Turn Toward Something Better

Had a great time at, “Seams of Gold.”  Great example of how community is friendly to “Me.”  Met a wonderful man.

Me:  Hi!  I’m Dr. Quijada!  I’m a psychiatrist.

Him:  I’m Frank.  I’m a recovering Alcoholic.

Got to love love that kind of company.  Thank you to all who participated and volunteered.

images

Found after our evening, was thinking about that darn “justice” ever skirting so much of Me.  The way becoming the victim to abusive treatment drives “Me” into helplessness all around us.  Things like money turn us to blame and ugliness.  In the end, telling our story, we hear from our own selves more about the behavior of the curmudgeon than would ever leave cause/change/control space for an innocent like “Me.”  Yep.  It’s them.

Using the behaviors and emotions of others is never useful to explain/justify the emotions or behaviors of “Me.”  We are as free to choose to be a victim as we are to not.

Programs like, Seams of God, and people like Frank, remind us that turning toward something better is, Way!  It is way, like opening a window to a hot room, like turning the lights on, like biting into a ripe home-grown cherimoya.  Turning toward something good rather than away from “bad” is choosing to be free.

Be free. Everything starts and ends with Me.

 

Keep on, dandies.

your own,

Q

 

Join us at, Seams of Gold!

The University Surgery Center, Department of ECT, and myself will be joining our community at Seams of Gold, where we will share life changing stories of ​resilience, restoration and hope.

Thursday, May 1, 2014  

​6:30 pm to 9:00 pm, Doors open @ 6:00 pm

“Event is Free”

PLEASE COME!  🙂

 

A Father’s Lament  contopolos

On May 29, 2010, we lost our 26 year old son, Nick, after a 14 year struggle to find long term, affordable, quality recovery and care from mental illness and addiction. During Nick’s brief life, both he and those of us who loved him were left with a fatal absence of hope while we struggled, as do many others, to navigate our society’s haphazard, fragmented “system of care”.

Months after Nick had died, I recalled a former broadcast on CNN with a woman who had suffered enormous loss after Hurricane Katrina. The interviewer was asking this lady how, in the face of such loss, she was able to continue on and now help others. She said, “at some point, I stopped asking “why me” and began asking “what now”. That statement, in conjunction with an honest admission from my pastor that “during Nick’s life, he had absolutely no idea how to understand nor how to help us”, was what led to the “what now” of Seams of Gold community service events.

Seams of Gold is named after the ancient pottery art of “Kintsugi”. In this ancient art form of Kintsugi we find the inspiration in how we respond to the fragile beauty that surrounds us.”

Seams of Gold is a FREE multi faith, multi denominational community service event. All are invited.

We are asking that all who have been affected by mental illness and addiction as well as those who love and serve them, to come and be inspired, informed, educated and equipped. Join us, as through the prism of our tears, we pilgrimage together towards a “better day” of empathy, compassion and care for those who suffer.

Recovery is Powerful, it is Possible and it is Beautiful! 

                                                                                                                                  –  Jim Contopulos

 

The beauty of the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve in southern California provides the backdrop for a father’s lament. Seams of Gold founder Jim Contopulos invites the viewer to join him on a journey as he reflects upon losing his beautiful son to addiction and mental illness.

“Birthed from Pain… Inspired by Art”

                                                                   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGZ1ESOlvbM

More on Life-ers. (Those darn perdy dandelions.)

Taraxacum, seeds detail 2.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

I had an interesting comment a couple of days ago on the concept of Life-ers.

If you have a weed in your garden, you pull it.  If there’s something wrong in your life, you don’t fall in love with it.  You get to weeding.

However, there are Life-ers that are both weeds to pull and weeds to just plain garden I reckon.

We here at FriendtoYourself.com, got one of the most practical life examples of a Life-er.  It is both one that can be weeded and one that cannot.  Emily said in response to blog-post, One Woman’s Struggle,

…I have been a self-identified compulsive overeater (or binge eater) since I was a child. It has always loomed large (pun intended) in my life. I have successfully dieted and lost 30-40 pounds at a time, and then I’ve gained everything back — with interest. It has been my obsession and my bete noir.

Eight years ago, out of pure desperation, I went to a Overeaters Anonymous meeting. I didn’t necessarily like it at first, but I recognized my problem as an addiction. If you hold my experience up next to an alcoholic’s, there is no difference. I struggled a long time with the program, but today I am living what OA calls an abstinent life. My definition of abstinence is three reasonable meals a day with nothing in between. I am shrinking to a healthy body weight.

I have also developed my spiritual side and my relationship with my higher power (that I get to define) is what makes it possible to eat like a normal person. My obsession has been lifted, one day at a time. Like an alcoholic, this is not something I can do on my own.  This is supported by about 25 years of data.

I am experiencing freedom I couldn’t even imagine walking in the doors of my first meeting — freedom from fat, freedom from compulsion, openness to change and growth and a life that is no longer nearly as self-centered.

Sana, you asked if it helps to think of it as an addiction — for me, it’s not an analogy; it IS an addiction. I use the Big Book for the solution. My recovery is just like that in any other program.  And it’s the ONLY thing that made a difference — not just for me, but for the dozens of people I share OA with. I hope this is something health professionals will understand one day. OA is an underutilized tool, and I think that could change with better understanding and guidance.

Thank  you Emily for your story.  I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind.

Addictions is a weed we could more often agree is a Life-er.  That is not to say there are not those of us who think that they can yank and be done with, but the general consensus in medicine is that addictions are Life-ers.

There are other Life-ers besides addictions.  Recurrent major depressive disorder, treatment resistant major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, okay – a gazillion other medical illnesses that will not be eradicated by weed killer or a gloved garden-grip.  There are also non-medical Life-ers, such as poverty, natural or unnatural disaster, stigma and so forth.  We could even use the biopsychosocial model to catalogue them if we wanted.

One of the things that intuitively sits poorly about Life-ers in our culture and communities is the perceived helplessness that can soil it.  However, we are not implying helplessness at all.  The opposite in fact. Just as this courageous Emily described, when we take care of ourselves, when we befriend ourselves, we take accountability for where we are now, our yards improve neighborhoods.  We have more freedom and choice.

For the world out there who is scared to garden over the long term, let’s get over ourselves.  What we are growing is worth the space we occupy and of high value.  You may never know it but we are and have bank to show for it.

Questions:  What is your response to those who call your Life-ers weeds to pull?  What are some examples of Life-ers you have fallen in love with and how did you? How do you get away from perfectionism? Please tell us your story.

Don’t Let Your Sense of Need Get Away From You

Pinocchio Illustration - When He Becomes a Donkey

Pinocchio Illustration - When He Becomes a Donkey (Photo credit: Kev.Kirsche)

Self-Care Tip:  Find your need, grip it tight enough to not let it be taken from you and loose enough that fatigue will not lose it for you.

If we don’t know our need, if we don’t know our wanting, the reason we say “Evangelize,” “Buy this!,” “Don’t miss it!,” if we don’t know why we care what other people are doing, we will not be so productive.  We will be a poor salesman.  We will have a droll experience.  Things will not make sense to us and will be something other than friendly.  We bore ourselves when we don’t know why.

What was it like when not being a friend to Me?  Remember the way we treated others, the disconnection from the people we wanted and the way life didn’t absorb.  Remember why we started with Me.

This is everywhere in our lives – taking medications and resenting it, skipping our exercise, staying up late at night when we are feeling so good, turning our addictions over to our Higher Power becomes rhetoric and you know what more.

This is just a short trip into this idea today.  I’ve been blessed remembering my lows, being in my lows, and experiencing my wanting.  I’ve been messed up when I didn’t.  I don’t want so many goodies that I turn into a donkey.

Keep on.

Questions:   How has remembering your wanting improved your ability to be a friend to yourself?  How do you keep the memory of your wanting even when you don’t?  Please tell me your story?

Why, Is Just Not So Friendly To “Me” – Sabotaging Self-Care

I like it,

she says, as if that makes all the sense that she needs.

Does reason justify the action?  When action isn’t friendly to Me, do we really want to know the why?

Sometimes in clinic, I feel like a beast.  The other day, I did in fact.  Beautiful Harmony came in and she disclosed that she was drinking a couple of beers a night.  I thought she had stopped her alcohol.  She had told me that some time ago and I had forgotten to ask her about it in many months.

I asked her why, which was my mistake.  What ever her reason was, I already knew I wouldn’t think it made any sense.  I already knew I’d harangue her with teaching, coaching and cheerleading efforts to stop.  I knew when the words were coming out of her mouth that I was going to say things that she didn’t want to hear.  But, who wants a polite doctor?  What a watered down excuse for medical care.  The kind that says,

Oh Harmony, you are drinking.  You understand the risks and benefits and the benefits outweigh the risks for you.  Ok.  I’ll continue to treat you for all the disease processes that are secondary to alcohol, exacerbated by alcohol and I’ll continue to prescribe medications that won’t work while you’re still drinking.

I am not so polite.  Unlucky Harmony.

Harmony, the reasons that you drink alcohol do not do for you what you think they do.  The reasons are not your friend.

We all have a little “Harmony” in us, using reasons for our own sabotage.  As if we needed them.  As if they made sense.

I could die driving to work today.  Let me smoke.

I live with him because I’m lonely.  I know he…

We all battle for and against ourselves.  We are all hoping to do friendly things.  We all hope the unfriendly things will go away or get friendlier.  We have good intentions.  However, when we hear ourselves talking about them, we can get friendlier simply but not worrying about all the reasons that make doing what we want to do feel ok and just go straight to the point.

I like it…

Uh… Stop before getting started on the “why.”

Cathy, who writes The Reinvented Lass, described this so well.  She’s a funny writer and see’s the world with hope.  Check her out.

Questions:  Do you really want to know why?  Is your reason friendly to you?    How do you get past your reasons why?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip – Don’t be so polite with yourself.

Flaws You Love. Presence.

More on Life-ers.  (Those darn perdy dandelions.)

Taraxacum, seeds detail 2.jpg

Image via Wikipedia

I had an interesting comment a couple of days ago on the concept of Life-ers.

If you have a weed in your garden, you pull it.  If there’s something wrong in your life, you don’t fall in love with it.  You get to weeding.

I can see the point of this argument as I’m sure you can.  I can also see where I didn’t get my point across well, or else this argument wouldn’t as likely have been voiced this way.  The person who said it isn’t stupid and neither am I.  But how do we come together on this?  There are Life-ers that are both weeds to pull and weeds to just plain garden I reckon.

We here at FriendtoYourself.com, got one of the most practical life examples of a Life-er.  It is both one that can be weeded and one that can’t.  Please read it if you haven’t yet.  Emily said in response to blog-post, One Woman’s Struggle,

I related deeply to Kara’s experiences. …I have been a self-identified compulsive overeater (or binge eater) since I was a child. It has always loomed large (pun intended) in my life. I have successfully dieted and lost 30-40 pounds at a time, and then I’ve gained everything back — with interest. It has been my obsession and my bete noir.

Eight years ago, out of pure desperation, I went to a Overeaters Anonymous meeting. I didn’t necessarily like it at first, but I recognized my problem as an addiction. If you hold my experience up next to an alcoholic’s, there is no difference. I struggled a long time with the program, but today I am living what OA calls an abstinent life. My definition of abstinence is three reasonable meals a day with nothing in between. I am shrinking to a healthy body weight.

I have also developed my spiritual side and my relationship with my higher power (that I get to define) is what makes it possible to eat like a normal person. My obsession has been lifted, one day at a time. Like an alcoholic, this is not something I can do on my own.  This is supported by about 25 years of data.

I am experiencing freedom I couldn’t even imagine walking in the doors of my first meeting — freedom from fat, freedom from compulsion, openness to change and growth and a life that is no longer nearly as self-centered.

Sana, you asked if it helps to think of it as an addiction — for me, it’s not an analogy; it IS an addiction. I use the Big Book for the solution. My recovery is just like that in any other program.  And it’s the ONLY thing that made a difference — not just for me, but for the dozens of people I share OA with. I hope this is something health professionals will understand one day. OA is an underutilized tool, and I think that could change with better understanding and guidance.

Thank  you Emily for your story.  I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind.

Addictions is a weed we could more often agree is a Life-er.  That isn’t to say there aren’t those of us who think that they can be weeded and be done with, but the general consensus in medicine is that they are Life-ers.   However there are other Life-ers besides addictions.  Recurrent major depressive disorder, treatment resistant major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, okay – a gazillion other medical illnesses that won’t respond to weed killer or a gloved garden-grip.  There are also non-medical Life-ers, such as poverty, natural or unnatural disaster, rooted social stigma and so forth.  We could even use the biopsychosocial model to catalogue them if we wanted.

One of the things that intuitively sits poorly about Life-ers in our culture and communities is the helplessness that can soil it.  However, we are not implying helplessness at all.  Just as this courageous Emily described, when we take care of ourselves, when we befriend ourselves, we take accountability for where we are now.  Our yards improve neighborhoods.

For the world out there who is scared to garden with us, I have this to say.  Get over yourselves.  What we are growing is worth the space we occupy and of high value.  You may never know it, but we are and we have bank to show for it.

Questions:  What is your response to those who call your Life-ers weeds to pull?  What are some examples of Life-ers you’ve fallen in love with and how did you?  Please tell us your story.