Grief

grief

ɡrēf/

 

noun
 

 

1. deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.

Not anyone’s favorite word or emotion. I am sorry I have been absent the last few days. I have been trying to process this emotion from the passing of a dear friend, the best kind as a matter of fact. A brother, someone that I would drop everything for, and do anything for, at a moments notice if he needed that of me. Someone who has done the same for me (and countless others) probably more than I ever did for him. I don’t know how to properly honor the memories of someone so special other than to say I love you my brother, my life will be forever changed without your smile, your laugh, your bear hugs, your music, your words, and your ear. The words are few, The tears are many. Save me a spot on stage my friend, for when we meet again. ~ ❤ p4th3tic
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When you just know…

em·bark
əmˈbärk/
verb
1. begin (a course of action, especially one that is important or demanding)

     It doesn’t take a clairvoyant to have a presentiment about a situation. Bad piling atop bad does not usually ever equal good. We all have those hunches or gut feelings that we either listen to or ignore. I have learned that those gut feelings are very close to always right.
     Yesterday, after careful consideration,ee9105f27629e6d01817e337431d42b5 and many discussions with my therapist, I acted on my gut feeling. I may very well have committed career suicide in doing so, but I know without a shred of doubt, that it was the right thing to do. This decision has had my stress levels at unbelievable heights for the last few months. Usually in a high stress situation like this, where I am putting myself in a very vulnerable state, my body will manifest reactions beforehand like the nervous shakes, or an upset stomach, and generally I can feel my heart beating out of my chest as I am walking in to confront the situation. On my way to this meeting however, I caught myself singing along to a song on the car radio while I drove the 25 minutes to get there. I knew what I was about to do could come with many repercussions that may affect my life for a good while, but I wasn’t even thinking about it. When I became aware of this I realized the amazing amount of thought that had gone into this decision. I was not reacting to anger, or any other emotion. I was simply listening to my intuition, and being true to myself, and the things that I believe in. This gave me a feeling of overwhelming peace.
     I feel like I said alot of things in that meeting that alot of people wish they could say. I feel like I stood up for more than just my coworkers, but for every single customer, who in my line of business, is just about every single person on this grand blue ball. I took one for the team if you will. I left the ball in their court, and I got up and walked away with my head held high, and my dignity and ethos in tact.
     My Father always taught me “Say what you mean, and do what you say”. Dad, today I did that. I know if you were here you probably would have tried to talk me out of it because the results were probably only DSC01168going to “hurt me”. In the end my two cents probably will not change a thing, as I so hope it will, and that you will probably be right about. But Dad, it changed me, and right now that is what is important to me. It cannot “hurt” me, it can only continue to help me grow and find my path. I am learning and growing everyday, and still think about the things you taught me just as often. I am far from perfect, I still have terrible days, I still sometimes do things that I know are wrong, and I still react to emotions too much. The difference however, is that today, more than yesterday, or the day before, I am realizing these things about myself. When emotions do come up I am giving them extra attention, and finding out that if I pay attention to my body, and the places these things manifest physically in me, that I can better control how I deal with things mentally.
     In a few days I will be mourning 4 years since you left this world. It is fitting that I will be doing that while embarking on another new chapter in my life. One of many, with who knows how many more to come. I have spent alot of time recently reminiscing. I realize that every time I have had any kind of life changing events, that they always came with a valid reason, and a path to greater good. Even if at the time things looked bleak, and scary. Even when those moments were forced by bad things that happened. Especially, even when they were what seemed like the toughest moments in my life at the time. They had good reason, greater meaning, and held important lessons of life, than we ever see in a single moment. I am no longer reminiscing, I am looking forward and trusting that things will work out. All that looking back taught me one simple thing, things always work out for the greater good as long as your intentions are that. I love and miss you Pops, I know you and Mom are still probably dancing and celebrating being brought back together. ❤ you both. Miss you both. Thank you for not being like everyone else, and for allowing me to do the same.77119_10202151772089662_1912040543_n

Gratitude

grat·i·tude
ˈɡradəˌt(y)o͞od/
noun – The mindfullness of taking nothing for granted.

It’s days like today, Thanksgiving Day, when your 40-ish and single that have a tendency to get to you. I left work this morning feeling okay, I remember thinking about my plans for the day. I thought about how I needed to go home, and get some rest as quickly as possible so I could get up, do some laundry, and run errands that had slipped my mind the day before. I remember looking forward to seeing my family for Thanksgiving dinner, but by the time I got to the top of the Grand Island Bridge, and looked out at the horizon burnt a deep red by the still invisible sun, I was in tears.

2015 has been an incredibly emotionally trying and tough year thus far. I had to say goodbye to my best friend and most faithful companion. Marley my first dog, not named after the dog in the movie, rather the namesake of Bob, the artist, musician, and thinker. Definitely one of my favorite people to ever walk amongst us. Marley would have done anything for me, and i for him. He hated rain and snow, but never hesitated to follow me outside into a downpour when i felt the need to feel the rain, as his namesake remarked in one of his most famous quotes.

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Marley’s first taste of snow was in 2001 when our beautiful lake dumped 5 feet on us in 2 days just before Christmas. I will never forget the look he gave me as we went down the steps, and his tiny puppy body disappeared into the snow. He stopped dead in his tracks on the bottom step, shook the snow off of him, turned to me as if to say “aw hell no”, he went right back up the stairs, and into the house. The next day we began to dig out, and I thought it would be fun to jump off the porch into the five feet of snow that now encapsulated the entire backyard about a foot higher than the fence. When I jumped, i turned to see Marley’s reaction. All I saw was his tail as it was engulfed by the snow. The dog that wouldn’t walk through it to pee had, without a thought, jumped in behind me. I learned in that moment true loyalty, not from a person, but from a creature with four legs. It is to this day one of the best feelings I have ever had.

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Marley was 15, he had a bit of trouble with stairs, but for a 15 year old dog he was in pretty good shape. When I came home that morning, and found him stuck spread eagle on the floor crying, I knew it was time to be loyal to him. I know he probably would have suffered through his pains for me for as long as I needed him to, but that day he jumped in after me, I made a pact with him that when it was his time, I would not ever make him suffer for my selfishness. I said goodbye to this beautiful, loyal soul on august 21st. This is the first I’ve had the courage to write about it.

To add to the emotional burdens of this seemingly never ending year I have suffered through 2 heart breaks. I know, attachment is bad. I am bad at it. I am a lover of love. I love being in love. Boundaries and listening to my intuition I need to work on. Without sounding judgmental and childish, I lost 2 people I cared deeply about this year. One was a tremendous heartbreak, the other heartbreaking. Not sure if that makes any sense to you, it does to me. I’m sorry that I don’t have a better explanation, but there is an upside to all of this sadness and heartbreak that is more in line with what I should be discussing on a day like today. Gratitude.

I have learned through life to take nothing for granted. Just last night at work I had a dear friend tell me that her cousins’ wife, who was 33 years old, went to work, collapsed and died from an aneurysm. My heartbreak seems very small in comparison. She was happy, vibrant, and talking about plans for thanksgiving with coworkers, and bam, gone. In one moment, maybe one breath, many lives changed.

Moments like these teach you gratitude for everything. They teach you to look for a deeper meaning in life. This woman said to me. ” It just goes to show you, go do your life. Don’t waste your time saving up for things to be right. Just go do it.” I’m not sure she noticed, but as I turned to leave, and told her how sorry I was for her loss, I shed a few tears before walking back into work. This spoke to me, not only the utter sadness of it all for the poor woman’s family, but also that I am at a turning point in my life. A point at which I have decided that I am in charge of making me happy. I am no longer putting my happiness in the hands of anyone or anything. As sad as this was for her, it was another sign to me to follow the path that I clearly see lying in front of me.

The point in all of this is that I have been learning to find the good in the bad. Sometimes it is not easy, but if you really spend some time searching, many times from the bad, some amazing things happen. Regardless of how tremendously the first heartbreak affected me I realize it was a life changing experience for me. I found sobriety, yoga, and meditation from that period in my life. These three things have probably been the best things I have ever accomplished/learned in my 43 years walking on this grand blue ball. I am grateful for this. These things have taught me to love and believe that with determination and dedication I can accomplish anything. The latter has taught me that I need to allow myself to be loved, even though I am not perfect. It also taught me how I deserve to be treated, and how I should never allow myself to be treated, all in almost the same breath.

I am grateful for all the things that you are grateful for too… The family, the friends, the wine, and the pie (Butterfinger pie OMG!) Most of all I am thankful that after 43 years that I am still learning about myself, and growing every moment. I am grateful to be able to sit in a moment, whether good or bad, and realize that it too shall pass, and that these fleeting moments are all meant to teach us something, and that everyone crosses our path for a reason, no matter the time that they spend with us. Happy Thanksgiving to you ALL!

❤ p4th3tic

Addiction

Ad·dic·tion

əˈdikSH(ə)n/
noun
      1. the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity.

Now the definition from a source that truly knows addiction….

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), the definition of addiction is the following:

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.


 

The first rule of writing… Write what you know. I have known addiction for better than three quarters of my life. I began with nicotine at age 8, and am still a pack a day smoker 35 years later. I have fiddled with pills, LSD, mushrooms, cocaine, and alcohol. Alcohol has always been my crutch. For the last 3 years I have been in recovery from these addictions. We all know these addictions, but many people suffer from addictions to many different things. Television is a very common one. Video games, gambling, food, exercise, even sex can be a problem for some. Did you know that people can also suffer from addiction to emotions? Emotional addiction can be a crutch much the same as drugs or alcohol. When an emotion is repeated over and over it becomes something familiar that we can cling to, that makes us comfortable, or makes us feel protected when we are triggered. Not only is it usually a false sense of comfort, it can cause and endless loop of painful feelings and reactions.

   Some of the most common emotional addictions are:
 
  • Anger  a form of dissatisfaction, frustration, disappointment, or resentment. Reactions may include fits of rage, or a verbal outburst.
  • Fear is not only a paralyzing, body shaking adrenaline-pumping emotion. It manifests in so many ways such as lack of trust (in self and others), hesitation, indecision, doubt, anxiety, or procrastination.
  • Sadness can manifest in apathy, indifference, helplessness, or a sense of lack.
  • Depression can cause suicidal thoughts in many sufferers.

 

The hard part is knowing, or noticing these patterns within ourselves. As with any addiction, many times it is easier fc69b44d2b62989e8d174f510a76aaaafor someone outside the addiction to notice. In order to notice these things within ourselves we need to examine ourselves closely which many times is very hard to do. People with these types of addictions usually spend most of the time finding excuses for their actions, and putting blame on others for causing their reaction, without ever noticing a pattern or problem. Many times we think an angry reaction might make someone respect our position in the moment better. This is generally not the case, and usually causes more harm than good. Aren’t we all responsible for the ways we react? Instead of reacting negatively, usually we can find a better reaction that does not cause more negativity, or averts it altogether, garnering true respect. This explains why these addictions are very hard to ever try to tame. Recovery for any addiction starts with acknowledgement of, and admission of a problem.

One good way of becoming aware that these things may be a problem is by sitting with that emotion. When an emotion like anger comes up, let yourself feel it. The next time you are driving, and someone cuts you off, or beeps at you for what you think is no reason, this would be a good time to try this. Sit and breathe into that feeling, and notice anywhere that feeling manifests into a physical reaction in your body. It may be a clenching fist or jaw, (or an unfurling finger, don’t laugh we have all done it) or maybe more subtle like a facial expression. Whatever it is, just notice it, don’t judge it. Find where in your body this feeling lives. The next time this emotion comes up you may notice the very same physical reaction. If you practice this enough, and you will start to be able to notice these physical manifestations, and adjust your reaction accordingly, thereby breaking the cycle of that negative emotion controlling you. This is the start of your recovery. It takes some practice, but as with any addiction it can be overcome with work and dedication to yourself, and your well being.

If we are looking at life through these negative emotions, how can we ever feel joy, or happiness. dc0a95c523d30e8406ee024c8b35f8e2Those are things we would all like to feel more of. How can we see the good in others if we are always reacting from a place of negativity? How many times have you reacted negatively toward someone and regretted it? Feeling negativity without reacting to it will empower you. It will change more each time you practice it, and lighten the load on your emotions ten fold. It will help you to realize that these negative emotions are separate from ourselves, and they do not define us. Take pride in your recovery, we are all human, and as imperfect as the person next to us. We however can be a better person than we were yesterday. If that is our goal, it can be achieved.

Fear

Fear
ˈfir/
noun – an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
verb – be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

     Fear. Everyone has fears. There is no denying the presence of this undesirable emotion in every single one of us. We all have things that trigger our fears. I always feared the feeling of taking off in an aircraft. The second it starts to move you are placing your life in the hands of another human, actually many, and the fate of the universe. I believe this fear inside of me stems from the lack of control of the moment. I am not fearing crashing or dying, but that I am no longer in control of those possibilities. As you ascend into the heavens those fears generally fade. They may still be there inside of you, in the pit of your stomach, or in the form of your heart beating faster, but more often than not, after a few minutes, the initial thought process of the fear changes. As you look out and take in the beauty of such a surreal view of earth your mind is distracted from the initial fear response, and that tends to let us relax into our surroundings.
     I still do not like flying, and am still not sure I will ever fly again, but I am glad I felt that fear, and conquered it because the memories I have are still, to this day, some of the most memorable and picturesque things my eyes have ever rested upon. As humans most of us travel the same paths, and go about our lives in what ultimately amounts to a tiny fraction of this beautiful planet we live on everyday. As you take off, and climb into the sky, the first realization you get, is how huge this place actually is. The landscape changes from the tops of buildings into a checkerboard of almost unrecognizable places in just a few short minutes. As you rise, even the most grandiose buildings disappear into the vastness of the land. If it is a cloudy day, what an unbelievable sight it is to burst out above the clouds, and weather to see the sun!
      Of course this is only one of many fears we all have, and we all have different ways of dealing with our fears. I think about my fears, and try to liken them to that plane ride. Most times the initial feeling of fear is magnified, sweaty palms, racing heart, that feeling in the pit of your stomach. These are all indicators. Recognizing those indicators is a very important aspect to reacting to fear, the same as any other emotion such as anger, anxiety, or sadness. Many times just recognizing those physical reactions in your body will allow you to put in perspective the moment. This can help to fade that feeling, in order to help our mind control our body’s physical reaction. These indicators, when recognized, are much like the distraction from the beauty of the surroundings when climbing to the sky in a plane. When we as people can control our thoughts about a situation this way, our reactions will almost always be more in line with the situation because we know that initial fear (anger, anxiety, or sadness) will fade quickly. Instead of an initial fear response like fight or flight, many times we can just surrender to the moment, and realize that even in fear, the beauty of the moment may be just on the other side of the clouds.
      There is a priest in my hometown whose home was invaded, and for upwards of an hour was held at knife point. He was ordered to open a safe before being tied up by the burglars, and forced to the ground. He simply told the robbers he would pray for them. He had locks that did not help. Had he had a gun, that probably wouldn’t have mattered either, because it was such a quick and brazen crime. He simply accepted that god was watching over him, and surrendered to the moment. I am sure that he was very afraid, as anyone would be. I’m sure his heart was beating probably much like that of a passenger on a plane ascending to the sky for the first time. I’m sure he thought about fighting back, or how to escape. Many times we are given no choice but to resort to one of these instincts, and no one would be wrong to do either in a situation of possible imminent harm. This brave man chose to surrender and trust fate. It takes a very brave person in a situation like this to surrender to the moment. This man did that, and probably saved himself harm by doing so.
     Hopefully none of us ever has to make a choice like this. Most of the fears we feel everyday are nowhere near the magnitude of something like this. I try to use these tools, and remember the story of this priest, and surrender to many different emotions, and it helps me to react more in line with the moment, and communicate my feelings better, rather than play to my fear or anger reactions. Many times when I notice these physical indicators, a single deep breath can help me surrender, and burst through those clouds to find the sun.
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