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Dad's neighborhoodLast night it was my intention to shower before bed. My body begged to rest for a moment, knowing that showers are quite a work out. Not recognizing the heaviness of my daily fatigue and exhaustion, I had fallen asleep…

Early this morning I woke up on top of my bed, cold, in my robe, with the throw blanket over me and Grace sound asleep at the foot of my bed. Knowing she can be my personal feline heating pad, ever so slowly I moved my toes towards her and gently tucked them underneath her warm and cozy catness. She didn’t move or open her eyes as the sound of her distinct loud purr filled my bedroom.

I felt my spirit rise like the morning sun. My body still had not moved – yet my gratitude was overwhelming me. My true joyful spirit snuck out from me and rejoiced the sunlight coming in through my windows. I felt it in such a way as if I was watching my spirit look out of the window as it noticed the wind suddenly appear to greet the trees. A joyful feeling indeed.

Other than my toes under Grace’s black furry warm body – I had not moved. My memory dialed into two nights ago when I took my first dose of a new medicine. With in a few minutes I broke out in hives. Seriously? Hives?! The moment wasn’t about how the hives with their burning red welts felt on my body. The moment was about taking care of this nuisance. This distraction. Take care of it. Get on it. Get into action. Off to the pharmacy I went…

As much as I do get frustrated. As much as I do feel angry that my body can not do the activities that have always been a part of who I am. My spirit greeted the day rejoicing because finally, finally I know in my heart that I do indeed have many choices. More choices than I ever have been able to realise or see. Choices that I feel. Choices that make each day, each moment, the best choice that I can make in that moment.

I choose to sit down and cry. I choose to feel bummed-out knowing that I am missing yet another event. Missing another dinner party. Missing another play. I choose to feel left out or forgotten. But it is also my choice just how long I allow these things in my heart. How long do I allow this dark visit?

I did not miss out on everything!

I didn’t miss the first day my parents taught me how to swim. I didn’t miss my first boy-girl party. I didn’t miss my first kiss. I didn’t miss cheerleader tryouts. I didn’t miss my first prom. I didn’t miss being in my best friend’s wedding. I didn’t miss watching my son take his first steps. I didn’t miss any of my son’s soccer games. I didn’t miss the plane when I flew to Costa Rica to surf for 10 days. I didn’t miss my son’s high school graduation or his college graduation.

It’s endless.

The choices? Endless.

Today I’m getting a chance to find new best choices for myself as I am finding my way. Learning my capabilities. No matter what, I still can make the best choices in any situation and not miss out on any event that is my best choice. Then, and only then, will I continue to not only be joyful, but I can be victorious as well.

I will always have an opportunity directly in front of me to make my best choice. And then my reward is a heart full of gratitude and a joyful spirit that will rise to meet the sunshine of each and every morning.

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Mind, body and spirit . . .

During the time that I had to stop drinking was when I started noticing the importance of the balance with my mind-body-spirit.  Then, the “body” part was obvious and easy. I loved to hop on my bike and ride down to the beach.  Cruising the strand on a cloudy weekday morning was my absolute fave because it was sure to be crowd free.  I let the feeling of the cool damp air cover my body.  Slowing down, but not yet stopping, I’d look out to the ocean, “aah my ocean, there you are, I see you now.”  No matter what level my spirit was resting on – as if it was on auto pilot – it would take off and suddenly be lifted to a higher brighter place.  There it was, the connection to the universe that I spent so much time longing for.

Ah, but the mind. Not so easy. Think. Think. Think. Where’s the answer?  How do I calm my sober mind?! I never knew what anxiety was till I quit drinking! And so many resentments! I allowed them to hang on to me like a sucker-fish hitching a free ride on the side of a whale. Thank God for a little time – a little sober time is helpful as I seek the fine balance in my life.

Alas, things are a little different for me today.  No longer living at the beach. No more bike riding. Unemployment.  Standing by for disability. A city that does not yet quite feel like home. Chronic pain. Fatigue. It is what it is. . .

This morning I wake up after a long painful restless un-sleep. I see the early sun peering in through my east facing windows – my tummy makes sounds like a squeaky door in a haunted house.  Geeze.  That can’t be good.  My mind has started the morning from a place of empty darkness.

Disconnected.  Disappointed.

Here we go again – pain tightening its grip on me with each slow step of the body.  I let out a big sigh full of extreme sadness.  The sudden ringing of my cell phone interrupts my focus on my rusty joints.  Not being fit mentally to put two sentences together – I have no choice but to let it go to voice mail.  I can not think logically.  I can not move gracefully.  My spirit needs to answer the phone.  My brain is full of fog, like a spider web hanging inches above a swamp.

As I stand at the top of my stairs I am still – and as if I’m watching an old home movie – I look down and see all of the things I need to do:

Time to get a move on with my day!  Carefully, painfully I move my arms to hold on to the railing on either side, my hands, stiff, swollen and hurting, looking like they belong on a mannequin in a store window on Main Street.  Perhaps it is too soon to try to go downstairs – however – old habits are hard to break.  I am a manager who needs to grab a cup of coffee, shower, and go open the shop…  One step down. Step together.

I am a single mom who needs to drop her son off at school on the way to work… Two steps down. Step together.

I am a surfer girl who needs to paddle out and play in the ocean… Three steps down. Step together.

Agony pulsating through my body in such a way that it feels I might break. I wait for my body to follow the directions of my brain.  Agonizing endless stabbing pains run down my right arm ending with stabs so real that I look at my hand expecting to see blood.  The pain debilitating from the stabbing.  Seems so odd to me that there is no blood.

I force myself to focus on what is in front of me.  Ever so carefully – one more step together.

With another slight move forward, silently my foot slips out from under me – I land on my ass and my lower back hits the stairs as I awkwardly slide and bump down to the bottom.  I am alone yet I feel embarrassed, mortified, stunned, defeated.

I do not cry.  In fact, I hear nothing. The morning is quite still. The sun, bright.  Grace, my cat, is squinting her sleepy eyes as she starts to do her graceful stretches, like she thinks she is a yoga teacher this morning. As she walks past me she softly rubs along my pain ridden legs as she heads towards the kitchen – where her food and water bowls are.

By this time I’ve pulled myself up as I continue my incredible journey.  I try my best to put the weight of my steps on the out side of my feet where the pains are not quite as horrific.  Once more I forgot to put my thick socks and tennies on. (Now there’s a nice look, jammies and tennies.)  Finally, I lean to the right and make my way to the cozy kitchen.  This time I land my rear-end safely on the cushy bar stool that I had put there in case I need to sit while I’m in the kitchen.

I look down and I’m surprised to see Grace sitting next to her empty bowl.  She is silent.  Big round green eyes looking sweetly and patiently at me.  With a slight tilt of her head, the chubby furry cat waits for me.  She does not impatiently beg for her morning food.  She doesn’t mind.  Is she waiting?  Does she have faith in me?  A cat that does not scream a “meow!” or two at me?  She is in the present moment. Slowly, carefully, I feed her as the sound of her beautiful and extremely loud purr fills the silent morning. The cool cat is fed. My first victory of the day.

Wanting, longing, to sit on my couch, I made my way to the living room.   Carefully, I stretched out on the couch. A much better landing this time. Heaven.  A piece of the mind and body starting to move towards their connection. . .

And what was waiting for me? The beautiful flowers that my dear childhood friend gave me the day before. The aura of the love behind this gift engulfed my defeated spirit.  An overwhelming sence of acceptance covered me in an instant.  I felt my spirit now moving towards the mind and body. . . Somehow, everything was just the way it was supposed to be.  I was brought back to the moment.  My moment. My connection of mind, body, and spirit.

Perhaps I’ll just take my very own special “sick day” today.  My job today, just as it has been for the past couple years, is to regain my health.  Yep, I’m calling in sick today. I give myself permission to move slow, rest on the couch and focus on the beautiful flowers with the cute black and purple vase that sit in my cozy little home.  The flowers that were given to me by my dear childhood friend.  They were given with the beloved intention of love and hope.  And without love and hope, I have nothing.

dd flowers

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. . . I’ve been thinking about the different ways to count and gather blessings. With so much emotional pain and physical pain in the world, I realized I needed a reminder of “Looking For Blessings”! . . .

it's a beautiful life. (if you like roller coasters!)

The only way I will find a blessing is when I first begin to look for a blessing.  Just like on every Easter morning when my big brother and I looked for the brightly colored Easter eggs.  We did not question that the Easter Bunny hid candy and eggs for us.  We knew in our hearts that we were surrounded by our treats and surprises even though we could not see them.  We were thrilled just to tightly hold our beautiful empty Easter baskets as we faithfully looked for our surprises.  I knew in my heart the colorfully dyed eggs were there, even though my Easter basket was empty.  I remember this feeling of joyful anticipation and faith that was deep inside of my happy heart.  I also knew in my heart, without a doubt, that if I just kept searching my living room and back yard that there would be many surprises and treats waiting just for me to…

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It happened again. My favorite flower, the iris, opened on the first day of spring. My special flower of sobriety can still bring me hope.  It’s personal meaning lifts my spirit. And all I need to do is look, see, and notice what is around me and my vision will capture the importance of such simple beauty.

the bud on the day before spring. . .

the bud on the day before spring. . .

the next day. It's the 1st day of spring! My iris is right on time. . .

the next day. It’s the 1st day of spring! My iris is right on time.

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1) I am grateful for taking 2 naps today.

2) I am grateful for the acupuncture I had today.

3) I am grateful that my definition of a true friend is even more clear in my soul today.

4) I am grateful for the people around me in my community.

5) I am grateful for caring neighbors in my condo complex.

6) I am grateful for every minute in every phone call from my son.

7) I am grateful  that I am learning how to manage living with Fibromyalgia.

8) I am grateful for many years of solid sobriety before I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

9) I am grateful to be the grateful girl once more.

Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

10) Wearing socks that match your cat is fun.

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dk cloud sunrise1) I’m grateful I started my day by taking a picture from my balcony while the sun was rising through dark rain clouds.

2) I’m grateful there were no leaks in my home during the heavy rain this week. (Some neighbors were not so lucky.)

3) I’m grateful for my dear friend when he calls to check in on me.  (and I’m grateful for the Starbucks Card he sent me!)

4) I am incredibly grateful for the phone conversation I had with my father today.

5) I am grateful for my long term sobriety during my journey and deep challenges with Fibromyalgia. (Does that makes me a “Fibromyalkie”?)

I am feeling much more grateful now, than before I started my grateful list.  Try it. It works.  What are you grateful for?  I’d love to know.

julie 🙂

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I wrote this post a year ago.  I love that it reminded me of the power of simplicity.  A good read as we count our blessings and remember once more what we are most thankful for . . .

(Please click on link.)

Looking For Blessings

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