Category Archives: mental-health

World Peace Is In The Kitchen

IMG_0835Last weekend I had the pleasure of participating in the 15th Annual Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation with members from my Quaker Meeting, and it was an enjoyable experience. This country could use one of these on a daily basis.

The theme for the walk this year was “Recognizing the One in All of Us.” This is appropriate for many reasons, in and out of religions.

Although this is something that has been going on for 15 years, it was my first, but certainly not my last. There is just something fulfilling about being surrounded by a group of like-minded folks that energizes me in a way I cannot put into words.

We started our journey at the Arch Street Meeting House in old city Philadelphia. The Meeting room was filled with Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, Hindus, Baha’i, secular humanists, and others who share the values of peace and justice.  We sat in silence, as we do in Quaker tradition before heading to the streets.

Our first stop was the Society Hill Synagogue where we were greeted by members lining the entrance. Musicians were playing inside that filled the room with joy. The Rabbi welcomed all of us with prayer and a dash of humor. We then enjoyed a musical prayer performed by the Philadelphia Sikh Society youth group. A reading by Philadelphia Youth Poet Laurite, Husna Hashim, that rose the room to their feet in applause, and a Recitation from the Qu’ran by Muhammed Shehata from the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, which thankfully was translated for all of us to interpret. Notice the Rabbi & the Muslim embracing in the background. Who would have known ….

All throughout the walk, we were encouraged to use this opportunity to strike up a conversation with someone outside of our comfort zone and LEARN. Questions like “does your turban come pre-wrapped or do you do it yourself?” were not off limits. 

Just in case you were wondering they are not pre-wrapped and there are YouTube videos for guidance. According to his smile, I would say he was relieved at the lightness of my question. 

Once we left the Synagogue, we made our way back to the street and headed out for a 60-minute walk to Al Aqsa Mosque. We were greeted by the sounds of music compliments of a woman DJ wearing a hijab and Beats by Dre headphones. Something you don’t see every day.

The parameter of the facility was lined with the World Peace ballons in the above photo. It was indeed a site to witness. The air was consumed by the fragrance of dinner being made by the members of the Mosque, and dessert prepared by the Sikh community for all of us to share. All I can say is …. YUM!

As we were all settling in I took a moment to look around, I mean really look around at the oneness surrounding me.

I watched the men carrying out trays of food, and the women were not only directing where everything needed to go, but they were also getting annoyed if the men did not do it accordingly. Every woman reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about.

The children were running around excited to have company in their “home.”Look what I can do! Look at me! Watch this! Free entertainment.

I realized that the ONE woman in our lives who insists you try her dish over the everyday meals made by the other women even though your plate is already overflowing exists in EVERY culture. You know who you are ladies. 

This was when I understood that the core ingredient to solving World Peace is FOOD. We really need to stop overthinking, start cooking and 

Enjoy the Ride!

 

Let ‘er Roll!

via Daily Prompt: Conveyor

con·vey·or:  a person or thing that transports or communicates something.  “a conveyor of information.”

When I first read this prompt, Lucy and Ethel came to mind as I remembered the most famous conveyor belt of my lifetime, which has been providing laughter to so many for decades. You’re welcome. 

 

 

Life was so much simpler in the days when the only things coming at us like a train were chocolates. Sigh

We now live in a time where information conveyed is too easily received, not because it’s factual, but because it matches our belief. This information overload is preventing us from L I S T E N I N G to anything outside of our own opinions. A wall has been built folks, and it’s not in Mexico.

Now that the double-edged sword technology has entered our lives; it’s not just the bombardment of information conveyed at full throttle; it’s the follow-up investigations to dissect the truths that are equally overwhelming for me.  Exhausting is an understatement.

Sadly, not everyone conducts investigations because it’s more accessible to watch “Breaking News” or accept information spewed out of the mouths our politicians as factual. Easy peasy.

Just remember, Memes have become sources of News in some circles of this country. Let that sink in for a moment. 

We also endure the information our “friends” on social media are conveying to the world on a minute to minute basis. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat an endless stream of blah, blah, blah. I’ve never been happier not to be a teenager.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s nice to share moments that have substance, the photo of a lost pet, an encouraging quote or funny meme, but to continuously convey your every move to the world is more of a cry for help. Look at me look at me … umm … NO!

Just like Lucy said “Ethel, I think we’re fighting a losing game.” as she shoved chocolates in her mouth, under her hat, and on the floor.

It’s time to dig deep people. The time has come to silence the overload, regain our common sense and be better stewards of the information we are conveying to the world. One closed tab at a time.

How’s this for information overload?

Be kind. Be mindful. Be considerate. Be aware. Be honest. Be friendly. Be compassionate. Be grateful. Be inspirational. Be yourself. Be happy. Be strong and as always, Enjoy the Ride!

 

 

 

Got Grace?

Have you seen Grace?

grace-def-1She’s the gal that spent her days roaming around within the majority of people for decades. Yes, it’s true.

You could find her on the street, the supermarket, and in fact, running free in most public spaces. I know, right?

So where did she go? One day did she decide to say “fuck it I’m outta here!” due to the overwhelming ignorance surrounding her kind soul or did she silently grab her box of kind words, gestures, and courteous goodwill and slowly walk off to the ends of the earth? Inquiring minds need to know.

In her youth, Grace was on her game spreading her attractively polite manner of behaving across the land. She was one of the popular girls.

That’s right she was regularly mingling in our daily lives lending a hand or two when needed. Providing words of wisdom, a tissue, a seat or a shoulder without her motives being in question.

Now it seems as if Grace only makes special appearances, sweeping in to give a kiss on the cheek, warm a heart, or soothe a soul before leaving Dodge. Today, Grace is a minority. I’ll just assume she’s on that dreaded travel ban list because of her good nature. 

Yep, that’s right she’s been overpowered by the likes of Fear, and we all know Fear is too much of a kitty kat to travel alone, so he rallies his buddies suspicion and mistrust along for extra muscle.

Fear is doing his best to run the show we call everyday life. (yes, fear is a man because men have more power, and I said so) He is out slithering around insisting that we now question Grace and her posse of possibilities, kindness, and dare I say compassion.

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. Franklin D. Roosevelt

This change didn’t happen overnight, oh no, it’s been going on for some time now, but it’s evident that it has recently escalated. Hmm, I wonder why?

Grace needs us more than ever now that fear has gotten his cloven hooves on the internet to spread at the speed of lightning. She needs us on the ground to defend her motives. To ensure that her kindness is trusted, and to regain the best that humanity has to offer. We need more than a glimmer of our girl. 

So, if Grace happens to cross your path, embrace her offerings with open arms. Encourage her to stay for a while. Let her know how much we need her in our lives by spreading her around like glitter while you… Enjoy the Ride!

 

Just Float

bull-dog-slobber-sleeping-surrender-letting-go-cute-animalsAs you know from my previous post I recently experienced the art of Floating. What is it you ask? Well, it can be described as the best freaking thing since sliced bread by me.

In the beginning, it took me awhile to get comfortable. Naked and alone in pitch black room takes a minute to absorb. 

I closed the door but left the low light and music on at first. The water was body temperature warm and soothing. Eventually, I did turn the lights and music off as I slipped into the quiet, peaceful zen. It didn’t take long before I was able to completely let go. Free at last.

The coolest part for me was having no concept of time whatsoever, and not caring about it at all. It feels so good.

Float Spas are popping up in my area, but from what I understand floating is nothing new, however, the experience has certainly changed. Once you add the word Spa it becomes sexy. 

Apparently, floating also went by the name Isolation Tank, and are you ready … Sensory Deprivation Tank, as far back as 1954. This sounds scientific, not sexy so there were no appointments needed.

Today isolation tanks are located in beautiful rooms with inviting names like “Oasis” or “Grotto” that are chock full of amenities like fluffy towels, robes, scented soap, and shampoo. Anything to divert you away from the fact that you will soon be naked as a jaybird.

My room was spectacular with its private shower, candles, and a hint of lavender. This is imageshow you get your zen on. The room my husband experienced is best described as a Pink Floyd lap of luxury fusion. Trippy with a dash of zen.

The idea behind the floatation therapy is to provide you with a way to pause the hectic, saturated world and enter a state of deep mental and physical relaxation. It takes you away from the endless sensory experiences that seem to consume us these days. It should be mandatory for teenagers and college students. 

Just imagine if you could go into your head and give it a good Spring cleaning, leaving not a  single dust bunny to clutter your thoughts, allowing you to focus on whatever you please. It basically brings out the best in your brain. My mind left fresh s a daisy.

img-thingAs for the physical benefits, whew there is something to be said about feeling like a noodle. My muscles take a beating at the gym at least 4 times a week, so they were very grateful for this treat.

The magnesium from the Epsom salt-infused water brings your muscles back to life. It relieves tension and makes your skin incredible.  I left looking like a smooth glow-worm.

All in all, it was peaceful, relaxing, invigorating, enlightening all rolled up into one amazing 90 minutes. This was a first for me and my husband, and we would both do it again, and again, and again. As they say, whatever makes your boat float, or in this case, booty. 

Enjoy the Ride!

Just Look For It

cf0625b43ee446559aba5956b7d94eefIt’s funny how during all of the darkness over the past month, we have been able to see some light. A glimmer here a glimmer there help the heart heal.

We are both very big believers in noticing the signs that are sent our way, and we were not blind to them even during the darkest of times. Hope comes in all shapes and sizes, the key is recognizing it.

7ec60236c914e83fb309775560d1d961Sign #1:

The day after the nightmare began, I went with my daughter to see my husband at the hospital. While walking through the lobby we were greeted by a very friendly face. Sister Kate. The world is so small.

I know Sister Kate from my job, and I haven’t seen her in a couple of years. Our relationship is she is a patient and I’m in shock that this nice, warm, funny person is a Catholic nun. Where the hell were YOU when I was in school is ALWAYS my thought when I see her.

Sister Kate immediately knew from my haggard look that something was wrong. This was the first time I uttered the words “My husband tried to take his life” and the flood-gates opened. Her warm kind hug is just what I needed before heading to face my reality. Never underestimate the power of fate.

tumblr_mup91f3ipa1rlyeulo1_1280Sign #2:

We walked into the room to find my husband under 24hr guard by none other than an Italian grandmother from South Philly. There isn’t a pill on the planet that can compare to the healing powers of this woman.

The room was stark, nothing but a bed. My husband was stripped of anything that could possibly hurt him, and yet this woman made that room feel like home. I was waiting for her to pull a portable oven out of her purse.

Lena was just what this doctor ordered…. a mothers’ love. Never underestimate the power of an Italian woman who gets joy from taking care of a man. 

During this visit is when we learned that my husband had ZERO memory of the past 12 hours. If only the rest of us had that pleasure.

02d29afeeee80496a916e0fce4f13d61Sign #3:

The following day my son came with me. This time the guard on duty was Lorraine, a very feisty black woman. She was definitely sent for me.

This day was very heavy as we sat patiently waiting for information on the next hospital setting. The silence was deafening. Except for Lorraine’s gum cracking which was no doubt echoing throughout the halls.

My son was saved by a friend who called insisting on taking him out to lunch. Perfect timing!

As we sat in awkward silence listening to that poor piece of gum being assaulted in Lorraine’s mouth, we heard the words “who are you all voting for?” Of all the questions on the planet to ask, this was the one she chose to ask the man on suicide watch.

This is when the unexpected public service announcement was made. Lorraine would be voting for Trump. Why do you ask? Well, because she was tired of her neighbors collecting free money for their 5 children that she named Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro & Cinco. Fast forward to 11/9 … yep, this is one reason why.

63aede416ddcf86276a1249feea18f0dSign #4:

On that Sunday I went to see my husband at the next facility. No one could have prepared me for this step of the journey. I’m not sure who decided that people with depression should be dehumanized to feel better, but they need to be fired.

I left this visit defeated, broken and wondering where is that place Dr. Drew sends his patients and do they take Blue Cross? The lack of life in this place could make even the happiest of people second guessing the existence of rainbows. WTF! 

When I returned home I was flat. There was just nothing left to feel. I was done. With a weak smile for the sake of the kids of course. 

As my son was about to head back to school, he decided to raid my change jar to feed the parking meter in town. He took out a huge pile of coins searching for quarters.

7b4ffcb78c5b2c81a8b82968db1561f1Next thing I hear is “mom, didn’t you loose a ring?”  I had lost my wedding band on Thanksgiving 2015.

I have torn this house apart more than once searching for it. Trust me when I tell you I put the FBI to shame with my search efforts. 

Sure enough, there was my ring, on the floor, with a dime stuck in the center. My eyes could just about register what they were seeing. The dam broke, and 4 days of emotion exploded into the room. 

If ever there was going to be a sign that everything was going to be ok, this friends, was it.

Still dodging potholes while Enjoying the Ride! 

 

 

In The Blink Of An Eye

Daily Post

d00f5b0392e69910d109d4bd287f7f98We all know the saying. We’ve all used it to describe various things in our lives. Those of us with children know it well. Somehow watching our children go from bottles to red Solo cups overnight. 

The seasons always leave us with this phrase, especially summer, which seems to be running out of Dodge faster each year. One minute we’re watching fireworks, the next we’re trying to escape a pumpkin invasion.

The holidays use to leave us with this feeling, however, now that Christmas hits the stores before Halloween it’s no longer the case. The Christmas season officially lasts longer than most relationships.

These are examples of what I consider a natural course in change. They are as comfortable as that old sweatshirt in our closets. 

But what about those other moments? You know, the ones that leave us numb in disbelief. The moments that leave us repeatedly asking “what just happened?” A vast majority have been doing this since Tuesday.

All I know is that NOTHING could have prepared me for life changing, blink of an eye, roller coaster ride I’ve been living for the past few weeks. By the wayI hate roller coasters in and outside of the amusement park.

October 12th was nothing short of a typical day in the life of me. Morning chores, work, and home. Boring at best.  

I called my husband to let him know I was on my way. Everything was normal at 6:11 p.m. When I arrived home at 6:27 I was met by my daughter outside of the house. She said that my husband was screaming, cursing and acting crazy. Out of character was an understatement.

When I walked in to try to find out what was going on it escalated. So, I got the fur babies ready for a walk, and off we went while that fire simmered down. If they could talk, maybe I could have gotten a heads up.

While out on the walk I received a text stating “I’m moving on.” WHAT?! 

I called home only to hear a voice I never heard before informing me that he is “done” “moving on.” I ran with the fur babies in tow, possibly airborne, with my heart in my stomach back to the house. 

64deb0ff996b4ace8f191bc355ccf955How did I go from saying “I’m on my way home “to screaming “What is happening?”

How did I go from hearing “I’m feeding the dogs” to “I’m moving on.”?

How did I go from walking my dogs to pulling pills out of the mouth of the man I love?

How did I go from a hum drum day to rushing into an ER?

How did I go from worrying about bullshit to making life-changing decisions?

How did I go from thinking everything was fine to feeling like I was hit with a bat?

How did I go from seeing the strength in my husband’s eyes to staring at his weakness?

How did I go from a happy go lucky girl to a sleepless shell?

I don’t have the answers to all of these questions just yet, but I have hope.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I have faith.

I don’t know how to live my new normal, but I have an open mind.

I don’t know if we’ll be ok, but we have our love.

I don’t know how I was blind, but now I can see.

I don’t know if any of this makes sense, but I’m trying.

I DO know that I have 99 problems, but my new perspective won’t allow Donald Trump to be one of them, and for that, I am grateful.

Enjoy the Ride … one speed bump at a time!

 

 

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