marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

The Healing Power Of Love

None of us is perfect. We all come into parenthood with different baggage. But we love our children. We do the best we can with what we have. But we love our children. And it’s the love we grow as parents—like an extra pair of arms to hug them—that will strengthen us to go on. Wherever they are—whether here or in Heaven—we are embracing our children. Take a break, Moms. Celebrate yourselves...

Reconciliation

When I met my partner, Gene, twenty-four years ago, he was an experienced canoeist, and he loved paddling every summer. So I figured I’d better learn fast. One memorable incident was during a trip to Quetico Provincial Park across the Minnesota border in Canada. It was there that I added a chapter to my “Life Lessons” journal. Gene and I always went canoeing with his friend, Stewart and his wife, Joan. I didn’t like Joan from the beginning. She talked non-stop, endlessly showing off how much she knew about everything. And worst of all, because I can’t even boil a carrot, she was a gourmet cook. So the two weeks of wilderness paddling and camping were a challenge for me. At the end of one day, we scouted around for a stellar camping site and I showed Joan the one we had found. “This island sucks,” she sniffed, “Stew and I’ll stay on that one over there,” she informed us, pointing to another one across an inlet. “Okay,” I chirped. “See you tomorrow.” I was awakened in the morning by the smell of smoke in the air. “Gene, get up!” I screamed, looking across the water. “There’s a fire on Stew and Joan’s island!” We piled into our canoe and raced across the inlet to find them frantically trying to remove the underbrush from the flames. Soon we heard the Canadian Forest Service arriving by helicopter to douse the area. It took twenty-six hours, but they finally extinguished the fire. Joan had neglected to stamp out her cigarette while she was shitting in the woods, and, well, shit happens....

Taking (My Own) Inventory

“Fourth Step Prayer: Dear God, It is I who has made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task.” When I joined Al-Anon fifteen years ago, I was miserable and desperate to save my daughter from self-destructing. But I was also guilt-ridden and felt overly responsible for the mess her life was in. Because I was inclined at that point to be overly hard on myself, I did not take this step properly. I focused exclusively on my defects and ignored my strengths. If I had had a program sponsor I would have received the proper guidance. But it took a very long time for this CSR (compulsively self-reliant) Al-Anon to admit she needed help in getting help. “My way or the highway…” Uh, huh, no wonder I was getting nowhere. Fortunately I did finally start to get it and come out of my isolation. It’s been a miraculous journey ever since. What I love about this step is the inherent balance and demand for honesty. There are few shortcuts to telling the truth. We can hide and distort and rationalize all we want. But brown eyes are brown, no matter how much we want them to be blue. Facing ourselves in the mirror on a regular basis takes discipline. But for me it’s been the best way to change and grow. As I continue to...