Mondays with Michael – Happy, Joyous and Free

MWM

I never knew life could be so great, never again did I think I’d have a smile on my face.
I give credit to God and the Angels, what a beautiful day.
They brought me from the dark to the light, through the Angels and God, I love the new Mike.
When I pray I always cry, tears of gratitude, I know longer want to die.
They taught me how to live, no longer selfish, I have so much to give.
I’m here to help others through the disease, you can recover, you just have to believe.
The obsession is gone, it’s a miracle.
I’m happy, Joyous, and Free…
Never Give Up…
Live 2 Love…

Taking the Higher Road

Road

The other day, my 23-year-old daughter was showing me an electronic interaction between herself and someone she loves. This said loved one went on to verbally abuse my daughter and bash her character to the extreme. My daughter’s reply was one of concern for the other person’s well-being expressed in love and offering up her support if ever needed. That being said, my daughter also expressed that she would no longer be in contact with this person until she could engage in a respectful manner. She closed the conversation in love and well wishes.

I was pleased with how she handled the circumstances and told her that she had taken the higher road. I immediately found myself explaining what I mean when I refer to “the higher road”.

Many people think that taking the higher road is a form of placing yourself above the other individual involved in the conflict. Not I. When I choose to take the higher road, I am taking a road that is higher than one of which I have taken before. In my daughter’s case, she is behaving as an adult would behave. No longer a child. So she has risen above childish ways. We have all acted out as children while we were young…and sometimes while we were adults (I am the first to raise my hand here!)

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11

Not a coincidence that this passage is taken from “The Love Chapter”.  This is a reading in its fullest, I will never grow tired of. See there is no fear in perfect love. This means there is no ego involved either. I know that when it is painful to take the higher road, my ego is usually involved. Where there is ego, fear is usually keeping company alongside and this is what causes pain. So when we drop our ego and our fear, we allow that perfect love to flow.

Love is-PA-EVALDIVIA8


(The Road is Long) He Ain’t Heavy

My daughter’s reply with an offering of support reminded me of this lovely ballad.  I have seven uncles, three of which served in Vietnam. The words are very much their love song to each other.

“The road is long , with many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where. Who knows where?

But I’m strong; Strong enough to carry him

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

So on we go; His welfare is of my concern

No burden is he to bear; We’ll get there

For I know He would not encumber me

If I’m laden at all; I’m laden with sadness

That everyone’s heart; Isn’t filled with the gladness

Of love for one another”


There is quite the parable behind the origins of the phrase “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother” :

“Do you know that incident in connection with the little Scottish girl? She was trudging along, carrying as best she could a boy younger, but it seemed almost as big as she herself, when one remarked to her how heavy he must be for her to carry, when instantly came the reply: “He’s na heavy. He’s mi brother.”

Simple is the incident; but there is in it a truth so fundamental that pondering upon it, it is enough to make many a man, to whom dogma or creed make no appeal, a Christian and a mighty engine for good in the world. And more there is in it a truth so fundamental and so fraught with potency and with power, that its wider recognition and projection into all human relations would reconstruct a world” [1]

The parable was referenced in a 1918 writing but the story is believed to be much older. You see, when my daughter offered up her compassion and support, she was stating that she was strong enough to bear the weight of her brother/sister’s burden – with set boundaries of course. We can love each other, we can bear each other’s weight. Just keep in mind that this is only when others want our support. For it is impossible to help someone who does not desire help. In that case, it is best to send them off with a blessing as my daughter did.

With all this said, yeah I might be bragging a bit about my daughter. Wouldn’t you? More so, I have learned a good lesson from her. A lesson I wish to share with you all. I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

  1. Trine, Ralph Waldo (1918). The Higher Powers of Mind and Spirit. Project Gutenberg.

If you liked this,  check out: Let Go, Keep Going, or Start Over

Sunday Shot of Bliss X. Spiritual Beauty

Beautiful

The thing about beauty to me is that I will never attain MY concept of beauty. I am far too imperfect. My features are too big, my body too jiggly – I could go on. Ironically, I see beauty in everything and everyone around me, but myself.

So what is beauty?

Beauty – noun, plural beauties. 1. The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

I grew up in a family that has vanity issues. We all have it. My older sister was/is very beautiful. She also suffers from bi-polar disease and borderline personality disorder. Throughout our developing years she often told me how ugly I was, pointing out my nappy hair; big nose; big lips; oh and my arms were too long for the rest of my body. I bought into it and in doing so, continued to feed my vanity.

How many years have I spent dieting, buying special makeup and hair products that guaranteed to make me look like the supermodel in the ad? Hello! I am not a supermodel!  My daughter once asked me why I don’t have any pictures of myself in my 20’s and I honestly told her that up until a few years ago, I hated taking pictures. There was one picture of me that I did like and it was a picture of my arm. My favorite picture of myself was a picture of my arm…

I have often rebelled against such vanity in an Ecclesiastical sort of way, only to be drawn back in by the latest beauty fads on the market. It is apparent in just about every form of media that I am not the only one.

“I am very dark, but lovely,  O daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar,   like the curtains of Solomon.” – Song of Solomon 1:5

I feel that as a society, we are finally getting the true concept of beauty. It is not always blonde and blue-eyed. Sometimes it is short, red-haired with freckles. Sometimes it is 170 lbs. worth of beauty. But it is always love when it is looked upon with love.


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So what is spiritual beauty?

I guess spiritual beauty, just as in physical beauty is seen in the eye of the beholder. Only, let that beholder be yourself today. What are your spiritual beauty ideals?  Here are a few of mine:

  • Grace and Courage under fire.
  • Kindness
  • Joyfulness
  • Gratitude
  • A person who takes care of her spiritual, mental and physical health.
  • Women who empower each other and lift each other up.
  • Love and respect for ALL of God’s creation.
  • Passion for a cause.
  • Love of family and of God.

Beauty in the Moment

It is often recommended that we focus on the moment. So while we are doing something as basic as rinsing those vegetables in the colander while preparing our meals, let us pay attention to all the senses surrounding this activity. Let us take a moment to acknowledge the love we are putting into this meal. In this love and nurturing of ourselves and others, we will know our true spiritual beauty. Because beauty is simple as it is stunning…it all depends on the moment.


Walking in Beauty: Closing Prayer from the Navajo Way Blessing Ceremony

In beauty I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty around me I walk

It has become beauty again

Hózhóogo naasháa dooShitsijí’ hózhóogo naasháa dooShikéédéé hózhóogo naasháa dooShideigi hózhóogo naasháa dooT’áá altso shinaagóó hózhóogo naasháa dooHózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’Hózhó náhásdlíí’

Today I will walk out, today everything negative will leave me

I will be as I was before, I will have a cool breeze over my body.

I will have a light body, I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.

I walk with beauty before me. I walk with beauty behind me.

I walk with beauty below me. I walk with beauty above me.

I walk with beauty around me. My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me may I walk.

With beauty behind me may I walk.

With beauty below me may I walk.

With beauty above me may I walk.

With beauty all around me may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.

My words will be beautiful…

Stay Blissful My Friends! – E

If you liked this,  check out: https://livingelysian.com/2016/11/06/let-go-keep-going-or-start-over/

Does Music Soothe A Savage Beast?

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Curious to this often misquoted text, which actually is written as follows “Musick has Charms to sooth a savage BREAST” I wonder if William Congreve mis-spelled the words. Because, I do believe that music does indeed tame or soothe the savage BEAST.


And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took a harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. – 1Samuel 16:23

With this thought, I am reminded of one of my not so better moments in life. A bus ride to Sybil Brand Institute for Women back in 1990.  Having not paid a fine, I was sentenced to 10 days at this facility. Oh joy. How I have managed to chose the hard lessons in life.

This was to be quite a long day, being booked in the Van Nuys, CA courthouse then off to holding for several hours with a diverse group of women who had a lot to talk about, shout about and fight about. Now I am known to have a mouth of a sailor but even I could not compete with the vicious expletives being tossed around. Everyone was smoking, cursing, yelling, spitting and just being genuinely obnoxious.

We all had our own histories of traumas, drug use and such. I don’t believe I was better or worse than any other woman there. I was just…well a little bit quieter. That says a lot about where I was at the time. Because quiet is not a word often used to describe Elysia. But on this day, I was observing.


The young girl, who could not have been much older than 18 told us about how she was ready to give up her child to the system for good, though she was pretty sure that  she was done with drugs for good this time. When we got to SIW, she would find out they were kicking her loose and made sure to let us all know she would be thinking of us while she “sparked up that first rock”.

There was the woman who was arrested for child endangerment because of the amount of guns her husband had in the home. She was informed by another woman of the inevitability of getting jumped and then put into protective custody.

Oh and this one homeless girl who had been busted for using and was wearing an upside-down sweatshirt for pants. She was a bit off in her humor I might add, using her attire as part of her jokes…

The girl I was to be handcuffed to on the bus was a heroin addict and in the beginning stages of “kicking”. She would soon be sick and get an uncontrollable bloody nose. The girl sitting behind us would soon get a bloody nose as well, but not from that kind of kicking. She would be getting her ass kicked by a couple of guards due to her belligerent manner.

Even during all this, I held no judgment for any of these women. I understood the reality of their lives – our lives. If only they could be, well a little bit quieter…


Finally the moment arrived for us to get on the bus. I thought it was nice that the driver had KOST 103.5 playing on the radio. Though it was difficult to hear the music behind all the loud voices of my co-passengers. “Biiiitch! I been looking for you!” and “That’s the hoe that has my old man’s kid”!

Then it happened. Daryl Hall and John Oat’s “One on One” began to play. A collective sigh moved amongst us. And everyone knew the lyrics! A beautifully soft chorus sang out. It was truly sweet indeed!

I’m tired of playing on the team
Ooh-It seems I don’t get time out anymore – Whoa-oh-oh (yes they sang that part too)
What a change if we set the pace face to face
No one even trying to score – Whoa-oh-oh (yes they sang that part too)
Oh oh I can feel the magic of your touch
And when you move in close a little bit means so much
Ooh yeah, you’ve got to understand baby
Time out is what I’m here for 

One on one I wanna play that game tonight
One on one I know I wanna play that
One on one I wanna play that game tonight
One on one so slow”

I laughed a little, definitely smiled…as I sang alongside these savage beasts who were women just like me. We were making poor choices with our lives. Some choices because we didn’t know any better and some because well, we didn’t care enough about ourselves to do otherwise.

My life is much different these days. I am happy to say that was the last bus ride to jail I have ever taken. Though, I will always smile when that song is played on the radio. Reflecting on a moment that was instantly changed from humiliating to soothing. Music indeed had tamed our savageness, for at least a few minutes.

Enjoy the music and stay blissful my friends! – E

We Can Do Whatever We Want

The question is, should we do whatever we want?  No, stop looking at that person you like to judge, and stop lowering your head to the one who judges you. See everything is permissible as 1 Corinthians 10:23 says. But there is more! Keep reading…

Everything is permissible, but not everything is-PA-EVALDIVIA8

Being an alcoholic and an addict, I can certainly relate. There are so many people I know who can drink in a manner we refer to as “moderation”. As for me, there is no moderation – though I tried to convince myself otherwise several times. So it is not beneficial for me to drink alcohol. The same thing applies to sugar. My husband buys cookies and can eat a total of three. I’m already on my sixth before he has finished.  Sugar is now un-beneficial to my physical health.

On the other hand, my husband can only eat small portions of meat while I can eat quite a bit. Funny thing is, as I am on this Paleo type of diet the hubby tries to convince me that I shouldn’t eat as much beef. So as long as I chose to do me and he chooses to do him, we have total peace in the home. See some things are beneficial for one person yet not beneficial for the next.

There are countless fad diets out there and some that actually work. What we have to be conscious of is what works for ourselves as individuals. There are countless recovery programs out there for addicts and alcoholics. Again, we must choose what works for our very own personal needs.


dharma wheel

“Monks, these two extremes ought not to be practiced by one who has gone forth from the household life. (What are the two?) There is addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures, which is low, coarse, the way of ordinary people, unworthy, and unprofitable; and there is addiction to self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, and unprofitable.

“Avoiding both these extremes, the Tathagata (The Perfect One) [1] has realized the Middle Path; it gives vision, gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment and to Nibbana. And what is that Middle Path realized by the Tathagata…? It is the Noble Eightfold path, and nothing else, namely: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. This is the Middle Path realized by the Tathagata which gives vision, which gives knowledge, and leads to calm, to insight, to enlightenment, and to Nibbana.” – SN 56.11 PTS: S v 420 CDB ii 1843 Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta: Setting the Wheel of Dhamma in Motion

The Middle Path is an appealing option. How many of us have tried starvation diets, only to find ourselves sick from binge eating? I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to quit drinking and using followed by a much worse relapse. Some of these relapses lead me straight the hospital. So I avoid these types of extremes and abstain just one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.

So while all things are permissible – ask yourself if there is something that is no longer beneficial to your mind, heart, spirit or health.  Whether it is food, drink, lifestyle, and even relationships. Then search out a way that works for you to move on.  Once you set your plan in motion; remember you can do this one day at a time, one hour at a time, one moment at a time, one breath at a time.

Now Go – And Stay Blissful My Friends – E

How to Balance

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Where did this day go?  A typically busy Monday doing reports, scheduling and welcoming my boss back from his vacation. Throw in a small family emergency and it is now 9:25 PM…And I am barely writing this blog. I still have to study for an upcoming full day of testing for the CAP-OM certification next month.

This has been my life for the past several weeks and I know I will look back on this fondly. I also know I will appreciate the additional 6 hours a week I will get back when it is all over.

Now

Time is on my side – The Rolling Stones

I wish time were on my side right now. The hours seem to be passing at such a rapid speed. I want it all to slow down. Right. Now. I so wish I were a bit more focused when I study.

still

Being in the Moment

I have practiced this for years and right now I am struggling with my daily practice. When I am sitting in meditation, I find it taking more effort to still my mind. Oh and did I mention the hot flashes? Ha! For many years I struggled physically and was able to be still spiritually.  Today it is the exact opposite.

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Balance

It has been a while since I have visited this notion.  The below items have been a wonderful reminder of how to attain said balance:

  • Mind Sweep is a concept taught by the people at Getting Things Done. It entails setting a timer for 5 minutes and in that five minutes, we write down everything that is taking up space in our minds. No need to prioritize during this time. Just get it all down on paper
  • Examine each item and sort them by what you can get done in 5 minutes or less, what will need to be set up as a project, what you need outside resources to complete, and items that can’t be done right away (we call this one someday/maybe.)
  • Set your Goals and Tasks accordingly
  • Reflect on past successes when you were last challenged with balancing life. Are any of those solutions a good reference point for some of your current challenges? Experience is golden – Use it!
  • Meet your negative self-talk head on. Don’t act like it doesn’t exist. When procrastination tells you tomorrow is another day, simply reply “Thank you for your suggestion, but I think I will get it done today”. And let it go with love and peace.
  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing the best you can.
  • IMG_0009Seek help from another person you trust to bounce off your concerns and frustrations. A good support system is needed by all.
  • Planning is great. Just remember to pray. Sometimes we forget to add God to our flow-charts and then we wonder where we went wrong.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. Easy Does it. Have some fun and enjoy the process!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

WTF? Again? Why?

Tying a cloth in memory of C...and in prayer for the still suffering addict. — at Devils Tower National Monument.
Tying a cloth in memory of C…and in prayer for the still suffering addict. — at Devils Tower National Monument.

These are all questions that run through my mind as I am informed of another tragic loss due to a drug overdose.

Sometimes the disease of addiction is too damn heartbreaking. So, so very sad. A young man, a father. To say he will be missed much is an understatement. He was the kind of person that though it might have been a while since you had last seen him, you knew an encounter at the gas station was due any day. He would walk up to you and give you the biggest hug, expressing an enthusiastic “I’ve missed you!” But now, we know this will not be happening. Ever again. He is gone. Taken at too young of an age.

This guy had not a mean bone in his body. I don’t think one loss due to addiction is worse than any other. When we had assumed a person was doing well in their life, it is far more difficult to understand. After all, he was a good man, a good father.  Drug addiction is no respecter of man and has no discrimination. For it is an equal opportunity offender in its truest form.

Regardless of one’s past- when you make positive changes, everyone thinks that it is all over, all good.  We can all carry on now like nothing ever happened.  This is not how recovery works.


How can we in recovery avoid death by overdose?

Source: http://www.quotationof.com/
Source: http://www.quotationof.com/

Vigilance:  Watchfulness; Alertness. 

To continue to have freedom from addiction, vigilance must be practiced daily. This condition is one of which will rear its ugly head if we cease to remain alert.

Daily Contact with our Higher Power

A good spiritual connection is one of the strongest tools a person in recovery can rely upon in their toolbox.  They say seven days without prayer makes one weak. The disease of addiction is mental, physical and spiritual. Therefore, each aspect will need exercise to stay strong. Prayer is a wonderful strengthening practice. If you have not tried to do this daily, you might want to start soon.

Source: http://thinksmart.typepad.com/
Source: http://thinksmart.typepad.com/

Fellowship/Service

Helping others by suiting up and showing up. There are many people in the rooms who need to hear what you have to say. Or maybe they might need to see your smile. Either way, your presence is requested in the rooms of recovery. Be there.

Never Forget

It is good to keep the memory of your bottom in the back of your mind at all times. By remembering how lousy we felt when we first got clean, we have invested in an additional life insurance policy. None of us want to return to the extensive state of emotional turmoil in which we were living. It is when we forget that feeling that we are in danger of relapse and the (realistic) possibility of overdose.

This is but a small list of things we can do. There are several more ways to avoid the tragedy of overdose. But it’s a good start!

I know I am tired of losing good friends to the disease of addiction. Moreover, I must follow all of the above and then some so as not to break my loved ones’ hearts. We can all do this together, one day at a time. And what’s even greater, we can live this new life – filled with bliss!

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

If you liked this,  check out: https://livingelysian.com/2016/11/06/let-go-keep-going-or-start-over/

Why I Stopped Being So Damn Independent

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Would you believe this all happened while playing on the monkey bars?  I made this observation at six-years old: I already know more than my mom and my teachers so they had nothing to offer me. Therefore, I would figure this life thing out for myself.

I had no idea how I would go about this and not surprisingly made many errors along the way.  Well into my adulthood I might add…


“Sometimes I wonder where I’ve been Who I am, do I fit in * I may not win but I can’t be thrown * Out here on my own, out here on my own” – GORE, LESLEY / GORE, MICHAEL

This song was one of many theme songs I claimed for my life. Never feeling like the sharpest knife in the drawer, I counted on my survival instincts. Growing up in a home where we all were just trying to survive another day, my siblings and I were always at each other’s throats. Yet we were there for each other when shit came down. A typical dysfunctional family. I am so grateful for all my siblings today.


So what happens when you become too independent?

  • You get good at running away. I have hurt many people by doing just this. No excuses or rationalizations can ever change that. It’s painful to know the pain I have caused others. What I can do today is make my amends and stop behaving in this manner.
  • You avoid fully engaging in commitment. No vulnerability. Sounds nice, yeah? No. You miss out on the full experience of life. Good and bad.
  • You remain alone and on your own. This was a great desire for me. The problem? I have family. I have friends. They love me. They want me to be present in their lives. Today, I want the same thing.

Being so damn independent kept me strong insomuch as it kept others from hurting me. Being self-reliant meant I did not depend on anyone for anything. This is not a realistic way to live.  In my earlier writing “Independent yet Interdependent” I  remarked on our Universal connection. We are all in need of each other, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.


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What happens when you become interdependent?

  • You will experience freedom! When I learned  to ask for help, I was relieved of all the pain I kept inside. No longer did I have to hide my truest self.
  • You are actually being of service by letting someone else be of service to you. Another paradox, I know. What can I say? The Universe is full of them.
  • You can make someone’s day!  When you pick up the phone to talk to someone, you are essentially asking for their help in listening to your words.
    • I remember the first time I called my mom for advice. I was in my late thirties. She exclaimed “Oh mija, I am so happy you are asking for my help”. I realized she always wanted to be there for me. I just wouldn’t let her. Since then, my mother has helped me with countless issues. I am thankful for every one of them.

If you haven’t asked for someone’s help lately, I highly encourage you to do so ASAP!


It feels good to know that I don’t know it all. That I can reach out to others and ask them to share their knowledge with me.

“For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” – Galatians 5:13

Let’s interdependence together! Stay Blissful My Friends – E