My heart and my mind are ruled by disappointment. I did not know this until a few day ago, but now that I do I feel a spiritual resurrection inside my body.
I must begin when I was the age 30 years old. I had a dream where I entered a halfway house and the whole room was wall to wall orange. All the furniture was a glowing 70’s orange and I heard on the radio a chorus of 1000’s of angels. Then I woke up.
In reality, the halfway house was called The House of Hope and I was actually trying to be accepted there due to my heavy alcoholism and the fact that I had lost everything. In such places that offer treatment and a place to live, a person must call daily to prove that they are committed to the program. And I called everyday. But there were no beds.
After a few days, I decided to walk in and personally meet the staff. Before I left, I turned to my friend and said I just want to see if it is orange. When I walked up to the gate, much to my surprise, two orange chairs were placed on the sidewalk outside the gate to give to the poor. For some people this may mean nothing, but it was the first bit of hope I had felt in many years.
Of course, the years passed and I always wondered if the color orange meant God or was it just a coincidence. I could not shake this question and the question continued to be unanswered. However, the other day I came across a post about chakras and I googled which chakra represented the color orange. It was the Sacral Chakra and this information delighted me while it never really gave me any answers.
The next night, my son could not sleep and I laid awake for most of the night: thinking and thinking as all good insomniacs do.
I began thinking about my mom and I realized I am not angry with her. I accept her for who she is. But I was extremely disappointed. I was disappointed that she left me at a young age. I was disappointed at the cruel actions she had taken against me over the years. And especially, I was disappointed that when I needed her most, she failed me and never apologized.
But it went further than that. I was disappointed that most of my family was deceased due to their own choices. I was disappointed at friends who hurt me. I was disappointed at the way the country is in a civil war over politics. I could go on and on.
However, what was important was the question of how I dealt with being disappointed. The answer was that I did not deal with it. I shut down. I would never let it show I was hurt. There was my wall! I had always wondered what my wall was exactly. I knew I had walls but I did not know what they were on any deep level.
So what happens when I repress my feelings? Overtime they begin to manifest somewhere else. Additionally, when I feel I have disappointed someone else I become triggered and spin out of control believing the person I disappointed feels as hurt as I do about even the slightest issue. This feeling of guilt also remains in my body.
And for once in my life, I felt all the repression being released from my body due to this awareness. Lightness began to encapsulate my soul at 3am in the morning. I felt relieved and grateful and I felt hope and love.
Of course I had no idea how to change this pattern that was so ingrained in me after all these years. I thought about calling up all the people that disappointed in some way, even if it was 25 years ago. That did not seem wise. I prayed God may remove this defect of character. I wondered if I just started being truthful when I was disappointed from this point on, my life would improve. I truly had no idea.
So….I looked up what chakra held disappointment. And there it was. The Orange Sacral Chakra. I couldn’t believe it. And my thoughts drifted back to how my repression manifested in my body. It did not take long to realize at my Sacral chakra line I have had three back surgeries, two hip replacements, a hysterectomy and a c-section. Hmmm. That seemed pretty significant.
Now I understood that disappointment made me stuck. But what was the opposite of disappointment? I really didn’t know. The answer was satisfaction. This idea of “satisfaction” was quite foreign to me. I always perceived things as going wrong. Go figure! My disappointment also contributed to feeling majorly depressed and becoming extreme anxious.
The unhealthy way to deal with it was addiction and not taking care of one’s self. BUT the way to satisfaction was self care and being rooted in creativity. I was pretty sure I can do that if I wanted to feel what satisfaction brings.
So I am writing this blog on this holy day, thinking about the color orange and God and how I can be creative and decided to share it with the world. The only way to be true to one self is through exposing my brokeness. And I plan on aligning with my truth any way I can.
Thank you for reading.
via Could it be ME?
As the dawn is growing nearer,
And the days begin to wane,
I saw the darkness in your eyes,
Not much of you remains.
There is no sweet satisfaction,
To see the pain that you endure,
I wonder if you know at all,
Our life was but a blur.
Your strength, I did admire,
You knew how to survive,
You made it through the toughest times,
Steadfast and alive.
But you did not fight for me,
You left in quite a haste,
I only see you walking away,
I never saw your face.
And the years passed by so quickly,
From being a child to where I am right now,
I thought we would have a chance,
To mend our love somehow.
Yet, you were very nasty,
Always something mean to say,
I treated you with respect,
Because I am that way.
I got your Christmas card this year,
With the business card inside,
Telling me to take care of things,
When you finally died.
And that is when it happened,
When I could finally see,
You horrible, heartless woman,
You missed out on me.
And all the pills I have swallowed,
All the drinks I drunk,
And all the drugs I have ingested throughout my life
Was to fill the heart you sunk.
God graced me with some clarity,
I could see the undertaking,
In front of me, I will rebuild,
The life from me you’ve taken.
Therefore the answer is simple,
I will not be your pawn,
You will have to find another soul,
To care for you after you have gone.
And when it is finally over,
The only pain I foresee,
For 40 years you made the choice,
To miss out on me.
Today I say goodbye to you,
My love is better suited,
To the wonderful people who have surrounded me,
And cheered and laughed and rooted.
You have no idea what you missed,
The person I’ve become,
I am loving and I am clever,
And the best is yet to come.
I leave you with one message,
I hope the end goes well,
I am not sure where you are going,
But judgment day is hell.
I love you as my mother,
How different it should have been,
But when you choose yourself above everyone else,
You are left with what is within.
And now I say goodbye,
It has to be this way,
I love myself too much,
Moving onward finally, finally today.
No one tells the whole truth in therapy. We omit. Not lie. And while, we, the patients, are footing the bill, we leave out bits of pieces of our narratives as not to raise any suspicions about what exactly we do not want to discuss.
I had a therapist that moaned every time I said something depressing. I hated his guts. But I went back week after week to have but another session about “why he sucks as a therapist.” He finally accused me of flirting with him and I stormed out in disgust. But that was in my glory days.
One young man, fresh out of residency, truly made me believe I was something very special. Such a compliment goes far with me as it is my utmost need to be something very special.
But last year, when my world began to crumble beyond my ability to comprehend, be hopeful or find solutions, I visited one therapist who seemed truly exceptional in her job.
Her name was Ronni, although she was a PhD, she decided to forego the doctor title as to make herself more approachable to her patients.
Every week I would go see her and cry about my life. I was facing bankruptcy, in excruciating chronic pain and suicidal. She would listen. I would tell her what I felt comfortable admitting and as each week passed my comfortability morphed into the truth. My truth. And with every worry or concern I stated, she validated my concern. She did not try to fix it or provide solutions and she even agreed it seemed very hopeless on many occasions.
I don’t know if she saw through the crux of my problem. I secretly felt that I was unable to live up to how the world presents itself as “normal” that I witnessed on a daily basis.
She welcomed my quirkiness and seemed very excited to see me. However, soon my problems just became subjects to talk about. And then my subjects actually became funny as I was able to look at them from different angles.
By the time I left her, my anxiety disorder was at bay, my depression was lifted and I began to realize I could either kill myself over my chronic pain or learn to live with it by accepting wholeheartedly. Clearly, chose the latter.
In as little as nine months, I began to be present when I felt scared. I suited and showed up when I wanted to fall apart. And I truly began to like myself, demons and all.
Strangely enough, all Ronni did was listen to me and validate what I had to say. She never questioned my judgment and she did not lecture. And It occurred to me that the connection of two people learning to listen to each other without judgment keeps us alive.
People want to be warriors, independent, self-starters who tackle life’s woes on their own. That is ego run amuck. It takes a team of people in your life to keep your spirits afloat and increase your capacity for joy. Because let’s make this clear, the essential issue for all mental illness is a decreased capacity for feeling joy. No man is an island. No man can increase his or her capacity for joy without connections to other humans.
So, when I watch world events in horror, I have learned that the human spirit can survive anything as long as we stick together. It happens every day when the media is pushing it a-one-man-show to happiness agenda.. They got it wrong. We are each other’s happiness and we are each other’s resolve. And it only took one awesome therapist to allow me talk about my daily concerns to change my world. And you can do it, too. It is worth the journey.
If you live on the streets, you know to watch your every move. Do not make eye contact if you don’t want trouble and stay away from unlit alleys and streets. That is all common knowledge. What is not obvious is the unity and love of the people behind the barred windows and double-locked doors. There are people behind there, but you would not know, you don’t know the streets.
But on Sunday morning, when the sun peaks its head, the people, they come in droves. To pray, to love, to socialize and to be apart of each others life in a safe environment, if only for a brief time.
My favorite Sunday morning fell on a beautiful sunny day. Doughnuts aligned the stairway up to the galley where people would sit. People hung out at the stairs to greet their neighbors, to check them out. There was no doubt I did not fit in. But that did not matter on Sundays. They had seen me walking around. The word was out that I was a down and out alcoholic who lived in a halfway house. They understood and they would pray for anyone.
The man at the podium sang a few gospel verses and continued to speak his mind about the Lord and his people. We listened intently. God hears people who listen, I am told.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. We lost one of our own Friday night in a drug deal that went bad. Tommy lost his son. We lost him, too.”
The crowd begins to stand and sit and stand and sit, grumbling, while the faint cries of some of the women can be heard as clearly as the day was still.
“We need to help the Garcia family and give them what we got. The Lord will help them through us. But Tommy…we know you got a family. We know you be feeling real bad. We want to offer you our time and our kitchens so your family can eat in this horrible time. Can I get an Amen?” Tommy’s two year old daughter popped out behind his leg understanding that the pain was immense and releasing little girl tears without knowing what may come next for her family.
“AMEN sweet Tommy, Amen my brother. Amen to you little girl. We need you grow up and get your family out of here someday. You got that?” Declared rounds of people from the street in and out of the makeshift church. The girl nodded. And she knew that they meant it when they said Amen. Tommy knew that the people would sacrifice what little they had to help their brother in need.
No one spoke about finding out who done it. They knew. There were rumors. And you could be sure that killer would see his. That much was clear.
Because no one is safe on the streets. It is just a way of life. Women on causal strolls are hit on as hookers. Kids meet their drug dealers behind the 7/11 or in a newly renovated park from the city. No one was immune to what the streets had to say or what the streets would take that day.
However, on that Sunday, as the sun rose gently into the sky, the people rejoiced in the Lord and thanked him for having mercy on their souls for just another day. Isn’t that what we all got? Just today. Somewhere in those streets this day became a day of love and giving. That is what the streets do on Sunday.
When the Jehovah’s Witness’s came to my door, I did not mind. The only problem was that I was going to be late for work. I apologized and let them know that I could not talk at that moment. The older gentlemen said he understood.
“Well you have to go to work!” He exclaimed
“No, I don’t.” I answered and he returned with a puzzled look.
“Well, you have to work. You have to make money!!”
“No, I don’t have to do anything. I choose to everything I do in life.”
I stumped him. How was it I didn’t have to work? How could I think I could choose everything (within reason) if I did not have anyone else supplying my income?
So…he argued some more. “You need to make money. You need to eat.”
“No, I choose to make money and I choose to eat.” I declared.
“Well, what do you mean?” He asked politely.
I do not think he was ready for my honest and rare outlook on life. Therefore, I should not have been so stunned to see the look on his face when I answered.
“I can always kill myself.” I stated without hesitation. I do not remember what happened next but I do know he came to visit more often.
Now, I know this seems like a strange way to view one’s life. Every species on this planet is making diligent attempts to stay alive. I get that. But for some reason, I needed to know that if it ever got to be too much, I could end it all.
There are others like me. They are sitting right next to you. We just don’t talk about it. People with suicide ideation are far more common than people realize. It would come to me in waves, throughout most of my life. I just did not want to live. It hurt too much.
Although, I seemed like the most happy person in the room and I really was not faking that, it is just, a person with suicidal tendencies’ brain will switch involuntary at the most inconvenient times.
For instance, I produced and hosted my own cable access show. Six months of rigorous planning matched with an incredible team allowed me to fulfill this crazy dream. I worked so hard. Day and night. I spent thousands of dollars to train the team, buy furniture, take potential guests to lunch or coffee and anything else it would take to create a wonderful show.
The show went well. We had a lot of fun and although, it was less David Lettermanish than I planned, it was a good solid attempt at modeling what the superpowers of media do everyday.
The next day, I wanted to die. I sat in my backyard in a lawn chair, chain smoking, trying to convince myself to stay alive.
I always thought pills were a great way out but I found out hanging is the surest bet. But that day, I made it through by sobbing, thinking and praying that if I could just get some sleep that tomorrow would be better. Luckily, tomorrow was better and this, indeed, did pass.
But this has happened to me so many times. However, my outlook has changed.
My dad replied when I told him of my great suicide epiphany, that it made sense, but it changes when you have children. I did not believe him. I am quite sure now that he agreed with my epiphany. Usually these things are genetic.
Unfortunately, having a child was not enough but it sure helped. What I found was that I had to know in my deepest part of my being that I could survive anything and that required a great amount of maturity on my part to begin to actually take the actions to assure my survival. Actions such as making money again. Or taking back my health. I began to accept that I will always have to tolerate and endure some merciless anxiety and I started to live “in” love instead of trying to be loved by everyone with whom I came into contact.
Now..note…I still struggled. I married a psychiatrist for goodnesss sake!! There are no coincidences when it comes to life and death. And with a loving, accepting partner, I felt safe to explore my vulnerability. I did not need the comfort of knowing I could end it all at any time, on my terms, anymore.
Life is truly about relationships. They matter. The relationship with yourself matters. Self-care is paramount but not readily taught. We are an ego-driven, I-need-the-next-fix society. But it does not have to be that way.
I am a better person because I had to try to love myself more. The very act that I thought was the ultimate sin was what carries me through my days. That… and God.
If only, I could find that nice Jehovah’s Witness and let him know I did have to go to work now and eat and make money. I could tell him to not worry that I know I am not free to choose anything except to choose how to live and react to whatever comes my way.