Jeff recently told me: I read a book about Zen Buddhism where the author poses a kind of recipe for living. He says, “Live ethically, compassionately and with generosity.” He further explained, “Don’t do anything that you know is wrong, be kind to the people around you and be generous with what you have.” This simple formula really struck me, as I tend to overcomplicate good advice. I think most of us have the natural ability to discern if we are being ethical, compassionate and generous. Today I make a concerted effort to live my life according to these three principles.
My reflection: There is no perfect method for living life. When Jeff was sick, I felt bombarded with other people’s judgments and advice. Inside all the clutter that was my life, it was up to me to choose how to live and what decisions to make. These three words above provide a framework.
Today’s Promise to consider: Every day I have choices to make as to how I conduct myself. Today, I choose to live ethically, compassionately and generously. I will look at my daily behavior through these three lenses.
A simple framework that is good advice. Thanks for sharing Libby
A beautiful picture and powerful message…thank you, Libby and Jeff. Like Alanon, I will try to be mindful of these principles and to practice them in all my affairs.
Thanks, Jane and Nancy. It’s true that these three words provide a simple framework for living, just as Christ’s words, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Yet it’s also true that the Big Book (AA, Al-ANON) has provided a framework to help all of us – addicts and those who love them. Pretty amazing that the tenets of AA have endured the test of time. When I am most confused, I go back to them and hold on. I’m grateful. Love to you.
Libby, you are so honest with yourself and with us. It helps so much. Every day, ever moments is a choice.
I love how you talk about that inside clutter.
For years and years I thought it was my “Job”to change the minds of others so they might understand learning challenges and mental health issues and addiction better. It always made me sound like I was excusing behaviour of my son and defending myself. Maybe, maybe, it was the way my path was supposed to unfold and I know some of the discussions along the way were really good ones. Some were just tough. Some were like a fierce mama bear clawing at someone out to get my cub.
Now, I can let others think what they want about my son —it makes me sad– but they can even say things to me without trying to defend or explain or correct them. Remind them addiction is a disease.
My husband came up with a great three word mantra when it comes to the opinions and judgements of others : IT DOESN”T MATTER. And it really doesn’t . They are only other people’s thoughts. We make choices on how we respond.
I am more interested in how those of us hurt from the disease continue to heal from the disease.
Simplicity is good. Kindness. Kindness. Kindness .
Humour is good. Finding beauty is essential.
Keeping heart open to catch joy as it flies by.
Thanks Jeff and Libby for your kindness. I love you.
Love to and thinking of Barbara.
Joy, Your husband’s mantra is wonderful, “It doesn’t matter.” I, too, spent much time defending Jeff and trying to both dodge and answer questions. I remember well one particular incident when a teacher friend, who knew Jeff was sick, asked me in the school office and in front of a group of parents, “How’s Jeff?” Her tone of voice was that sweet, sticky and syrupy kind, one that signals ‘I’ve got you now.’ I looked at her, smiled and walked away. What a liberating action for me – simply walking away. At that moment, I learned: 1. It doesn’t matter, and 2. I don’t have to answer any question. She never asked again.
Addiction makes us humble. Love to you and everyone who suffers.
Barbara, we send you our love and prayers.
Joy, your words are so true for me. My son’s problems eventually lead him into the federal prison system and I feel as if I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to make people understand that my son never set out to live this life or make these mistakes. He’s a sensitive and loving person whose life was taken over by addiction. I’ve finally come to accept that people will think what they want and I cannot change their opinions. It took me a very long time but I’ve finally arrived at that place where I also realize “it doesn’t matter” what others think about our situation. I still don’t like it but I’ve learned to let it go. Thank you Joy and Libby.
Lisa my son is in federal prison now. I tell most people “he’s not in a very good place right now.”
Like Libby, i’ve learned to walk away from some folks– or change the topic if I do not want to answer. “I’d rather not talk about that right now” is a good line. .
Yesterday, we heard a “funny” story from my son ( so good to hear his voice finally) –they did their intake and initial interviews finally and went through all kinds of questions and such and at the end of it they said to him : you have a severe drug addiction. He said I could have told them that and saved them time- making a kind of joke. Dark humour but still —they offered and he’s’ agreed to the drug rehab program they provide which means he has to stay in jail longer because there is a waiting list. I take that as a very good sign because he wanted out of there as soon as he could. And the choice was his- they do not force the program even if they know of the addiction. Maybe some prayers are being answered.
Barbara, you are in my thoughts as I dig in my garden. On my knees in the garden is such a good place to pray. I am not Catholic but I love Saint Francis prayer—-I wear it around my wrist –and he is in my garden …so send it to you today -this version sung by Sara Mclachlan for you — I hope the link works… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGyOtU3Es_s
Thank you Joy
Your posts are lovely – intuitive, wise and fun. Thanks for bringing joy and hope to these pages.
Prayers are answered in strange and unexpected ways. I think of the prayer when someone says to God, “You haven’t fixed this yet and I’ve been praying.” His/Her response, “How could I fix it? You haven’t let go yet.”
Letting go and trusting while staying close and loving is a feat. We need to keep trying and learning as we go. My mom once told me, “It takes a lifetime to learn how to live.”
Thanks for the prayer of Saint Francis. Let us be peacemakers.
My love to you all. Barbara, we send you our love and prayers.
It takes a lifetime to learn how to live.
VERY WISE WORDS
Although occasionally ckg this site, I’ve not taken time to actually read comments lately but only touching base now & then to help keep me sane while dealing with my child’s addiction. Of late the road has been more than bumpy however now it’s simply seems a road of destruction. My grandmother use to tell me “there’s someone out there worse off than “us”; I remember her words often & as I scanned thru comments on this site I saw words of prayers & thoughts to Barbara.
I researched back till I located the tragedy
her family recently suffered. How sadden I was to learn of her loss.
You are a ROCK to many & probably do not even realize it. I pray for you & your family as you grieve this loss. No other words – simply prayers & caring thoughts are sent your way. As I mentioned I’ve not commented in a long time, but please know how your words have aided in comforting me for my everyday dealings with my child who suffers from addiction. I’ve caught myself holding onto words not only from you but others like Pat & Libby which have gotten me through what at the time seemed like some very long days! I pray your family reaches out to GOD for guidance during this stressful time & that he grants the peace you all need to get through each coming day. God Bless you Barbara & THANK YOU for touching my life if only in words from this blog.