Tuesday, October 8, 2013
I was just thinking about the decision to make a change, do better at some aspect in your life or love more fully just because you want to. You know deciding to do something without having some life crisis or the other motivating it? Now I know that because we are spirits housed in bodies of flesh & bone going through a mortal experience, and because of the trials in mortality that either by divine intervention or the consequences of our choices we are often compelled to make changes and that these experiences serve an important purpose. However, I believe that if we worked to connect with our true spiritual character we could gain the capacity to make decisions to do good, be better and love more fully, not only just because we want to, but for the mere joy of it. I almost feel like it is akin to what it means to develop a pure heart. I believe as we work toward becoming more sacntified, we can experience "just because" moments.
As I look back on my life, during times when I was having spiritual highs, I have had "just because" moments and they were some of the happiest experiences of my life. I cant explain it, but I felt more confident and fearless because it felt like I was lifted to a spiritual plain where being and doing good was a place you never wanted to leave. because you were getting a taste of pure joy. I just thought of how to describe it, its like you are on the door step of the city of Enoch and you want to make it your permanent residence.
Just because...I want to be there.
Monday, October 7, 2013
I have to admit, I do like technology. I still am an old school girl at heart, I love paper, pencils, pens, notebooks & sticky notes in all colors & designs, but technology is amazing because of the doors it opens for writers like me who in the past would rarely have any of my work read by an audience of maybe just my Mom! I do appreciate that she loved the very first poem I wrote on her vintage Royal portable typewriter. I really thought I was pretty slick being able to use that bit of 20th century technology back in the day. However, I have enjoyed making my way into the 21st century. I enjoy having a cell phone the unlimited text, talk & data plan keeps me connected to those I love in real time and the day by day growth of my grandchildren. What grandmother wouldn't be thrilled to watch a video of a child's first steps?
As a writer though, it is truly a thrill to be able to sit down on my Galaxy note 8 tablet and practice and share my craft anywhere or anytime. So to my future audience, I look forward to sharing my thought, ideas, stories, experiences and insights with you.
Saturday, October 5, 2013
A little while ago, I read a blog by my daughter where she addresses a talk given by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) during the Saturday afternoon session of General Conference this 5th day of October. The talk is titled " Like a Broken Vessel" and he directly addresses the issue of mental illnesses with the focus being on depression. He told us in this talk that those who are struggling should not be ashamed and that healing is possible.
My daughter was brave enough in her blog to admit her struggles with depression and anxiety. Her courage has motivated me to add my voice with hers. I have struggled most of my life with mental illness. I too know what it is like to be depressed and depressed to a point of not wanting to function or sometimes not really feeling like I had a purpose for being on this earth. I also struggled with a Disassociative disorder that made me feel like I was not normal and would never know what it would be like to live a normal life. For the longest time I felt broken and often hopeless because the time that I grew up in, telling someone you had certain problems meant you were "nuts" and might have to be put away somewhere. My struggles were added upon due to issues of abuse at different times in my life. My ability to function and take care of my children was declining. I knew I needed help and got down on my knees and turned to the Lord for help. The Lord answered my prayers and I was blessed to receive help to heal. The Lord as Elder Holland states in his talk is " the divine potter" that is helping to mend my broken vessel.
Writing this blog is out of my comfort zone. Even though it has been many years and I have experienced steady progress and success, it has been difficult to open up about the struggles of mental illness because of the fear of not being deemed "normal." However, I'm tired of being afraid and realize that being deemed normal is not as important as the opportunity I have on this blog today to offer hope to others that are struggling with mental illness.
I testify that there is hope of coping and healing with mental illness through relying on Jesus Christ the Savior of the world. He will help you, I know this because He has helped me. Day by day, year by year, he enables me in becoming more mentally and emotionally functioning. He has walked with me not only through trials, but has provided me with accomplishments and success I had not previously thought could have existed. I ask any who struggle with mental illness to open the door to the Savior and invite his healing power into your life. It isn't always easy, at times I still struggle, but because of the Savior I get stronger everyday and so can you.
Friday, October 4, 2013
In a couple of more days, the 6th to be precise I will turn 54 years old. When I was 12 I used to think that it would take FOREVER to be 18 years old, and before I knew it there I was 18 out of school and no clue what I exactly wanted to do with my life. Several years later I was 23 married and soon raising a family of four beautiful children while finding myself one piece at a time along the way. It's funny when you are experiencing adversity, which my family did quite a bit of, it felt like time stood still, but in reality it flew by quickly on the wings of life where I now find myself in my 50's with four grown children living their own lives. One of the perks of being in my 50's is getting to be the grandmother of five of the most precious and sweet souls on this earth.
Middle age for me has been a time of new beginnings. I reconnected with a high school sweetheart, romance blossomed once again and we were married. He is a wonderful man who accepts me as I am now; a middle aged mature woman and he treats me like a queen. Life really is good in so many aspects. I sometimes groan at my current age because like so many others my body has changed and doesn't move as fast as it once did. However, I think that 54 years old can be a magic age, a time where I am old enough not to have to impress anyone else and if I follow the spirit well, there are wonderful opportunities for growth in this season.
So as Lennon/McCartney so eloquently put it " Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na...they say it's your birthday. Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na, Na you're going to have a good time."
Monday, September 30, 2013
When I was a teenager, sixteen to be precise, I got up the courage to try out for the school drill team. I went to all the practices. During the last practice the day before the tryouts I went down into the splits to fast and injured my left leg. I was in a lot of pain but still decided that I would still go through with the final tryout. I did the routine and smiled through the pain. Within a couple of days the results were read over the intercom and I discovered I did not make it. I was very disappointed and held back my tears of disappointment until I got home, after all no one is suppose to see you cry.
After I got home, my mother asked me what the results were and I told her. I broke down crying about how I didn't make it and was hoping for some sympathy. My mother's response was not what I had expected she told me that basically I wasn't the only one who didn't make it and that I shouldn't really be feeling the way I was. I was hurt by her response because even though I knew others did not make it, I was sorely disappointed that "I" hadn't made it and needed to express my feeling. In that moment, I silenced my feelings of disappointment and buried them into the recesses of my mind. It was experiences like this that taught me disappointment was something to be ashamed of, a sign of ingratitude and a weakness. I thought bottling up these types of feelings would eventually make them go away, but it didn't. When a small future disappointment rolled around, I would explode over something that appeared so trivial. It wasn't the trivial incident that created such a powerful explosion, it was that the passed disappointments and not being able to address them had built up so much pressure and finally found their release.
Now, I realize I cannot go back and face that teenage disappointment, that moment has passed. However, it is my desire in my present life to learn to deal with the disappointments and frustrations that arise. Instead of silencing, I need to give my disappointment a voice. Everyone needs to have their "it's not fair, why I am going through this, why didn't that work out" for me moments and then be able to regroup and move on forward, Silencing our voice of disappointment only results in resentment. Because we are unable to discuss our feelings, one small moment is met with a mountain of hurt from the past. We also can become bitter and instead of being able to let go, we play the pity card like Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, by talking about what could have been if only.
I have learned to know that the Lord can help us if we are honest with him about the disappointments that come in our life, he isn't going to send lightening down when you express them, believe it or not he will send comfort if you ask for it. Just saying.
Sunday, September 29, 2013
I grew up very confused about what love really was. I learned from my mother that love was suppose to be that tingling in your chest when that person was around you, even after you had been together for a long period of time, if it still resurfaced from time to time then it meant you loved someone. I used to feel so much pressure in a relationship for that tingling to be there that sure indicator that it was love. I also learned from my mother that love was suppose to have a transformation effect on the person that you were in the relationship with. That no matter if you married someone who didn't love themselves & treated you badly that your love and doing everything you could to please them, even if that meant giving up on yourself, had the power to transform them into the wonderful man of your dreams. For years I watched my mother do this with my dad, and it was sad to watch how my mother's "love" never seemed to be enough because my dad never changed, he was still never happy and she never got the love she truly deserved.
Love and being loved and giving love seemed like such a hopeless endeavor to me. I felt weak if I wanted love, trapped in a life of slavery if I had to give love and hopeless because I felt I didn't deserve love. If I wanted love I was weak because I had to depend on another person. If I wanted to give love it meant I was to become a slave to that person by making sure all their needs would be met by having none of my own. I felt I didn't deserve love because if I am not making the other person happy I have failed and deserve nothing from them in return.
I was truly scared of being in a love relationship because all I really saw was that it would turn into a life of total misery. I could never really expect a man to be my knight in shining armor because I was suppose to be the one to save him EVERY SINGLE DAY OF MY LIFE. I was taught that a man had minimal responsibility to a woman meaning, he goes to work and earns the money and comes home period. He may throw the woman a bone sometimes to shut her up, but basically in the model of love I just described, a woman was on her own and generally had to go without mental, emotional, spiritual and even sometimes, physical support. It was sad, but the result of this experience was usually finding a friendship that was suppose to fill in the above mentioned missing pieces. Usually you find a girl friend that you could attach to your hip and then basically wear them out with all your needs to the point that all they wanted to do was get away from you. They would become disillusioned because they were under the idea that you were suppose to be there for them too, but you really weren't.
Over the years, I have been blessed with opportunities to learn what love is, even though I still tend to struggle with the concept. I have had the blessing of being a member of the Faust family, with Dan & Enid being the head of it. They were amazing examples of marital and Christ-like love. I have been blessed with others who came to my rescue when I was truly in dire need and they devoted themselves to helping me heal and recover. The Lord is teaching me how to love and to give love in his way.
Recently, I was waxing nostalgic and watched episodes of Little House on the Prairie on Youtube. I was watching the episode where Laura & Almanzo were having difficulties when they were about to get married. He lost the farm he bought and the crop he was trying raise and didn't feel he could marry Laura during such adversity. One night Laura was in tears and Ma Ingalls had a talk with her. The idea that stood out to me the most profound was when she told Laura that "Love is strength."
Now I have seen this episode many times before, but during this viewing, I was struck by her statement. It made me think, in a way I never quite did before that love really IS strength! That the genuine love I received from the Lord and those he sent into my life gave me strength to move forward from difficult circumstances. It's not about controlling someone, or molding them into a preferred image, or even stripping yourself of your own needs, but rather it's about enabling someone in being and doing good.
Our genuine love is meant to help another build strength to resist the evil the world has to offer, yet be forgiving when mistakes are made and trust in the Savior's atonement, his true love for us, to heal and recover. Whether you are the person who is the actor or the person being acted upon love in it's purest form from the Savior has the power to strengthen us if we choose. Also, I believe that as we learn to love ourselves that we have a greater capacity to access the blessings of heaven for us and those we love. Love as defined by the Lord is freedom as we obey, acceptance as we understand we are truly children of God, it's not meant to oppress or make afraid, it's about what is right and good, it's about forgiveness and realizing the Savior paid the price, it's about honesty, integrity and the desire for growth and allowing yourself and others be who the Lord designed them to be. The pure love of Christ is charity the end.
Friday, September 27, 2013
Having been inspired by my beautiful daughter Liz & her putting herself out there blogging, I decided I would try an act of bravery myself.
This morning during my morning prayers I was praying to come to peace with a past relationship. I looked this person up on Facebook and of course it brought back the old memories. I realized that I needed to make peace with that relationship in my soul. I needed to forgive & hope that forgiveness comes my way as well. I also realized that even when we forgive or minds still have those experiences in our long term memory. However, I realized that even though those memories are there that in order to utilize the power of the atonement I would need to allow them to rest in peace. I need the Lord's help daily with the order not to resuscitate them in my present life. I see that when we act bitter or angry about long gone experiences & the people associated with them, that the very act of bitterness or anger resuscitates those memories and gives them a new life in our present. I get this visual picture of Dr. Frankenstein giving life to his monster that he thinks he will have control of but in the end controls and destroys him and everything in its path. Old memories resuscitated have that same power to destroy the opportunity for our present to be a better one and eventually hurts those in our life. I feel that having experiences in our long term memory can serve a good purpose for us as we move along the path of life. I feel that when we listen to the spirit of the Holy Ghost in moments when we are maybe moving closer to recreating the things of the past in our present he will remind us so we can get back on track and then move forward. It is not his intention that we would dwell in that place and beat ourselves to death over it. He just wants us to be able to stay on the right path.
I daily want to learn to honor the order not to resuscitate.