February 3, 2016

Want to Share Pomegranates?


Dear Mom, 

I bought two copies of the enclosed book, Traveling With Pomegranates, so that we can read it together, when we are ready. Would it appeal to you to talk about it as we read?

A dear friend of mine who's  20 years older than me, said this was one of her favorite books by Sue Monk Kidd, and that she had really enjoyed it for its focus on mom-daughter relationships. When I first heard the title – I  thought of how Christmas is often a time I buy pomegranates  for my family to enjoy. Plus I always liked the Greek myth.   Remember Persephone?

When I bought our book, and peeked inside, I most liked the map to the beginning. You know, between the two of us, we have a few global maps ourselves! You've been to  South Carolina and I'm not been to France but maybe we can put our own stories together sometimes we can see how the puzzle pieces fit. Anyways it seemed to me that you may have wished we could've done a trip when we first moved out east to 20 years ago. No,  we can't turn back the clock, but I think we may need to put our heads together so that we do bridge the geographic miles between us in 2016.

Mom I love you!

~Smitty

January 28, 2016

Experienced at Magnolia Grove, Autumn 2013

In gratitude, I will water seeds of compassion...  And when you suffer some... Please call me, I will come.

A wave does not search for water.  

As we learn to forgive ourselves, we can forgive others.

If we want to experience Jesus Christ, it is in the here and now that you can be with Him.   Pain and our joy are in the present moment. The bell brings us home.  

Our ancestors' joy and suffering are in every cell of our being.

The  3rd Mantra is darling I know you suffer and that is why I am here.

4th Mantra is when you suffer, you lock your room and cry, but say, "leave me alone!"  That is said so as to punish the person you love.  

Instead, say "darling I love you, why do you want to keep your suffering to yourself?"  Indeed, your suffering is my suffering.  When the pain comes up, now I know how to breathe and how to look deeply within and share this suffering with my beloved.  

January 26, 2016

The Power of Gratitude

For sunset that was so beautiful complete with grey mauve clouds.
Gratitude for a psychiatrist that trusts me, and likes working with me.
Grateful we can disagree, and have mutual respect (he and I).
Grateful for 12-steps plus, when stability requires intervention.
Grateful for Teufelein the cat; she is a devil.

Grateful for all of my kid's childhood, even turning 17.

January 24, 2016

Admitting, the Power of Talking


-->Step One is the best place to commit to a steady recovery:  "Admitted we were powerless over our emotions-that our lives had become unmanageable."

What do those words say, exactly?  Admitted.  This is put in the past tense and in "we" language.  Admitting happens first of all inside of me, and I alone can do it.  Then it comes into my speech.  


I don't just admit powerlessness through rote words.  No,  I begin to describe the details that show unmanageability.  Admitting that my old ways did not work, too.   Is it harder to admit,  when I have been in program a long while?   Yes,  I know I thought I was doing program before I slipped, so maybe there is no hope for ME in program?  

Not so fast to give up on myself because my program was not "good enough" to keep me from being a paragon, showing years and years of unwrinkled recovery.

Some of us here have years of recovery (and potential wisdom) to share, some of us think we have no recovery to share.  Of course, none of us, especially long-timers,  wants to be the first person to admit they have had a relapse.  Some of us do wish to be the last, receiving accolades forever for our good work.  But we need others to help, so that we keep the ball rolling. 

 My unmanageability is what brought me to the rooms,  admitting I am powerless makes me one, with each of you.

"Talking about it, just saying a few words, is often enough to help."  Introduce yourself on your blog and send me a link so we can witness your progress.


Talking about it, helps me to be just another person seeking healing in the context of the Group, where each person shares a bit of hope, by whatever they chose to share here.  Even if I have had a major relapse, complete with hospital stay, I belong in the place of hope.  The person who has relapsed most recently is the most important person here.

The power and the mystery of sharing this, will hopefully  keep even me, and you too, (if you feel I am telling your story) coming back.

January 22, 2016

P.A.U.S.E. as a Program Tool when Emotions Take Over


The emotion I am studying today is boredom.  Of course it is not by choice but by necessity. I ran from the depressing finale of Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, into the arms of boredom.

Instead of wrestling with myself because I don't like my feeling of boredom,  I lean into it, Attend to the emotion, with love and Allow Understanding and Sense it in my Body,  I experience Empathy (which is healing).  When I can describe the feeling in my body, truly experience it, then I find self-empathy.

I did this largely because my teacher, Suzanne Noel, has stressed the use of PAUSE in our Focusing  (ALA Eugene Gendlin), which she is adapting for 12-step groups.   Noel uses the acronym to make Focusing techniques accessible to 12-steppers of all stripes.  Her  acronym for PAUSE invites us to first,  Pause, then Attend Unconditionally and Symbolize our Experience, to find self-Empathy.

I put it more simply for those of us who are emotionally bound. Instead of indulging or fighting a problem emotion, I look within.  I lean into it. I Attend to it, with love and Allow Understanding and Serenity to Emerge.  When I can describe the feeling, or experience it, then I find self-empathy.

By saying, "Hello Boredom, what are you hear to teach me?" I paradoxically find enthusiasm and peace!

In my personal practice today with boredom, is that showing up to write was the trick to pull me out of a nosedive.   Thanks Suzanne.  Your invitation to  experience PAUSE  may be the beginning of new self-empathy and healing.You have allowed me the long-denied luxury of writing, about program!



January 20, 2016

Begin the Began

When I lose my way
I return again to the 
Polished stepping stones.


The way back to myself 
Begins with that first pebble 
I found in my pocket. 

~Powerless over my emotions and my automatic thoughts. 

January 18, 2016

Step One leads to Step Two

Admitting powerlessness has, for many, been a tough call. It was for me as well, especially as I got to feeling better.  But, I can also admit powerlessness now, even when I am on the road to healing. Especially there.  Because by letting go of the need to control, I find peace of mind in working with my Higher Power.  The power of H.O.W. is not by my will alone--rather it is harnessed by my willingness to let go of the reins and let God be in charge.  That is the force of sanity in my life...