Tag Archives: grace

Death to EGO

IMG_8376We are taught in this culture to strive, to push hard against people and obstacles that stand in the way of our desired outcome. The end game is our only game anymore.

This wrung-ladder goal oriented life promises success manifested in material goods we accumulate. We then spend our time maintaining our accumulated material goods, because when our cars are waxed, our counters are marble, our plastic lawns stay green … we reek of success, our egos are filled.

We hand over our children to others to raise, we gracefully hand over our peace to hours of freeway traffic, we hand over our time of fellowship and worship on Sundays to our children’s sports so they so they can begin their own competitive striving, we spend little to no time around dining room tables talking, we resent our spouse because we don’t have time to nurture our promise. We are hurried through life.

Fulfilling Ego costs us, and instead of stopping to see this, instead of recognizing that our nervous system has had enough, we pop a yellow oval into our mouths and we silently become the Xanax nation. We quiet our truth with pharmaceuticals, and become a nation with the highest pill addiction because we do not want to slow down enough to face our own and others frailty, we do not want to feel pain emotionally or physically. Sadly, truth does not change because we don’t want to see it.

We are a culture that is dying on the inside despite the fact that we look better externally. We glamorize our professional athletes, that are propped up on pain killers and steroids and when we’re done with them and they no longer perform to our artificial expectations, we retire them to their broken bodies and minds. We glamorize our celebrities until they age and then we continue to employ them after they cling to silicone, fillers and surgeries. We’re reconstructing the ego, one anti anxiety med, one procedure at a time and we don’t even see it.

Instead, i profess it is time to die to Ego. It is time for our culture to take inventory of who we are and who we want to be, it is time we listen to our own bodies, our children, our spouses and those around us. It is time to embrace the beauty in the quiet stillness of our lives and the lives of those around us. It is time we acknowledge our pain AND begin to take care of ourselves, others and our earth. It is time for us to stop talking and start listening.

The process of dying to ego can be painful but on the other side I promise you, life will hold meaning in a way you have never known or experienced. When you begin to lose EGO, you will truly begin to live and love.

When I stopped being all that I was not, when I stopped propping myself up and let myself fall my eyes were opened.
I began to truly see others, and to accept people; their beauty, their raw emotion. I began to feel with them their glimpses of joy and grief. I began to feel my mother’s embrace of nature and my father’s sacrificial love for me. And because I was not hurried with Ego I found the time to listen, to see, and feel and I feel in love with life again.

If you are hurried, pained, exhausted let Ego go and nurture yourself, your loved ones. Make peace with your creator and love what he has made, find your place in it as nurturer, lover, admirer, he will show you if you allow him. It is a simpler, quieter way to live and be, to find love and life in the details. TRUTH & GRACE my friends ❤️

Truth & Grace

Christ died for ME last Easter. Every Easter Christ’s resurrection has meaning but March of 2016, I had the notion through my mental illness fogged thinking that THIS Easter I was going to die and rise along with Christ. In this deep depression and hopeless I somehow thought this symbolism would bring less pain to my children and husband.

March 2016, I lay in bed and helped with the Easter church preparation; my daughter’s dress, hair bows, all in place. As my family prepared to go to church I prepared for my death and what I hoped would be my resurrection. Revolver or glock? I was going to free us all from this misery that was me, I was going to lay next Christ that very day WHOLE finally. I prayed that Christ would provide a beautiful woman to cherish my husband and children in ways that I could not.

I share with you the thoughts of suicide so you can see the lack of clarity and rationale that can be stripped away by an organ that is not functioning as it should, whether it be because of genetic neurological wiring and or life circumstances. Doctors can amputate an appendage that no longer works, organs can be transplanted, skin can be grafted but when the brain is damaged or not functioning we are left with much less remedy.

We are left with pills, therapy, hospitalization (which consists of more pills and therapy) and if you’re brave/desperate enough you can do shock therapy. When you’ve done this pill and therapy process for years to no avail it is difficult to accept that what’s being offered isn’t working or is no longer working.

The true reality of this manifests itself in the fact that many commit suicide by shooting themselves in the head …they are taking out the source of pain, the part of them that betrays their sense of reality and robs them of peace. This was my desperate intent that Easter Day, a new beginning for all of us, free of illness.

That Easter Day WAS a new beginning for me and my family and it did come through death … but not my own. That Easter Day I became keenly aware of the fact that blood had already been shed, I just had to mentally reconcile that it was shed for ME. the blood that ran from Christ’s hands and down his wrists covered those that felt the need to cut, that the blood that ran from his head covered those that felt the need to take their own life … i was spared … I was aware of the pain that day that Christ felt both physically and mentally, the isolation. I committed that day to either end my life or try to live again a new way. I chose the latter and began rebuilding my life.

Since March 2016 I have run/walked 1,200 miles, lost 80 pounds, changed my diet, been sober a year, given up pharmaceuticals for Natural/ alternative meds, began studying MINDFULNESS, meditation and began accepting the fact that my family already had a beautiful woman to cherish them and with Christ filling in the gaps … she’s enough. Each one of these changes required commitment, discipline, TRUTH  and GRACE for myself. It required a complete reset of my mind, it was not easy and remains work, but I’m grateful for the opportunity for recovery .. not complete healing, I will always bare this cross but I don’t bare it alone.

I don’t share this for praise, or to solicit any kind of response, it’s really not about me in the end … Anyone can accomplish any of these goals .. I share it to give hope, to those that quietly suffer, to those that want more than to be numb, for those that feel that their burden is too heavy, to those with a chronic illness to which there is no end date … YOU can do this, there is hope, there is peace, there is love for you. Find it in Christ, find it in nature, find it in your family, and find it within yourself … it’s there I promise ❤️

Truth Teller

I came out to my friends on FB about my Bipolar Diagnosis, to mixed reviews as you can imagine. (If you want to see the exact post I put on FB you can check out my post called My Secret Kills).

I’m sure my post made people uncomfortable, it caused a stir. I have a large variety of friends on FB, some who know me well and others not as well. My close friends, some who I’ve known over twenty plus years offered kind words, support and prayers for myself and my family.

My more casual friends that I know through sports, or local social events, commented less, because I’m sure they just didn’t know what to think or say. At first it was hard to make peace with the fact that I just pushed a status button and let people see into the depth of my life. I would see them in the grocery store and on the baseball field and almost immediately I would feel embarrassed or awkward and question the sanity of my choice to reveal. And now some time has gone by, and I’ve made peace with it, the fall out being what it is.

I had many private messages from others with mental health diagnoses, some I knew of and some I did not, because they were quietly suffering as well. Others told me they thought I was brave and that they were proud to be my friend.

A few people out right laughed and mocked my post, of course not to my face but behind my back. I’m even ok with that, because it reveals to me where they’re at in their lives. Some people are not ok with truth, and they hide away from it because honesty can be painful at times, it can make you see things about yourself that aren’t pleasant and need some work. I’m ok with them not wanting to live honestly, but I want no part of it, I’ve worked too hard to deal with reality to live anywhere but.

In all this, I remember why I chose to come out. I was hoping to bring awareness to mental illness, I wanted people to see a face with it, to make it real, to make people realize they know someone who suffers from mental illness. That it just doesn’t look a certain way, this illness can take on anyone, at any economic level, any social status, or religion, any intellectual level, either sex, any race, mental illness doesn’t discriminate.

I wanted to create a place where people could be real, and not have to hide behind the illusion of some perfect life. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see pictures of my friends and their families, I’m ok with others success and joy, but it also cuts away at my heart when I’m struggling and it appears that other’s lives flow so smoothly. I just wanted a balance, I want to know my friends in truth, their joy and pain.

Being a truth teller has opened a door with my children. My 12 year old has now heard open discussions about Bipolar Disorder and he has seen his mother struggle but also strive to get well. He has a better understanding of real life, and the real work it involves. Though to him it isn’t a total surprise because we’ve always been open about his Asperger’s syndrome and so he knows there is no shame in honesty, in learning about and accepting one’s self. And I’m glad for him, and pray that I’ve saved him some time in embracing himself and his God given strengths and weaknesses.

My friendships feel more authentic now, I feel more authentic now. I don’t have the emotional energy to pretend to be someone I’m not, and I don’t care to. I’m starting to feel ok in my own skin, and I’m ok embracing others that are hurting, struggling with illness, with life. I’m not uncomfortable when people confide in me about their personal life. I don’t feel a need to fix them, or their situation, I just try to sit with them and listen and be present. Isn’t that what most people want in a friend anyway? It’s what I want.

I talk to my real friends, about our real lives and it’s freeing, to not be alone, to know that we all struggle on different levels with different things. I feel like struggling with mental illness has almost given me a window into others souls, not in any spiritual or magical sense, just that I can look at others and sometimes see pain in them despite the smile they put on their face to make others comfortable. It’s a hard earned gift, as is empathy, but it’s real, its truth. These days I almost prefer the honesty of AA to church, because nobody hides behind their sin, their struggle, it’s open and real.

I love truth now, I love the grace that goes with it, and freedom that it allows. I love the real acceptance it can provide for myself and others. My real friends and I accept, truth and grace. I hope that you can find this in your life and embrace it as I have.

Suicidal Cancer

If you were diagnosed with cancer and had years of; treatments, prescriptions, hospitalizations, of pain, that stopped you from living any sort of normal life, with no guarantee of recovery, would you feel hopeless? If you had to live with this set of circumstances for years; five years, ten years, twenty years, a lifetime, would you question your ability to go on? How much heartache would you carry while others went on and lived normally healthy lives, while your existence was consumed with one thing … CANCER.

Sadly, for some people mental illness isn’t much different, it’s a debilitating illness that effects every aspect of their lives. This isn’t a cause and effect situation, there isn’t anything they did to cause it, nothing they could have done to prevent it.  They felt pain, suffered, saw a doctor, got a diagnosis, worked on treatment options and went on trying to live. For some, this means years of exhausting many treatments options, many hospitalizations, many broken relationships, many job loses, all due to an illness that unfortunately Science hasn’t been able to cure yet.

When we describe mental illness but give it a different title that people can relate to, like cancer, people are able to see it in a new light. When we think in terms of uncurable cancer, it seems understandable that there would be a loss of hope in one’s life. People are able to muster up some sympathy for a person in this situation.

I know as humans we judge others out of our own experience, traditions, and religion or otherwise personal belief system and I try to keep that in mind when reading others views on mental illness and suicide, but at times I find it difficult. I can always tell when some famous writer tries to tackle the idea of suicide and they have no personal experience in dealing with debilitating mental illness.

I can tell by their word choices and simple explanations. I can tell by the way they offer up meaningless options to the idea of suicide, solutions that would be great to choose if someone were well. Solutions they believe they would have chosen, and of course that anyone in their right mind would chose. The problem is when a person is at the point of suicide, there mind isn’t right, they are sick, and suffering.

People want to address the act of suicide but fail to see the victim’s lifetime of struggle, of pain. I can tell by the way they chose to judge the person who took their life, instead of understanding that that person is a victim as well. A victim succumb to their illness.

Some people want to throw out judgements that offer no grace, only damnation for someone who is clearly already suffering beyond what is bearable to them and mostly likely would be to others of us. We would never dream of doing this to someone who lost their life to cancer or an illness of the body.

As a society we fail to accept that mental illness can be a terminal illness for some. There is involvement on the victim’s part to make it terminal, but at the same time it’s important to understand that the body has a breaking point, it will quit after enough pain or illness is inflicted, but the brain is different.

The brain, unless physically injured, will continue on despite any amount of neurotransmitter dysfunction. Having been through hospice with my grandparents, at the end there seems to be a resolution, they are ready to die because of the condition of their body. But with mental this doesn’t happen, it can mean illness with no cure and no end.

I’m in no way condoning suicide, it’s not my judgement to make. I’m just trying to bring some understanding to it, hoping that with understanding will come grace. When someone takes their own life, I deeply grieve, for them, for their families. I’m grieved that the victim wasn’t able to find peace in this life, that they felt there wasn’t enough hope to give themselves more time.

I’m glad the scientific community is finally starting to make huge gains in the area of the human brain.   I’m hoping it will make mental illness more legitimate to society, to people that haven’t had it impact their lives in some way. I’m hoping for improvements in medication, and treatments so that suicide never has to seem like an option. I’m hoping that one day mental illness won’t be terminal.

Sola Gratia / By Grace Alone

 Ever tried? Ever failed?

No matter. Try again.

Fail again. Fail better.

~ Samuel Beckett

I am applying for college right now and am doing it with both excitement and trepidation. I have tried to be successful in the academic arena for years and have struggled. Years ago, before I had a family, there were a few semesters where I earned honors, but most of the semesters were marked with “D” for dropped or even worse when I was really struggling, an “F” because I didn’t even take the time to officially drop the course. My odds haven’t been the best I admit, I’ve attended approximately five different community colleges over the span of 15 years, with only 40 units to my name.

It’s easy to judge myself for this failing and I do. I feel shameful that I’m the only one in my family that doesn’t have a degree, that hasn’t succeeded professionally. I contribute some of my lack of academic success to not having enough discipline and immaturity. But in all honesty, most of those years were filled with the struggle of battling depression, and undiagnosed Bipolar disorder, of just surviving and supporting myself financially.  This is not a cop-out, it’s just part of hindsight that comes with accepting one’s self and being willing to grow.

Finishing my degree, has been more of a long-term goal for me because it has taken a back seat to the more immediate needs of my family, of working and of just the fact that I was so overwhelmed with life it seemed an unattainable dangled carrot.

While going to college may not seem a big deal to others, it’s huge for me. Its part of the process of grace I’m trying to have for myself, for my life, past, present and future. I’m giving myself another shot at this, despite my own cognitive internal doubt that has held me back for years from risking, from believing in myself, from investing in myself.

My husband/family want a guarantee that I’m going to finish this time. Their doubt used to stop me in my tracks, stop me from trying. I would go through all of the reasons it could not work, and then I would get stuck there and not commit to college out of fear, of uncertainty, of the risk of failing again. It was like a huge momentum that I would just succumb to.

My husband doesn’t want to invest the money and time because there’s a not a guarantee that I will finish. And he’s right, I can’t guarantee that the financial burden I’m taking on will definitely be well spent, I can’t guarantee that I will walk down the aisle with a diploma in twenty-four months.

I want to make this guarantee with all of the certainty in the world, but I’m not going to. I can guarantee that I will try, that I will put my best effort forward, that I have every intention of graduating this time. And frankly, that’s enough for me for once. It’s enough for me to feel like investing in myself again, to do something for myself for once that isn’t about my husband and children.

I’m excited that I’m giving myself the opportunity to succeed, I’m excited that I feel I am at a place emotionally where I can and want to challenge myself and take on a long term goal. Despite others reservations and self-talk that tries to stop me. I’m taking this opportunity in my life to give myself a second chance, I’m excited that I’ve found grace for myself and some amount of belief that has given me momentum to move forward in an area where I’ve been stuck for years.

I’m not letting the self-talk doubt stop me this time. When it starts I hear it, I hear all of the reasons I could fail, all of the things that could get in my way, all of the uncontrollable circumstances that could occur in life. And I let doubt run its course. But then I start the rebuilding process of Grace. That it’s ok to try, without trying there is no chance of success, that risking is part of life, being uncertain is natural, that it’s ok to succeed and it’s ok to make mistakes because both are necessities of personal growth.

I’m encouraged and I want to encourage you. When you get to a place where you catch your breath and you have room for more, take the personal challenge, invest in yourself, give yourself a chance to try, to make mistakes, to succeed.

Find grace for yourself. Sola Gratia / By Grace Alone my friends.