marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

Penteli Mountain

My son and I loved to fly kites when he was growing up in Virginia. The right kind of wind could propel his paper bird high and far, with us right on its tail giving it enough slack to keep it soaring in the air currents. He’s a grown man now, but I remember a day twenty-five years ago when we were living in Athens, Greece. We were driving home from his friend Chris’ house. Chris lived on Penteli Mountain, one of my favorite haunts outside of Athens.   From the crest of this hill on a clear day in winter you could see the whole bowl of Athens, with the smog hovering overhead, and even beyond. This was where the Brits came to celebrate Boxer Day every December 26. They hiked up more for the whiskey than the view, but that’s another story. As we turned the corner, we saw the tail of a kite peeking out from under a pile of rubbish. We knew it was a kite tail because it had flags zigzagging down the string. Also, everyone came to fly kites on Penteli Mountain in December when the weather changed. This kite had lost its wind and lay abandoned in the field, its owners having no more use for it. And so, our curiosity taking over, we stopped the car, got out, and went to investigate. Right away our curiosity turned into compassion and we wanted to breathe new life into this broken and tattered old kite. I never thought that something inanimate could come to life. But at this time in my life there was...

How Do I Honor You, Angie?

Memoir Excerpt: “Now we need to go on with our lives as best we can in spite of the cloud hanging over us. If my beautiful girl can’t find the courage to say yes to a healthy life, then I will. I’ll do it for her. What could be a better testament to Angie, to all her gifts and possibilities, than to go forward with my life savoring every moment? Wherever she is right now, I know that the best part of her loves me and would want me to be well. I really believe that, in spite of everything her drug-induced mind has spit forth. I have more confidence now. I know without a doubt that I’ve been a good (enough) mother to Angie. I love her. And loving is enough. Loving is always enough. This has been my lesson. Though nothing can restore the years we’ve lost with Angie, I feel more and more able to embrace the life around me and revel in the gifts I’ve been given. On my gratitude list this morning, I added something else: ‘I thought the rose bush was dead, but a little more water and it’s come back.’ Simple things— How is it possible for me to be grateful, even, to Angie, whose illness brought me into the rooms of Twelve-Step recovery? How is this possible? My unsent letter to my child: ‘Dear Angie, Ironic, isn’t it, that you have become my teacher and not the other way around—teacher of life, teacher of love, and beacon of surrender. I’m so grateful that you were born, even though at times I’ve...

The Courage To Change

From Each Day a New Beginning, 10/12: “…there are two entirely opposite attitudes in facing the problems of one’s life. One, to try and change the external world; the other, to try and change oneself. —Joanna Field God grant us the courage to change what we can—ourselves. How difficult it is to let go of our struggles to control and change someone else. How frequently we assume that everything would be fine if only someone else would change. All that needs to change is an attitude, our own. Taking responsibility for improving one’s own life is an important step toward emotional health. Blaming another for our circumstances keeps us stuck and offers no hope for improved conditions. Personal power is as available as our decision to use it. And it is bolstered by all the strength we’ll ever need. The decision to take our lives in hand will exhilarate us. The decision each day to be thoughtful, prayerful, and wholly responsible for all that we do will nourish our developing selves. Each responsible choice moves us toward our wholeness, strengthening our sense of self, our wellbeing. I will change only who I can today: myself.” I read a good definition of addiction the other day. It said something like this: when we focus on another substance, or the love of someone else, or another activity as the source of our happiness and well being, then it takes on the attractive power of addiction. This includes our belief that if someone else would change, we’d be happy. I’ve stopped measuring my happiness on things and people outside of myself. If...

Happiness Is An Inside Job

Memoir Excerpt: “How I’ve been able to even think about my own recovery, much less reach for it, on the bones of my daughter is a testimony to the power of transformation through spiritual recovery. And only as my recovery deepens have I been able to withstand this struggle with any serenity or grace.” “Our mettle has been tested, all of us as parents. We’ve paid our dues, and in my case, sometimes in service to my daughter’s addiction. Now can we go beyond mere acceptance of our lot and transform our lives into one that we deserve? Sometimes, being human, I feel, ‘how can I?’ But I’ve reached a point in my own journey where I want not only to survive the effects of this disease, but also to live well. I don’t want Addiction to win twice. This is the promise of Al-Anon. This is my hope for my future.” ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.’ I cannot change the fact that Angie is an addict, and I cannot “wish” her into recovery. I can only love her. And—this catch-22 has taken me most of my life to learn—I can only love her or anyone else in my life with any integrity, if I love and value and respect and cherish myself...

Each Day A New Beginning

Happy New Year to all my friends! I hope it’s filled with joy, wonder, and a few surprises. May we all take the time to look around at the world and appreciate what is good in our lives. Blessings to...