Thursday, November 29, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 28

1. "Friends" in local businesses who I never see outside of the store yet remember me and talk to me when I'm in the store.
2. Slowly getting back to teaching yoga - even if I am teaching while sitting in a chair.
3. Sleep - still not through the night but what sleep I am getting is becoming more restful

Monday, November 26, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 26

Although recovering from knee surgery is way more difficult than I expected, I'm grateful I was in decent enough shape before my injury & surgery that I am progressing faster than the physical therapists normally see (even if it's not fast enough for me).

Month of Gratitude November 25

1. Cooking a real dinner for my family for the first time in months
2. The fun of making ice cream sundaes with the kids
3. Time to catch up with a friend
4. The reminder that it's OK to accept help

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 24

1. Friends who step up and help way beyond what is expected of them
2. My kids who continue to astound me with the way they've stepped up over the past few months
3. My kids smiles and laughter - thank you God that they haven't lost that
4. My smile - still extremely rare but I admit it feels pretty good when it does occasionally pop out

Month of Gratitude November 23

A temporary break from reality.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 22

New Traditions.

For 23 years I cooked green bean casserole for the one person who liked it. He has chosen to no longer be a part of this family.

Last year I jokingly said for now on I'm only cooking pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes because that's all anyone in my house really wants anyway. The turkey and other sides were just put on the table because that's what you are supposed to eat on Thanksgiving.

So, this year, a new version of my family, and therefore a new tradition:

Pizza, Pie & Popcorn

Today me and the kids ordered pizza, ate pumpkin pie and went to the movies. We had a great time. We spent the day together, expressed our thankfulness that we are still together, and reminded each other that we will always be there for each other.

What we ate or didn't eat isn't what made today a holiday. Being together and strengthening our family for years to come is what made today special.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 21

1. My new appreciation/empathy/respect for people who struggle with chronic depression and anxiety.
2. The help that is available for depression and anxiety

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 20

1. Physical therapists who understand I am going to push myself and give me just enough leeway to push without getting hurt
2. I still have health insurance - for now

Monday, November 19, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 19

Some days I am just grateful the day is over.

Month of Gratitude November 18

I was so wore out yesterday I didn't realize until tonight that I missed a post.

Yesterday started out fine. Physically I was feeling on the upswing and mentally I felt, well, stable.

Things started to go downhill when I realized that I had nothing to wear for my divorce court hearing today. My knee was still very bandaged and the only thing I could get over it was sweatpants or yoga pants. I decided I felt well enough to drive into Walmart for a cheap skirt to wear. No big deal, right?

I forgot to factor it was the weekend before Thanksgiving. I forgot to factor how crowded it got with the after church group and how nervous I would be about getting knocked off my crutches.  I forgot to consider how warm I would be in sweatpants and a long sleeve sweatshirt inside the store with the heat on during an unusually warm day.

As I hobbled through the aisles of Walmart there wasn't a skirt in sight. (Note to anyone reading this blog who doesn't live in rural Tennessee -- Walmart is the closest store. Yes I could have driven to Target or the mall but that is about 45 minutes away and let's remember I was two days post surgery and in no condition to be out shopping to begin with). I'm hot. It's crowded. I'm in pain. How can there be no skirts for sale here?

My mental stability is quickly eroding away in the Walmart Ladies section!

Eventually a saleswoman sees me, assesses my teary eyes and red face and offers to help me. As I stand  in one spot crying and shaking, she runs through the aisles trying to find a skirt. Finally she finds a pretty flowing black skirt, but it's from the plus section and entirely too big for me.

That's it. I've officially lost it. I don't want to be on crutches. I don't want to be in pain. I really don't want to be shopping for clothes in Walmart to wear to a hearing for a divorce I never wanted!

The very nice saleslady finds the smallest plus size skirt she can and walks with me over to the fitting room. With some creative pinning we assure us both that the skirt won't fall off me as I walk (hobble) through the court room.

As I grabbed the skirt to get out of the store as quickly as I could, I caught a glimpse of the saleswomans name. I think, I hope, I said thank you to Jeannine. But I'm not sure I did. I needed to escape out of the store and get to my car where I could have a complete meltdown and cry all the way home.

Although I unfortunately was in no shape to express my gratitude to Jeannine at the time, I am very grateful to this stranger who came to my rescue in the Walmart aisles.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 17

1. Airfare sales that bring loved ones closer
2. Food brought by friends
3. Friends who tell you not to worry about gaining weight because you are eating all that food yet practically confined to bed while you recuperate
4. Boys in sports
5. Girls in dance

Friday, November 16, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 16

1. The sun on my face
2. Friends who are nurses
3. Long phone conversations that involve both tears and laughter.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 15

1. Handwritten get well notes with child-like spelling
2. Friends who call you pig headed as they do anyway what you insist you don't need their help with, even though you really do
3. Colorful balloons brightening up my room where I spend most of my time lately
4. Comfort food, the calories don't even matter right now

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 14

Last night was a bad night. A very lonely night.  Alone, scared and no one to comfort me. The kind of night that you feel you might not survive, that you aren't sure you want to continue living. The kind of night I had thought, I had hoped, I had gotten past. There have been way too many of those nights these past few months.

The stress and shock of my 23 year marriage suddenly and unexpectedly ending in divorce, trying to sort out my humiliation and hurt at the way it was ended, combined with anxious nerves about today's knee surgery sent me spiraling right back down into anxiety, panic, depression and hopelessness.

No matter how hard I willed myself I couldn't stop crying. I forced myself to at least attempt pranyama - yoga breathing exercises - to get myself to calm down. It didn't work. Pacing the house like I did a couple months ago isn't as easy since I'm on crutches. So I lay confined in bed, taunted by the demons of the night.

As I was scrolling through my phone trying to decide who I could call and talk to at 3am, I found an old voice mail from a friend and an old text from another friend. The voicemail was sent at the very beginning of my trauma reminding me that no matter how strong someone hits me down, I am stronger. The text reminded me to use the Buddha's lovingkindness meditation to not let my demons rule me.

I knew I needed to get my mind in a better, healthier place before I went under anesthesia today. But instead of letting my mind quiet, I was trying to force it. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, and the mind is no different. The more I tried to force myself to calm down, the more it rebelled and the more upset I got.

As the day dawned and I prepared to leave for the hospital, I knew I was still in a dark place. I considered just not showing up for surgery rather than go through it with such negative energy inside me. The pre-op nurses saw me holding back tears and asked if I was afraid of the surgery. I had to admit no, the surgery doesn't scare me. No, my knee isn't hurting. My heart is broken and I am the only patient here today without a spouse who loves them in the waiting room.

And then the texts started coming in. Well wishes, prayers and good vibes from all the people who have not abandoned me and who do still love me. As I was being prepped for surgery I silently repeated the lovingkindness meditation and thought about all the people thinking and praying for me today.

Tonight I am thankful for all the people who stood in the gap for me today. For those who bathed me in light and love. For those who hugged me, wiped my tears and took care of me. For those who reminded me although I have been left alone, I need not be lonely.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 12

1. Help in the most unexpected of places
2. Warm soup on a cold night
3. Friends who won't take no for an answer

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 11

1. Kid #1 who wanted to celebrate his 18th birthday with me today
2. And he remembered to say thank you during his birthday lunch
3. A quiet night with the sound of rain outside but being warm and comfortable inside

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 10

1. Kids who are old enough to drive
2. Kids who are old enough to help me get around in a grocery store while I'm on crutches
3. Kids who are old enough to help tip over and take apart the recliner chair to find the credit card I lost

Friday, November 9, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 9

I had some work to do in downtown Memphis yesterday so while I was there I stopped by Ebbos, a spiritual supply store. Yes, even down here in the Southern Bible Belt, if you look really, really hard you can find "alternative" healing stores.  After all the heartbreak and trauma of the past few months I need all the help I can get to heal and move forward.

The back room of Ebbos is like a magical room of herbs, spices, roots and other good stuff. I felt like a kid in a candy store as I opened each jar and inhaled the different aromas. I didn't even know what most of the jars were used for - names like dragon root intrigued me and more than a little intimidated me. I kept thinking all the jars lined along the wall must be a wizards dream come true.

But, I was there for one item and one item only - sage. I needed sage. Why sage? My life is in desperate need of a sage smudging ceremony.

The botanical name for sage is Salvia. The Latin root salvare means "to heal". I'm still hurting, but I'm feeling strong enough now to know it is time to bring out the sage. It's time to begin the healing.

Many cultures including Native Americans, Eastern philosophies and good-old-fashioned witch doctors and medicine men have used sage smudging to heal for years. The theory is that before a person can heal, they must first be removed of negative thoughts, negative feelings and negative energies.  And just as a person can hold on to negative energy, a place - such as a house - can also store the negative energy that has gone on there.

So, time to smudge the house of all the negative energy!

Which leads to tonight's gratitude list. Tonight I am thankful for:

1. Funky little out of the way shops that cater to us "out there" people
2. The knowledge and kindness of the people who run these shops
3. My kids who think their mom is cool for having a smudging ceremony
4. A warm enough evening to have all the doors and windows open to allow the negativity to escape the home
5. My kids who go from room to room with me smudging all the corners
6. Working smoke alarms in the house, when the smudging get a little, um, thick
7. The older kids who role their eyes at their crazy mom but at least encourage the craziness
8. Feeling strong enough to do something, anything, to help myself heal

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 8

1. The kind words of a stranger who somehow knew exactly what to say to me, although I hadn't told him a thing about myself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 7

Tonight's gratitude moment is easy: A car full of my kids singing along to Phillip Phillips new song Home.

It made my heart warm to hear the chorus in the car, to all agree it's our new family theme song, and to know that we're not alone we're going to make this place our home.

Hold on, to me as we go 
As we roll down this unfamiliar road 
And although this wave is stringing us along 
Just know you’re not alone 
Cause I’m going to make this place your home 

Settle down, it'll all be clear 
Don't pay no mind to the demons 
They fill you with fear 
The trouble it might drag you down 
If you get lost, you can always be found 

Just know you’re not alone 
Cause I’m going to make this place your home 

Settle down, it'll all be clear 
Don't pay no mind to the demons 
They fill you with fear 
The trouble it might drag you down 
If you get lost, you can always be found 

Just know you’re not alone 
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 6

1. My village who have and continue to help me raise such good kids
2. Big fleece blankets

Monday, November 5, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 5

1. Friends who have my back
2. Moments of clarity, even if those moments are hurtful
3. Kids old enough to drive to help me out

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 4

1. The hope that some days will never be repeated
2. Hugs of forgiveness
3. Never giving up

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Month of Gratitude November 3

1. The wisdom of my children
2. Moments of peace
3. Windows open and a breeze blowing

Friday, November 2, 2012

Month Of Gratitude November 2

Today I am thankful for:

1. Friends who know me well enough to know how to surprise me
2. Friends who are massage therapists
3. My kids sense of humor
4. Days I feel strong
5. Days I have hope

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Month of Gratitude 2012

-- Melody Beattie

Gratitude. Ugh. I'm having a really, really hard time finding gratitude in my life right now. But I know enough to know that it's the first step in helping myself heal from the trauma I've been through recently.

Last year I participated in the Month Of Gratitude Challenge and each day I listed five things I was grateful for. I don't know that I'll be able to find five daily things this year. I'm still too deep in a depression, too deep in shock, too deep in fear to have the clarity to find five. But I do have enough sense left to know that if I look hard enough I can find five.

So here is day one of my Month of Gratitude 2012. Hopefully each day there will be five items listed. But if not, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm doing the best I can do right now.

November 1, 2012

1. Friends who have held me as I cried these past few months.
2. My kids who have rallied together to not only help me but help each other through this difficult time right now.
3. I still get to live in a house I love.
4. Making kid #1 take a Red Cross Safe Babysitting class many years ago. It came in handy today when he very quickly gave another kid at school the Heimlich maneuver who was choking.
5. My mom's voice in my head telling me "this too shall pass".