Tom Petty, St. Francis, and Rehab

It’s not necessarily that we weren’t allowed to watch the news in rehab, we simply didn’t. I mean, who needs the news when you’ve got someone in Cabin C Seroquil eating all the ice cream in the middle of the night and the threat of smoking privileges being revoked because too many are sauntering into Group late?

Eh, maybe you had to be there. If you haven’t, good for you. Just take my word.

A few Big Events did seep into our awareness during my own stint at the ‘hab.

One of those was the death of Tom Petty. We learned about it on the news during morning meds. Naturally I was saddened by it. It felt so untimely for him, whatever untimely means.

But the point in sharing this is what this news inspired in me. For over a decade one of Petty’s songs had been my adopted theme. ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’ was probably the primary cause of my 2007 Highlander’s busted speakers.

And the reason I was in rehab in the first place. Well, to be fair, not the song. But the concept.

I always felt so misunderstood. I wanted people to get me.

But on that 2nd day in October of 2017, as I walked back to my cabin (which bore zero resemblance to a cabin, unsurprisingly as the Ranch had zero ranchy animals to speak of) digesting my Prozac, Abilify, and other pharmaceuticals, I heard a voice in my head. Not to fret, in my case this was a good thing, although I questioned it at first. The voice said, “Doesn’t it seem like a good time, with Tom Petty dying and all, to let that song being the theme song of your life die, too?”

I agreed. Wholeheartedly. Which actually caught me off guard. It wasn’t a bitter disavowing of the song or anything like that. Somehow it felt like a way of honoring Tom Petty.

The time for lamenting that no one understood my feelings, my singular experience, had served its purpose. But the hourglass had long expired and I realized I had been escaping my own feelings for so long, it was no wonder people weren’t standing in line for a virtual tour.

In mid-November when I graduated from The Ranch (without horses, haha!), I was given a chip that was passed around and infused with hopes and well-wishes by my cohort and counselors. My favorite of those was the Prayer of St. Frances spoken into it by one of the staff.

I’m not exactly religious but I was raised Catholic and this prayer has always spoken to me, though on that day it felt different. Purposeful.

It was as though I…finally understood it.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.



Shift Happens

I once picked up a little tiny piece of cactus and brought it home with the intention of planting it. Those were busy days and I moved suddenly and lost track of it along the way.

Months later, cleaning out my closet and some boxes I’d never unpacked, I found that little tiny piece and it was no longer little and tiny. In my closet, unobserved by the human eye, it had grown three times the size it was when I’d lost track of it.

I planted it then and it flourished. Honestly, it’s probably some variety of weed cactus or something, but I admired its fortitude.

Recently, in the great freeze of Southern Texas my cactus, which was bigger than my head at this point (it was the size of my finger when I’d found it over a year ago) froze on my porch outside. I’d given it a couple of months to return, but alas, it was a goner.

Stuff is like that. I mean, things come and go. They grow in the dark while no one is watching and sometimes the light goes out when they are shining their brightest.

I’m not quite sure why I’m ruminating on this at the moment, but here I am. I love the growth I’m enjoying in the quiet where no one can see me at the moment. Maybe that’s it. Would my cactus still be thriving if it were a closet cactus? But was it grateful for the sun and passersby on my porch moreso than simply growing?

Meh. I don’t know. I’ve been inundated with signs from the Universe that I should start writing more often. So there, I did.

Enjoy the light. And the dark.

Namaste. XO

A Grown-Up Tree

I’ve always had a gloriously sloppy and messedly thrown together family Christmas tree. They were generally bottom heavy more years than not having been decorated by small people with a limited reach.

I’ve taken this year as an opportunity to try something new. My heart and home is in Texas, but when I’m unable to see the kids, my sweetheart is in Colorado. Sussing out the details of this arrangement is, surprisingly enough, proving to be a non-issue, which is fabulous. It just flows. I go where I go, I work where I go. When I’m there, I’m there and when I’m here, I’m here. I’m so grateful it’s laying itself this way. Feels very Divinely guided, honestly.

Over the years I’ve developed this sense of home within and that’s truly a blessing. Being at Zeke’s house is amazing and I feel comfortable and he makes me feel more than welcome. He actually laughed at me the other day because the bit of closet space, a couple drawers in the bathroom, and my little office at the bottom of the basement stairs haven’t sprawled at all into other areas of the house. The truth is, I’m happy as a clam in my little office. Still, he told me he wanted me to have full authority over the Christmas tree, because he’s sweet.

This is uncharted territory and it was actually exciting. Feels symbolic as well. I’ve mentioned before that my family calls me Tre so I’ve always had a spiritual connection with them. I decided to try my hand at a grown-up tree. I went with a Christmas tree theme. A Christmas tree themed Christmas tree. Heh. Is that irony? I rarely use that word because I’m always afraid I’ll use it incorrectly. The idea sort of unfolded in the aisle while taking in the decorations, so I’d reckon the theme actually chose me. So here it is. I absolutely love it. This tree feels like a gift to me. My Christmas gift; an indulgence of my inner child and she is quite delighted.

While alone and deep in thought sometimes I ponder my life situation and the purpose of my being here. It makes little sense to me to be honest, but I find peace in believing that someday in the ethereal I’ll understand. In the meantime I am learning to value and honor myself regardless the societal role I play in the lives of others. Simply being in my own heart and choosing joy when the opportunity presents itself makes for a fulfilling adventure.

In doing that and sharing the experience of it I hope it inspires others to do the same.Having been naturally inclined from birth (you all know, I’ve got some knowledge of my birth chart, haha!) to pleasing others, I always wanted my children to grow up with a sense that they were born to pursue their own heart’s happiness and satisfaction, not mine or anyone else’s. It is not lost on me that this would have been a difficult value to instill while I was only valuing myself via the roles I played in the lives of other people. Somehow I wanted them to know that their value is found in the joy they give themselves.

In that regard, however begrudgingly, I am leading by example. Learning each day that not only am I the person solely (soul-ly) responsible for my happiness, but that my happiness is independent of the thoughts and feelings of others.

At first consideration this might sound selfish, but imagine if everyone operated this way? The freedom we’d give to one another to pursue joy without being entangled in an insidious web of obligation and duty and responsibility to keep others happy.

I avoid giving unsolicited assvice, but I’d like to give unsolicited permission. Parents, be sure this holiday season that your children see you treasuring yourself, even if only for a moment. Give them the gift of knowing that even when they grow up and perhaps have their own children, their lives don’t cease to be of the highest value and deserving of acknowledgement and joy.

It’s been a rather brutal lesson for me, but it brings me some sense of purpose to share it.