Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives not looking for flaws, but for potential."

-Ellen Goodman

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I am Because we Are

"When you dehumanize the other, whether you like it or not, inexorably, you are dehumanized. You need the other person to be all they can be in order for you to be all you can be."

-Desmond Tutu

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

One Tool of Many

Al-Anon and AA are one tool of many to treat co-dependency and addiction - but I have come to realize that there are many, many more. One thing I will say from my experience of attending meetings, is they help at first, to normalize what you are feeling. But after a while, you are just in the same swirl, with the same people, doing the same things over and over again. For me, I needed to get out of that and start filling my life with meaningful activities. Otherwise, I think I would still be in that same swirl.

When you fill your life up with good things, there is very little time for the bad. You have to make a choice to stay on course and do what you planned. I know for a long time, I was too consumed with the bad to even consider doing something positive. And if I did have something fun planned, I would often cancel it.

But now, even if I feel bad about something, I try very hard to keep my plans, and I usually end up having a great time.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Open and Affirming

I sat in church the other day and noted the diversity within our community. I am very proud to attend an "Open and Affirming" church, which means it is open to all people, of all races, genders and sexualities.

I got to thinking of all the gifts that are wasted in what I'd call closed churches, where you have to be "just so" in order to participate. So many churches condemn homosexuals, or think if you are a single woman, like I am, that you need a husband in order to be a family, or to be whole as a woman.

It took me a long time to want to attend church "alone" with just me and the kids. Even when I was still married, it was always hard for my ex to get ready on time. I finally just started going, although it often gnawed on me to sit alone after the kids went to Sunday School.

As I sent out my Christmas cards this year, with a picture of just the three of us, I doubted our existence as an actual family. I was pleased to hear back from several people - mostly from within our church - "You are a beautiful family."

Yesterday, I thought of one woman in particular who is a lesbian. She is so full of life and she shares her gifts with the church generously. She read from the Scriptures yesterday with her strong voice, which is something that I do not have. (I hate to speak in front of people.) She also sings in the choir and reads music amazingly well, which is something that I cannot do. She also teaches Sunday School and is amazing with the children. (Which is something I will do, but would rather not Sunday after Sunday!)

She is only one example in our small church, but there are so many. We have a church that is active in so many different outreach programs and ministries - in short, a doing church. We have many people who are different or kids who have ADD, Asbergers or other "disabilities" and yet it is a church so rich with personality and love.

I have always felt like I had to do everything perfectly, or not at all. So this church has shown me that doing is better than not doing - and we truly need all of us to make the world a better place.

And, I have to say, that I am much happier now participating than I was sitting back on the sidelines and fretting about my life with an addict.

Goodnight, my angel

My friend's mother died yesterday and he posted this in her memory. I had not heard it and thought it was a beautiful lullaby.

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me


Goodnight, my angel
Now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on...
They never die
That's how you
And I
Will be

- Billy Joel

Friday, December 24, 2010

Women in Islam

Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that a man came to Allah's Apostle and said,

"O Allah's Apostle, who is most worthy of my best companionship and most honorable treatment?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother." The man asked, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your mother." The man further asked, "Who is next?" The Prophet replied, "Your mother." The man asked for the third time, "Who is next?" The Prophet said, "Your father." [Narrated by Bukhari]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet; tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Only Thing in the World

"Man is a child, afraid of fatherhood; man is a child, and not a father. Man is an artist who needs all the care, all the warmth for himself, as my father did. There is no end to his needs. He needs faith, indulgence, humor; he needs worship, good cooking, mended socks, errands, a hostess, a mistress, a mother, a sister, a secretary, a friend. He needs to be the only thing in the world."

-Anais Nin

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Amy Grant - Breath of Heaven

A woman sang this at church yesteday and it has to be one of the most beautiful Christmas songs.

I have traveled
Many moonless nights
Cold and weary
With a babe inside
And I wonder
What I've done
Holy Father
You have come
Chosen me now
To carry your son

I am waiting
in a silent prayer
I am frightened
by the load I bear
In a world as cold as stone
Must I walk this path alone
Be with me now
Be with me now

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holyness
For your holy Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder
As you watch my face
If a wiser one, should of had my place
But I offer-all I am
For the mercy-of your plan
Help me be strong
Help me be
Help me

Breath of Heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of Heaven

Breath of Heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me, your holyness
For your holy Breath of Heaven

-Amy Grant

Monday, December 20, 2010

"We love best those who are, or act out for us, a self we do not wish to be or act out."

-Anais Nin

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Role of Family in "Recovery"

In Rational Recovery®, the family has an entirely different role than in the traditional disease/treatment way of thinking.

One popular idea is that families should gather together with other troubled families, seeking outside guidance and advice.

One good example of this approach is Al-Anon, which views addiction/alcoholism as a family disease, and views family members as “enablers” and “codependents.”

Along the same lines, you may have heard of “interventions,” in which the family has a little surprise party for their substance abuser, with the aim of shaming him/her into immediate enrollment in an addiction treatment center. That kind of “tough-love”action…

Addiction is insatiable, and will consume all of any family’s emotional and financial resources, and still demand more.

In AVRT-based recovery, families require the addicted member to choose between his addiction and family membership.

Accordingly, we heartily endorse the zero-tolerance ultimatum, backed by Plan B, the exact action the family will take when…

- The Zero-Tolerance Ultimatum for the Addicted Spouse or Significant Other (ASS) in Your Family © 2005, Jack Trimpey

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rational Recovery

• There are no Rational Recovery groups anywhere in the world! Your desire for "support" is nothing more, and nothing less, than a plan to get loaded in the absence of support.
• There is nothing in your past, in your genes, in your brain, or in your personality that compels you to drink or use. Using is voluntary, purposeful behavior.
• The sole cause of your addiction is a voice in your head that tells you to "Do it!" in a thousand different ways. That is your Addictive Voice.
Personal problems don't cause addiction; addiction causes your personal problems.
• Self-improvement does not result in addiction recovery. Recovery leads to self-improvement.
• You drink or use because you love to get high. Admit it!
• The worst possible way to quit something you love is one-day-at-a-time.
• Stay away from recovery groups of all kinds; you can't possibly recover there. They'll never let you go, and you'll be "in recovery" forever.
• Stay away from shrinks; most substance abuse counselors are members of recovery groups, unable to trust themselves without evening supervision. The rest have never been addicted, and can only guess at what addiction is and what to do about it.
• Your physician can't help you with your addiction; he may even be supporting it. Most refer to recovery groups. However, they do have good treatments for withdrawal, if you are in danger of seizures.
• Consider that the real truth about addiction and recovery lies in the exact opposite of most popular beliefs.
Recall your original family values, the ideas about right and wrong you knew by the age of 5 or 6. Those are your foundation for addiction recovery.
• Your beliefs about God are fine, whether you believe or not. Sound, spritual growth may only follow AVRT-based recovery, when your thoughts are not biased by the mandate of addiction.
• AVRT-based recovery is as difficult as you make it, and takes as long as you choose.
• If you won't trust yourself, why should anyone else?

There is enough information at this website for you to totally recover from any addiction, e.g., alcohol, crank, crack, heroin, opiates, sex and porn addiction, overeating, computer addiction, gambling, or other personal behavior that goes against your own better judgment.
• If you're drinking/using today, you won't learn much of anything. Come back in the morning or when you aren't under the influence.
• To quit your addiction you must first stop drinking/using long enough to learn AVRT®.
Addiction recovery is not a group project; it is an individual responsibility. You are ultimately on your own.

Friday, December 17, 2010

"When your body opens your mind opens."


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Blowin' In the Wind

My heart and soul are with the Veterans marching against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan right now in Washington, DC.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man ?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand ?
Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned ?
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea ?
Yes, how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free ?
Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn't see
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky ?
Yes, how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry ?
Yes, how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died
The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

-Bob Dylan

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


"The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say."

— Kahlil Gibran

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Gift of the Blessing

My sister gave me this CD more than a year ago and it has helped me greatly. I must say that I listened to it once a year ago and sort of processed it and put it away. I recently re-listened to it about a month ago and began applying it almost every day. It has really helped me with acceptance and peace.

There are three parts to the Blessing:
1. Bless those who have suffered
2. Those who have inflicted the suffering. This in NO WAY approves or endorses the action, it's only an acknowledgement of the "inflictor's" part in the formula. It releases the hurt and the ways of knowing the pain to help it move through and clear in your body.
3. Most importantly, BLESS YOU, who have witnessed the suffering.

* Sit, relax, take a few deep breaths using stomach muscles to expand the lower 1/3 of your lungs, and then to push out the air from your lungs.
* Image a light from above, coming to the top of your head, flowing all about you. This is your "God-connection"
* Imagine a more global (not personal) difficult, horrific, pain-filled situation, such as the strife in the Middle East, or the horrors of 9-11, or the massacres in Africa, or Hitler's slaughter of the Jews....the news and history books are full of possibilities. Choose one that has strongly affected you or is causing you pain to think of it now.

1. I bless those who have suffered. I bless those who have lost loved ones, who have lost their children, their spouses, their friends. I bless those who have lost their homes and their lands, and their precious possessions. I bless those who are still suffering in their losses, their fears, and their agonies.
2. I bless those who have inflicted the suffering as they experience in the knowing of their part.
3. I bless MYSELF in the witnessing of the suffering. I bless myself in the witnessing of the pain and despair of others. I bless myself for feeling the pain and yet the helplessness in the witnessing. I bless myself in the witnessing of the sadness and losses of other people. I bless my own feelings in the witnessing and the compassion I feel for the suffering of others.

Meditation/blessing exercise can bring peace and release. NOW do the very same process with something in YOUR OWN LIFE. Think specifically of a person who has hurt you. If you can pin down a date, a place, and the memories of the feelings, do that. Or if it is more of a long-time infliction of pain upon you and your spirit, name the person in the scenario. And proceed the same way, ALOUD- when you are alone and feel free to name names. For now, say the names silently in your own mind:

1. I bless myself who has suffered at the hands and words of __________. I bless myself who received the pain, physical and mental and emotional because of what _________ did. I bless my body for holding the pain in this way _______________. I bless myself for all the ways I have come to know myself because of this experience in my life.

2. I bless ____________for being the one who cause me this pain and suffering. I do not say that what they did was right. I simply bless them to free my heart, mind and body from the pain I have carried for so long. I bless_________as they knew not what they had caused. They were operating from their own fears and limitations. I bless ________though what they did was hurtful and wrong.

3. I bless myself as witness to the pain. I bless myself as witness to the loss of trust, the loss of security. I bless myself when I lost a part of myself...of my childhood. I bless myself in the knowing of what I have lost. I bless myself in the burying of the pain in my body. I bless my body for holding the pain. I bless my body in releasing the pain which no longer serves me. I bless myself, I bless myself, I bless myself as the witness to my suffering.

Do this each time you think of a person who has hurt you. Do it for each person, and each traumatic experience of pain and suffering in your life.

Then soon you will find yourself blessing EVERYTHING, feeling thankful for everything, which brings us right back to the LAW OF ATTRACTION.

Doing this exercise once a day can bring great great freedom of spirit, and a feeling that you are contributing something of value to a troubled world. You will see that there are ever so many more wondrous and beautiful things about the world and its people than there are concerns..The more people who become peaceful, the more peaceful becomes the world. So it only makes sense for each one of us to find a way to find peace within our own hearts. The more who do, the faster the positive changes in the world. If you don't make a personal commitment to peace, you will attract more difficult lessons. Here's a way to enhance your path to peace.

-"How to Apply The Gift of the Blessing"By Judy M Johnson, based on
ancient scripture texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Nag Hamadi Library; from The Gospel of Thomas/The Sayings of Jesus, as reported by Gregg Braden in The Gift of the Blessing.

Verbal Abuse

"A child's name calling ("You poo poo!") and an adult's name calling ("You bitch!") both originate witin the same level of emotional development. The child hasn't had time to mature, so we are not disturbed by his name calling. The adult who is still name calling not only is disturbing but also be dangerous." (137)

"Now, let us look at the origins of the abuser's behavior. The typical abuser also grew up in Reality 1, where Power Over and dominance prevailed, and hence so did verbal abuse. Also, as with the case of the partner, many of his feelings were neither validated nor accepted. However, unlike the partner, he had no compassionate witness to his experience. Without a compassionate witness, he could conclude only that nothing was wrong. If nothing was wrong at all, then all his painful feelings must not exist. Automatically he stopped feeling his painful feelings. He closed them off from awareness as one would close a door. And he did not know what he suffered. In this way he closed the door on a part of himself." (171)

"Without the knowledge of his feelings - of what he had suffered - he could not experience empathy and compassion and so could not cross the threshold into Reality II. This Reality was now behind closed doors.

Since the abuser feels justified in his behavior and seems to have no comprehension of its effects, we can only assume that he is acting out his repressed feelings and is, therefore, acting compulsively. Abusers seek Power Over because they feel helpless. The helpless, painful feelings of childhood that "must not exist" and "must not be felt" do exist and, if not felt, are acted out.

A long time ago in the abuser's childhood, he closed the door on these feelings. To survive in childhood he could do no less. His feeling self, nonetheless, lived on behind closed doors.

The longer the child within is unrecognized, the more enraged it becomes, and consequently, the more rage the abuser acts out. Alice Miller tells us

'As long as this child within us is not allowed to become aware of what happened to him or her, part of his or her emotional life will remain frozen, and sensitivity to the humiliations of childhood will therefore be dulled. All appeals to love, solidarity, and compassion will be useless if this crucial prerequisite of sympathy and understanding is missing.' (Alice Miller, For your Own Good, 1983, p xv.)

Appeals to the abuser's compassion are fruitless, because the abuser is not empathetic." (172)

"The confirmed abuser can define himself and the interpersonal reality so convincingly that the partner may accept his definitions. Such acceptance and trust increase her most people, he's Mr. Nice Guy."...The abuser's loss of his feeling self and consequent feelings of powerlessness usually compel him to increasing self-aggrandizement and correspondingly greater disparagement of his partner. However, he cannot, by abuse, bring his stifled feeling self to life. Since he mistakes excitement for aliveness and triumph for strength, he remains in constant need of bolstering his ideal image. Usually, verbal abusers who become physically abusive do not see themselves as abusive, even when they are arrested. The abuser's denial arises out of the conflict between who he thinks he is and his compulsion to act abusively. The denial is a defense against the shattering of his ideal image and an impending identity crisis. His very identity would be at stake if he were to admit to what he was doing. This is why verbal abusers do not sincerely apologize." (174)

"As time passes, the typical abuser is more and more unwilling to face himself and the pain of his feelings. When they do surface, their source, to him, is his partner. This is projection. Through this projection, he will accuse his partner of all that he does, and blame her for all the abuse that she suffers. She then becomes as he once was, wounded and without a witness to her wounding." (175)

- Patricia Evans, The Verbally Abusive Relationship

Sunday, December 12, 2010


"Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth."

-John F. Kennedy

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"No one has ever loved an adventurous woman as they have loved adventurous men."

-Anais Nin

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"I just can't find a good excuse for not being happy."

- Jerry Garcia

Monday, December 6, 2010

Apparently I am a Kidnapper Now

So much has happened recently that I don't even know where to begin really.

I was served court papers on Saturday afternoon from my ex-husband's attorney. They stated that he had been sober for 3 years and that I intended to obtain an immediate passport and take the kids to Lebanon, among other things.

It was a sworn and notorized affidafit.

I immediately noticed that my ex has not been sober for 3 years. Apart from the obvious time 2 weeks ago when I saw him noticably NOT sober, he attended Betty Ford for 90 days 2 years ago. I don't believe Betty Ford takes on sober patients for 90 days.

He now says that was a typo.

I don't know many sober alcoholics who are not absolutely certain of EXACTLY how many days they have been sober. Staying sober takes discipline. It is something someone in AA is very proud of and has to continually repeat whenever they introduce themselves at a meeting - when they attend meetings.

As for the claim that I plan to take the kids to Lebanon, well, that just makes me laugh. He even laughed about it.

He now says he intends to change our agreement so that I can NEVER take the kids out of the country. This seems rediculous to me, and completely unfair the kids. One of my hopes for them - and for all of us - is that we will begin to travel again. I think traveling gives so much perspective on life. I know that going to Lebanon when I was 20 completely changed me. I am very grateful for that trip.

I made some wontons after church yesterday and offered him some when he came to pick up the kids. I know he likes them. I debated it, but in the end I decided there was no need not to be nice. I had them afterall. He asked me if there was arsenic in them, and then ate them.

I have decided the best way to deal with my ex without losing my mind is just to always approach him as if he were ill. I must detach. If I am able to do something nice that doesn't hurt me, I will do it. But I won't be bullied by him anymore and I won't engage.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"There isn't a right or wrong way to have a relationship just harmless and harmful ones."

-Bill Jeffries

Saturday, December 4, 2010

‎"Telling the truth faster enables us to live more freely, lightly, and powerfully ourselves."


Friday, December 3, 2010

"A man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life."

- Mohammed Ali

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Looking at my life
I see that only Love
Has been my soul's companion
From deep inside
My soul cries out
Do not wait, surrender
For the sake of Love

- Rumi

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Education Lies in Your Hands


What is the place of discipline in education?


I should say, none.

Just a minute, I will explain it further. What is the purpose of discipline? What do you mean by discipline? You, being the teacher, when you discipline, what happens? You are forcing, compelling; there is compulsion, however nice, however kind, which means conformity, imitation, fear.

But you will say, `How can a large school be run without discipline?'. It cannot. Therefore, large schools cease to be educational institutions. They are profitable institutions, for the boss or for the government, for the headmaster or the owner.

Sir, if you love your child, do you discipline him? Do you compel him? Do you force him into a pattern of thought? You watch him, don't you? You try to understand him, you try to discover what are the motives, the urges, the drives, that are behind what he does; and by understanding him, you bring about the right environment, the right amount of sleep, the right food, the right amount of play.

All that is implied, when you love a child; but we don't love children, because we have no love in our own hearts. We just breed children.

And naturally, when you have many, you must discipline them, and discipline becomes an easy way out of the difficulty. After all, discipline means resistance. You create resistance against that which you are disciplining.

Do you think resistance will bring about understanding, thought, affection?

Discipline can only build walls about you. Discipline is always exclusive, whereas understanding is inclusive.

Understanding comes when you investigate, when you enquire, when you search out, which requires care, consideration, thought, affection.

In a large school, such things are not possible, but only in a small school. But small schools are not profitable to the private owner or to the government; and since you, who are responsible for the government, are not really interested in your children, what does it matter?

If you loved your children, not just as toys, as playthings to amuse you for a little while and a nuisance afterwards, if you really loved them, would you allow all these things to go on? Wouldn't you want to know what they eat, where they sleep, what they do all day long; whether they are beaten, whether they are crushed, whether they are destroyed?

But this would mean an enquiry, consideration for others, whether for your own child or your neighbour's; and you have no consideration, either for your children, or for your wife or husband. So, the matter lies in your hands, Sirs, not in the hands of any government or system.

- jk, The Collected Works, Vol IV Bombay 9th Public Talk 13th March, 1948