Category Archives: Shabbat

11/2/2015, Life’s Happenings

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Yesterday we were on the road all day. Headed to the airport, caught a flight, flew to a city almost 3 hours from our destination, drove almost 3 hours to said destination, got our son settled in a residential treatment facility and checked him in with the owners (wonderful people 🙂 Very special people. I don’t know how they take care of so many of these RADishes. I haven’t been able to handle the one very well. ), drove back almost 3 hours, caught a very tight flight, drove home, noshed on some hot wings from Zaxby’s and turned in. Extremely long day and my body is testifying to that this morning. I am very physically and emotionally spent and for a variety of reasons.

Here is what is different about this morning. It’s quiet. There is no white noise machine running to keep my son from hearing me so I can shower and get dressed in the morning without his running a muck. It is hard to imagine unless you have a child with RAD but simple things like taking a shower, using the bathroom or just leaving the room are not things you can do on a daily basis without due diligence and planning. I have to get up 2 hours prior to his waking if I want a shower or really accomplish anything without him by my side. To nonchalantly live my life without carefully planning would mean to open up our family to theft, destruction of property, the abuse of our younger child and all sorts of chaos, daily.

So here is what has changed for us, so far:

No white noise machine running.

Younger child can talk rather than whisper while getting ready in the morning an doesn’t have to worry about making too much noise and stirring him up.

No alarms!

I slept 30 minutes longer than I usually do and probably could have made it an hour.

I don’t have to escort anyone around the house. There is freedom to roam. For all of us!

I don’t have to be in the room with anyone all the time.

I don’t have to check pockets, back packs or shoes.

I don’t have to worry about being baited into constant arguments over anything and everything first thing in the morning when I am barely awake.

I don’t have to worry about that in the afternoon either.

My butter knives and anything with a point can go back into the utensil drawers.

I can sleep in at least once on the weekend.

I can sleep deeply knowing that no one is going to be ripped off, have their property destroyed or hurt in the middle of the night.

Our younger child will have to learn to function in a home not on lock down and also learn independence skills she is behind on because of the way we had to live.

And…..

I will have to get a good paying job. RTCs’ are not cheap. I have no illusions. I am fully aware life is not going to be all sunshine and lollipops. We have a long road ahead of us.

So I have stepped into a whole new world. He will be back in a year but I am not sure that he will stay. Honestly I am not optimistic or expecting that he will. If we can’t function as a family he will go into another RTC or appropriate boarding facility. We won’t live this way again. We are done. I will no longer be abused, nor will I allow anyone in this house to. I am firm about that and I understand this is the not the end of the struggle. But it is a step in the right direction. My family is going to have some time and space to heal from a situation that has been filled with trauma for 9+ years that most people can’t fathom or honestly even begin to understand. People should try to understand. They will encounter these people in their lifetime and won’t know what hit them when they do. We don’t think human beings, especially children, are capable of such behaviors, but history attests to the contrary. The world is full of damaged people that will go around damaging others unless people become more aware and draw a line in the sand.

So if you are curious and want to understand what Reactive Attachment Disorder is below is excellent video. You very likely know some adults that have Reactive Attachment Disorder and are not even aware of it.

Cheers!

April

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10/30/2015, Keep Moving

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Keepmoving

Count down has begun and in the process things have been tense. It has been a week of intensity. It is in the air and it has been a battle to remain non reactive to that energy all around me. I am in “internal” reactor so you’d never know it looking at me, and try as I might to prevent it, my body is testifying to the stress. It made me good at my job when I worked in emergency medicine and I was young enough not to be cognizant of the impact of the trauma around me to my health. Not the case anymore. I am very aware. Part of it, I am sure, is my own processing of all that is occurred in the past and that which is about to occur. The past and the future, that which in quantum time, no longer exist or perhaps won’t, have dominated my thoughts. I have had trouble remaining present this week as a result and that has been a bit paralyzing and has made getting things accomplished difficult. And it has made me very, very tired. My mind seems intent on obsessing. I don’t know why I get like that exactly. Maybe, in time, that will be revealed. I wonder sometimes how much our mind manifests in the form of perception and how much of that is accurate or simply invention. It would be nice if it could be measured and we could switch off that which was false or not reality. It seems like a tremendous waste of energy. None the less, it has been a wrestling of sorts as we gear up to admit our adopted son into a residential treatment facility for the treatment of reactive attachment disorder. All I can do is keep moving and that is what I intend to do.

Have a good day!

Cheers!

10/26/2015, The Confounding World of the Appeaser

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chamberlain-and-hitler

 

ap·pease

(ə-pēz′)

tr.v.ap·peased, ap·peas·ing, ap·peas·es

1.

a. To placate or attempt to placate (a threatening nation, for example) by granting concessions, often at the expense of principle.
b. To calm, soothe, or quiet (someone): appeased the baby with a pacifier.
2. To satisfy, relieve, or assuage: appease one’s thirst.
 
Most people function in one of two categories and often vacillate between the two quite unconsciously. They are either the bully or the appeaser. There is a category that most do not fit into, but should. Jesus or Yeshua was the ultimate example of that. For lack of a better term, we will call it “enlightened” or having “Christ consciousness.” That is a broad topic that I can’t explore too much today but Jesus was both gentle and strong. Loving but truthful. Balanced. Anyway, another story for another time. Today I want to explore what it means to be an appeaser. You see, I use to be one. I am a recovering appeaser. “Co-dependent” is a term from modern psychology that would closely resemble such a state.
 
 
The problem with being an appeaser is that it emboldens evil. What looks like “being nice” is actually destructive to the person who is the recipient of the placating behavior and also everyone around him or her. When evil is unaddressed and tolerated it spreads, multiplies and grows.
 
Probably the best example of this in history was British Prime Minister’s Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement that emboldened Hitler and was a driving force for WWII. Appeasement in a political context is a diplomatic policy of making political or material concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict, but very evidently, it did the opposite. Can I tell you that in all of your relationships appeasing someone when they are clearly, morally wrong will do the very same thing. It will embolden a monster and that monster will create chaos. This principle works no matter what the context. You could say that the world, particularly Great Britain and The United States, made Hitler what he was. They created him or what he became. He was unchecked and out of control because when there was a window to control him that opportunity was not taken and he was emboldened by such inaction.
 
When we make concessions to an abuser we create chaos in our own lives and potentially in the lives of others. That abuser can be in any relational role, be it a friend, relative, spouse, colleague, employer or even a child. When we do not draw a line when a line needs to be drawn we will pay a heavy price, eventually. Initially it may seem like you are winning the favor of the abuser but it doesn’t take long for the tables to turn when they become certain of their power over you.

“Truth without love kills, but love without truth lies.” Eberhard Arnold

Have a good one!
Cheers!
April

10/23/2015, Harsh

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perfectionism

Good morning peeps. Hope you all are doing well out there in cyber land.

It has been quite a week. There is a lot I have to get done and a lot of change is on the horizon. It is rather consuming to be honest and probably will be for the next few weeks. Change always involves adjustment. It is a hard change that is coming but a good one as well.

I am hoping that with the stress level subsiding in the next few weeks that the scale will move downward. I don’t think that the caffeine is helping and I will probably start to reduce it, if not eliminate it, entirely in the coming weeks. Right now it is keeping me going. I am typically a “cold turkey” kind of gal, when I get rid of things in my life, but I think I am going to take this slower this time. I think I am going to take everything a little slower and be more gentle with myself. I have been through a lot and I need time to heal and being hard on myself isn’t going to help that happen. My adrenals are on high gear right now and that is not good. I can’t take any more beating. I think with time and rest I will not only heal but weight loss will naturally occur.

Harsh. I think I have been downright harsh with myself and demanding. It is time to accept and love myself “warts and all”! We do the best we know to do in this world and if we would have known better most of us would choose to do better. I sometimes wish I had a time machine but if I did I wouldn’t have learned what I have learned.

I have to run. Kids to get off to school and preparation for the Sabbath. So glad it’s almost here. I need a rest.

Cheers!

April

10/22/2015, Decision Made

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tough decisions ahead

A decision has been made.

So yesterday we found a therapeutic boys home for our son to go to for a year. Our youngest son has Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. These mental/emotional illnesses stem from his time in foster care and neglect he endured prior to our adopting him at 3 1/2 and his younger 1/2 sister at 16 months. The fact that he is also drug exposed is probably not helpful either. He came to our home very damaged and despite trying everything we knew to do to help him he hasn’t not gotten better. The kind of behaviors that he exhibits are some of the following: Continual lying, charming people to get what he wants or frame his “innocence” when caught, manipulation, night wandering, destruction of property, theft, violence towards other children, triangulating adults, an attitude of entitlement, blame shifting, causing extreme chaos, disrespect, and a constant need to be in control all the time. For 9 1/2 years our family, the other 5 of us, have been put through the ringer. We have to have 3 alarms on his door at night to sleep and keep our youngest daughter safe from him. I have no idea what he is capable of anymore because he keeps raising the bar where these behaviors are concerned.

I am not developing any expectations for his return a year from now. If he chooses not to get better he won’t and we will have to figure that out in a year. This has been an extremely difficult decision but enough is enough.

I am looking forward to rest, much needed healing and hopefully, finally, some peace in our home. And now I need a job to pay for his care. I am looking forward to being around other adults because it’s been kind of lonely for Rapunzel up here in the tower. I haven’t been able to work because he can’t be left unsupervised and most employers are not real keen on you bringing your child to the workplace, especially those with criminal tendencies.

Thank you for your prayers and support during this difficult time.

Cheers!

April

10/21/2015, Fork in the Road

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For so many years now I have been caught up in “ideal”. I wanted the correct, best, perfect circumstances and outcomes etc., for everything and for everyone in my life. But some things are just not that way and no amount of trying is going to change it. I can’t fix this. It’s all damage control at this point. So settling for the best possible scenario, not the perfect one, is sometimes the only option. So, we have come to a fork in the road. Formally, there were no known affordable possibilities, and now there are a few, but they are less than ideal and the more I search the more I find that the perfect option does not exist. I don’t want to make a mistake but it seems we have to make a choice now, the best possible one, that we can afford, for everyone and someone is going to get the short end of the stick. There is no way around it. I just don’t want to make a bad choice, from many years ago, worse than it already is, so I am wrestling today. I am seeking Wisdom and I am seeking Guidance.

I can’t write anymore today. I need to quiet the chatter in my head and listen to my conscience. I will check in with you tomorrow. Have a good day. 🙂

Cheers.

April

10/20/2015, Plan “B”

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plan_b

Good morning.

Today I am not going to say much because I am a little disappointed that plan “A” failed and a little overwhelmed that I still don’t have a solution for a very difficult problem and I feel like it is up to me to figure it out. Right now that is kind of my “job” until I can have one and when I am able to have one, the sole purpose of that job, will be to pay for treatment and or boarding for our adopted son who has severe behavioral problems.

If that sounds confusing and a bit “Dr. Phil”, it is. Sorry about that. Welcome to my reality.

I have no intention of going on “Dr. Phil” by the way.

Anyway, today, I need to let go of the idea of plan “A” and trudge forward towards plan “B”. There are no manuals written on this stuff so I am kind of going at it in the dark and have been for many years now. I am hoping for Guidance, I need it. It would be nice if someone came by that had been this way, but that hasn’t happened much in the last 9 years and I can’t hold out for it now.

Disappointment, move on, there is no time for you and you are getting in my way.

Overwhelming feelings, take a hike, you are not an option.

Self pity, you are counterproductive, move on.

Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

One to plan “B”.

Cheers!

April

10/19/2015, Aware

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self-awareness

It’s Monday, again. Good morning. 🙂

I am sitting here enjoying a bulletproof coffee made with coconut oil, rather then butter. As much as I love butter, and even though it’s grass-fed, the little bit of lactose present might contributing towards an ongoing issue I have with inflammation, as I am intolerant and I believe that might be what is impeding my weight loss. I guess that experiment failed. Oh well. So, I am going to go dairy free, entirely, again, and see what happens. The caffeine, I am going to cut back on, but I really don’t have the where with all to go through withdrawals right now, so I may attempt that later, we will see. It’s all part of the journey. I am learning to be in touch with what is going on with my body, slowly.

It’s amazing how out of touch we are with our bodies. I don’t think as many children are, but most adults are. I have a theory about that, that I will share with you. Bottom line, to sum it up in one word, I think it’s all rooted in trauma. I think this happens pretty early on for most of us and the more early it occurs the more body distortion and disconnection a person will experience in his or her life time. A person literally cannot connect with their own presence. They have “left the building” so to speak. It got kind of “freaky” on the outside so the brain called for a retreat and that creates the disconnect. I noticed this when I first began to meditate and could actually sense my hands and feet. I realized I walked around almost completely in my head most of the time, and for most of my life, and the rest of my being was just peripheral rather than actually connected to me vibrationally. It was quite a realization.

So my theory, supported by a lot of new science…….

Trauma doesn’t necessarily have to be a bomb going off in your back yard. Different people have different constitutions. It isn’t about being better than anyone else. It simply has to do with a persons sensitivity to stress and some people are more impacted then others. I believe there is a genetic component to this so DNA and heredity play a roll. If your grandmother weathered the Depression and came out better for it, your odds are better, that when a stressful situation occurs, you will not be as badly impacted as others. Conversely, if Uncle Stan became an alcoholic after the war, as a means of coping with trauma, you might want to watch yourself a little. In my family it is a mixed bag as I believe it is for most others as well. Nothing is set in stone and there is no judgement but it is a good idea to know what your limitations are and learn to manage your stress when you realize you might be particularly sensitive to it’s affect. Experiencing trauma can be as simple as being born during a difficult birth (yes, stored as trauma!), a dog biting you while you ride your bike or your parents having a disagreement. If the brain sees something as traumatic, that is how it will be interpreted. Life is full potential trauma. Some of us learn that earlier than others. Many times we unintentionally and unconsciously traumatize one another. There are some people that do it to others fully aware of what they are doing, but I think that is rare. The amygdala, the animal part of our brain and the part responsible for fight or flight, retains this information and isn’t real keen on letting it go. This ancient, primal section of the brain holds on to this information for our protection, or so it thinks. This “holding on” creates distorted perception that can potentially impact every belief system we have. Everyone, if they live long enough, will experience trauma of varying shapes, forms and severity. It truly isn’t about the trauma as much as it is the brain’s interpretation of it. Perception is everything. Perception shapes what we believe to be “our reality” even though reality isn’t always necessarily what we believe. So telling someone something they have experienced is “no big deal” is rather ignorant. Their only connection to reality, their brain, right or wrong, said so and that is all they know. We really need to get away from judgement. It doesn’t help anyone. Discernment, seeing the objective truth, is a great thing, but toss in resentment and you have judgement which is entirely counterproductive.

This is actually a lot more complex than I am making it, but to put it simply, in order for the amygdala to stop ruling the roost, so to speak, it is necessary for the pre-frontal cortex to step up to the plate and be in charge. The pre-frontal cortex is the center for logic, reason and objectivity. When it takes over the amygdala’s role is lessened and it actually shrinks in size and the pre-frontal cortex grows larger and more active. What we measure as IQ increases. Stress managed through techniques like meditation are the only safe way that I know to accomplish this. (There are other ways which are not legal, nor am I am convinced they are safe) Various studies support this fact.

This is an excellent documentary on the brain and the perception of reality that a good friend sent me:

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365580655/

If you are kind of a documentary nerd like myself you will enjoy it.

Well, got to run. I hope you have a terrific day. Go meditate and get to know Reality. 🙂

Cheers!

April

10/18/2015, Just ONCE!!!!

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Good morning, almost good afternoon. I have gotten a good deal of rest this weekend, which was badly needed, and I am so grateful. 🙂 I threw myself into a couple of novels this weekend and stayed away from the computer. The novels are great distraction from the tasks and issues at hand. I relaxed so much yesterday that I forgot my youngest daughter’s dance rehearsal. I got a call from the studio and got her there about 30 minutes late. The old me, prior to adopting our son with emotional/mental problems and a continual tendency toward criminal behavior, and experiencing trauma as a result of all that, held myself to very high, difficult standard. With my two oldest, biological children, who are now grown, I typically was on top of everything and early every wherever I went and I could never sympathize with anyone else that didn’t seem to have their proverbial sh*t together. I judged them harshly, never thinking for a second about why they might be forgetful or struggling to keep it all together. I guess payback is a “B” if you know what I mean. Judgement isn’t ours to make. Our minds can only handle so much and there comes a point when the “overload light” blinks on and doesn’t shut off very easily. You never know what someone else is walking through. I am there and have been for quite some time. So, I apologized, once, which is unusual for me. Whatever people think, they will think, so what! If I made that kind of mistake in the past, which was rare, the apologizing and appeasing for approval would continue until I was satisfied I was back in a person’s good graces. One apology for an unintentional error is enough! Where I am at now and how I see things is this: I am a human being with a hell of a lot coming at me, daily, and I am grateful not to be put in a straight jacket and carted away at this point with all my family and I have been facing. So running a little late for things here and there is not fatal and I am pushing a half century at this point so I am giving myself a break. It’s about time. The constant beating I have given myself over my lack of perfection for 46 years is done. I have no space anyone’s judgement, not even my own right now. My “give a damn”, about the small things, is slightly impaired now and I don’t think I want it to ever work the way it once did. I think that was fairly sick and far too heavy a burden to carry.

Had some wine on Shabbat. First time since July. Hopefully it won’t negatively impact my weight loss. Maybe it will break my stall. I don’t know. Extending myself a little mercy these days. I need it. 🙂

Gotta run!

Cheers!

April

10/16/2015, Don’t Contribute to the Faulty Programming

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KOREA: Pfc. Julias Van Den Stock of Company A, 32nd Regimental Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, rests on a Chinese Communist bunker with a Russian type Browning automatic rifle, along the slope of Hill 902 north of Ip-Tong. NARA FILE#: 111-SC-365083

“Billy don’t be a hero”.

I am dating myself with that line from the 1974 Song by Paper Lace about a young man going off to war. Of course I was 5 when it came out but as the child of young parents, that had a lot of the popular music of that time playing in the background, I still have a lot of those lyrics floating around in my programming.

Aspiring to be “a hero” in life is a bit like playing God and often a fatal or at best a very damaging, presumptive move. Just ending up one is different than the ambition to be one. The latter preferable to the former because the first is ego based and the second not.

Yesterday while listening to the controversial but always profound Roy Masters, he said something that got my attention. An 88 year old now he kind of mixed up his words with a bit of English accented stammer but I put his thought together in this slightly paraphrased quote:

“You can’t fix people, but you don’t have to contribute to their faulty programming. Act if you must, but don’t react.”

When we react we take action or speak in response to the emotions we feel as a result of the actions of another person. Conversely, when we act we make objective decisions based on facts, not emotions.

Don’t play the hero. People can’t be fixed by other people. Can God or YHWH use people to help other people? I think so. However, it won’t happen if:

1.) They do not see an issue with their actions and don’t feel they need to change their behaviors.

2.) We react emotionally to their behaviors.

3.) It simply isn’t the plan, ever or at this time, for their lives to get better for reasons we don’t understand. (This one is a hard one to accept, but it is a reality that is impossible to deny sometimes)

I guess the only factor that we can control is the second. It is not up to us to repair people. If we think so, we have an ego problem. I did and I thought I was being “a hero.” When we “play” the hero, we will typically react to a person’s bad behavior, which will happen when we try to play God (because we are not Him). Being reactive we only contribute to or support their faulty programming. We don’t help it. We can actually make it worse because they are already in a perpetual reactive state and we join them in a proverbial never ending war of trading resentment back and forth, no matter how justified we might feel about our resentment. (Resentment is never justifiable)

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life but one thing I do not want to do, no matter how evil another person’s intentions are, is contribute to “tripping them up” or provoking them to sin more. I won’t be able to justify that one no matter how hard I try.

So today I pray not to be led in to temptation so that I won’t contribute to the faulty programming that is already at play.

Shabbat is on it’s way. I need a rest. It’s been a long week.

Cheers!

April

P.S. Enjoy a cool tune 🙂