marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

My Glass Is Half Full

From Daily Word, May 7: I Create My Own Joy “Joyfulness is a choice. I know my thoughts can affect my feelings. If I feel resentful, angry or fearful, I take a moment to look at why I feel this way. This is my point of choice. I can consider various ways to see a situation or person. In so doing, I may be able to change my feelings from down and destructive to joyful and constructive. I look for and find reasons to be joyful. As I choose happiness, others feel it too.” My daughter is a drug addict, in and out of recovery for fourteen years. We are completely estranged right now. Many of us know the pain of that kind of loss, where our addicts are alive but not in our lives. Yet I also have two happy children and two wonderful grandchildren. I have more years behind me than ahead of me, and I want to make the most of my life now. I choose not to count my losses, but to celebrate my blessings. I choose joy....

Mountaintops

Memoir Excerpt: “Hi Mom. Guess where I am! My sponsor took me on a ride on a tram in the San Jacinto Mountains! It’s gorgeous up here. I can see for miles and miles.” “Thanks for calling, Angie, and sharing this with me. I love you!” I always ended our communications with those three words. Even if we were fighting, and the words got ugly, I made sure she knew that I loved her. I no longer took for granted that this was just another phone call. I never knew if this was going to be the last one. High up on the mountain with her sponsor, could they see what was coming? In the movie Out of Africa, Karen Blixen said, referring to her imminent illness, “The world was made round so that we couldn’t see what was coming down the road.” And that’s a good thing. How would our lives be altered if we all had a crystal ball? That summer I wanted her to come visit and see our farm in the Southwest. In she flew from sunny Palm Springs to sunny New Mexico, and it was a joy to have her with us for a few days. Angie is, among other things, a very talented artist, and I asked her to paint a little sign naming our farmhouse Casita del Mar, so named because of my huge shell collection. It still hangs on the post in my front courtyard, though in the years since her visit it has sustained a lot of weather damage. We had fun, tooling around Santa Fe, and visiting the Georgia...

Grateful To Be Growing Within

From Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope, June 16: “I remember feeling my anger and resentment lessen at my first meeting when I learned that addiction is a disease, like cancer or diabetes. I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it and I can’t cure it. Today I am grateful that I am married to an addict because I have been given the opportunity to explore my spiritual nature and move out of my comfort zones. I have taken a good look at who I am, what I want and where I’m going. I am facing my past, my faults and my fears. I am becoming a better person, a happier person, and a more serene person. I am slowly but surely learning not to suppress my emotions and fears, but to release them and grow.” ‘No longer forward nor behind I look in hope or fear. But, grateful, take the good I find, the best of now and here.’  John Greenleaf Whittier Just for today, I will pay attention to my blessings. I have so much to be grateful for, and I guard against complacency. It can all be snatched away in a heartbeat, so I take nothing for granted. This is a good way to live, savoring every good...

Guilt And Redemption

Memoir Excerpt: “This journey of mine, this parenting journey, would involve going two steps forward sometimes and then three steps backward. It was not vertical progress I was making, but it was progress. And strangely, the more I kept the focus on myself and striving to be happy, the easier it was to let go of my child. I knew I had paid my dues, and I feared no one’s judgment, least of all God’s. I’ve railed at God many, many times during these dozen years of joy and pain, this God they speak of at Twelve-Step meetings. How many times had I sinned in my life? Many, more than I want to remember. And so the child in me had been sure, earlier on, that I was being punished for all of them. It was my karmic payback. “What goes around comes around,” etc. Indeed, for all of my life, before my breakdown, I had no faith in any thing or any one other than myself. I grew up very lonely and isolated, and if there was a god, he wasn’t paying any attention to me. So I learned to be very independent and self-reliant. But when I finally found myself on my knees, I felt broken and whole at the same time: broken because my MO for dealing with my problems hadn’t been working; and whole because I finally let myself believe in something outside of myself to strengthen me, to fill in the gaps that were missing in me, and to help me cope. I was starting to develop and cling to a faith that assured...

Resistance Training

From In All Our Affairs, Making Crises Work For You, Surrender: “Let go and Let God. It sounds so simple. But when our circumstances or the circumstances of those we love weigh heavily on our minds, we may have no idea how to do it. Some of us struggle with the very idea of a Higher Power. Others begin to question long and deeply held beliefs, especially in stressful times… Many of us review the same scenario again and again, looking for that elusive answer that will solve everything, obsessively wracking our brains for something that we could do differently or should have done differently in the past…As long as there is a chance of figuring out a solution, we reason, we should keep trying…We may secretly feel that this problem is too important to trust to God, as if we had the power to prevent God’s will from unfolding by the mere exercise of our resistance. We fear that if we surrender, anything could happen— Actually, anything could happen whether we let go or not. It is an illusion that as long as we cling to the situation we have some control…Surrender means accepting our powerlessness to change many of the realities in our lives…It means trusting instead in a Power greater than ourselves. Faith has been likened to being in a dark tunnel and seeing no glimmer of light but still crawling forward as if we did. Though our circumstances may seem dark indeed, when we turn to a Higher Power rather than to our own stubborn wills, we have already begun to move toward the light.”...