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Toasting and Coasting Down Memory Lane

Did you ever eat, taste, smell, see, hear something that brought back memories or at least reminded you of someone? This morning, tired of exactly the same old, same old for my breaking fast, I decided on a couple pieces of healthy bread (there’s a difference between gooey, gummy white stuff and whole grain bread.) Next, I used some substitute butter, low in fat and sodium on this bread. (Don’t tell my guy about this.) Then I put some delicious honey on top of that. Don’t tell him about that one either. Yes, it has “sugar” but it is a natural sweetener, nature made. (Like, oh for Pete’s sake.) Anyway, when I bit into the toast, I remembered clearly my visits to my paternal grandmother. We would play Chinese checkers and eat honey and bread.

I was fortunate enough to live close to both sets of grandparents so I visited this particular grandmother as often as possible. I knew she was the adult and in charge but she never made me feel that way. We shared things like we were a couple of friends. I’m sure she must have let me win at Chinese checkers but I don’t remember that part because winning was not the objective. Bing with her was. She made me feel so welcome, so loved, so appreciated. I craved that as a child. My parents seemed to have too many worries and upsets to really give me the attention I often wanted or maybe needed. Grandparents can be excellent gap closers for their grandchildren. They can fill in the blanks and holes that a child might feel is lacking a bit in their lives. If nothing else, they can enhance a child’s experience of growing up.

I haven’t been that kind of grandparent really. That’s pretty sad when I think about it. I guess being a young grandmother those years going to college, working, and not being the type to perpetuate the hausfrau role I had done since I was 17 sent me spinning off in another direction. I think they fared as well as any child in their particular and separate lives without me. But who knows what a difference I could have made?

Life was different in my grandparent’s day. Still, I ask myself what my grandchildren remember about me. They may not have any great memories of some fantastic time we had together. That is a bit sad to me but one cannot undo what one has done.  It is/was what it is/was.

Toasting and coasting down memory lane this fine morning.  Not a bad way to start the day.

CAPTURED IN RAPTURE

It was dark and the hour late
Lights out and soundless whispers
Rolling into snores and sighs in dark homes
While the gentle rain continued to fall

A stillness fell for an eternal moment
In the heart of she who stood breathing
Alive and yet not; absorbing and reflecting
The sacredness of just Being so alive

She stepped inside and closed the door
Bringing with her the everlasting delight
Of the still, rainy, moment of bliss
And she pondered upon wonder of it all

AUTHOR: Brenda Andradzki Elliott 4/28/2015

INVISIBLE DESTINY

forest path

forest path

INVISIBLE DESTINY

So much going on around me
Caught up in whirlwind
I reach for balance with invisible hand
While pitching to and fro in mist

Unseen guidance places the path
Where it just appears step by step
Knowing not what the next step will be
Or when it will appear

Cradled in the arms of destiny
I can only wait for what comes next
Or how to answer the unanswered
Revelations come late but not too soon.

Brenda Andradzki Elliott Msw October 7, 2015.

IS THIS MINE OR IS THIS THINE?

I need to she said as she sat in her chair

I need to she said as she patted her hair
I need to she thought echoing in her head
I need to she urged with feet made of lead

I should she vowed and forced a smile
I should she nudged for a long while
I should she scolded with fiery flame
I should she screamed I hate this game

I must she pledged with a whisper so low
I must she moaned but moved not a toe
I must she whined like a child so small
I must she groaned but meant not at all

I wonder she began with questioning eye
I wonder she said with a lighter sigh
I wonder she repeated and looked deeper
I wonder is it mine, is this one a keeper

I love she said to make things alright
I love she pondered is this my plight
I love she thought but is this truly mine
I love she thought but perhaps it is thine.

 

HOW STRONG IS YOUR FAITH?

So many people get so upset about our melting pot society and how things are changing. All things change like it or not.

One of the things that people get the most upset about is thinking that your faith/religion is being taken from you. Believe it or not, this county was not just put together by men of the Christian faith. If you are pretty solid in your faith why are you worried that it is being taken away from you? I don’t know about you but my faith is in pretty good shape, after all, it is mine, is it not?  If your faith and belief, whatever it may, be is still in there solid when the winds of change blow, then it is not gone. It may be tested but it can’t be taken away from you. Only if and when YOU want to “update” how you believe or what you believe does it, in fact, change. You are free to go to a church or temple or sit under a tree and meditate if you want to.

Your “religion” or faith is who you are and what you are. It is the blueprint (or should be) for guiding your choices and behaviours. Can that really be taken from you? Whatever happens outside in the society may not be to your liken or hard to get used to but it is within you, not outside in society. Hang out with people who believe as you do but you can hang out with people who do not share your beliefs as long as being a loving human being is the goal. If the goal is to argue about who is right and wrong and what you should or should not believe, then, it is impossible.

What if you knew someone and religion was never brought up and you found that person to be the kind of person you want to be around. Perhaps you have some things in common and enjoy one anothers company and companionship. Then one day one of you mentions what you believe about God. Has that person become the enemy of your believe system? Will that person corrupt you or take away what you believe? If that person tries to, then you either have to suggest that you not go into that with one another or you may have to give up the friendship if they are pushy about it or they tell you how wrong you are. If you both realize that beliefs are not meant to be swords with which to divide but an opportunity to be mutually respected, then what is the problem? Nothing.

So during this time of year when people practice their various ways of celebrating or choosing not to acknowledge the reason for the season, how about putting those swords away or at least think about it? More than anything it is the season of Love that should be carried out all year long. Be thankful  you are still able to practice your faith whatever it may be. They can’t take that away from you. Be thankful that this country allows you to believe what you want even during times of change.

WHO’S AWESOME?

I was just thinking that when Thanksgiving rolls around we make a special effort to remember what we have to be thankful for. This is great but have you ever stopped to be thankful for you, for your very existence? Have you ever thought of the things that you can thank your self for? Maybe today you can thank yourself for all the hurdles you have overcome or at least faced and somehow got through. You could thank yourself for being who your are. You could thank yourself for dancing in the thunder clouds of life. You could thank yourself for doing the very best you could and can even if it falls short of your personal standard or mark of excellence. You could thank yourself for being open to new or advanced ideas and for letting yourself out of the box that someone else constructed for you. You could thank yourself for the times when you loved in a difficult situation. You could thank yourself for the things you may have sacrificed for others. You could be thankful for having given up some addiction or person that was sucking the life out of you and them.

 

You can thank yourself for being willing to step up and heal yourself and the world you live in. Because while you may have help from angels, God, a higher power, others in your life, or whatever power you call upon, you were willing to do what it took and what it still takes.   So this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for myself and for you and what we all bring to the table of life. 

Cinderella Girl

Feet dangling in the adult-sized chair, head bent downward slightly, eyes fixed on a spot in the flooring where an invisible stain nailed her, the demure female child felt small, insignificant, powerless, unacceptable, unworthy, unloved, but worse of all, unwanted and in the way. Her intuition was now tuned into sending feelers out into her environment to see if she could guess the next move and where it might come from. Gut ears reaching out to detect the other shoe dropping. Perhaps she could keep that shoe from dropping. Yes, she could hold onto that hope. The questions above all questions she might ask were the thoughts that never where spoken like What can I do to avoid that tongue lashing or leather belt that bites my flesh? Can I get through the day without breaking some unknown and sacred rule that would invite an unwanted response from the parent? Why did they bring me into this world if they are so displeased with me, especially the mother? Yes, these were the bothersome questions that consciously and unconsciously played in the back of her mind no matter how the day was going. These questions colored her world and made life more difficult than it should be all through her life. Right now, she did not know how much energy that took or how it would influence every thought, every decision, every choice she made for years to come.

Looking upon that child now in my mind’s eye, my heart goes out to her and I want to gather her in my arms, to tell her that she is a diamond in the rough, and that one day she will see herself as I see her now, a pure sparkling jewel that has a tough journey ahead and that it will all make sense one day. I

want her to know, as I look upon her unhappy little face, that it will all be worth it in the end. But, I know I couldn’t change things in that time long ago as it unfolded then and in the growing years to come. I only know that I can finally look upon the face of triumph and be so proud of what she has and is still accomplishing in this future time.

We think that we live in a space in time that spreads out in linear fashion with every step we take along our journey. Of course that is how it seems to us, because when we turn back time in our minds we can almost see the footsteps along a path from our first cry to where we might be now in human years. Yet doesn’t it seem like yesterday when we started our first day of school or had our first kiss or became a parent? There have been moments of my life that seem to have dragged by agonizingly slowly; other times moments went by in a blink. Time, it appears, is what our mind perceives it to be but one thing we can agree upon is that it is ever-moving energy captured in events of shadow and light. Our minds take a photo of these events, these moments, and place in the file called “My Life” along with all the emotion and meaning that we experienced then and placed upon them. This, I call baggage.

The god or goddess of Fate seems to descend upon every little girl and boy from birth doling out perks and punishments without thought or care. It reminds me of the ancient gods of myth who seemed to pick on mortals flaunting their powers and choosing to bless or curse at whim while leaving mortals believing they are powerless in Fate’s quake. For a very few die hard souls, however, with the desire to overcome and break the chains that would bind them, there is a freedom waiting for them that others may never experience before they die.

Rumi the poet wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I will meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” In terms of Cinderella she not only gets to go to the ball henceforth known as that pure field but she eventually transforms from that abused little girl to that soul who becomes the princess she always was. The fairy godmother did not save her but supported that girl while she reached for and created the freedom and love that she desired. Prince Charming wasn’t a savior either but rather represents to this Cinderella, me, the love that was in her, outside of her, all around and through her. This was and is her dance partner.

I am evolving constantly as layer upon layer of lies I have told myself drop into ashes from which a new Phoenix is born. Rumi’s field is within reach now. I hear the music at the ball and I want to dance.

I had searched in others for the mother I wanted. I was hoping for direction, support, understanding, guidance, and love. I thought that these had been lacking and withheld from me. The fickle finger of fate had denied me and I knew not why. Now I know that the direction, support, understanding, guidance and love are within me. In a manner of speaking I am my own mother not that I don’t find and enjoy knowing that it is there in others as well. I enjoy sharing the wiser woman I have become and I know that the path that I had taken was not fate but rather mapped out by a higher power than myself to give me the opportunity to bring my bruised little Cinderella self through to self-actualization which is not the same as a damaged ego.

Abraham Maslow a psychologist in 1943 came up with his theory of the Hierarchy of Need . It’s been a hard climb to even get closer to the top of the pyramid where self-actualization abides. Maslow’s pyramid starts at the bottom with a person’s need for physiological necessities like food, clothing and shelter as the first order of need. Once that is met then one may be able to concerns him or herself with safety. From there, the next need is for belonging and from there moving onto the next, is esteem which can begin to catapult a person upwards towards self actualization. But it is not actually an upward movement where you leave one step to go to the next. It is more of spiral of movement where at times you may experience any of these needs to a more then lesser degree as you become more your real self. You are still wanting and needing connection with others but there is a giving and taking inspired by Love Itself. It still takes a village of many people and events in order to climb that pyramid.

Carl Rogers, a humanist psychologist, had a theory much like Maslow’s. He expanded upon self-actualization. He believed that self-actualization was more apt to be achieved if a child experienced unconditional positive regard from parents and significant others. This means that the parents and significant others loved and accepted the child for who and what they were at any given time. This child felt taken care of, supported, and loved no matter what and therefore could feel free to explore life and make mistakes without feeling like love was being withheld or based upon conditions. Rogers believed that a child deprived of positive self regard, particularly in childhood, would be less likely to reach self actualization. I believe it is possible for anyone to move beyond their deprivation of unconditional love if they realize, first of all, that there is anything to move beyond. Secondly they must be willing to do the work. It is hard work and requires an unimaginable desire to shed the shackles of self doubt and unbelievable need to be approved of in order to reach the individual ideal goal. It is the road less taken and there is no map.

So now, I take that little brave and determined little girl that I was into my embrace and no matter what she has thought or done ever that made her feel wrong, at fault , guilty, unworthy or unlovable and let her know that was all a lie. I want to tell her how brave she has been. I want her to know that I honor her efforts to break the chains of abuse. I want her to learn, if she hasn’t already, that she need not seek others approval in order to achieve positive self regard. I give her positive self regard. I love her no matter what and no matter what anyone else may think. I want her to be certain that she was always being the child she had to be in order to survive. Now she is free to be the soul, the person, she was destined to be and that she has and is doing a service to her fellow human beings by doing her part. I think my inner child now know that the adult she and I have become have been teaming up to heal abuse received and given no matter the form in which it came. The chain has been broken. Now is the time for healing..

I love you Brenda. You are a precious human being and I am delighted that you can see and feel the suffering of others even when they do not. Come away from the ashes, go to the ball and dance like everyone is watching but you don’t care.

Cinderella Girl by Brenda Andradzki Elliott, MSW November 16, 2014