Reflections for Robin

Sorry for my absence last week.

It was tough going for me, and many people I know.  Robin Williams’ untimely death created an impact on a lot of people, myself included.  Although many of us did not know him personally, we felt his loss deeply because he was a part of our lives, because we identified with him, because we saw ourselves in his silent suffering.  Saw a part of ourselves reflected in his actions.  He was such a bright light, as many of us are, which is why we couldn’t understand how someone who possessed and projected such joy and laughter could be so devastated and alone inside.  We subconsciously understand that he was very much like the rest of us.

He struggled with the same secrets that many of us know intimately.

Addiction is something I am very familiar with and have dealt with personally.  My addiction is with food.  I never saw it as an addiction until recently.  I just thought I had no will power, was big boned, had a “fat” gene, etc.  Food addiction is tricky.  It’s an addiction of shame.  It isn’t widely talked about and certainly isn’t one of the most recognized of addictions, but it is a very common addiction that many times, goes unnoticed.  There are many different types of food addictions as well.  Bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia, emotional eating and sometimes a combination of those.  They are all shameful and they are all just as difficult to overcome as any other addiction.

Maybe even harder.

Because we are taught to “clean our plates” and have to eat for sustenance 3 times a day, it makes controlling eating addictions that much more difficult.  Everywhere you go, people are eating.  There is food everywhere you turn, it’s made fast, appears inside clothing stores, it’s peddled up and down the beach.  Trying to control an addiction that you are confronted with on this level of availability creates a feeling of helplessness, of not knowing where to turn, how to cope, and how to heal.

Depression is another struggle that I have known intimately.  Depression is difficult because it is hard to explain, even to yourself.  I wondered many times, why can’t I just “perk up”?  Why can’t I “snap out of it” and just be “happy”?  And I longed for happiness, craved to feel good and normal.  Even just being slightly less depressed would have been a welcome emotion!  So since I couldn’t figure out how to do that, and since people don’t enjoy being around someone who is unhappy, I chose to isolate myself.

Devastating and dangerous.

And it is difficult for others to understand also.  Friends and loved ones don’t know how to help so eventually they end up turning their backs.  Not because they don’t love you, because they feel hopeless and don’t know what they can do, or because being around you brings them down.

And so the cycle continues…until the ultimate decision is made.

I have never come to the point of planning my suicide, so I can’t relate to that level of depression, but I can only imagine the pain and mental conversations were so bad that suicide seemed like the lesser of the evils, the only escape.

I found my way out of both by taking small steps toward the light.  It wasn’t easy, and there are still days that I fall back a bit, but when I look back at where I was and where I am now, the difference is overwhelming!  I’m not sure if I will ever be completely healed but the journey has brought me understanding.  And that gives me the strength to keep moving forward, to keep finding new ways to embrace happiness, to connect with my Higher Power and with true joy.

Recommitting with each set back.

There have been many things and people who have helped me along the way but I’d like to hear what has helped you with addiction, depression or any other difficulties in your life.

What have you done to pull yourselves up and begin the road to recovery?

Where did you find your inner hero?

How have you helped others in their struggles?

I feel we owe it to ourselves and to everyone who is silently struggling with a shameful secret, whatever it may be, to open up.  To shed light on our inner battles and share them so that others can find a way to understanding and belonging.  And we can all participate in a larger scale of healing that is so very needed at this time.

I look forward to your vulnerable shares…


Inspired Peace?

I ran across a Facebook post this week from one of my dear and long-time friends regarding the atrocities surrounding the Israel-Palestine conflict.  In her post, she was asking if anyone was going to stop the conflicts, how we (the world) could let it continue, how could peace be reached?

The conversation that ensued was emotionally charged and diverse.  Some posts touched on people’s sadness, some on anger, frustration.  Some people pointed their fingers at the media, big business, politics, government, and of course the big two, money and power.  Some posts insisted not enough is being done, some said we should take the power back by refusing the system and boycotting America.

Others took sides.

Some ventured that a world without class would create equality and peace.  Others had no idea what to do but felt we had a moral obligation to do something, anything.

I wasn’t sure.  Maybe a little of all of it.  But how?

How can we effectively create change?  How can we take our power back?  See equality universally?  Help others in peril?  Inspire peace?

So I meditated on it.

The answer that came gave me pause…the answer was, that God, (Source, Universe, Light) lives in us, as us, for our unique experience.

We are not here to feel perfection, that is where we originated from, and where we will return.  We are here to experience.  And that experience can be good or bad, pain or joy, love or loss, persecution or acceptance, and probably, hopefully, all of that, and more.

Not to say that we should not take action, or become complacent.  Far from it.  But we are here to experience so we must accept that first.  Accept ourselves and our experiences.  Accept others and their experiences.  Whether we agree with them or not.

Not to choose sides.  To experience.

In fact, the side we do not agree with is the side that begs for our attention the most.  And not to say that those actions we don’t agree with are right or ok, but that as a part of taking action toward change, we must first accept and experience what is.

We must accept and love ourselves first.

As hard as that can be, and trust me, I know it’s hard!  If we don’t have peace and love within and for ourselves, then how can we help others?

We can take action, of course, but when that action is a reaction instead of coming from a source of love, peace and our God within, how can that action be inspired?  How can we give if we don’t have that which we want to give within ourselves first?  And isn’t inspired action what we are looking for?  The type of action that will create change?

We must have patience.

Whoa!  This is a tough one!  Maybe even harder than loving ourselves.  I always want to BE in the future I desire NOW!  But patience is understanding that all is happening as it should, when it should, and trusting in that and our Universe.  That the student must be ready for the lesson or it will not be learned.  And that patience creates the space for transformation.

They depend on one another.  They are inextricably tied.

Does any of that solve conflict?  No.

Does it give us some perspective and a place to start from?  I think so.  Does our own peace and acceptance create a higher universal vibration?  A place to find and connect with something bigger than us?  A sort of infectious universal desire?  I believe it does.

What I do know for sure though, is that when I surround myself with people who are in tune with God within, I am inspired to connect as well.

To ask better questions.

In turn, I hope to be that inspiration for others.  So that the ripples continue to grow, to travel.

If we got to a place where more people were taking action from this point of divinity, all over the world, what kind of change would that generate?  Where would the power lie?  How would we see others?  Would that inspire peace?



Moments Along the Path

Ok.  So today starts the beginning of many things for me.  The discovery of my voice through writing, the discovery of the me within, a new chapter, a new journey, courageous action toward inspired thoughts, and this place, to document all of the moments along the path…

I don’t imagine this journey will have an end, but I do expect many twists and turns which I cannot anticipate completely at this juncture.  However, I do plan to enjoy the moments, surprises, and even the difficulties.  To face them all with wonder and love; looking for the opportunities they bring and allowing my decisions to flow from my heart and not from my ego and my head.  Easier said than done, I know!  But as with all things worth doing, there must be a starting off place, an expectation of skinned knees and bruised egos, and a willingness to embrace them.

So this is my pledge.

I know there will be times of failure.  And in those instances, I will choose to be kind to myself, forgive, and refocus.  As I have learned from so many great people, the ability to recommit is how you win.  It’s not in doing it perfectly.

I would also like to add that I currently have many frustrations and challenges in my life.  Don’t we all!  But I no longer want to solve them from the point of ego.  Which, by the way, has been leading me for as long as I can remember!  And what I found is that it was only making things worse.  Making me focus on negative thoughts, negative self talk, and actions, that at times, I couldn’t believe were stemming from me.

Because they weren’t.

They were coming from a place of trying to belong to something that I am not.  Clinging to some imaginary finish line, that every time I neared, was only pushed further back, justifying the self talk, and continuing the circle of negativity and sadness within.

This reminds me of a time I once took LSD.

I was around 15 and had a trip where everything kept repeating, and because of that, nothing could be accomplished.  It was very confusing and somewhat terrifying, to say the least!  Yet, that is how I was leading my waking life.  On repeat.  I have come to believe that activity may just be a course in insanity.  And last I checked, I don’t believe I am insane.

Strange, yes.  Not normal, of course!  But insane?  Not yet, anyway!

I CAN recall moments in my life however, where I did allow my heart to lead me instead of my ego.  Where I took action based on faith, felt fear and did it anyway.  One of those moments was when, at the age of 23, I decided to travel throughout Europe, by myself, for an indefinite time frame, or at least as long as the money lasted.  I gave the outcome of each day to something bigger then myself and found more delight, excitement and love in those months than in the many years I have spent trying to control my life and it’s outcomes.

So it is with that realization, that I begin this journey.

It is my desire to share this journey and the moments along the way with you so that together we can enjoy the story that unfolds and collectively thank our minds and egos for their need for control and significance, but also let them know that they are no longer needed.

I choose to live this next chapter of my life above the line, and I look forward to the many unpredictable moments to come…