marilea.rabasa@gmail.com

What Doesn’t Kill You…

Gene and I are over seventy. I guess that makes us officially “old.” But we’re not. Except for the arthritis that’s hurts most days, we’re still very active and engaged in our community. But we were tested a few days ago when we went hiking around Mt. Baker. On our last day, we went on a hike without reading about it first. Heliotrope Ridge took a while to get to by car. But the views of Mt. Baker made it worth it. We were so uplifted by the calm beauty all around us that we were inspired to stay there and go hiking. But we should have read the book first. It was grueling from the beginning. A hiker on the way back gave me hope: “This is the worst part!” I thought she meant just this stretch, but I soon found out she meant the whole two miles in. Mostly up. Gene and I walk almost every day. Nice relaxing flat walks on our beach or along the peaceful road on Camano Island. But we can’t do much elevation, certainly not 1200 feet. I have COPD and his lungs are even more shot than mine. It took us a long time, but we made it. I was pretty miserable huffing and puffing all the way up, and so was he. Even coming down I was in a bad mood, this time complaining about my knees and my broken toe. Well, I learned the difference between happiness and joy. I was not happy by the surface discomforts of going on a strenuous hike. But I came away feeling joyful:...

The Power Of Each Moment

From Each Day A New Beginning, April 15: “’It seems to me that I have always been waiting for something better—sometimes to see the best I had always snatched from me.’ ~Dorothy Reed Mendenhall Gratitude for what is prepares us for the blessings just around the corner. What is so necessary to understand is that our wait for what’s around the corner closes our eyes to the joys of the present moment…We can, each of us, look back on former days, realizing that we learned too late the value of a friend or an experience…When we detach from the present and wait for tomorrow…we are stunting our spiritual growth. Life can only bless us now, one breath at a time.” Attitude is everything in my life. I have losses. Everyone does. I can waste time regretting the past or projecting into an uncertain future. Today I can keep my feet planted on the ground and open my eyes. This is how I choose to live. My recovery program has assured me that I will always have choices, and I can only try to do the next right...

The Three A’s: Awareness; Acceptance; and Action

T From: Hope for Today, April 25: “True recovery takes place when I step out on faith and carry out…new behavior. Then I know a small portion of me has grown. When I take action based on introspection and meditation, I push my recovery boundaries further. I know if I keep on this path I will always keep growing…Outward action must follow inner work to truly take root in my life.” Insight into ourselves is valuable, but unless we do the footwork to change what may be necessary, our insight isn’t enough. Just for today I will try to grow toward the...

The Yin and Yang of Living

1 From Each Day A New Beginning, April 8: “’Life is patchwork—here and there, pleasure and despair, Joined together, hit or miss.’ ~Anne Bronaugh As you look ahead to this day, you can count on unexpected experiences. You can count on moments of laughter. And you can count on twinges of fear. Life is seldom what we expect, but we can trust that we will survive the rough times. They will, in fact, soften our edges. Pleasure and pain share equally in the context of our lives. We so easily forget that our growth comes from the challenges we label “problems.”  We do have the tools at hand to reap the benefits inherent in the problems that may face us today. Let us move gently forward, take the program with us, and watch the barriers disappear.” If we remain steeped in sorrow, are we receptive to joy? If all goes well for us, are we prepared for the valleys? There will always be a mix of both in our lives. The trick is to find a balance and not be overwhelmed by either emotion. To be able to say, “Okay today was not a good day, but I’m confident tomorrow will be a good day.” I have found that when I look for joy, I find...

Freeing Our Children

F “Angie told me once that that’s why she hated NA meetings: often in attendance were drug addicts not in recovery, people she needed to avoid. But in her case I don’t think that’s true. I think she didn’t go to meetings because she needed to deal with her addiction her way, and not be told by anyone else what to do: CSR—compulsively self-reliant—just like her mother. Or maybe she just wasn’t ready to embrace recovery at all, a painful possibility I had not yet considered. I was still determined, at that point, to believe that she was going to beat her addiction and that I, of course, would be the glorious savior she would spend the rest of her life thanking, handing me my redemption on a silver platter. I would finally, thank God, let go of the oppressive burden I was placing on my daughter by demanding she get well so that I could be OK. My mother unconsciously did the same thing with her children: she was a demanding perfectionist, beating back the pain of self-doubt and unworthiness by raising “successful” children. I’m very glad to have found recovery from my dysfunctional upbringing. It has helped to  “relieve me of the bondage of self” (Anonymous Press 63). And most importantly, most importantly of all, my recovery has freed my children.” You can find my book, A Mother’s Story: Angie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, by Maggie C. Romero (pseudonym) on...