on our new budget. I won a Big Green Egg cooker when we did the Parade of Homes to the tune of $1,000 so we are anxious to try it out. We were considering buying a George Foreman since our BBQ pit bit the dust in the original move but while we were working it into the budget, I won this state of the art dude. Woo Hoo!

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Wanted to let you know that I am still alive and kicking!

An Open Letter

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I came across an open letter to shoppers who consoled a woman who had an emotional breakdown in response to a call from her brother. The call informed her that her father had taken his own life early that morning.

The woman, Deborah Green, abandoned her full grocery cart in the entryway of Whole Foods. She started to scream and cry as her whole body trembled and she fell to the floor as her knees buckled. Strangers who were entering Whole Foods to do their grocery shopping could have simply stared at her as they passed her by but instead they surrounded her as she yelled through her sobs,  “My father killed himself, he’s dead!”

Someone asked for Deborah’s phone and inquired as to who they should call, her password, and her husband’s name as they searched through her contacts. An urgent message was left for her husband to call her. The group of strangers discussed among themselves who should drive her home in her car and who would bring that person back to the store. None of these people knew Deborah but they worked together to help her in any way they could in what she calls, “The worst moment of my life.”

Deborah was able to say that she had a friend who worked at Whole Foods and one of the strangers brought the friend to her. As she sat with her friend, one of the kind strangers sent over a gift card to Whole Foods. This gift card fed her family when she couldn’t find the emotional strength to cook.

Deborah never saw the person or persons who reached out to her in the bleakest moment of her life but she says she will never forget them. It strikes me that in the moments after the phone call from her brother, a time when no one should be alone, Deborah was surrounded by selfless, caring individuals.

I found this story reassuring that all the hatred, strife, bitterness and anger that is going on in our country currently has not destroyed the compassion of those who were brought up to reach out to someone who is hurting whether it be family, friend or stranger.

Original story by Deborah Green from reflectingoutloud.net as published in Reader’s Digest, November 2106.

“She Adopts Babies Who Are Left to Die Alone”

I recently read an article in Reader’s Digest about a woman, Cori Salchert of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who has adopted two babies who little to no chance of living. Cori was a registered nurse and perinatal bereavement specialist who helped families cope with the loss of a pregnancy or newborn child. When the parents were not emotionally equipped to hold their child, Cori cradle the child in her arms so that they did not have to die alone. About five years ago, Cori was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease that rendered her unable to work. However, she was able to connect with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s treatment foster-care program and foster hospice infants.

The first baby was two weeks old and nameless with no one to care for her. She was born without the right or left hemisphere of her brain and doctors said there was no hope for her. She was in a vegetative state  – unable to see or hear and only responding to painful stimuli. If left with the hospital, she would have died wrapped in a blanket and set aside since she was being sustained by a feeding pump. The hospital contacted Cori and asked if she would take the baby in.

The baby girl was given the name Emmalynn and was gifted with a full life for the 50 days she lived. Cori and her family gave Emmalynn the honor of becoming the youngest of nine children. She was held constantly and taken everywhere the family went.

When the night came that Cori knew Emmalynn was dying, the whole family held and kissed her. Cori’s husband “tucked her close with her little head tucked under his chin and sang to her”. As most of the family “drifted off” to bed, Cori and her daughter, Charity, stayed awake with her.

Emmalynn died snuggled against Cori’s furry warm bathrobe as Cori sang Jesus Loves Me.

Two years later, Cori and her family took in four-month-old Charlie. Typically a child with his type of brain damage dies by age two. His condition is not considered terminal but is “life limiting”. Charlie is on life support and has been resuscitated at least ten times in the past year. He will not be resuscitated should he code again. This time, he will be let go. Cori and her family give Charlie the best quality of life possible given his limitations.

Giving these children love and affection even though they cannot give back is considered a gift by Cori and her family. The family gives deeply of themselves, loving and cherishing these babies and grieving their loss. Cori compares her families’ hearts to stained-glass windows made of broken glass that has been forged back together. Though their hearts are broken, they are even stronger and more beautiful for having been broken.

by Leah Ultatowski – Reader’s Digest November 2016

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Daisies and Dad

My favorite flower is the Daisy. One morning I walked out to the creek and this is what I saw…

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Then in a few days, we went for a drive and this is what I found.

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And every day after that until the last week or so, they were everywhere!

The thing is…I have loved daisies since I was in junior high school. All my corsages were daisies and my 9th grade prom dress had daisies around the high waist. But the best thing was that my dad painted a perfect 6′ daisy on my bedroom wall. I didn’t ask him to and he never told me of his idea, he just did it.

Every new experience I have and every family get together, I wish my dad could be there. He never knew Danny or our kids or grand kids. He would have loved them all. And to see Colorado in all its glory…would have been a great gift to him. So every time I saw the daisies, I believe it was a sign that my dad is indeed here in spirit and it brings me comfort. I don’t care that daisies are considered a weed here.

 

 

I Care

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Whether I know you personally or not, I care and this is for you:

Sometimes we do not feel

like we want to feel

what we want to achieve

Sometimes things happen

that do not make sense

Sometimes life leads us in directions

that are beyond our control

It is at these times most of all that we need someone

who will quietly understand us

and be there to support us

I want you to know

that I am here for you

In every way

and remember that though

things may be difficult now

tomorrow is a new day

Susan Polis Schutz

Anti-Depressants and Psychotherapy

I have had people tell me that they do not want to take anti-depressant medication because it will cause them to be unable to cry. I would suggest that anyone who has this experience should check with their doctors or get honest with themselves. I have been on anti-depressants for many, many years and I have no problem crying when emotion calls for it yet I do not cry constantly with no clearly discernible reason as often happens with untreated depression.

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Many people do not understand that depression is not always situational. There are those of us who have a chemical imbalance that brings about depressive  symptoms. When depression is situational, most people are able to stop therapy or taking anti-depressants after the situation comes to a resolution or they come to terms with the outcome of the situation. However, please be aware that getting off anti-depressants is not something that should be done without the guidance of a medical doctor, psychotherapist or psychiatrist who will instruct the patient in the best way to taper off the medication.

I have a friend who refused to take anti-depressants because she didn’t like the way they made her feel. I spent time with her after our not seeing each other for a while and she was like a different person. She was happy, positive and upbeat images.duckduckgo.com because her doctor put her on an anti-depressant that worked for her. My sister has gone off her anti-depressants from time to time because she is very health conscious and didn’t want to take pills. She has gone back on them every time because if you need them, you need them. Unfortunately, there are times that a person has to try several different anti-depressants until the right one for them is found. It is understandable that one would get frustrated and want to give up but when the right medication is found, it is worth the necessary journey. There are anti-depressants that I cannot take because I metabolize medications slowly or because they aren’t a good fit for one reason or another. The medication my friend has found that works so well for her is one that I cannot take. I have had it prescribed and/or suggested by doctors because it would seem to be the perfect medication for me but it has the undesired of inhibiting my focus.

Another thing about anti-depressants not always understood is that it is sometimes beneficial to change to a different brand or strength after a period of time. I have changed several times over the years because there is a more current, more effective or more beneficial drug or strength for me.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

There seems to be a stigma about psychotherapy just as there is about anti-depressants. That stigma can be quite dangerous because depression can14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-men destroy not only one’s quality of life but can destroy one’s life itself. I have also heard that some will stop psychotherapy because there comes a point when they cannot stop crying. This is a valid point because emotions that have been stuffed inside or ignored are released by talking through experiences or opening up about thoughts and/or needs. This phenomena is referred to as “getting your feelings” and is an important point in therapy. Rather than being something to be avoided, it is a desired effect of therapy.

Anti-depressants are so widely prescribed these days that some researchers think that the symptoms could be caused by poor diet, lack of sleep or evolving changes in the environment. I believe those could be valid causes as I also  believe that the tendency to have depression can be passed down from generation to generation as mine seems to have been. In Ala-non, we learn that when you have a sudden and/or temporary change in mood or experience depression-like symptoms, you might ask yourself if you are hungry, lonely or tired. I have found that any one of these three conditions will cause me to experience a temporary anger or depression.

If you are hesitant to seek treatment for your depression, I encourage you to re-visit your decision by doing research and having a discussion with a physician or psychiatrist. You may be in serious trouble long before the realization hits you or even worse, it may not hit you until it is too late.

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Grief

14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-menI don’t think many realize that grief is not just about the loss of a person to death. There are many types of losses and each loss is as important as the next. The most difficult losses for me are the loss of a relationship or of a dream. I don’t know about you but in my earlier years I thought it would be easier to lose a love to death than to lose them in life. To lose someone who is still living, you know that they are still out there living their life without you and it not only hurts but it can give you a sense of desperation.

In order to truly accept a loss, we must grieve. If you do not grieve, you will keep running from the feelings and someday, somewhere you will blow up and wonder where your reaction came from. It is referred to as “coming out sideways”. “Coming out sideways” is when your reaction to a situation is actually due to emotions left over from a past situation that have not been dealt with. When you don’t grieve each loss, the emotions build up until you can no longer contain them and they have to come out somewhere.

Grief is not fun so we often try to avoid it by putting our attention to other things or any other thing. In crisis counseling, many callers had a situation they had not grieved. It could have been the loss of a job, a friendship, a home but whatever it was, they would admit that it had an impact on their lives and left unresolved emotions. Each person grieves in their own way but there is a model that grief typically follows and it is referred to as The Seven Stages of Grief and are as follows:

SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. YouTetsu420full798969 may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable 2592pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your  loved one. Life feels  chaotic and scary during this phase.

“DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, aI am O.K. today.

long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for 7822968-gay-couplethe death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

 

THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to live without your dear one, your life becomes a images.duckduckgo.comlittle calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

 

 

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you stock-photo-young-blonde-needlewoman-fitting-dress-on-dummy-248408176will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

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Though this version of the model covers loss through death, it can be applied to any type of loss. When you experience an anger or depression for which the reason cannot be pinpointed, ask yourself “What is missing?” and/or “What has changed?”. You may have to think back in time but there will more than likely be some feeling that you have been avoiding or running away from.

Rather than thinking of crying as being a weakness or self pity, see it as cleansing. Crying is a release of pent up emotion and is healthy.

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