This assignment was to write a piece inspired by something I saw in a public place – without using adverbs.
“What a beautiful family,” I thought, as I glanced at the man, woman and child seated at the next table.
The longer I sat at the table, looking at the menu, enjoying the ambience of springtime outdoor dining, the more I didn’t like what I saw.
The red-rimmed eyes of the woman were tell-tale. The rigid posture of the child was unnatural. All the while, the man was too casual, too jovial in comparison. “Sure, I’ll have another,” he says to the waiter, as he holds the beer bottle in the air. The woman’s eyes and face get redder. The child cowers closer to her mother. The woman reaches for something on the table but the man tries to snatch it away only to knock it on the floor – a ring of keys.
The waiter returns with an apology – there will be no more beer for him tonight. “We can, however, call a cab if your companion can’t drive you home,” he says.
Grumbling, the man slings the keys at the woman and stumbles toward the door leaving her to gather up the child and pay the bill. She scurries after him with the child in tow, her head bowed, shamed – fear showing in every line of her body.
In the pit of my stomach, I fear what awaits them at home and say a prayer for the woman and the child.
“Sometimes it’s OK if the only thing you did today was breathe. Start over tomorrow.”
Some of us need to be reminded of this concept each and every day.
What’s this? A box labelled, “Open me, if you dare…”
Obviously, this was left here by someone who doesn’t know me very well. The best way to get me ‘off the dime’ is to dare me, so here we go! First the ribbon, now the paper and off comes the lid! What’s inside for me?
A day without pain.
That simple. No more, no less.
Just one day. Not a lifetime, a year, or even a week. Just one day without the wracking physical pain that makes every movement torture. Describe it, you say? Imagine the second or third day of the worst flu you’ve ever had. Now, increase the magnitude by fifty times and you have my ‘good day.’ We won’t talk about the ‘bad days.’ Add to that, the mental anguish of PTSD and depression and you know why I’d wish for one day’s respite as a mystery gift from the universe.
Okay, back to reality. Since that mystery box from the universe isn’t happening today, let’s move on with daily affirmations and positive activities. Get up and get going. Move through the daily routine of mindful, meditative activities that soothe the body and heal the mind. Something as simple as keeping the house orderly can help tame the chaos in a ravaged mind. Taking time for creative activities such as painting, music, crochet, knitting, cooking or other crafts on a daily basis is another way of staying physically active while re-creating positive pathways in the brain.
Thanks for your time today. Here’s to hoping for your mystery box to arrive today.
Yesterday I commented on an exceptional post at PTSD – A Way Out. The post suggested an exercise to develop Awareness and Acceptance as a path to healing.
The exercise was simply to bring Awareness to any area of one’s life containing Guilt without allowing the Self to be consumed by the emotions, thus promoting Acceptance of the full Self.
Being a survivor of PTSD, I know full-well this is not an easy thing to do. Not easy, but necessary for healing.
For one thing, one’s life can seem consumed with guilt, which makes it difficult – almost impossible – to identify a single area on which to focus. For another, the emotions can be so overwhelming they can trigger the self-defeating thought cycles we know all too well. Having said that, let me reiterate the importance and validity of this sort of exercise when you’re healing – set aside the time, do it.
Without this sort of exercise and the discipline developed through them, I’m certain I wouldn’t be here to live my life or write this blog. Becoming aware and accepting of myself has allowed me to get back on track to the person the trauma almost stole from me.
Get back to yourself – get a little ‘exercise’ today!
A phrase I’ve heard all of my life is ‘waste not, want not.’ When I was younger, I found it hard to understand but as I’ve matured, I’ve come to understand it quite well. Basically, it means to conserve what you have now (waste not) so when you need it, you’ll have it (want not). Upon doing a bit of research, it appears the phrase originated in Yorkshire, which makes it seem even stranger to me that it was one of my German mother’s favorite sayings. She was, indeed, a woman of many mysteries.
Along the lines of conservation and not being wasteful, I have a quick recipe to share with you to save those apples (and other fruit) on the verge of spoilage. In these days of tight budgets and frugal living, there’s no need to throw away things that can be used in different ways. We all have had the experience of realizing the apples (peaches or pears) have been sitting on the counter a few days too long to be enjoyed fresh but not quite long enough to be quite rotten. I have good news! You can use the following recipe to create a quick dish to serve as a sweet side with dinner or as a sauce for ice cream or pound cake as dessert:
Peel, seed and slice the fruit
Place in a skillet with a dollop of butter over medium-low heat
Add one to two tablespoons of liquid per 4 pieces of fruit (water or apple juice works as well as white wine – your choice)*
Add cinnamon and sugar to taste*
Cover and cook the mixture down until the fruit is tender and a nice sauce has developed (stir occasionally)
*Adjust liquid and seasonings based on amount of fruit
This is one of my favorite comfort foods of all times. There’s something about the butter and the cinnamon melding with the warm fruit flavors that signals ‘all is well’ on the home front. This is a particularly powerful and important message for anyone who struggles with depression and/or PTSD. Something as simple as the methodical preparation of a simple dish like this Cinnamon Fruit can calm the soul and save the day when one is a bit frazzled or fragmented after a challenging day.
Calming rituals involving repetitive, rhythmic activity such as cooking, crocheting, painting, playing music, knitting, and drawing can all be invaluable in bringing peace to the chaotic thought processes that can create havoc for those of us suffering. Find something that works for you and spend time every day to nurture yourself…to heal yourself…break the cycle.
Enjoy your day, enjoy your cinnamon fruit and come visit again soon!
Although I’ve posted a couple of times already, I’ve decided I need to back up and re-introduce myself. I am a fifty something woman who has been around the block a few dozen times. I am someone who has been lost in the dark and finds her way back each and every day through perseverance, tenacity, a simple daily round and a love for art and creation.
During those trips around the block, I’ve been told repeatedly by many people that I should share my stories, my viewpoints, to help other people through difficult times. Additionally, I have some talent in arts and crafts that many people find interesting and inspirational. Combining the two areas in a blog seems like the best way to reach the most people with a message of hope and recovery while building a platform for my products.
In this blog, we’ll be discussing many topics of daily life from depression and PTSD to current events and housecleaning tips as well as a wide range of arts and crafts from crocheting to painting and gardening to cooking so stay tuned. I’m hoping to reach people who are looking for a simple, common sense approach to life from someone who’s been there; people who are looking for someone who has been in the dark but found a way back to the light.
Through publishing this blog, I want to establish a network of people supporting each other through difficult and good times through positive discourse, while increasing awareness of my product line of inspirational arts and crafts.