Putting your intentions out in the Universe is very powerful. I have a room for rent again, ever since my border moved out in December 2013. When she first left I was frightened, and yes, angry. I was fearful that I would have to go without because I no longer had that $400 cushion each month. So I immediately set up an account with GRU, hoping to get a nice, respectful, studious medical student. I also re-posted the listing on Craig’s list, just to double my chances. However, although I had a few responses from Craig’s list, nobody panned out. GRU requires you post on their bulletin board and I have done so, over and over, with no results. Every time I call the contact person to check if the post and pictures are still there, she discovers that it has been removed. So, it is then reposted, only to be removed again, and again. I was thinking about why I have just not been able to rent the upstairs and I have come to the conclusion that it is because I am very ambivilent – just wishy-washy. In my heart of hearts I really DON’T want to go through the hassle of having a stranger living in my house again. The more time passes that Sophie has been gone, the more I like not having her there. I admit, I had gotten used to her presence and there was some comfort knowing there was another human being in my house. But, the negatives outweigh the positives and regardless of that additional income, I just don’t want another border. My logic has been to leave the posting on Craig’s list and if it happens, it happens. But I truly believe that I am putting out in the Universe that I DO NOT want another tenant, and this is why I can’t get anyone. The same holds true for everything in your life; although you may say you want success, friendship, or a relationship, if you don’t state your intention, really MEAN it, and feel worthy, it will not come.
I don’t believe in coincidences and I do not believe that you meet people by accident. Pastor Joel Osteen always says that when you are ready the right person will come into your life. My day started out annoying, with me trying to convince a medical office staff that I did not owe a co-payment for a surgical follow-up. I was so irritated that when the nurse took my BP, it was abnormally high (I normally have low BP). Then I wasted more energy on calling the insurance company and trying to explain the concept of a Global Surgical allowance to the customer rep. I finally just gave in and told the rep to just forget it, because I figured I wasted enough of my precious time that I would not ever get back. I finally left for my new addiction, Starbucks. I just bought a new laptop, and could not figure out how to connect to the Internet. But, luckily there was a lady who had just come in and sat down next to me. I figured I’d just ask her if she knew how to do it. She figured it out right away, and from there we started talking about everything, including my Blog. I gave her the Blog address, and even logged on to show her the site. She said she would check it out and asked me to write it down, including my phone number. I think 3 things were accomplished: 1 – I got off the Pity Pot that I had been on for a few days, 2 – I met a potential friend, 3 – I promoted my Blog. From all my readings, I know that you don’t achieve a goal overnight; rather, it is through a series of small, incremental steps, done over and over, consistently, that will make it happen. I’ve written about this before, but many times I have been ready to just give up and stop writing this Blog because I am not getting the feedback I want. But, I know that I must not let the “evidence” I see in front of my eyes deter me, because it is deceptive. It comes down to patience, perseverance, and belief in yourself and your abilities. Was it a coincidence that I met this lady, just when I was feeling low? I do not think so.
Fate, does it exist and can you change it? In 1846, five different families, led by James Reed and George Donner, set out from Springfield, IL, on a 2500 mile trip to California with 9 covered wagons, looking for a new life. They relied on their leader who was enticed by a report of a new shorter route through the Sierra Nevada Mountains, but unbeknownst to them, this shorter passage was untested. If you have read about this compelling tragedy, you know that there were numerous opportunities for the party to change their course, even being warned by the one who wrote about the new passage that it was impassible. Even when two others tried the passage and came back with news, again, that it was almost impossible to cover that route on foot, let alone by wagon, they still would not be deterred. Then they split off and some elected to stay behind for a few days, which was equally deadly because the weather turned cold and snow set in. It was basically one disaster after another, compounded by more bad decisions. In the end, over half of the 87 perished, and those who did survive, resorted to cannabilism of the corpses. I have been reading a book called The Slight Edge which explains that decisions you make in your life can affect you either positively or negatively, and can put you on a success or a failure curve. Ok, one bad decision made on one day, may seem innocuous, but if that decision is repeated over and over, day in and day out, it can change the course of your life. The trick is, recognizing this pattern and it is not easy. If I look back at my life, I can see so many opportunities I chose not to take; from not taking a scholarship to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology – an acclaimed art school in Manhattan) offered by my uncle, to not electing to go cross country with a drug buddy I knew from work, instead getting married and having children. Who knows how my life would have been altered, but those decisions make you the person you are. Is it fate, kind of like the movie The Final Destination, where your future is set in stone, or are we able to change the course of our life by our choices? I’ve heard that we always have free will, but regardless, the trick is not to look back at your so-called bad decisions with regret, but learn from them, move forward and try to live your life as best as you can today.
As time goes by I am forgetting to be grateful. I have been in a state of flux and depression lately because I am putting too much emphasis on getting accolades. I wrote Being Your Own Cheerleader, but I have been having a hard time following my own advice. I think every human being needs some sort of recognition for what they do, even for seemingly small things. It is amazing how one kind or positive remark from someone can do wonders to carry me for a few days. But it just seems that when I write and write, and have no comments, I begin to doubt myself and all those negative tapes start playing in my head, that I am not good enough, and what’s the point, etc. Then my friend Jane, who has been in and out of the hospital since November, with complications of MS, calls and the amount of gratitude I feel comes flooding back. That is when I remember that back in March 2013, I was literally given another chance at life. Immediately after that surgery I was actually happy, because I didn’t take for granted simple things such as walking across the room without a cane. Now, over thirteen months later, I sometimes forget how horrific my life was and how amazing my life is now. I could compare myself to other people who have more money, a relationship, more friends, and feel insecure and small. But, when I compare myself to my friend who struggles with simple tasks such as just walking, cleaning, loss of autonomy, having to depend on people to drive her to appointments, I am filled with gratitude. When I think along those lines, and don’t let myself drift back into negativity, my day and life goes better.
Acceptance and turning it over is never an easy thing to do, especially when it means losing “control” of a person, or situation you thought you had control over. In reality, the only thing I have control over is what I do. It is much harder to accept this when it involves a person you love dearly. But, I have to remind myself over and over that their logic and reality is not necessarily mine, and is often incomprehensible to me. I have been dealing with a situation that destroys my serenity, and no matter how much money, time and effort I pour into “fixing” this person, they never get fixed. This is beyond my control, and although I’ve said those words to myself, my heart still thinks I can solve this. If insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, than I am officially insane. Today I resolved to be strong, and not give in, no matter how intimidated, guilt ridden, sorrowful, and fearful I feel. What I will do is pray as never before and keep trying to let go and let God. I do not have control of outcomes and I cannot try to play God; all I can do is put out in the Universe, in positive ways, to please provide a light to lead this person to get the help they need.
Putting your intentions out in the Universe is very powerful. I have a room for rent again, ever since my border moved out in December 2013. When she first left I was frightened, and yes, angry. I was fearful that I would have to go without because I no longer had that $400 cushion each month. So I immediately set up an account with GRU, hoping to get a nice, respectful, studious medical student. I also re-posted the listing on Craig’s list, just to double my chances. However, although I had a few responses from Craig’s list, nobody panned out. GRU requires you post on their bulletin board and I have done so, over and over, with no results. Every time I call the contact person to check if the post and pictures are still there, she discovers that it has been removed. So, it is then re-posted, only to be removed again, and again. I was thinking about why I have just not been able to rent the upstairs and I have come to the conclusion that it is because I am very ambivalent – just wishy-washy. In my heart of hearts I really DON’T want to go through the hassle of having a stranger living in my house again. The more time passes that Sophie has been gone, the more I like not having her there. I admit, I had gotten used to her presence and there was some comfort knowing there was another human being in my house. But, the negatives outweigh the positives and regardless of that additional income, I just don’t want someone else. My logic has been to leave the posting on Craig’s list and if it happens, it happens. But I truly believe that I am putting out in the Universe that I DO NOT want another tenant, and this is why I can’t get anyone. The same holds true for everything in your life; although you may say you want success, friendship, or a relationship, if you don’t really state your intention and really MEAN it, it will not come.
Haunting memories–I think we all have them, but some stick with you more than others. Of all the crazy things I’ve done in my former life, the one that stands out the most had nothing to do with drugs or alcohol. Back in the early 90s when I was an avid Marathoner I worked in Manhattan, but lived in NJ. About two days before the New York City Marathon, I left work early to pick up my race number at the Sheraton Hotel on the upper West side. This is a very upscale area, and that evening there were loads of police, tourists, busboys, hotel staff, and marathoners picking up their numbers, in and outside the hotel. Since I lived in NJ, I was always very conscious of the bus schedule, so I was in a big rush to hop the subway back to the bus terminal. It was about 5:30 in late October so it was dark and chilly, and all I wanted to do was get home when suddenly I saw a large plastic bag lying on the sidewalk. I just assumed it was garbage, but when I looked closer, I was appalled to see that it was a thin black woman who was literally “wearing” the bag as her clothes. I remember standing over her, looking around trying to see if anyone else saw this, trying to decide if someone would take ownership of this discovery. I grappled with the thought of trying to find a cop to get this woman some help, but in the end I decided I was in too much of a rush to do this simple act of humanity. So, I just left her there, assuming that someone else would find her. I remember walking down the dark street towards the subway station, all the while feeling guilty and ashamed of myself. The whole time I was walking, I kept wanting to turn around and go back, because I knew I was wrong, but I didn’t. The whole time I rode home on the bus, I kept thinking that I should have gotten help, but it was too late by then. That’s the same mentality that prevents people from calling the cops when they see someone being attacked, or let someone lay in the road, thinking someone else will step up to the plate. I will never know what happened to this woman, but all these years later, this haunting memory still causes me shame.
Miracles can come in all shapes and sizes; the trick is recognizing them. I don’t think that miracles have to be huge–sometimes they happen very quietly, and would go unnoticed by anyone else other than the recipient. An example of an amazing miracle for me was, after months of physical deterioration and suicidal hopelessness, the culprit of my symptoms was finally discovered. The ensuing surgery and recovery over the past year has been nothing short of miraculous. Just walking, having balance, working out vigorously, driving without fear, are activities that others take for granted, but I am in awe. Sometimes miracles come in baby steps. After being diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness, my wonderful friend Janet was at the point of giving up. She was having chemotherapy to hopefully prepare her for a possible stem cell transplant, but her blood counts were not good. But shortly afterward, she called me with great news–it seems her blast counts had dropped to the right level, clearing the way for her stem cell transplant. Now, about two months post transplant, she is doing amazingly well with her new immune system (acquired from her formally estranged brother). It has been a long haul but if that is not a miracle, then I don’t know what is. My friend Jane, who has MS, has been suffering from swollen feet for four months, which was a big mystery to her many doctors. She finally put the puzzle together and learned from the pharmacist that a drug she was taking (which she didn’t even need) was the cause. The swelling is abating gradually, which is a real miracle. If you look around you will see miracles in your every day life. But recognizing them when they are not the burning bush variety doesn’t always happen.
We all have emotional baggage, some more than others. Most people do not even recognize why they react or live their life a certain way or if they do, they still let their past define them. Sometimes a long ago insecurity or hurt, which you thought buried, will resurface and the same emotion floods back. I don’t think people realize that hurtful and cruel comments, made as a joke, can have an impact on you years later. Even successful people, who seem to have the world by the tail, can be floored by an inadvertent nasty remark, which brings back the hurtful situation as if time had not even passed. It would be wonderful if we could have a “mind cleanser” to wipe away negative childhood memories, but I don’t think that technology exists. Although I am very self-aware, I still seem to be powerless to prevent conjuring up an old childhood hurt and running with it. Today, I was getting back in my car from the pharmacy, when I heard “barking” coming from the car parked next to me. It startled me because I thought there was a real “dog” in the car with the window open, but it wasn’t. What I saw were two young men, and the “barker” uttered something like an apology, which I didn’t hang around to hear. I’m not even really sure what that was all about but what I do know was an old incident that I thought dead and buried materialized, along with the intense hurt I originally felt. One day, when I was nineteen and very pregnant, I was walking when two A-holes came up to me and said, “Hi ugly.” Now, anybody else who didn’t have that basic insecurity brought on by my parents (being told I was not pretty, stupid, had a horse face, etc.), would not have been too bothered by that. But I remember the rage, shame and anger I felt, culminating with a severe crying jag. You see I believed them. Over the years I certainly realized that I am not “ugly” inside or out, am very smart, and even have felt pretty. But today, over forty years later, that same old emotion came flooding back as fresh as if it just happened. Now, I really do not know if that “barking” was supposed to imply that I was a “dog” , but of course I automatically assumed that it was. I kept telling myself to just “forget it”, yet it bothered me and actually affected my day. This is something I need to work on, not letting old baggage (negative voices) from my childhood impact me.
Invisible people exist all over the world. My friend commented on my recent post about older women being invisible by noting this, although this is a different type of invisibility. When I was in Antigua, Guatemala, the narrow streets were lined with beggars, appearing to be either sleeping or motionless, with their bowls waiting for people to drop coins in. I even took pictures, all the while feeling guilty. Everybody would just literally walk over them. But it seemed their assigned “job” in life was “beggar”, and their job description included being as unobtrusive as possible. That is definitely not the case in Manhattan. When I worked there, I encountered the “invisible” every day, in the Port Authority Bus Terminal, the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, the Subway, the street leading up to the bus terminal (40th and 8th). These areas have been “cleaned up” since the last time I was there, but I distinctly remember avoiding the urine soaked stench on one side of the street by moving to the other side. Before the cops cracked down on the homeless, you would be greeted each morning by society’s outcasts, hanging around right outside or even inside Port Authority, begging for money. Sometimes they would come up to you while you were on the line waiting for the bus to arrive, and we would just ignore them, pretending they were invisible. A day never passed that I was not approached in the Subway by a panhandler. Everybody on the train would virtually ignore them, staring right through them as if they were not even there. We all seemed to have an unwritten code that said, “Do not give money to the indigent”, but sometimes my heart would break for someone. I’ll never forget a dirty homeless young man who collapsed to his knees on the subway train, begging anyone to help him, while we all pretended he was not there. I don’t know how other people felt, but I SAW these “throwaway” people and always thought, “There for the grace of God go I” and knew it could happen to anyone, even me. I think the main culprit was drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or most likely, a combination. Where mental illness goes, so does addiction and alcoholism. Not all alcoholics are severely mentally ill, but the majority of homeless are mentally ill and abuse drugs or alcohol as a means of self-medication. I never would have thought that a loved one would fall victim to that exact same fate, but it happened, which shows it can affect anyone even if you feel you are immune. I hope that some of these people came back from the living dead, by getting the help they needed, but I will never know. More resources are needed for the mentally ill, but until we realize that this can and may touch your life, we will continue to see invisible people.