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Archive for the ‘happiness’ Category

I am still surprised when I hear wives and young women being criticized by other women as to why they stay with their politician husbands, following the out break of scandal. Sure it may leave our own excuses or defenses a little more weakened as to why we make or made our decisions under similar circumstances, but is that any reason to point fingers, when others decide differently? In 2013 men are 100% responsible for their own behavior.

Yes, we can agree that the young women who are involved in sex or sexting and come forward and acknowledge their own poor behavior, are showing extremely poor judgment in believing they can some how capitalize on the same. To judge young women any farther than this, unless they become so outwardly obvious and acknowledge they are out for the almighty buck or to destroy a career, should not lie in the character of any of us who judge these often naïve and impressionable women; Nor does it further the equality of women to determine what is appropriate behavior when a woman does decide to remain in her marriage.  That choice belongs to the two people who are in the marriage to decide be they men or women.

Women have been manipulated by the powerful and branded as Jezebels since Biblical days in an effort to give men who behave poorly in sexual behavior, an out for their own sick and often narcissistic behavior. As women in America, we if not men, should be able to rise above the continuation of judgments against each other regardless of media exploitation, political leanings, or the circumstances of the same.

I have heard women, who are thought of as being credible accuse Huma Weiner of having political gain for herself and ambitions of her own as being the reason she stands behind her husband Anthony Weiner. Other people are accusing the young woman (I will not give her name credence or blame in my blog) of dressing sexy in order to trap Anthony Weiner. There is much more gossip against the women involved in the Anthony Weiner Sex Scandal but to repeat any more beyond this is to only add to the gossip.  When will women ever be able to dress in the manner they feel the most comfortable with themselves, before we quit judging them for doing so?

Accusing women of the faults that lie in men goes way back to the days of the discovery of the Old Testament of the Bible. When we realize the largest area of the Country in the region where the Old Testament of the Bible was written, was made up of  many Pagans before Christianity, then we need to understand also the culture present in the belief of its people at the time the old Testament was written.

We can understand why people who were raised generations in advance of Science held women responsible for the behavior of men because it was written In Proverbs, Chapter 23, Verse 26:My Son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways, For a whore is a deep ditch and a strange woman is a strange pit. She also lieth in wait as for Prey and increases the transgressors in men.”

The belief was also promoted and still exists today that it was Eve who enticed Adam to eat of the apple instead of it being a mutual decision as we now know transcriptions clearly shows it to have been mutual and these artifacts have been preserved in the archives of the Church. As more Historical facts becomes available along with the knowledge of mankind changes we do need to consider both into our own moral framework as a civilized Society.

The Early Church so believed that married men who had sex with prostitutes were not responsible for the sin of adultery, because they were enticed by women and had no control over their own sex drive. They saw no separation between the animal world and human kind and judged the need of man to procreate or have sex for mankind’s survival as being on the same level between man and animal.

Sex with sheep amongst herders was not only practiced but acceptable behavior in its day. When Science discovered it was leading to madness and death in men due to an outbreak of syphilis then the acceptance of the same changed.

These beliefs were held well into the 17th Century but as the need for man to learn became more prominent it took the knowledge of Science to grow in order to gain knowledge about mankind and what free-will and intellect does as far as understanding the differences in what makes mankind the absorber of knowledge and truth over the animal kingdom.

Even into the Victorian era and yet today some Religions still refuse to give up the idea that even incest that takes place in children is not the fault of child or women entisement. The Conservative following have the numbers of rape due to incest, much lower than what in truth they still remain today. What we now refer to as sexual sociopaths was referred to as sexual deviants in the Victorian era and was just the beginning of the era in which men were being held responsible for their own sexual vulgarities.

Those Religions who throw out all study of Science still cling to the Bible verses of the Old Testament while totally dismissing the knowledge learned of men and sexual peculiarities or sexual predators, that we have gained knowledge of today through the knowledge of Science.

If we still have not learned that women do not create the character flaw in men who think they are too powerful to fail and that Science shows that it is more likely the absence of fathers in the home or early childhood abuse through incest that leads to feelings of rejection that increase the libido in both these women and these men, then what rock have we taken residence under?

Yes, both women and men who have reached adulthood are equally responsible for the choices they make in their lives.  When Anthony Weiner was made aware of his own short comings and illness and still behaved badly, by running again for public office knowing full well he was lying, then how can any of us judge his wife harshly or the women he continued to show his private parts to? If a mother is concerned about what the absence of a father, in the life of her child will make and decides to stay in the marriage, that is her decision to make without being called ambitious or any of us offering her anything beyond understanding.  Todays children need their parents in their lives and if the couple reaches an agreement on how they will deal with their marriage must we always feel their decisions reflects on all women?

If  young adult women are being manipulated or making a poor call of judgment that too should be their decision to make. Why do we so often see or hear those who seemingly have made the biggest mess of their own marriages or those who also behaved poorly when young women or men, too often become the harshest judges against other women or men?  Did we listen or was it our own responsibility to learn for ourselves, what our real values were or where we placed them?  Did we not have that right to do so?

We all should understand the options given all of us to use our own intellect and free-will should be the greatest entitlements that all of us will ever receive, shouldn’t we? What right does the media, un-related people, or pundits have of making any calls in the personal lives of people who use their own hearts and minds to call the shots in their own marriages or personal lives, have in the first place? If you don’t like the man, Anthony Weiner, then do not contribute or vote for him and if you are doing so for fear of what others may think then isn’t that more your problem than theirs?

The Karma we put out is also the Karma we get back, or if you prefer, “what goes around comes around”, and I suspect that was also the Plan of our Maker, when He gave both genders free-will and intellect from the beginning of mankind.  Who amongst us, has not already learned the same or will not learn it before we breathe our last breath? As the saying goes,” An unkempt garden, produces poor fruit”.   Does our own back yard need our attention or weeding?

As women we have enough Conservative movements underway who will deny us the equality already granted us before we have been successful in getting full equality, without attacking or sitting in judgment of each other.  As long as we, women, let the divisiveness amongst us continue to do so, we can all understand it will only cause further harm to those who most need our help. If it does not happen now, then it will tomorrow, or the next time we, ourselves or loved ones, need understanding the most.   I have learned to be a realist and understand what true unity requires of all of us.  Make it count!

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Since I have spoken about the greed in politics and business it would be a failure on my part to not speak about the greed in Religion.  Todays post is about just a small sector of that greed as it pertains to the Evangelical belief but by no means is it only a part of their belief as a large part of the same belief is shared by other Religions, such as the Mormon Faith, as well, they just are not as outwardly obvious about it.

Prosperity ministers who are  outwardly preaching the value of greed in America are a new twist to the teaching of Religion.  They are a growing breed of ministers tied to the Charismatic Evangelical movement.  They run the gamut of people who show no shame in their high pitch sales job of the merits of rewards that come along with giving to those who use more subtle nuances.  People like the Joyce Meyer’s ministries from Missouri are very aggressive in claiming entitlement to a rich life style due to God’s gifts to her while others like  Joel Osteen of Texas are less verbose, but both types are prosperity ministers.

When Americans became bored with the often boring and staid teachings of or disillusioned with Traditional Religion and divorce became more prevalent or lifestyles changed, people began looking for more entertaining ways to worship, and many turned to Evangelicals to provide them with Spiritual guidance.  Although Evangelicals  originate primarily from Methodists and Presbyterian beliefs along with the 1700’s Piety and Puritan beliefs of the Bible preaching’s, to tie Evangelicals to any one belief factor would be wrong.  They’re definitely the majority who see themselves as Conservative Christians but there are also those who are liberal and even some who would be considered as really non-committed who do not believe it necessary to attend Church Services and Bible Studies every Sunday and Wednesday.

Evangelicals are popular with the African-Americans through the Baptist Church just as the faith is practiced by all members and Nationalities in America and all walks of life.  It is the largest growing Religion in America with an estimated 28.3% or 90 million Christians in America. Brazil is only larger in percentages than the United States is in growth.

To pen point any similarities beyond their belief in  “Born Again” and “Catholics as Heretics who do not teach the literal interpretation of the Bible”, would do them a disservice as even though they have a high number of Republican Conservatives, through the minority population, they have an equally large number of Liberal Democrats. Some want nothing to do with the mention of politics while others feel they should be front and center in the influence of politicians and their decisions. Many believe in Rapture and await the second coming of Christ, others believe in healing of the sick and disabled by the laying on of hands, while others speak in tongue.  Many credit their success as a direct Blessing from God and believe they are guided by the Holy Spirit in their daily lives. They accept most of Protestant beliefs but the crowds many times are more exuberant and reactive than in Traditional Religion.

Many of the ministers, due to their own lack of training in Divinity and Seminaries, often expound their own interpretations of the Bible and so the messages often vary from one Church to the next with individual understanding or interpretation of the chapters and verse of the Bible. Some are guided through life by a literal interpretation of marriage:” being of one man and one woman,” while others allow for gay rights. Many hate to be perceived as fundamentalists as they were in the 1700’s when Evangelical beliefs initially arose in Europe.

Not all Evangelicals are Charismatic nor believe in Prosperity Ministers nor are all obsessed with Heaven and Hell.  One thing that is certain is if they do preach the Word many have little to no training in Divinity, although many do have honorary Dr. degrees without formal education from Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell and  other Evangelical Universities. Some get their degree to preach from a mail order house out of California while others get theirs for a fee over the internet.

They all believe they were given a calling and were inspired to preach when God appeared to them. Some are very simple people who come from the coal mines in the Appalachians. Others have high school diplomas while some do have Associate degrees or two years and still others have Bachelor degrees of four years of college, from non-credited schools ran by the Evangelical ministries. Others have had Seminary training in other more traditional Protestant Religions and have left that faith to start their own Evangelical Church.  Universal, Grace, Life, Good Will, Glad Tidings, etc.  are usually a part of the name of these Churches over that of Jesus, the Apostles, or Saints most commonly found in other more Traditional Religions.

Prosperity ministers are those ministers who pretty much share tears in the wickedness of their ways before “they got drunk on Jesus,” and before God appeared to them and made them rich.  They are very charismatic and crack jokes and do a sales job on their parishioners, telling them if they give to their Church until it hurts they will be Blessed ten fold and maybe even 100 fold.  If their parishioners think they can give 10 dollars or even a 100 dollars and it does not mean deprivation or sacrifice on their part, for God, then they do not really believe in God.  If a thousand dollars really hurts then they should give a thousand dollars and not worry about the bills as God will provide, If they really believe. They play on the guilt of the poor by making them feel like the reason they are poor is because they do not believe hard enough.  The great majority of the money they receive comes from their radio or television ministries and is established fact that the poor give at a higher percentage rate of their income than do the wealthy.

They tell their followers how they did not have a dime, the wolves, were at their door, the bill collectors calling constantly and when they took their last few dollars to Church and gave it to God they were Blessed with manna from Heaven. Their  good fortune just fell from the skies.  They quote the passages of the Bible that says “and God Blessed and rewarded them with good fortune”, and totally over look the parts of the Bible that say, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than a rich man to gain Heaven,” and Christ’s teaching’s about  mankind’s need to give away all his riches to serve the poor, in order to gain heaven.

Prosperity ministers beliefs that they have found the Blessings of God’s favor through becoming rich is so prevalent that they take parishioners money to buy $10 million dollar corporate jets, $200,000.00 in antique furnishings, they drive Mercedes and BMW’s in the $80,000.00 to $100,000.00 dollar range and feel entitled while living in million dollar homes while giving their children all the best that their parishioner’s money can buy.  So warped are their beliefs of entitlements to wealth and so charismatic are their sales pitch that they can and do convince  their followers, they are God’s voice on earth, even without seminary training or practical applications in divinity. Some even claim they are living out their gift from God now, while others in their Congregations struggle to make ends meet.

Their followers, just as do the ministers, fail to see the hypocrisy in the message they preach when they preach the need of every one to take responsibility for their own needs; and the poor could be rich if they just believed.  Since they offer the poor hope they are often times kept poor through their weekly contributions to the Prosperity Ministers, as every dime is followed by more from the poor with the poor being the Prosperity Ministers greatest contributors.  The prosperity ministers and parishioners fail to reach the understanding of the ministers dependency on the Mercy of the people, before they gained their own riches. God does not deal in dollars but sales people certainly do, and it would do us all well to begin there with that introspective thought.

Because these ministers forgive every sin through their “Born Again Beliefs”, regardless of how grievous the sins, without individual confession and penance and they relate to their parishioners about their own sinfulness and really stress how they were sinners, People flock towards the ability to be born again and all their past sins forgiven.

In the more conservative Evangelical Churches, parishioners are often shamed into living exemplary lives just as their ministers do, even though there are some who are no different from the rest of us with the same foibles and mistakes or sins committed by all of us. In the more Conservative Churches the parishioners cling to the belief that often these uneducated clergy can speak for God and give them a greater place in Heaven and a get out of Hell free card, if they only embrace their lives in the constant presence of Christ and continue to give of their money, which they are told is in most cases intended for the poor. This is true unless they are Prosperity ministers as good deeds are encouraged in most Evangelical Churches. The  Prosperity clergy often claim to draw salaries that do not compensate for the riches they gain. Many of the more liberal parishioners belong for the fellowship more than they do for the strict observance of the teachings as is common in many Religions, who do not set strict guidelines.

As a neighbor of mind once said, “I would hate to think I was such a bad sinner that I would have to spend my life in Church.” I have always enjoyed travel because I love the diversity that is America over tying myself to one group for a life time but that is just my own personal choice and many people are comfortable and justifiably so in their own communities.

I like many believe that: Spirituality just like physical and mental needs are a necessity of mankind in the fulfillment of life and living but are dollars really a part of what makes mankind great or saves us from hell? Can we really buy ourselves into Heaven or are we better judged for the value of our compassion for, the time we place on, and we give of ourselves to humanity? We do need to sometimes question the motives behind what appears to be an exorbitant lifestyle of riches regardless of the person or people who are promoting the same, at the expense of the people.  We cannot wear blinders just because those vulgar displays of wealth are arising from our ministries any more than we can when they come from our politicians.  Both depend on the generosity of the people and should be suspect and held responsible for such displays.

The great majority of us want to see people who have made wealth through hard work and sweat equity enjoy the fruits of their labor as it offers hope to those of us who dream. Certainly ministers and some politicians put in long hours and hard work as well, but when their income is earned on the charity of the poor, the vulnerable, or the greed of lobbyists, the majority of us see these excessive lifestyles of displayed wealth as being vulgar.  It is not what we want of either our clergy or our politicians whose main concerns should be dedicated to the needs of the people. When a family of 4 or more make $50,000.00 a year and they are pressured or cajoled into writing $10,000.00 checks so they can prove the power of their faith in God or a politician can get elected, and the clergy and politicians cannot understand the immorality of their exorbitant lifestyle, then who can we turn to when we ask for legitimacy in our Churches or our government ?

Does the riches gained by our politicians who are threatening to deny payment of Social Security to the elderly, wages to the Military and middle class, and GI benefits, by shutting down government over Obama care, mean they are deserving to be great and Blessed? Wouldn’t we all do better with their compassion shown and their time given to our needs without strings attached?  Something else to ponder that’s for sure. Doesn’t take much common sense to figure out, does it?;)

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Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal either from birth or aging. It can most often be seen in 60 year olds and most older adults will all have some form of spinal stenosis by the time they reach relatively old age. Disc herniation, fractures, tumors, infection and degeneration with the aging process can all be causes of stenosis in adults. Age changes everything when Acquired stenosis is as a result of serious accidents injuring the spine and then there are no age specifics attached.

When an abnormality causes a narrowing of a canal then the neurologic (nerve) structures become irritated or compressed. This leads to a variety of symptoms ranging from tingling, numbness, severe pain that is persistent, and weakness and pain with physical activity. It can and does lead to disability in cases where damage becomes to congested to attempt the risk of surgery or when normal treatment of injections fail.

As I said in my previous post, ‘Matt Roloff And Owning Disability’ there are two different kinds of Spinal Stenosis. Although fairly rare, Congenital Lumbar Stenosis appears at an early age in adults between 30 and 40. The Congenital form of spinal stenosis is seen in individuals who are born with a narrow spinal canal. In these individuals, even minimal changes in the structure of the spine brought on by age can cause severe spinal stenosis. With severe spinal stenosis problems with the bowels and bladder also exists.

Congenital spinal stenosis is largely a mysterious condition than can neither be predicted or prevented. The onset does not distinguish by sex, race, or ethnicity, and is not associated with any particular occupation or body type.

Acquired lumbar stenosis is more common and generally develops in persons in their 60’s or older. This form of stenosis is caused by progressive changes in different spinal elements, as I mentioned above. As people age, all these different elements sag or bulge and form arthritis that narrows the spinal canal.

In my own case, although I have been told that my condition is my own fault as well as a rare familial disorder (depending on which Doctor I talked to and at which age I was treated, by different Doctors, as my records did not always follow me). I was told much later, after the fact, in my later thirties of the destruction and changes taking place in my spine and that my spine was in serious condition.

I was born of a mother who experienced scoliosis as a child. She spent 4 years in a body cast. Some studies do show that off-spring of mothers with Scoliosis can and do sometimes present with spinal defects, as well.

I also over-worked my spine and was hospitalized both at the age of 28 when x-rays showed shadows that indicated arthritis, following an hour and 45 minutes of CPR in the field as an EMT. My back pain began at the age of 19, and I did not seek medical help as it improved with exercise and I grew up in a family where back aches were as common as headaches.

We didn’t go to the Doctor as children when we were in pain and I was even made to work following torn ligaments in my knee. When my Mother finally did accept I was in pain, scar tissuing had set in and they could do nothing about it at that point. However my mother was yelled at such loud of a volume that I heard everything he said through the wall and for a great length of time by the Doctor who saw me. He warned her, that I would have arthritis at an early age because I was made to walk on it.

At age 32, I presented with sciatica down both legs and with nerves pinched in 5 locations on both sides of the spine in the low spine, and at this time the Neurologist treating me said I had a herniated disc while the Orthopedist threw the diagnosis out.

Eventually I would burst or break off a partial piece of the disc in question and black out from the pain. Since I was hospitalized for a month and anxious to return to normalcy, I went home and resumed my normal activities and the disc which wasn’t suppose to be there, burst or broke,( I’m sure that is the lay person term). I was not given any explanation for the pain beyond psycho-somatic until 5 years later when I was told, “it is nothing but wear and tear arthritis normal for my age,” which was 37 years of age at the time. Hind sight tells me the Orthopedist who I was sent back to was covering for his own mistake as his partner had previously, a year before this, told me I had Spinal Stenosis as had my regular Doctor.

I grew up on a farm where physical labor is always a requirement beginning in early childhood and had spent 18 months both tearing down a house as well as helping rebuild it at the age of 32. I had been use to hard physical work right along side my brothers and did not know that the upper strength in a woman is never comparable to the muscle strength in men. Yes I should have known that but didn’t at the time. There was no special treatment when it came to work on the farm just because my twin and I were girls.

Because I had completed the work and was doing simple work for four months after the completion of our home, I never was certain my back problem did have anything to do with our remodel. My own case, as to if I had congenital stenosis or acquired stenosis probably will remain a mystery to myself, as both in my situation have distinct possibilities due to both behavior and genetics’

I just generally accept that my spinal stenosis and disability depends on which Doctor has said which diagnoses is correct, and have learned that very seldom will a doctor reverse his/her own diagnosis. I do understand that once a disc does burst or break off,(again the correct term fails me but means the same thing. There are three classifications of a disc and I believe when it breaks it is called sequestration), not much can be done and there are a number of difficulties not necessarily related to each other, with my back.

To me it doesn’t really matter so much now as it once did, as either way I am left with the results and thankful my children have not inherited the same nor would I tolerate their over-using their backs or bodies as children.

Although there are a number of treatments that do give a great deal of relief to many people who do suffer as I did,in my own case I found that they met with mixed results. I cannot express enough that what works for one person and is a great success does not always work for the next person.

I did eventually go the rhoute of spinal injections to find that they failed as their effectiveness never lasted longer than 10 days. I did have micro-neural surgery for stenosis on one side of my spine but the other side was too compacted by the time I switched Doctors, to even attempt surgery. I was told by the Dr. that did surgery, many years later, the injections more than likely failed because the damage done to my spine was too extensive. I went through my alcohol days of drinking, like the majority of pain sufferers do, but quit cold turkey before going on narcotics.

I refused to take narcotics until after my children married, knowing the mood changes they can cause and I had already experienced that with alcohol. Ultimately a Doctor did prescribe narcotics and I found some improvement while taking both hydrocone and morphine, but when their effectiveness wore off, and I was only treating the addiction, I quit on my own, again cold turkey, rather than suffer the results often occurred by higher doses.

Most people do not realize that addiction from narcotic pain pills even when prescribed can begin within 5 days of treatment and I was on the hydrocodone at double normal dose for a period of 7 years and combined with morphine for 3 years. Because getting off the narcotics without any help was such a horrific experience, I refuse to take any narcotics now.

I may not have been able to stop the deterioration of my spine but I still have hopes of preventing my brain from deteriorating due to narcotics. For 45 years I did my best to assume responsibility and be there for my loved ones but the beauty of finally reaching the age that spinal stenosis is normal for most of us is; at the age of 67 I can finally take it easy and enjoy my retirement with my husband. When winter comes we will head south and play, again.

Acquired spinal stenosis is very prevalent on my father’s side of the family with Osteo-arthritis in both my parents families. I had both a great uncle on my mother’s side as well as several on my father’s side who were disabled by arthritis. There are also those who did abuse morphine and narcotics to the point they became mentally imbalanced and impaired. Spinal stenosis is very common in little people at earlier ages but not so common in normal height people under normal circumstances.

I write this, so those current today and future generations do not have to spend the amount of time that I did when I was left without any explanations and questioning my own sanity, as well as for all young adults who do not feel they are getting a qualified explanation as to why they are experiencing ambulatory pain or any pain for that matter. Before it gets really bad and persist, I highly reccomend that you see all the Doctors you need to see before you do feel you do get the explanation you need. Once pain becomes chronic it is very difficult if not impossible to treat.

I was under medical care when both ambulatory pain and pain that caused me to blackout did happen and still carry resentment that I did not understand the seriousness of back pain, or persist harder in any Doctor explaining what was happening to me that made an ounce of sense or recognize when I was being put off, or have an accurate diagnosis at a time when I might have been helped.

What would become perhaps the hardest problem of anything else that I had to deal with, minus the persistent severe pain, was either the inability or unwillingness of the Doctors that I dealt with to answer my questions. Today with the internet we can find many of our own answers that did not exist during the time I was left entirely in the dark to fend for myself, unless it is yet unknown by the medical profession. Well intentioned family and friends who force their own, “so called wisdom,” on us are only secondary to the confusion that we are left in when the medical profession either refuses to share information they have or can’t say “I don’t Know.”

It some cases questions were simply brushed off even while they treated me for a known serious back problem. When I complained about needing help and being in pain a couple of the Doctors either told me to stay on treatment that was causing symptoms of there own, or simply wrote in my records and refused to look at me while they said nothing or turned on their heels and walked out, another Doctor literally threw a bag of anti-depressants at me before he turned on his heels and walked out, and they weren’t even the worse that I had to deal with.

The truth is that medicine cannot help everyone but unless we try all options available to us, we run the risk of suffering needlessly. My experiences may be totally different from those who have the same conditions that I had because our bodies do not respond in the same manner to identical treatments. I think the majority of us would feel better if we were told by a Doctor that not all conditions are treatable. Sometimes the patient does need to accept the cure of what is wrong with them lies in our own behavior and as such when we change the behavior we will get better.

In my own case,when I accepted for myself that I had tried what was available with limited to negative success, it was time that I took control over my own condition and accepted it was simply up to me to make the best of what I could do for myself. I was smart enough to stay away from those who make adjustments to the spine,or chiropractors knowing that any kind of adjustment could cause a spur to injure my spinal cord and lead to paralysis and other complications. Ice packs and heating pads can often relieve more pain than can narcotics. Slowing down what was my normal activities and accepting disability became my best treatment. After that I learned, “If it hurts, stop or find another way to do the same.

There are great Doctors, good Doctors, and there are pathetic Doctors, but only three out of about 13 that I saw in total, who I could recommend and do often. I’m sure they are all good in their fields when they can make a difference in a person’s life, and they all do make a difference in the lives of others.The one that I resent the most was considered the best in the State before he got caught prescribing himself too many drugs and got disciplined for it, soon after treating me. I’m sure as an Orthopedist surgeon he did save a great deal of pain in others, I just don’t like being lied to by anyone.

The Best Doctor is always the Doctor each of us have the most confidence in as a Doctor, and who does his homework and remembers our condition and is not afraid to discuss the differences we are experiencing. I have never had a Doctor ask me how my back problems started after the initial diagnosis, other than the Doctor who did surgery on me. He was leaving to go on vacation the next day and delayed it until after he did surgery on me. A doctor can be 98% of any cure, because many times all a patient really needs in order to get better is time, and a Doctor they believe in. Doctors are no different from any other human being as either we connect with them or we don’t.

The better they are sometimes the worse their bedside manner is as when they are great they often are over-worked. They don’t bother me nearly as bad as those who put their own egos before the diagnoses or refuse to say they don’t know when truly they don’t or withhold information that I pay for in order to know the results.

I have always believed if I was a man seeing male Doctors, which they all were themselves, I would have been treated much differently, even though I understand they get frustrated too when they can’t help a patient. If I asked for information or complained too much about my back or shoulder that is greatly affected by the stenosis in my neck, the standard practice was to change the subject and order a mammogram or a pap smear to be scheduled.

That would ultimately take on a whole life of its own with diagnoses and treatment becoming totally disgraceful by the treatment of me by two doctors. I will spare the details as that part of my anatomy is not affected by problems of the spine and that is what this post is about along with my going through a history of unanswered questions.

I do know, intellectually, it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway if the original Orthopedist had of accepted the Neurologist’s finding of a herniated disc instead of throwing it out and it could have been much worse if the spinal stenosis was primary to the herniated disc in the first place. At this point I doubt I ever find out which came first the herniated disc that blew or the spinal stenosis.

Many more problems with many other discs bulging and herniating, followed by bone on bone and wearing down of the vertebrae, as well as spinal stenosis in my neck did follow my initial problems with the original herniated disc and the Lumbar stenosis. While spinal stenosis in the lumbar or low back region is most common with older adults it can also appear in the neck or right below the neck.  Many Doctors who practice a lifetime will never see a patient like myself who has spinal stenosis in both the low back and neck.

If Spinal stenosis was a primary cause and they had done a spinal infusion surgery and my back continued to drop as it has I could have possibly have been worse off. On the other hand if the herniated disc that burst, because I was told I did not have a disc problem so therefor didn’t know it burst, and it was the cause of everything else that followed perhaps I did have a chance through surgery. Through my own experiences and self- education I eventually understood, years later, when I blacked out that I blew the disc.

I was experiencing seizures, dizzy spells and sciatica in both legs but it was all being explained away by Doctors and the Physical therapist, so it was just more of the same to me at the time, when I did blackout. I was told I was getting up too fast when I could hardly move or sit up or they questioned if I had a back problem at all. Ultimately it led to treating me with prednisone and anti-depressants and telling me it was psycho-somatic but they knew it hurt. Back surgery itself comes with its own complications and many different types of back surgeries have been attempted with mixed results. Men reverse the table over women in these endeavors, and often pay the higher price for back surgeries that fail, since they are viewed as being less emotional than women, so I don’t know,myself, if I would have been better or worse off either way.

I have always been glad that they did nothing to worsen my back after the initial assault on it, by trying a surgery that would most certainly have failed later, and recognize their Hippocratic Oath as Doctors demands they do no harm. It is questionable if with holding information the patient is entitled to does not do more harm than good. Some people want to hear the truth where others wish to remain in denial. I was so clear that I needed answers in the beginning but did eventually quit asking as I knew it fruitless to even try, and by then the damage was done. I pretty much forget about the resentment until I hear some kind of foolish statement made.

My resentment certainly does not control my life since I do not hold grudges or carry a desire to get even and understand Doctors are human and we all do have our own share of win and loss records, but I’m not willing to deny that I will carry a tinge of resentment until I die, either.

To this day the only explanation I have ever gotten by the medical profession excludes all Doctors as to what spinal stenosis is, or what I was dealing with, or if spinal stenosis is primary or secondary to the herniated disc. I don’t even get call backs from Doctors on my MRI results after I have them ran, other than from the Dr. who did surgery.

Sometimes an office staff would call but mainly I had to call several times just to talk to a nurse. At this time in my life it became clear to me that any tests done on my back were simply ran to update my records as little to nothing changed in my treatment. When I asked questions I got a lot of, “I haven’t got a report back yet’, “the report was very sketchy”, or “the results are on the Doctor’s desk and he hasn’t read it yet.” They shared any other tests I had ran but never on my back.

When I called the Dr., who ran the cat scan initially and left the truth out about his own error, to ask him what my spinal stenosis was, a nurse told me he was busy but she could tell me it was calcium in the vertebra which really was the same as telling me nothing, since all arthritis of the spine involves calcium. The biggest difference is if it is outside or inside the spine. I actually appeared at the home of another Dr. and demanded knowing the truth to only be told to talk to the Dr. who refused to tell me the truth or to return my call.

Needless to say even I knew it was time to switch my entire team of Doctors, at this point, and it led me to a Doctor who is on my list of three and to the surgeon who will always remain number 1. Any questions I have, he answers, if I am smart enough to ask the right one and he has called me, personally himself, as late as 10:30 at night to discuss the results of testing I’ve had done. He doesn’t volunteer any information but he doesn’t leave me hanging with unanswered questions either.

I don’t ask him if my spinal stenosis is secondary or primary to the herniated disc because I know since he was not my Doctor of record he couldn’t nor would he be able to answer it. The damage is done and that won’t ever change nor will it give me back my young adult years. I feel Blessed that I refused to give up and have a long-lasting marriage, raised successful children, and have bright grandchildren, all of whom I love dearly.

It isn’t that I am a Pollyanna but more of a realist. I accept the fact that Doctors, like the general population do make mistakes. Some of them may think they are infallible but they are no different from the rest of us. If it didn’t happen to me it could have happened to some one else less equipped to deal with it and we always had great insurance coverage.

When ever it gets really difficult, I often ask, “If  not me then who?” and feel greatly relieved that my loved ones have not had to go through it as I have. My thinking wasn’t always so generous initially, but now that I made it through it, I’m pretty much grateful. I doubt I could have ever learned gratitude to the depth that I have, if I hadn’t of gone through it. It is true, “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Since I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy, however, I am writing this post in hopes of sparing someone else and to tell you how important it is to take it easy with your backs, when they are hurting. Walking not lifting is the best exercise of all.

It was the responsibility of those who I dealt with in the beginning to be honest with me and when I was aggressively seeking answers to have had the decency to just sit down and explain to me what the effects of spinal stenosis would consist of, what it actually involves, and what happened that my back deteriorated so quickly that it was too late to do anything about it before I even celebrated my 40th birthday.

Through educating myself over the years I no longer need an explanation as I pretty well know by now what happened and why I am disabled. I had at my own disposal the symptoms that followed and I could track each with the knowledge that existed in Medicine at the time.

The after facts of being ignored and lied to however still remain and Instead of my questions being answered they either went ignored or I was left to research on my own in order to determine why I felt the pain I did and what led to the results I was dealing with, over the years. Even I know, I did receive pathetic treatment because the Doctors got their egos in the way and refused to say at least, “we don’t know”, or refer me to references to check out for myself.

As I mentioned previously, at that time there was very little information on the internet about spinal stenosis. I had symptoms effecting my entire body due to the drugs that often flared up other body systems as well as my spine and I had to discover which was spinal stenosis and which was drug related since no one ever did tell me my entire body could be systematic of the injury to the spine.

There certainly was never any listing of Congenital stenosis at the time I was researching or much of any explanation of someone my age having so many problems. I almost hoped it was mental because I always had the attitude, “Id rather be dead than in a wheelchair,” and if it was mental I had more hope than I had if it was physical, was my thinking at the time although I have reversed the same by now.

When I looked up stenosis it spoke about blockage of the heart. Spinal Stenosis was very scarce to non- existent and when I did find something it was pretty much the same as I got from the nurse and one sentence. Our local library had nothing so I bought books along with a medical dictionary and started looking. Today it is quite easy to gain information on spinal stenosis on the internet.

I end this then by again stressing that what I suffered at a young age is more of a rarity in backs than a regular thing but I also want to stress that care of a back is extremely important as are the answers to what we can do to help prevent further damage is, when we are fortunate enough to get the answers we need. If nothing else, remember to always lift with the knees and not the back and if it is heavy let a lift do the work.

Most back pain, especially in someone as young as I was, is only because mankind began life on all fours before they evolved to the upright position and as a result most backaches are because the human back was not designed for the upright position. (I Know this Science drives those who throw Evolution out– mad:) The majority of back pain can be easily treated and does not require surgery. It is important to listen to our own bodies because pain is a warning sign, and I write this as a reminder for those of you who ignore it, as I did.

For all others who are dealing with a future that may or may not lead to physical disability, I hope you read my long post entitled “Matt Roloff And Owning Disability,” and in doing so you can gain a nugget or two of inspiration or perhaps learn from my mistakes, when my own common sense failed me.

I had no intentions of making this or my other post on owning disability as personal as I have, but if someone else recognizes themselves in my behavior or treatment, and I can help you avoid the pitfalls I fell into with self-doubts, I gladly share my own personal story. Have a good day or do something that works for you if the rest of the day sucks.

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When disability becomes a part of our life as children we often see much in the make-up of the child who fights for a normal ability to function, we admire.  Parents who refuse to let their children feel sorry for themselves or to give up and quit are often Blessed with the results of an adult who lives a normal life and succeeds beyond the ability of many able-bodied adults.

Without knowing Matt Roloff, personally, I have no doubts that this Blessing was bestowed on Matt  as a child and his family.  When Matt struggled through a hundred surgeries as a child and a “little Person”, to fit into a “Big World” he not only showed himself and his family he could excel but we also became accustomed to watching him on reality television, do the same.

What Matt is now dealing with as an older adult is entirely different from what he dealt with as a child and as a disabled adult myself, I can almost feel his frustrations and doubts interfering with his enjoyment and expectations for himself in his life. Although Matt needs to re-invent his own abilities again, not too unlike he did as a child, it no longer is instinctual in an older adult the same way it is a child. After having spent years fighting against the idea he was disabled it must be just that more difficult for Matt to acknowledge that he now is disabled and nothing will change that fact, not even denial.

it is not always the disabled person who remains in denial but our loved ones who refuse to show us the respect we deserve in knowing our own abilities and limitations, who also go into denial. Too often we are treated as though we cannot make a decision for ourselves without it becoming a matter of family debate. There are emotional limitations involved in disability as to what we want to share with others along with the physical limitations. Many of us have become accustomed to hiding our feelings when they have been hurt by outside influences or attitudes, because we do not want family to worry. On some days of the year we can do more than on other days, and a great many families cannot appreciate the difference as those of us who are disabled can.

It is always a real rush for me to go into a casino over feeling like I am on display in other arenas so of course the release of endorphins or the thrill of being as normal as anyone else when I am sitting at a slot machine does improve my ability to get around over doing something that otherwise I know I can never fit in with or compete with, without feeling like a sore thumb.

On the opposite end of the spectrum of disability,too often we are viewed as the strong one, mom or dad will always be there for us, or family has become accustomed to our making the decisions and it becomes extremely frustrating when they go into denial about our disability and refuse to listen when we do try to level with them. Others will shut us out of their lives entirely as they view us as being incapable of handling the truth if it is bad news.

So in short, it is not uncommon when the disabled are both disregarded for their abilities when they are capable of doing more or understanding what others are going through, just as we are often ignored when we do require help. Both can be exhausting to those of us who are often disabled to have to constantly explain or deal with, so many times it is simply easier to avoid those venues that seemingly require repeating the same information over and over again, up to and including Doctors’ offices.

Too often families, not unlike the general population,  will believe that disabled people are faking to get out of work or family involvement because if disabled children can turn disability into ability then so should adults be able to do the same.  As a young person afflicted in early adulthood with a disease, more commonly seen in older adults, I too believed that disability was only a part of the vocabulary of people who refused to try.

There are two kinds of spinal stenosis. Congenital stenosis, although rare most commonly shows up in ages between 30 and 40 and still is a mystery and relatively unknown, but is seen in individuals who are born with it and even minimal changes from aging can lead to severe spinal stenosis. I was 32 when I first experienced pain from stenosis. It can never be predicted or prevented and is seen in all body types and often goes misdiagnosed. Acquired stenosis is more commonly seen in 60 year olds and due to disc herniation’s and wear and tear of the aging process. Although disc herniation can lead to spinal stenosis at varying ages. My mother had Scoliosis as a child and there have been studies that do show birth defects of the spine can present themselves in off spring.

Although I agree with you, that there needs to be a special place for those who judge our pain as nothing more than ,”punishment from Satan”, This opinion should never deter us from seeking out options available to us. When I heard, ” What was a sincere expression told me and I could spare my pain by praying for my soul to be taken from the devil,” I must  have had a look on my face that no one ever wanted to see again, as the same person never expressed it to me again even though she sincerely thought she was helping me. We often hear, “Such and such was in real pain. She/he got paid back for everything they ever did wrong.”

I do believe in the power of prayer but not because people who suffer chronic pain suffer, because we lived such bad lives that the Devil has set up residence in our souls.  It’s hard for me to even understand that Christians could even think such a thing since Christ suffered much more than we do, through Crucifixion. Pain does not come from bad deeds but rather from disorders in all of our own bodies brought on by injury or disease.

We must always discount the theory that pain is as a result of Satan’s  punishment for obvious reasons to most of us but also since we already know that finding is based on ignorance. ” Bad things do happen to good people,” and when we accept that as our own reality we can move on.

Many in the medical profession believe that there is no physical pain but only pain due to emotional pain.  In short all physical pain exists only because of unresolved emotions and these doctors understand we do feel physical pain, because of this. None of us can deny that pain and emotional upset are greatly intertwined but those who accept the above need to be aware of the problems that arise when they try to simplify pain and those who suffer when they do.

Many times patients will be accused of being hypersensitive to pain, malingering, or worse yet, blamed for being responsible for their own pain even when medical tests show numerous causes present as to why a person is suffering, before a Medically trained Doctor will acknowledge their own limitations to understanding pain. When hindsight shows that the testing results showed the problem but was miss-read or went undiscovered by the abilities present at the time, we will rarely be told the same or will it always become a matter of our medical record, if it does happen.

Why some people do not feel pain or can tolerate pain better than the next has sometimes simply been dismissed for the above reasons of hypersensitivity, malingering, or self-induced by those who do feel a great deal more pain and discomfort.As medicine learns more many times it also learns the frailty in previously long held beliefs in medicine. When Doctors refuse to leave their own egos out of a diagnoses the results often makes these diagnosis, incomplete or in some cases dangerous.

It is often too simple to place the blame for pain on an inadequacy within the behavior or weight of the patient. If every person who was over-weight or smoked were responsible for every disorder that exists in medicine, then we would all eventually have the same diseases and disorders because we would all be afflicted as smokers or in association to second hand smoke. Why some are afflicted and others aren’t still remains a mystery in medicine.

None of us deny that to quit smoking and to lose weight are both sound advice in the principles of the treatment of pain but to discount the ability to burn calories or that weight lost often requires complete fasting in those whose movement is limited and the soothing effects of smoking to calm the nerves in people who do suffer pain, is also often overlooked by those who are too quick to dismiss their own role in the treatment of the patient.

Too often the stability of the patient living in pain is dismissed by the urgency of those to add more discomfort through cessation of smoking and weight lost, by those who refuse to understand that underlying causes for the continuation of pain are present to the point when the patient can do both, the suffering does not cease.

In many cases pain can actually increase due to muscle spasms after the cessation of smoking and flu-like symptoms. When a patient does lose as much as a 100 pounds and feels little to no relief in pain, lost of hope or feelings of abject failure in the patient who does struggle to accept society’s’ judgments and lack of understanding along with that of the medical profession, itself, can often occur.

When drugs are introduced to replace the effects smoking had to relax muscles and pain, or when marijuana is denied for religious reasons, many times the drugs introduced as replacements, can be equally destructive through the damage they cause with increased problems that add to further discomforts. Doctors have known for years that both cortisone and narcotics can lead to kidney and liver failure, onset diabetes, as well as other pain treatments can cause cancer, but not all Doctors do advise their patients of the side effects prior to giving injections or the starting of treatment.

Many times when this does happen our complaints go dismissed as being normal for the drug we are taking, and in other cases denied, while other times another drug is simply added to compensate for the discomfort being caused by other prescribed drugs, when a patient is successful in stopping smoking. Perhaps in knowing this then, we ourselves can learn to be more tolerate, in knowing those who suffer from chronic pain often need to consider just how much of their health or life is being spared by treatment for pain, especially when the effectiveness of narcotics do wear off and often requires heavier doses in order to gain relief.

Other times because of the lack of understanding by many in the medical profession when it does come to drug re-actions or inter-actions patients health can become life threatening very rapidly. Too often, we the general public will accept a cocktail of drugs to relieve pain without questioning the harmful effects of the drugs when we do quit smoking, believing in doing so we are prolonging our own life but in truth we can be limiting it even further.

It often becomes true when in an attempt to treat one system of the body we often worsen or increase symptoms in another system of the body, that does require treatment as well, so there are really never any easy solutions for those of us who do suffer chronic pain when surgery fails or becomes too complicated to attempt. It is an equally frustrating choice for many Doctors to have to make, but almost all will tell us they prefer the drugs they prescribe over that of smoking either cigarettes or marijuana.

When the pain is so great that many of us are totally over-whelmed with living another hour of the same discomfort the great majority of us will need to take almost anything to get relief and suffer the consequences later, no differently from anyone else who is not seeking martyrdom. When this happens we are all very grateful that any drugs are available to treat pain that breaks the threshold that many of us cannot stand to live with for another moment.

Those who have not been exposed to smoking or do not have weight problem histories during pregnancy or childhood or later in life have no better guarantee of avoiding disability or death than those who do. Many of us, who have never learned to question test results or Doctors, and suffer chronic pain know ourselves, we will almost always accept the Doctors’ diagnoses and question ourselves instead.

When we are told, “it is our own fault”, it is not uncommon for those amongst us, who do receive poor medical opinion, to add to our own physical pain which also can be due to other yet undiagnosed problems such as: circulation problems, infections, joint deterioration, muscle or ligament tears, irritations, undiscovered poisonings and viruses, swelling due to inflammations or compromised nerves, or other injuries, when we haven’t yet been fully evaluated or there are causes yet hidden in normal testing or unknown by the medical profession, itself.

By believing it is our own fault we too many times will add to our own suffering by pushing ourselves beyond our own tolerance levels, go into denial when we do feel changes more severe taking place, and ultimately increase the pain already present and cause further damage to our own bodies or in other cases fall into a depression so great that emotional or mental problems do become greater than the physical pain that existed prior to the diagnoses of it being, “our own fault.”

When any of this does happen we do end up proving the wrong diagnoses made previously to be a correct diagnosis, because sometimes it is an easier explanation to accept. It is easier for some of us to believe that we can prevent our own disability since it is our own fault than it is to accept that we will live with the unknown and with an unknown cause that we have no control over.

When we and our Doctor refuse to understand there are many causes of pain yet undiscovered by medicine, just as there are many disorders yet diagnosed, we all run the risk of further suffering. Just as an example of that; the medical profession blamed ulcers on people who worried too much for centuries, before they discovered that ulcers are as a result of viruses and not of emotions.

Although there are many diseases that disable going back to the cavemen, when life expectancy was only 40 and before couch potatoes, obesity, and junk food, mankind was wearing out their own bodies and it often led to arthritis. Arthritis today is still the number one cause of disability amongst the population and can effect those as young as in their teen years. The remains of the caveman shows arthritis as the only disease present as the cavemen or the hunters would often need to travel miles in pursuit of game and berries that constituted their main diet and carry heavy loads often on their backs.

To relieve pain they chewed on tree bark and it would not be until the 1800’s that aspirin would be discovered followed by steroids in the 1930’s, which was then thought of as the real panacea to treat inflammation caused by joint deterioration. In the 1950’s and 1960’s Tylenol and n-saids were introduced to treat fevers and pain followed by the cox-2 inhibitors. Pharmaceutical companies continue to try to come up with drugs to re-place those that can be life threatening and each time new hope abounds with limited results.

Poke a perfectly happy baby, who has no emotional baggage, with a needle and they will cry. We can use the same analogy when a dog is kicked or we accidently step on their tail or foot and they yelp, even though dogs rarely show they are in pain. Pain can more often be as a result of real physical pain prior to emotional upset or mood changes and until the medical profession understands pain better people will continue to suffer despite all the advances already made in the Science of medicine.

Too little is known about the human body and especially the central nervous system for the medical profession to be 100% correct in many of their diagnoses and especially in all cases of physical pain, even though they know all pain is transmitted through neurons that run to and from the brain. Pain can neither be seen or measured by the medical profession to date.

Once we accept to be labeled by a diagnosis is a serious flaw in the convictions of those who do judge, for too many amongst us, the sooner we will all understand those who do think as they do and must make a diagnosis on limited knowledge, can sometimes help hinder our own ability to move outside of what is normal for the majority rule as well. The more Doctors do understand about the differences in the make up of each individual person they treat, the more they will no longer need to use generalities or statistics to reach diagnosis.

For now Doctors can only reach a diagnosis based on their best educated belief or guess and hold that belief to be true for all of us, in the exact same way.  Medicine is leap years away yet from individual diagnosis becoming our reality, since no two people’s bodies behave identical to each other’s, much in the same way no one shares the exact same DNA.  Not even identical twins will respond to treatment in the exact same way. For now they can only apply what they know to be true about majority views to all of us. 

The study of medicine is making greater in-roads into discoveries of the human body almost monthly and in the study of genes science offers greater hope to all of us that very well may lead to individual diagnosis and new hope for treatment of disease. I do not want to mislead my readers into believing that medicine does not already have far greater knowledge than it has ever had at any other time in history, but rather to make it clear that as far as medicine has advanced there is still much yet to discover. At the same time The diagnosis now held by some Doctors does carry weight in some people and medical cases but to attempt to simplify all pain by brushing all of us with the same brush, is to discount the causes of pain that are yet unknown.

As is typical  for the great majority of us, we usually fail to understand the differences amongst us, until and unless we experience those differences through the experience of living them.  We often hear people complain about handicapped parking and ramps being built, at tax payer’s expense, even though able-bodied people use them for baby strollers, walk ways, or their own conveniences of loading and unloading heavy items, without the majority of people even noticing the same.

Unless we are truly disabled by paralysis too few people understand or want to understand that pain can often be a greater deterrent to understanding the lost of normal functions, than is paralysis. The paralyzed are accepted by others to be limited in what they can do, and they too often suffer pain but they many times will get much greater help, attention, and understanding that is required for their needs while the same goes lacking in chronic pain sufferers. This is not to say their limitations aren’t far greater than most of us who do suffer from chronic pain, as we all will acknowledge.

Chronic pain sufferers, on the other hand, are expected to force themselves against or through the physical pain that even their own bodies resist, often without any understanding or help from those who fail to notice our plight or refuse to believe it. The pain levels vary amongst the disabled according to the ability to tolerate pain varies, and their responses to drugs vary, so no one should know better than the person who suffers pain what those abilities or limitations are, including the medical profession as well as our loved ones. We do need to force ourselves through acute pain that often follows joint replacements or  will be relieved following surgery, according to the advice of the medical profession but chronic pain that cannot be treated is different from acute pain that will remit with treatment and time.

When across the counter medicine like Tylenol, Alieve, Anacin, Motrin, or Aspirin treats the pain in many, then too many feel these pills can also treat the pain that is part of a normal day in those disabled by chronic pain. As we age the body also ages and when assaulted with surgeries, torn ligaments, many different kinds of injury, or simply over worked in our youth, the body quits functioning as we age and what we once could do or what is normal in the rest of the population, who neither experienced these assaults to the body or inherited genetics for the diseases, becomes more prevalent in those of us who did.

Aging of the joints and tissue scarring or injury catches up to us, as we get older, and  prevents people from functioning normally through pain that is no longer eradicated with across the counter drugs or our body becomes numb and stiff until it becomes impossible to move past the stiffness unless we do use aids such as canes or crutches to assist us until the muscles finally get the message from the brain to move again.  It is no longer as it was in childhood when the joints could learn to adjust to what was normal for untrained joints or muscles. The majority of people do understand this happens in the older generations but few understand that it also occurs in the younger generations, Doctors included in too many cases.

When the body is still young enough to with-stand the assault of  diseases or injuries there are still adjustments that can be made to forgiving muscles and joints that become impossible for the older body to do.  Too few Doctors will treat pain effectively in the younger people who suffer from chronic pain so many people do function beyond what would be pain too great for the majority to bear, themselves. It is too easy for those who have no idea of the pain levels that are present in the young to judge those who have not lived a life in pain, to adjust on the same levels as those who have. When we are young we can stand just about anything in our efforts to form normal day to day’s functions.

Sadly after all these years, there still is not very much of anything that is effective towards pain treatment other than narcotics whose addiction to the same can destroy our life sometimes greater than the pain itself, can. What I see Matt Roloff struggling with in his ability to keep up with the family or upset because the family doesn’t want to do the things he can do, is a very normal part of the frustrations that those of us who deal in disability eventually, some sooner than later, will have to deal with when we do accept disability.  Even Doctors who have seen the damage with the MRI of each of us will suggest that we get down on the floor and play with our children or grandchildren when they should know both are humanly impossible in the disabled.

Disability due to pain, when we view it as a new adventure instead of an end to a way of life, can bring all of us a greater appreciation to explore new avenues that were not even part of our thinking before.  It certainly, when viewed through the eyes of positive thinking, should bring with it a new hope of self-discovery and appreciation.  If we need help we will need to humble ourselves and ask for it.  This definitely isn’t the habit of many of us before we became disabled as too many of us have actually helped wear out our own bodies by insisting we do it ourselves.

Many times through asking another for help  we truly do learn to appreciate someone else more than we would have otherwise.  I see that appreciation in the hearts and minds of so many disabled people, myself included, when we view the world through the eyes of the disabled. On the other hand we cannot become so helpless that we leave the people who love us most feeling like they are real Pollyanna’s either, by insisting they give up their abilities and wants for our own needs and wants.

This is not to say, it can also take years of trial and error to get through the bitterness that we often feel when we are forced into letting go of what has been our dreams, plans, and hopes for decades, either. This often effects our loved ones as much as it does us and as a disabled person we need to listen to them when they express their needs and wants as well, without feeling hurt when they share their honesty with us. The more negative we are or the more negative or toxic people are who we surround ourselves with, the more difficult it can become following acceptance of disability.

The judgments of others and not being heard by those who need to listen are many times much harder to deal with than is the physical pain that does exist. Some of us can be the greatest pains our self, along with being extremely difficult people who others will have to deal with and when and if we are, professional help needs to be sought out by both the disabled and caregivers as too many care givers will take the bad moods often caused by pain, frustrations, and/or drugs more personally than they are intended to be, from the chronic pain sufferers amongst us.

What I discovered totally on my own is I could do much of what I had done before but by doing it differently.  When I could no longer stand for any length of time I used a portable light weight stool that I could carry myself; when I could no longer run distances I got a power chair, that could go at pretty good speeds and a custom van with a lift and one I could drive, myself; when I could no longer walk very far I got a scooter that could be broken down and was fortunate enough to know I had a husband with me that would put it together so I could at least do some things I enjoyed doing from the past, yet.

I got a 4 inch piece of foam rubber cut when no bed was any longer comfortable to lay down in and when I could no longer lay down to sleep at night, I began taking my comfortable chair from home with me along with the 4 inch foam rubber pad, when we were planning on extended stays in the same area. If we do not have back problems before we try to sleep in a hospital like bed, the majority of us will have after we do, so I forgot about getting a hospital-like bed. I had,”been there and done that,” with early hospitalizations and since with minor surgeries and know from experience just how uncomfortable these beds are to people who do have back problems. I also avoid lazy boys knowing full well the damage they do to a spine at rest. Maintaining the curve in our spines for as long as possible is always important and it is often lost when we spend time in a lazy boy. An upright chair, such as a wing chair and foot stool is always preferable.

When I could no longer stand up to shower I got a shower stool and a hand held shower head and when that became obsolete, I had a walk-in tub and spa put in. I thought ahead to my possible inability to step up into the walk-in tub and if I ever needed to rely entirely on the wheel chair, I would need a wheel-in-shower installed, so I had that put in with the walk-in-tub.

If I may, I will get off track for a moment and offer my own response to those who have pre-conceived ideas against the disabled and in regard to your money paid out in taxes going to benefit the disabled. Not all of us do file workmen’s compensation claims or hire lawyers in an effort to get something for nothing. Many of us are as repulsed, as you are, when it comes to “ambulance chasers”.

Disability payments are not filed on our behalf or by many of us whose spouse’s income is above what entitles people to file for the same, but I do appreciate the need of the people who require help to be able to do so. In cases where the main bread winner is disabled or the income barely stretches to maintain a family, which is almost always, the need for worker’s compensation or disability claims do become the difference between a roof over our heads or living on the Streets no differently from those who qualify.

Unlike popular belief, none of what I was able to do to maintain my own independence is provided for by the government or the tax-payers for the needs of the disabled. Without private insurance that pays for some small amounts of this, or our own funds, many people who can take care of their own needs but do not have the funds,have been left dependent on the mercy of others, when it would be so much cheaper to allow people with disabilities independence through government subsidies and to live in their own homes. Obama care can help but even it does not go far enough. Many older people do have good mental responses well into their 90’s, yet.

Private Insurance will pay for a small amount of these needs where as Medicare won’t pay for a disabled person to remain independent,which makes no sense at all as these are often greater needs of the elderly than the young, in the majority of the cases.

The money that we have paid into Social Security would stretch much further, if people in general, did not view people with physical disabilities as being incapable of living alone and instead analyzed our ability or lack of ability to reason and make rational decisions for ourselves, on individual bases.

Many disabled people are very capable of living in our own homes and making decisions for ourselves. Hiring a little help from home help services, which Medicare does pay for, will often take care of the needs of independent disabled people. I gained new appreciation for the needs of the poor, who do not have the same advantage of funds as I had. I know the poor who neither splurged with funds they never had or were given the same advantages I had, needs all of us.

Returning back, before I digressed off of the subject I was on, when I was still a young adult and in total confusion from primarily misdiagnosis, I began a journey to find other family members who suffered as I was suffering.  In doing so I discovered that the personality that drove me to over-use my own body was prevalent in the family history I was born into.  I also discovered many misdiagnosis in my father’s family that were made prior to the MRI when it came to stenosis of the spine being present, whether they ever smoked or not.

Since it isn’t an interest of many young people, even I became amazed that it would be part of my make-up to want to discover the roots of previous generations.  I spent a number of years doing the ancestry of both mind and my husbands families. In doing so, it led to a love of research, history, politics, and antiques that had always been present in my interests but not developed further by me.  I found I enjoyed oil painting, even though I could not draw.  I did my own research on stocks until I realized that the stock market is primarily the territory of large investors, who even though it goes denied, do get insider trading tips.  I finally had the time to become an avid reader, which was something I never had time for before my life became more limited.  Writing has always been more the natural calling of my children over my own, so I was surprised when I too enjoyed writing.

The capabilities that exist in all of us, that often go unfounded in us, are available for the doing once we do understand what does makes us the person we are. The list of what we can do with disability is only limited by our own lack of imagination, when we finally do accept just how healthy change is to all of us and our own personal growth. Too many able-bodied people never do take the time to learn or to gain the same knowledge for themselves, that we are fortunate enough to learn because of disability.

I finally accepted that no one on a white horse or wearing a white coat would ride by and discover a cure or effective treatment and in knowing this through both false hope and false starts, I knew if I was going to find personal satisfaction as my body failed me, I needed to take control over my own cure.  The pain did not go away but instead of fighting against the pain by refusing to give up the normalcy of what had been my life I was able to lessen the pain by doing less to aggravate the same through living a different lifestyle. When I got together with able-bodied people who I was never going to be able to keep up with or fit into their conversation or activities, it would be my own responsibility to deal with the same. I did, just as an alcoholic must. I found it necessary to draw on my own courage to remain my own best friend rather than to be reminded by others the lack of my own capabilities. It was not fair of me to limit their activities anymore than it was fair of them to insist I join theirs’

It didn’t mean I couldn’t still travel and see my kids and grandkids and have family gatherings but it did mean I could ill afford to expect them to understand feelings that I would never have had if I had not experienced disability myself.

I still have moments I feel sorry for myself and feel others can be extremely insensitive and feel it the most the more time I spend around able-bodied people, but hopefully through the joy of being able to live another brand new life of challenges and adventures, I do not drag my loved ones down with me.

I still feel moments of resentment that very little is available to treat pain in a disease that has existed through out the ages and in my own failure to understand that the human body is not indestructible. Having grown up with a father who had back problems and watching him to continue to work hard, little did I know that inherited family disorders often show up in the next generation earlier than it does in the previous generation. At the same time the years of not knowing were the most difficult so I am grateful that I do have an easily diagnosable disability.

Resentment perhaps is the emotion I struggle with the most and I’m sure will battle until I die. I have been Blessed by a wonderfully independent family who help out as needed and ask nothing beyond what I want to give or can do. I unlike so many others am very fortunate in having a family who does deal with the stark honesty I often require, as well as the support I gain from their own independence.

For Amy and Matt Roloff, whom I’m sure have already learned the same, but simply need reminders, and others who are still struggling yet to understand the positive of life following disability, I can assure all of you that we need never to lose hope as we progress ahead with that which changes our lives, or our significant others, or marriage, be it disease or injury. The value of the Roloff marriage just as our commitments’ to loved ones and what commitment really means is just starting, at the point that a loved one along with all of us are forced to accept disability into our lives.

When we can understand after disability the major needs and wants of each person in our marriage or our lives must change, because we want our relationships or marriage to last, and we can respect the rights of all people involved, through genuine compassion we do find the Blessings of having fought for our lives on equal grounds with empathy for our loved ones, is the greatest accomplishment we can ever do, for another. Their are no losers in unconditional love when we all feel we are respected.

The day we get married is not the best day of our lives but rather the day our marriage can last through thick and thin and whatever we get hit with, and we know, “It’s the two of us together who made it, is what matters.” does become the greatest day of our lives. Divorce does not only mean giving up our futures but it also means giving up our past, and nothing is greater than the day we realize how truly Blessed we were to have found each other.

Since divorce rates sky rocket when one in a marriage gets sick or disabled while the other is well and able bodied, we must go into it knowing that disability is not for sissies or quitters. Its a hard road to follow for all people who do care as it changes all of us. It is the day, we know we made it, that the real fireworks goes off. Disability means letting go of old hurts, denial, and grudges with maturity and compromise, compromise and then compromise again, on not just our part but on the part of our loved ones as well. When we fail to forgive we never receive forgiveness in return. Like any relationship, it will never last if one remains nasty while the other remains committed.

As long as we who are disabled look for what is good in our own lives many of us will feel an abundance of possibilities surround us and we never need compare our lives to others nor do we ever have to let go of the fact;  we have tomorrows of all kinds of opportunity and new adventures that we had never before imagined we would enjoy doing, greater from what we had been doing. Let those possibilities begin in all of us today and give them a fair balance with what we believed we wanted, prior to disability.

When we finish our journey and put fear of the unknown behind us, we all can realize what others say or think is only to be pitied as no one will ever know the value of our own strengths more so than we do. While the able-bodied question their own weaknesses we have already,” been there and done that,” and no one need to know the value we place on our own strengths, other than through our smiles, compassion, and understanding we show them. We better than most, as disabled people, must know that getting even can never be part of our behavior or design if we are to find the happiness, all people seek.

No one but ourselves can ever be held responsible for our own unhappiness or happiness unless we wish to remain in a life of misery. There are people who can only be happy if they are miserable and we need to recognize them, if they are a part of our lives. Some people do want a life of sympathy and actually live longer when they get it,but that more than most attitudes, can lead to defeat, in all of us. We do need to know, more than most, the difference between those who want our help because they want to change or are confused, and those who we must let go of because they only want to control us. Just like the alcoholic needs to sometimes distant themselves from the drinkers in their lives in order to give up alcohol, so must we learn to distant ourselves from the opinions of those who wish to “rain on our parade” with constant complaints, restraints, and negativity. We can only make our own lives count by being present in our own life with recognition of our own capabilities and those of our loved ones who have stayed with us. Many times when we do, it will count far beyond all of our own individual expectations!

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As someone who will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary on our next celebration, I can tell you that marriage is not too unlike the steps we take in childhood development.  Marriages that lasts have  periods of passion, angst, arguments, admiration, go through trial and error, sometimes one gives while the other takes but keeping both in perspective by both people will many times reverse itself and ultimately balance itself out.

Marriage is not all bliss and both negative and positive  emotions are very much a part of marriage.  No one should ever go into a marriage feeling arrogance or a need to control their partner.  If either exists then failure is sure to follow. The often quoted, “If Momma isn’t happy then no one is happy” is or should be a misnomer.  Just because momma sometimes feels put upon is not a reason to throw in the towel. Marriage and the commitment to marriage must run as deep as the mutual needs and wants of both partners.

Both people in the marriage that lasts will feel times when they do feel left out of the planning or treated less than their value.  Marriages must allow both time and space for separate interests in both partners to grow and take root just as the commitment to share equally in a marriage needs to remain strong.  None of us will ever get the balance perfectly correct, each time.  The need for mutual respect and sound reasoning for the financial needs and future wants and needs of the couple needs to be weighed by both partners in a marriage.  Financial turmoil  is often reported as the greatest driving edge that leads to divorce.

Commitment to marriage requires becoming each others’ best friend and confidant.  Mama’s boys and Daddy’s girls are often misleading relationships that can sour a marriage before it even has a chance to bond.  If adults are still referring to their parents as Mommy and Daddy after they marry, then an emotional immaturity often also exists.  Turning to parents and clinging to their wants and needs while confiding our marital problems in them instead of discussing our differences with our spouses often is done at the jeopardy of our spouses and is many times a ship wreck of a marriage in the making. When parents die many times these couples who have never discussed their problems or differences together, are left looking at each other wondering why they ever married each other, in the first place. Marriages need early bonding and growth that remains constant throughout the marriage.

Humans make mistakes all the time and that is why marriages go through both the highs and lows that all marriages do go through.  A patient and understanding spouse will often mean the difference between a successful marriage over one of failure. Those of us who think once the passion leaves marriage then the marriage ends are not , in my estimation, giving full consideration to marriage.  If lust is what drives the marriage or is the reason we marry then perhaps we were not ready to marry.  If we marry because we want arm candy or we thought we could change what we didn’t like in the person we dated then the marriage already has failure written all over it.

Before we marry we must set our own standards as to what is or isn’t acceptable behavior and discuss these standards in complete and full detail and understanding of the needs of each of us, together.  If our attraction to each other is intellectual and of mutual respect and consideration, even though we may both stray from time to time, eventually we will find our way back.  Genuine character and intellectual enjoyment mixed with a sense of humor and respect goes a long way in the success of a marriage.  When marriages develop over time we will finish each others’ sentence and settle into a comfortable routine knowing both the good and bad in each other and if we are fortunate enough to enjoy good health or have a committed spouse when our health fails that is what most marriages that last progress to.

People have different ideas of what their marriage will look like as some couples like to travel while others take comfort remaining in their communities and often die never having left it for any reason other than to attend funerals or weddings.  Some wish to climb mountains and seek out adventure together while others prefer separate interests. The important thing to always remember is that at the end of the day that consideration for the needs of both remain equally strong in both participates of a marriage. When couples are allowed to develop space from each other trust also needs to develop in both.

Too much is made of the expectations of love and marriage in storybook detail just as the old “Stand by your man “song has left a sour taste in the minds of too many others, who neither understand the marriage of another or have a right to judge it. If we can each look at our child or children and see the best of both of us in those children or child and know they carry the genes of both of us, our marriages will last.  If we can only see the worse of our mates in our child or children then for their sakes, our marriages should fail.  In homes where there are not off spring and we still remember the reasons we married and still enjoy those moments no matter the cause for debate, our marriages will last.  If we are abused or our lives threatened then we are doing the entire family a disfavor by staying.

If we determine a mate who strays has destroyed the marriage vows and he or she do not wish to return, they not us, have made any decision by us irrevocable.  None of us can determine 100% the character of another and when their character fails to meet the standards that the couple has agreed upon, or they or we enter into marriage under a set of half-truths or lies and the trust issues soon follow, then none of us should ever blame ourselves for the fact that our spouse failed to be less than honest with us.

We can sometime live a lifetime with another person and not know the full value or fault of the person we married. Lies and half-truths make it impossible for any of us to build a foundation of trust on. When only one person or in some cases neither, are willing to take the bad with the good or to commit for life then it is never the fault of the marriage but the lack of honor in the person or persons who refuses to commit to their spouse, that ends the marriage.

Marriage is always and without exception the commitment of two people working together to make their own marriage work in partnership. There should never be such a gap in a marriage between two people so that the opinion of  a third person’s advice over-rules or carries more weight than the opinions held by our spouse in our own marriage, unless their opinion is destructive to us as a person. In some cases both members of the couple can be so stubborn as to not hear what the other is saying and in these cases a good friend or parent can sometimes guide us to a more objective point of view as long as they show our marriage the respect it deserves. Just as we cannot build a house with only one wall we cannot build a marriage with another person when only one person is willing to commit to the marriage.

On the other hand if we think that our mates will never lie to us to cover up for a weakness in them or to spare themselves nagging or harassment then we are not being realistic either.   A wife will often hide a pair of shoes just as a husband will fudge on what he lost playing poker.  Both people’s ideas and opinions most certainly do either change for the worse or grow and become stronger once we learn what commitment truly is over the years.  Many times people with good intentions will find that marriage is much better, just as parenthood is in theory, before we actually put both to practice. We never want to lose sight of the fact that marriages, just like shoes, comes in all sizes, fits the needs and wants of both the people involved and lasts as long as the desire to forgive and to forget lasts.

When marriages are as phony as the false images some couples like to project onto their admiring friends then couples can remain together out of a need to maintain an image.  There are couples who have a greater commitment to making sure they get even with each other even if it means a daily life of unhappiness together.  Not all marriages that last do so for the right reasons. People stay in unhappy marriages while living separate lives due to Religious convictions or out of convenience.  Many times those marriages that appear to be a life of storybook romance are actually a marriage of abject failure behind closed doors. Other times marriages will last because neither have the gumption to get up and leave while others stay for the fortune they have amassed.  Longevity in marriage does not always spell a successful marriage.

In short then, marriages are as happy or unhappy as the behavior, expectations, and personality of the people in them.  When we reach the age of maturity and real commitment, we have no room to doubt or question our choices, and the harder both people involved work towards our commitments the greater our rewards in marriage usually become.  True love grows over the years and has very little to do with the act of sex that often predates the final years of our marriage, but more to do with our compassion and understanding of the needs and the make-up of ourselves and our spouse.

When we can honestly say and believe the happiness of our marriage partner is equal or as great as our own, then we have reached the epitome of a successful marriage.  Sadly, we do find couples who do not know the full value of their mates, until after they die.  As people we often fall into the rut of taking our lives and each other for granted, and some do fail to realize what is important about their spouse’s happiness, until after they  are gone.  Along life’s way many of us will stumble but it is always the getting up and brushing ourselves off, and starting all over again, that matters as much in the final analysis of both marriage and life. Much is said against marriage but if the majority of us did not believe marriage was the best thing that ever happened in our lives, then so many people would not continue to get married.

Just because, some things may be too great for some of us to forgive and we are very much justified in believing and accepting that knowledge about ourselves, it  may not be for the next person, and to continually to degrade or judge another person’s marriage, as if we are a mean-spirited mother-in-law, is both a waste of our own time and character.  As parents, siblings, and close friends we all do well in remembering just one thing when it comes to the marriage of another, so long as their or their children’s safety is not at stake; MYOB or more rudely put, mind your own business will help the couple more than any other suggestion that we will ever make, even when they cry on our shoulders about their marriages and often over trivial matters. If the complaints prolong to true exhaustion on their or our part then suggesting they  get counseling will usually heal or cure the problem. Have a great day all!

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When was the last time or have we ever taken a hard look at ourselves?  Many felt that candidate Mitt Romney defeated himself in the election because we really did not know the person, Mitt Romney, when his conversations in private were opposite of his public conversation. The young Tea Party members are expressing the fact that they need to be more inclusive of all Americans and talk about it.  Does conversation on a level of rhetoric convince any of us when the actions through their votes deny the same? When Congress holds the middle class hostage as they have for thirty years, in order to make certain the wealthy gain instead, will we believe that they care about all Americans?

Isn’t this true about many of us, in that our conversations are many times opposite of our actions? How inclusive are we in our actions?  When I first moved into the Rural areas or took a new job, and I still find it to be true, many of the people I met were so busy asking me questions about myself, while they failed to tell me much of anything about who they were or are.

When couples meet for the first time many times women will tell men much more about themselves than what men will tell about themselves. Many time a majority of men will talk about what jobs they are studying for or hope to get or they hold,hiking,sports,hunting,fishing,women,working out,or any other subject that does not reveal themselves long before they will reveal personal information about themselves.

In the heading about myself on this blog I reveal nothing about myself but state I prefer to let others define me because in writing anything, we will reveal ourselves.  Too often people will go into denial about the person they feel  they are before they will take an honest look at themselves. Many times if we ask what their belief or philosophies are on important issues of the day, we will many times get back a blank stare before we will get an answer.   Other times we hear, “I really am not interested in that,” “that kind of stuff just makes my mind go numb,” or “I haven’t got a clue about what you are talking about.”  Too many people fail to realize that we should at very least take time out to reflect or know our own philosophy on life in order to understand the person that we truly are and embrace.

If we fail to understand our own belief system and the triggers in our own life, that makes us understand why we react to the outside stimulus of life the way we do, then we too many times will spend a lifetime judging others according to standards we do not practice in our own lives.  Many times we will live beyond our means and makes excuses as to why we do or look down our noses at those who do with less and find much more happiness in life than we do.  Having the courage to look at ourselves on an honest level of really knowing and embracing the person who lives inside of us is what makes us find the joy that we seek.

When our own behavior defies the reality of the person that we are, we leave others feeling as though we are a misguided individual, or brain washed by Society or other people’s philosophy, while we have no clue as to what it is that we truly do embrace.  The 2010 election was a perfect example as to how quickly what we knew about our President Barack Obama, could be turned on lies both against him and against Obama care.  It took too many to finally realize that is was not our President who changed his commitments to us but the lies that we accepted as truth, that turn our views on him.  In the end he won because we recognized that his words matched his actions and as a leader he would fight for our rights.

When we fail to know ourselves then we too many times can be led in life by people who prey on our vulnerability. If we have to ask,”Why am I always attracted to people who are not good for me?” then it is time we discover for ourselves why we have to ask,”Why are we always attracted to the same and what are the triggers in me that makes me continually repeat the same mistakes?” Our friends will make excuses for us and so will our family say things such as,”You are just to kind or trustworthy”, or other answers that actually make us feel better about being attracted to those who prey on us.” When we do not get an honest answer but buy into what others tell us, we keep repeating the same mistakes.

When we learn more about ourselves we often find that we have an irrational need to be needed,or to be made whole by someone else,or there is an insecurity in ourselves that can only be made to feel better by attracting or gathering those who we feel are inferior to us.  When we believe we are better than those who we attract too many times we feed our own false ego in the process. The difference between confident people and insecure people is: that those who do know themselves understand their own weaknesses and strengths and their lives indicate that they live according to their own philosophy of self, over that which has been defined by others.  When I tell my readers that I would rather be defined by others, it is because I am confident in the person that I am and yet aware enough that even with that, people will define me anyway.

It is when we can change and alter our actions according to the words that we speak that we do become the person we want to be.  We do not have one set of standards for ourselves, while holding another set of standards for the clique’s,or the job that we work or the group that we hang with during our free time. When we are true to ourselves then we are true to others as well.

Many times in life we are given tests, or run into road blocks in life, or even marry people that we had no business of marrying.  If we do not reflect on ourselves and what our own tolerances or rejections in life are all about, then too often we will go into denial about the person we are.  We need a clarity of why we react and why we need to fill an emptiness in ourselves with that which is bad for us.  If we do not understand ourselves It will exhibit itself in all kinds of judgement calls against others,acceptance of what we intellectually know and understand to be destructive but we will choose it anyway, and leave us in a state of confusion to the point that we can be led by undesirables.

We heard the word hypocrisy expressed many times during the election year because we did not feel that the candidates spoke on the truth of their own lives and how they have voted or spoken in the past. Too many times the candidates had one set of rules for others while having another set for us, when their own actions betrayed their own words.

When people criticize those who have affairs and gossip about it around the coolers or our coffee table, it is not all that unusual that they themselves have had affairs or will have in the future.  Many times the idea of the same has been entertained, at least in their minds, and by downgrading others that have had affairs, they often feel safe in the words that they speak. This is true about many other things that we tear apart in others as we too often fear,”But for the Grace of God there go I.”

Many of us can and do find hypocrisy in people who will malign others regardless of the conversation because we do know and understand our own strengths and weaknesses, and find gossip such a waste of the precious time each of us are allotted in life.  I personally am bored by such talk because I want to know you and what is your banner that you promote and stand for, or will fight for, and what it is about you that is special.

Each of us,regardless of what others think about us,will find that we are uniquely an individual that is special in an area of expertise that makes us the way we are.  We will also often discover that much of what made us think we knew better than others, is our weak point.  When we know ourselves we leave behind so much of the waste and the distractions that separates us from the joy,that we feel in knowing we are our own person and much stronger and competent that we believed ourselves to be in some cases and in other cases we find a total humbling experience.

Either way it is in knowing ourselves we will not only do what is best for us but we will also do what is best for everyone else as well.  When our actions match our words we do not tolerate bigots nor do we reject the equal rights of others but instead we become more inclusive of the understanding that we are all working towards the same goals in our lives.  Happiness often comes at a price and if we do not seek it through hard work and honesty of self, we often find that we fail it instead of it failing us.

I wish all of us a clarity of self this Holiday Season because we do know and understand that our limits range from the amount we can afford to spend on gifts to the amount of triggers in us that causes us to be upset by other’s rude behavior and words.  It is not wrong to discover sometimes, that it is time to throw the bums out of our lives, and to embrace the Independence in ourselves that makes all of us strong enough to carry the crosses we are asked to bear.  We must understand at the same time, there are triggers in us that causes bad reactions in others and work towards changing those triggers in ourselves, as well.May we all have a Blessed Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

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As Congress looks for and finds blame with their insistence that the deficit be balanced on the backs of the middle class,the students,the elderly,and the poor while refusing to look at the role they play by the continuation of the same, there is plenty going on in our lives that is about us.  While Corporations refuse to hire here but instead send jobs overseas to increase the wealth of its board members, it is about us. When we are not educated to meet the demands of the ever-changing market place it is about us. When weather causes havoc and turmoil in our lives, it is about us.  When we lose loved ones and are left to grieve our lost, it is about us. When others who can afford to do so, refuse to carry healthcare and we get stuck with their healthcare costs with increased premiums because Congress wants to eliminate Obama care, it is about us. With so much in our lives that affects us it is sometimes difficult to understand a lot of other things in our lives is not about us,as well.

Many times things happen around us and unless we understand that “it is not about us”, but rather our response to it, that causes us to get involved and often times it leads to our own pain, we will waste way to much precious time in our lives that will keep us from enjoying life. When a couple divorces to often,if we allow them to drag us into their lives by taking sides, we will end up feeling like we are the loser as well.  If it is a special friend and we take sides while the couple separates, it will to often cost us what we feel is a close friend, if the couple decides to reunite.  Even if we do not take sides but try to help the couple to understand each other, many times they will regret what they confided in us and feel uncomfortable around us because they told us to much about themselves, and too often we lose both friendships, even when they divorce.

The above situation had nothing to do with us but it is when we get involved in other people’s problems that it can become about us unless we realize it is they who have lost a valuable friend in us, and we cannot call ourselves a friend unless we do try to help, that we realize it is not about us but instead all about them.

I had an incidence in my life that took place when I won at the Casino and the person I was treating said,”God let me win because He knew I would be more generous and share than she would have been if she won.”  First of all, I do not believe that God had anything to do with my winning nor does He have anything to do with money.  I think people use the idea that God is in control of every facet of our lives to the point that if we even sneeze that God caused us to, instead of the fact that it was an allergy or cold that caused us to sneeze. I choose to believe that God is with those who suffer and give of themselves instead, since He gave us all free will and helps those who helps themselves. If God was responsible for everything in a person’s life then He would have no time left for those who call on Him in time of need.  My winning was not necessary for me to live,eat,breath, or find joy in my life,nor did my gambling cause us any hardship.I was thrilled when the machine hit, just as all of us are when we win.

I won because I went to the casino, without the other person even being in the same State much less the same Casino, I took the risk that gambling involves, and I chose the right machine at the same time it was ready to pay off.  Any person in the Casino could have put the same dollar amount in as I did and won the same jackpot. Our generous spirit may be a gift from God, as He does reward the generous in spirit ten fold, but my winning at the Casino had nothing to do with God nor the person who said I won instead of her.  We to often in our lives look at other people’s success or failure and think that either has anything to do with us.

We may all make mistakes as parents but once our children become adults they also take on the responsibility for their own behavior and if they allow others to mistreat them or they mistreat themselves,we can not help them if they refuse our help. If they become a success,then they deserve the credit over us because, “It is not about us.”  We can be concerned about them or proud of them but ultimately as adults they do decide what road they travel, with or without our approval.

As their parents,we only have control over our own response to our adult children’s actions and can only offer support when they ask us for the same. To force our beliefs on them robs them of the ability to form their own ideas or beliefs or to accept the mixing of their belief system with that of their spouses. Our adult children, and especially once they marry, need to make their own decisions even when we do not approve of it and they refuse to listen to what we often think is sound reasoning. “Sink or swim” our adult children’s behavior,  is no longer about us beyond our own reactions to it.

The sadder part of life is when our own children, who are not adults, emulate that character flaw in us that thinks everything is all about us, by thinking it is their fault when bullies bully them.  Bullies are made at home by over demanding parents in some cases or by neglectful parents in other cases.  If a child feels defenseless against the parent who thinks they are disciplining but instead the parent makes the child feel like they are  being bullied by the parent or a child cannot find reprieve from their own hurt feelings, many times they will bully others who they feel cannot or will not fight back.  When parents tell their children to hit back they help create another bully on the playground.  When teachers punish both children because they fear the parent of the bully or have not seen who is being bullied then to often it can lead to tragedy.

If we could as a Society tell our children that the anger that is unleashed by the bully is “not about them”,but instead about the home the child who bullies comes out of, then we could begin sitting down and discussing our differences with the bully. When Schools refuse to play a role in the discussion when the bullying takes place on their property, they fail the child who is being bullied by expelling them from school for the equal amount of time they expel the bully. When negative behavior is enforced by negative responses we teach our children that the adults in their lives cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

I had a case,myself, where I thought it might be possible to have an adult conversation with the parent of the bully, but instead the parent went into name calling and telling me it was not her problem when the child I was speaking about did not haul off and hit her daughter back.  It was not about us, but the children that needed to be heard, and it was lost on the mother of the bully.  Teachers run into this same attitude of these same parents, when they do show up but many times it is the concerned parents who show up instead.

We parents first, need to understand that there are people who are going to try to control the circumstances in their own lives by controlling those around them and it has nothing to do with us, unless we demand zero tolerance of bullies in our own homes,schools, or environment and do something about it instead of obsessing over it.  When we make everything about us, and then do nothing but complain we teach our children the same. When worry or inaction is viewed from the seat of children, they learn to tolerate what we have tolerated for to many generations,as being normal behavior. If schools,businesses, or we do not punish small children who bully,or permanently expel people who play on our fear or lack of action, then we all tolerate the bullies and it does become about us. Our children learn nothing through fists or violence but to be violent in return.

Just as there are kind-hearted people, there are mean-spirited people as well. Both types of people will co-mingle in almost any kind of group.  It has been my experience that a majority of men will just consider the source of an insult when issued by a woman, but some will fight it out when it comes from a man.  Not many people look at a fist fight as much of anything other than plain stupidity, so why do we tell our children to do the same?  If we ourselves cannot treat the person as having their own problems and know they treat everyone else the same way, then how can we tell our own children that, “It is not about us, if we do nothing to protect them when we do have supervision over them?”

I ask everyone this Holiday Season to consider what I am saying.  Store policy is not about us but about others who do shop lift or steal.  We may pay for their theft but if we feel that the questions being asked are about us, instead of policy, too often tempers will flare and our children are watching our own performance.  The same is true when someone is rude enough to cut in line; for us to allow someone else to spoil the experience of the Holiday shopping, when,” it is not about us” because we lose sight of the fact,that angry words will never make it right, but instead is a negative response from us who only adds to the chaos, then we understand what our own response does to inflame the problem.  Two wrongs never does make a right.  As Bill Clinton said,”it’s about the math.”

We need to spend more time thinking and communicating civilly if we are going to succeed as a Nation,as parents, or as the person we most want to spend time with during the Holiday Season.  If we ourselves are filled with anger that is spreading all around us,if we are rude to others, if we have a need to control, if we take a bad day out on others around us, if we are mean-spirited, then it is about us.

If we are none of those things, “Then It Is Not About Us.” When we understand the reality of another person’s bad behavior “is not about us”, we refuse to let their bad dispositions destroy our own joy.  If we insist on the opposite, then we are making our feelings dependent on their negative feelings which they are responsible for, and  as adults who said or did nothing to harm them, we are not responsible for their lack of respect.  Everyone will have a bad day but everyone is not entitled to ruin our day unless we give them permission to do so.

Have a good day everyone and enjoy the responses in yourself that you create ,that ARE about you, and let the other things that you allow to destroy your day go. The majority of harm that is done to us as individuals are many times as a result of our own reactions to life and is often created by our reactions to a disagreeable human being, who has their own issues to deal with, without our taking their negativity to heart. Enjoy the Holidays and celebrate!

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Too often I have heard throughout my lifetime, “It is not fair,” or “someone should do something about it,”or similar statements. We all know people who face the most tragic life’s lessons and still keep moving on without ever giving up, but too many of us refuse to accept or acknowledge the fact that there are others who suffer much worse hardships from our own.

There are those who believe,” that they need to do nothing to help others because they already get enough help” or “such and such is lucky” or “never had a problem in their lives.”  It has also been my experience that people who believe this are the first to react the most poorly when they chip a nail or break a heel off of their shoe or their car gets scratched or their tie begins to unravel.

The people who really learn the importance that we place on things is pretty shallow,are those who will be humbled in some way by life and learn from the experience when they do. It isn’t always fair and the suffering is often very real, but it is how we accept or deal with the tragedies of life, that is the real test of mankind.  We can always rebuild things and many times re-heal bodies but if we give up or curse others,the price we pay can and will lead to defeat. Even when we exhaust all possibilities there does come the day that we must accept our own limitations and embrace the factors that make us the person we are, the person we accept. Often times in life we are presented with  re-inventing a new way to live life to its best abilities without making comparisons in life.

I certainly am not suggesting that we do not grieve an important lost of a  home,job,or even health.  What I am saying is that the longer we dwell on the injustice of the same, the longer we ultimately pay a price much larger than what we ever should have had to pay.  When we look at others and say, “they are lucky,” too many times we are being unrealistic about the sacrifices they made in order to achieve their success or giving ourselves an excuse for the fact that we would rather quit, drink beer, or shop than make the sacrifices needed. When we recognize that no one escapes life without a few bruises and some heart ache we realize that the difference is in how they handle or recover from the lost, is what sometimes separates them from us.

The reality is, people who are willing to get back up and dust themselves off following failure or mistakes,which we all will face at some point or time in our lives, will succeed with each time they vow to come back better than ever.  It has to be there in action and without resentment or fear overcoming our determination to move on or to begin again. As long as we have people in our lives we all will either experience the just or unjust.

Anyone of us can be grateful when things are going our way, the difficult part is learning gratitude when we feel that our life is not, by seeking out what is good in our lives.  No one will ever experience a life where they do not have something or someone good in it, unless they flee from it or reject the idea or the person who does support them. Other times it is our own gift of determination and awareness that refuses to give up, that makes us get up and move on. It is when we waste time blaming others that we weaken our own chances to start over again. When we understand the lesson taught us we will reach gratitude in the process, even though our loss may seem insurmountable in the beginning.  Starting over can be the best thing we ever do, if we learn from our past. If we refuse to accept our own role in it, then too often we will fail. It is the price we pay that often becomes our best teacher in life and teaches us gratitude for the lessons learned.

Life often gets down to how we deal with the insignificant that too often gets blown out of proportion. Sometimes we do find people are in the right place at the right time but too often we refuse to accept that it is not a place that we would ever have traveled to or a job we would have wanted or were qualified for taking. People who base everything on the almighty dollar often fail to understand or appreciate the joy found around the table of a family who has food on the table or a person who is content with just having the people in their lives that they do.

Life for most of us is as rewarding as the lessons it teaches us and the price we pay for it. It is when we learn not to repeat the mistakes but to be grateful for the lessons learned that we become comfortable with what we accept as our own success. When we hear people complain that they just never got the breaks another person did, too many times it was under their own feet but they refused to take the next step or  make the right move that would have given them more.

People do determine their own goals early in life.  It does appear that some people make one mistake and pay for it all of their lives while others mess up all the time and end up a success.  We fail to see that each time the person messes up they often learn what will or wont work towards their own goals.  What made the difference is that they were not afraid to start all over again. We all have different ideas of what exactly success is;for some it is wealth but for many others it is being comfortable in their own body by giving more of themselves than what they took  in life.  A proud Father or Mother can find joy in the Children that become adults and in the way they repeat the lessons taught them.  Many will find a warm roof over their head a welcoming step that predicts the success of their lives.  As people we are not all looking for the same ideas or have the same beliefs, but whatever steps we take we have to be willing to learn from them.

What is happening with all the excuses and the blame being passed around in the Conservative movement as well as the Republican Party,following the election, is the same thing that makes them fail to understand their own mistakes.  Unless and until they accept the responsibility for their own failure to hear the majority of voters, they are bound to repeat their mistakes again and again. We can all take a lesson from their failure to take responsibility for accepting their own mistakes and their own out of touch sensibilities to the needs of the people.

My husband and I together began our lives in poverty with him being a student and my working towards paying his tuition right along with his working a part-time job.  What we had together, was an education and it is what opened the door that began our future towards retiring well.  We have been poor and we know how it feels to go without eating because there was no money nor anyone who we would accept help from, if it had been offered.  We had a great deal of pride and determination to achieve over what we had money in our pockets.

We have been lower middle class and upper middle class and will retire comfortably. It didn’t just happen without our going without along the way.  Even today I just buy enough clothes and shoes to cover me.  The biggest waste of money a couple will ever make is on clothing, despite this idea,” that we must dress for success.”  A few good pieces of clothing intermixed with other pieces is all that is really necessary, to “dress for success.” If we do make it to CEO or are CFO of  a large firm, where this makes a difference, the wardrobe will be compensatory in the wages, as well.

As my husband retires and we plan the next journey of our life I know personally that the places that we have lived and the things we have done will take their right of passage just as they indicate the sacrifices we were willing to make. The employers we had that rewarded hard work, parents who taught us how to live morally,and the schools we came from,all figure into the success that we worked for as well as the children we raised into adulthood, who will contribute to the success of their own lives.

We could never have accomplished what we did on our own, as it took finding an appreciative and grateful employer who was willing to reward our hard work.  It took me a lifetime of living with chronic physical pain, while accepting my own limitations but helping others with the problems in life they faced, and the two of us never giving up on our dream. It is about accepting the price we pay in life and not letting it get us down nor spending a moments notice on what someone else had.  As we drive away to explore the next journey in our lives and to once more view the great beauty of America and her people,I pray that we accept what lies around the corner just as we always have. Too many times we let bitterness replace the gratitude for the lessons we should have learned, for the price we paid in living. Be grateful everyone and have a great day!

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I am not writing this post for those of you who are suffering or have done without this Thanksgiving, because if you have been suffering for a while now, most of you are already grateful for the significant things in life, such as food on the table or life itself.  Others may be grateful for electricity being restored or for the Insurance adjuster showing up.  It has been a matter of fact for years now, that the more mankind suffers, the more likely we are to be grateful for the things that others take for granted.

I write this instead for those who are gathering for Thanksgiving and dreading the moment.  There are families who all have that one person, if not two or three, who feel it their yearly obligation.” to rain on our parades.”  We all know them, they will say things like,”Why can’t Mary find a man?”; “Will Johnny ever get a decent job?;”or “Whats wrong with you anyway that you can’t be more like your Saintly sister?; “You know what your brother said about you?”; “I don’t know how your husband or wife can stand you or just the opposite I don’t know how you can stand your husband or wife,”  or why are you so fat when your brothers and sisters aren’t?” Anything they can find to ridicule us about and then sit and laugh about it when they do insult us or hurt our feelings, like it is some kind of a fabulous joke. If they can’t show their own resentment in life, through turning us against the family, then they will turn the family against us.

When they are not making comparisons with one of us on the losing side of what they think is acceptable behavior in us, then they are putting their leg on a chair so no one can miss the fact that their arthritis is acting up in their knee or they belabor their suffering in  great detail.  There will be others who suggest that we can make a better broth or gravy if we just add such and such to it while others insist on carrying a conversation with us through the walls of a different room, while complaining that they cannot hear us, while we are trying to time the turkey coming out with the dinner rolls being finished.  Others will complain about it being too hot while others complain about it being two cold. These same people will be the last to even notice that we are caring for a sick child or suffering from the end results of the flu, while we try to put on a brave front so we do not spoil our own family’s Thanksgiving.

Speaking from someone who swore each year that I was not going to go through another Holiday where the person involved in ALL of the above behaviors could ruin it for my family, it took years before I found the courage to tell her that we would be spending the holiday without her.  Since there were 4 other children in 4 different States who could have paid her expenses and asked her for the Holidays but refused to, I had to learn to ignore the criticism and bear it, until it reached the point the only other one of her children who would take a turn ,decided to match the bullying techniques move by move, and then I washed my hands of it completely.

It is not easy to enjoy the Holidays with a mother only 4 blocks away and alone.  I was greatly criticized by those who refused to give me a break by taking our mother in my place, and by others who knew a different person from the one both myself and my family knew. There does come a day in all of our lives that we must reach our own decisions on our own priorities.  When we had honor rolls, graduations from not just highschool but college and grad school as well as engagements and marriage plans, there did come a time that as a grateful family, we did have the right to celebrate without the center of attention going to my mother who gains attention with continued hurtful or negative comments.

If you find that someone is ruining your Holidays, I do hope you take the time to understand their suffering and give them the attention that they crave,but I also want you to know when the negatives in your family is denying the other family members from giving thanks and celebrating the joys of the family, perhaps it is time to reverse your course or to ask,” what are the priorities of your loved ones?”

Respect walks a two-way street beginning with respecting our own needs as well as the needs of those who depend on us.  For those who can deal with both, despite the abusive grumbling of spouses,mothers and bitchy fathers,jealous siblings,ungrateful children,complaining Aunts and Uncles or Grandparents, I congratulate you on your strength and forbearance.  I hung in for 35 years out of my own sense of duty to my mother, but with growing health problems, myself, it was time to eliminate the negativity in order to enjoy the positive in our lives.

I know other people who deliberately make a habit of working the Holidays,or  leaving for better weather, Vegas or the Beach, in order to avoid having to confront the issues of family.  Others will go ahead and put up with it and then make their friends lives miserable for a month in both the dreading of it before the Holidays and the hurt of it when they leave.  The Holidays can be stressful, because as much as many of us look forward to them there are many others who go into a depression that spreads through the family because they are hanging onto a time in their child hood or life when they felt deprived.

Others will lose loved ones on the Holiday and we do understand that they grieve, as a result of it.  What I am describing here are those who feel that even though they got cheated in life, they are the experts over the entire family, and will not rest until they feel they get the upper hand even though they contribute nothing other than the complaints that brings all of the rest of us down.

We all hear how elderly parents are left to spend the Holidays alone by ungrateful children but never do we hear that parents are left to spend Holidays alone because they themselves have established a record of being ungrateful for those of us who do make the effort to include them until they themselves wear out their welcome.

Many times these same people will become the favorites of strangers or the nursing staff and then treat their own children like they are beneath them because they refused to believe as they were told to believe,accept the faith of their parents,loved someone their parents forbade them to love, or did not become the person the parent thought they should become.  The parent was continually ashamed or embarrassed by their own children’s appearance or the way they dressed. At the same token some parents had reason for concern, when the adult child’s behavior was out of control or they were too willing to accept abuse,themselves.  There are any number of ways beside ungrateful children, as to why family members do end up alone on Holidays.

I welcome the idea that mankind is one family and when our own blood family drives us away with their own behavior that they do find a friend or care giver that befriends them when we ourselves cannot.  I think I speak for many this Holiday Season when I say that we are very grateful that our loved one’s have you in their lives.  We do love them, despite the fact that when we try to love them, they themselves drive us away with their words and behavior against us.

Those of you who think  I am talking about simple cantankerous relatives who are suffering, and it is the same that you welcome into your lives, all I can say for the rest of us is,”NO They Are Not! Not all of us are as fortunate as to have family members who are any different at 70 than they were at 30 or at 3, and there in lies the difference. We grow old as we grew young while some wounds are never allowed to scar or heal by those who spend a lifetime taking out their hurt on those of us who are the closest to them, while they refuse to get the help we offer them. Many times you instead can be the catharsis to them that we cannot be, and as a result we remain grateful to you, a total stranger.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember to be grateful for all of those who we too often take for granted and love each other. The less said the better Thanksgiving will be for all of us, if the only thing that crosses our minds has criticism attached to it, just because we may think it is constructive criticism, it has no place at the dinner table, now or ever.  Perhaps constructive criticism does exist on a job where an employee struggles to learn the same, but criticism in a family is criticism.

If we can not treat family members with the human dignity of respect how can we teach our own children or grandchildren to give respect and to demand the same respect, in their own lives? If discussing our differences becomes as lop-sided as the lack of respect shown, then we need to make decisions in the best interests of those who do care about us and who depend on us. We cannot expect others to defend us if we refuse to defend our own right to be treated with human dignity. As adults if we cannot discuss our differences without demeaning ourselves or others, then it is time to consider another recourse.  If we do not like receiving criticism ourself, then we must learn to be adults and not give it, as what goes around will come around. If you are traveling have a safe trip and God Bless us all!

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If you read my previous post entitled “Emotions Denied” then you know that I have stressed the importance of knowing and releasing ourselves from our past emotional baggage.  I love people who give of themselves without question or suspicion but I do not love it when these same people regret their doing so and they either end up bitter for life or they complain obsessively about it, and then turn around and repeat it again and again.

It is our job to understand the difference between real need as versus those who go through every member of the group or family pulling a fast one, while they play a victim with their hands out. If we do not learn this lesson fairly quickly then we will get burned by those who deceive. We do not owe con people or those who have such little respect for us, that they would lie to us, anything so we need to stop them from their own bad habits by having the courage to say,”No.”

We should never feel an obligation to support those who have a better lifestyle than we do. Intellectually, we all know this so why do we allow these destructive people to ruin even a  moment of our day much less,years and years? If we can’t stop our obsessions over the same shouldn’t we question our own emotional development instead of their’s? People who can deceive us will always deceive us, if we do not have the power to be honest with them as well as ourselves.

We will all have at least one or two extreme or real hurts in our life time that makes each of us obsessive until we heal. We often think the first time we are betrayed by a friend is the worst hurt of all until we do mature enough to understand the real priorities in life.  Many will be tested much further than the rest of us and still remain in charge of their own emotional well-being, because they do recognize they cannot do it alone and they need help. When it comes to the lost of a child perhaps we will never recover.  This is not the kind of pain that I am writing about today.  What I am talking about is when people make sacrifices to give of their time or money and then complain because they get “screwed” and it leads to a lifetime of grudge matches or hate to the point they remain bitter and take it out on those closest to them for life.

My biggest complaints about joining charitable groups in the past and what led me to get out of all of them, was not my enjoyment of doing so but the complaining I heard from the individuals working in them.  Some one was always complaining that they worked harder than the next person or “so and so” felt they needed to point out what “butter paddies” were over just butter”,or the person in charge had no life beyond making their own image look good and it meant the rest of us should ignore our families and fall in line as well. I decided the best way I could give of real charity was to go anonymous and form my own.  The type of groups I was in had nothing to do with being charitable.

True charity is giving when we know we have nothing to gain ourselves, in return.  I have gone into a number of relationships in my lifetime knowing full-well that I would be betrayed,used, or rejected afterwards. I was aware of the fact that it was their behavior that was at fault, not my own, but my conscience told me that if I ignored their needs, it would make me less of a person than the one I wanted to be because I did have the ability,money, and time to help them.  In saying yes I  also knew I risked the fact of being mistreated because as does happen, some of them would feel, if I helped them once, they were entitled to my help again and again. I did not take on these challenges in my life until I had learned that once burnt twice learned.  It did not give me the excuse to never again show charity to others but instead to understand that losing people who would betray me is not the worse thing in life to lose.

It is when we take on extreme views in life that never bend or because John Doe hurt us we can never trust men again or if Jane Doe behaves in such a way then we will never speak to her again, that we take on the views of a person who would rather dwell on our extreme views over that of a person who would learn humility and charity.  I certainly do not advocate spending time with people who have a past history of being untrustworthy but if we can instead learn from the mistakes of our own roles in life we can also let go of the judgements we place against others.

Most obsessions come from our own lack of understanding that our extreme views led to judging another’s person’s right to operate as a free agent or we assumed to much about them, when we have no right to judge the behavior of anyone other than our own behavior.  When we spend time understanding why we respond the way we do, we make it more difficult for others to burn us.  The mere fact that we refer to it as being burned often means we are not looking at the full picture as it presents itself as others can not burn us if we do not give them permission to do so. Obsessions that continue are only a cover for the fact that we are human and have been hurt more sometimes from our own assumptions than by the person or people we have misjudged.

Having been disabled by pain, all my adult life, I have come to appreciate that we all have limits and if we do not say “NO” but instead resent people by saying “Yes”, then we do both of us a disservice. When we are at peace with our own emotions it is neither foolish or stupid to do so but it is the act of true empathy for someone whose need is greater than our own, when we can make a difference.  It is called Charity. It is also charity to say “NO” when we mean “No” because we set our own ground rules by knowing our own as well as our loved ones limitations to give, as well.

Giving because we expect something in return, because it is our cultural belief,we are doing it for our own image, we are told to by superiors or a court,or we obligate another person so they feel guilt if they do not do us a favor when we need a favor, is neither charity or an act of kindness.  There is no place for the word me in charity or empathy if we do wish to help and can without hurting ourselves or our loved ones, in the process.

When charity is done at the expense of the future of our own children, then it can be as destructive as doing nothing. It is through charity that we can best teach right from wrong to our children, when we keep it in balance with the rest of our life.When I see members of the Tea Party such as Ron Paul say,”Why should I have to pay because they lost their Beach house in a storm,” I can relate to what he is saying but I do know that if we ever reach the point in America that all Americans develop,” that me first and only attitude,” we will fail to exist as a Democracy or we will become a Country without a conscious.

The point I am making today is if we give with our compassion,time or money and have expectations in return every time we do, then we should not spend the rest of our lives obsessing over the fact that we got nothing back in return when we keep giving to the same person or people who never will return their own compassion,time,or money, but instead will mistreat us or betray us.

If we are not willing to learn through our own feelings of making a mistake  but instead assume or insist they pay us back in kind, we are only hurting ourself through denial or assumption of their being the people we think they should be rather than the person or people they are. When we do an act of kindness we should understand that it is its own reward instead of having a view of injustice when it is we who are acting irrational. There is a reason that the cliché’ exists and it is,”No good Deed shall go left unpunished.”  It is the quickest way there is to teach each of us two things and those are:  How secure are we in giving and do we have an ulterior motive when we give? Clearly if we are going to obsess about how we got burned from 3 to 30 years, then we pretty much have our answer, don’t we?

The whole point of giving is the comfort we gain when we look ourselves in the mirror or lay our heads on our pillow at night and know our joy of living is complete.  It should never have either a price or expectation on it, beyond the fact that we are comfortable enough in the act of giving and in our own emotional health that we are made complete as a result of doing so. If we are giving when we don’t wish to give then whose fault is it if no one is there to give us a hand up when we fall? We need to determine our own limitations as well as the past history of others who we do deal with and if we are emotionally strong enough to continue dealing with those we are obsessing over.  If not it is way past time we acknowledge that we no longer have a role to play in their lives and if the cost is walking away then we do so.  Ask yourself,”If this person’s need had led to starvation,suicide, or accident would that had made you feel bitter because you got nothing back from them?

If  all of us had expectations of what we would gain in return for our compassion or when we gave, then none of us would ever enjoy life.  Trust me when I say,” if I am speaking about you, then would you please keep your time,money,or charitable work, before obligating others,establishing an image for yourself, or following through out of guilt, or you tell yourself you have an obligation to do so.” We all need to understand that giving isn’t done to gain personally and if it is, it will gain you nothing when it comes to peace of mind. It will instead only add to your own denial and inadequacies of just how out of keel with your emotional health you are or will become.  It will also drive all the rest of us right up a wall if we ever hear you obsess over it one more time!

The truth is those of us who care, which is the majority of us, are going to get burned by people like yourself, if we look at life as you do and ask to what can you do for me or how entitled am I, especially if you plan on giving nothing in return, unless you have strings attached to your generosity. A Nation that legislates by taking advantage of those who jeopardize their life for our freedoms,the sick or elderly who paid in,the poor and the hungry who teach us what real humanity is,or the disabled and disadvantaged who refuse to quit, while we pay for the wealthy tax breaks, is a legislature out of touch with the needs of the people who they take an oath of office to protect.

Those who give back to all of us, through their inspirations and constant struggles and those who teach us unselfish dedication along with giving us the hope through their own strengths,are the people we need to help and certainly over the greed of the people who wouldn’t waste their time trying to understand what real struggle or charity is unless they stood to gain. If we are going to call ourselves civilized or a Democracy, we cannot continue to reward bad behavior in favor of good behavior.

Our giving to those in need, as a Nation and through our tax base, is what should give all of us peace of mind. Knowing they have been there for us in the lessons we should have learned from them and the struggles they made for us or the hope they offer us, needs to be paid for by a grateful Country. To hate or obsess over doing so only indicates to the rest of us, you fail to appreciate those of us who will care for you, even when you have expectations in return. So can we quit obsessing and get back to compassion? Please stop the hurt and hate in you that feeds into driving your obsessions of feeling like you got burned, so those who do care about you, want to spend time with you.

I hope this brings a smile to the face of those of us who can remember a time in our life when we were to wrapped up with the negative side of life and to you who understand about which I write.  It would be equally as wonderful if it offers sage advice to those who don’t.  Remember the advice given by someone much wiser than I and it goes like this,”I asked you how you were, not how your ailments are?”Make life work for you in the best manner you can and then add others when you are strong enough to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.  Life takes a lifetime to get it right for a reason, with peace of mind following when we do.

Enjoy the empathy and compassion granted us through out our life as to destroy it is a real waste! Life really is too short to waste it in upset and hate, while obsessing over those who we make assumptions about according to our own extreme beliefs! Loving those who cannot love others because they cannot love themselves makes it even more difficult for those of us who try.   Understanding that as individuals we have a right to choose just as you do, goes a long way towards healing our Nation, and is the goal of all of us without your hate in it, hopefully with that  lesson learned in our election. Despite that hope the hate will continue if we do not put a stop to it in our Churches, legislatures,media, and lives.

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