The Lotus

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” ―Goldie Hawn

Awful Trials

“Sometimes, you will go through awful trials in your life and then a miracle happens–God heals you. Don’t be disheartened when the people you love don’t see things like you do. There will be Pharisees in your life that will laugh it off, deny that it happened, or will mock your experience based on righteousness they think you don’t possess. God won’t deny you a spiritual experience because you are not a spiritual leader. He loves everyone equal. The only people that really matter in life are the people that can “see” your heart and rejoice with you.” ―Shannon L. Alder

 

Genuinely Touched

Waking up this morning was rough. I’m functioning on about four hours of sleep, and today was one of those days where I truly had to force myself to go to Urgent Care. You know you feel awful when you actually want to go.

I’ve been sick for weeks now, maybe even a month. I do try to let mild things pass by because I believe in the body’s ability to heal itself, but when you have a sore throat that feels swollen (as in, I couldn’t really drink a cup of tea), along with swollen glands, sinus pain and pressure, day seven of a migraine, and a vicious cough that is making you wheeze, you’ve got to face facts; you’re sick.

And so, off I went to seek out treatment. In total I was there maybe two hours, if that. My blood pressure was probably the best it’s EVER been in the last ten years; 125/75. That alone impressed me. My blood pressure is usually a good indicator of how stressed I am. The last time a nurse checked it, she thought the machine was broken. That’s how stressed I was and how poorly I was being treated. My temperature is low, but since my heart is beating, we’ll call me “sort of alive”.

Once I got in to see the doctor, it was pretty quick. The two tests that were run were both negative (Strep and Influenza. Both back in less than fifteen minutes.). I was diagnosed with a left ear infection, a bad sinus infection, and bronchitis. For me, that’s pretty darn sick considering I haven’t had a sinus infection since October of 2008, and that one required two rounds of antibiotics before I was better. I was discharged with ten days worth of antibiotics, a few days of cough medicine (I’ve taken two thus far, and it doesn’t seem to be helping.), and Flonase, which I was shocked to discover is covered by my insurance. If it hadn’t been, I would have passed on it. So far, I feel worse than I did when I walked in there, but it’ll take a few days for the antibiotics to do their thing.

When I got back from the pharmacy, I was met with some very caring, kind, thoughtful inquiries regarding my health. It genuinely touched me. For those of you that took the time to inquire: THANK YOU! I’ll never forget it.

Special thanks to Mass General/North Shore for taking good care of me.

copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

Give With Your Whole Heart

Tomorrow is my birthday. In honor of this occasion, I am asking friends and my readers to give back.

This is coming from a place of goodness in the request. It’s coming from MY heart, in the hopes that people will make an effort and give with their whole hearts.

I know someone who is suffering greatly due to the abandonment of family, friends, and the system, and I’d like to see this person emerge stronger, but I have immense doubts this will be achieved. 😦

If you have gently used clothing you no longer wear or that your children no longer wear, please consider finding a local homeless shelter, women’s shelter, etc., and donating those items to help someone in need. Sweaters, sweatshirts, fleece and flannel, thick socks; things that will help keep people warm. Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, coats, air mattresses, & tents are all items needed as well. If you live in a cold climate, as I do, you know the importance such items have during the cold, long months of winter. Anything you can do will be an amazing blessing you’re bestowing on someone else.

If clothes are not an option (I know for me, I can’t part with what little I physically have here with me.) then please look into local food pantries and consider dropping off some canned goods OR doing that for a local soup kitchen. Maybe donate the frozen turkey many of us earn “free” by purchasing at our local grocery stores during the holiday season. These are places that provide food to families in need and many churches and soup kitchens help feed our homeless. Toiletries are also in need, so even if you donate body wash, bar soap, or a package of wash clothes and/or towels, that would be awesome, too.

If you don’t have the time for any of these things, as many busy people don’t, then it’s easy to make small donations to various charities that truly help the homeless. Take five minutes and do some research, but leave out places like the Salvation Army who people keep telling me are NOT truly helping people any more. I’ve personally witnessed them blowing people in need off and only accepting donations, as opposed to giving back to the people they’re supposed to be helping, so I’d leave them off potential lists based on that behavior. It’s not hard to do a little homework. Churches, Temples, the YMCA, and many non-profit organizations do great work for the homeless. They provide daily meals, clothes, showers, clean laundry, and the list goes on. They treat people like human-beings, and that’s important.

Please realize that the homeless situation in this country (and many others) is dreadful. Homeless does not always equate to “uneducated”, “drug addict”, “alcoholic”, “lazy person who refuses to work”, or many other stigmas placed upon the word “homeless”. Millions of people have lost their homes due to health situations, banks defrauding people on loans, natural disasters, and they have no place left to turn. They’re depressed, devastated, and even if they’ve spent a year reaching out to different organizations, they are often still at square one. Instead of turning a blind eye, as we’ve all done at least a dozen or more times in our lives, please do something. Even the smallest gesture is huge in the eyes of someone who is hurting. It will make you feel good knowing you helped someone in need.

Nearly a year ago, I was almost homeless. Someone generously reached out with a caring heart and offered me a place to live so that I can get back on my feet, get my health in order, etc. However, I’m not special. Had it not been for this person, I’d be on the streets now. I would have had to give up far more than what I did give up, which was basically 99% of my life. Being as sick as I am; I’d likely be dead today instead of writing this. There is only so much the mind, body, and soul can take before it breaks.

A few years ago I was reading a book (and I’ll happily share the name of the book, if asked) where the “writer” had told her children that “people are homeless because they didn’t go to college”, in a scare tactic to let her daughters know that they all had to go to college, mostly because she did not, regretted it, but is now a millionaire that thinks she’s not raising spoiled, privileged children. I was appalled, mortified, outraged, and utterly disgusted by that particular statement, among many others. I cannot imagine, as a writer or editor (and I’ll use her version of “writer” loosely, because she probably dictated the entire thing to someone), ever allowing a line like that to be published, leave alone letting someone say it out loud to children, OR adults. There are ways to educate your children on socioeconomic issues without resorting to pure ignorance.

There are veterans who are homeless; people who defended our freedoms and should be taken care of when they return, but often aren’t. There are plenty of college-educated people who lost their homes, cannot find work (because despite what you read and get told; employment opportunities in this country are still very bad.), and end up homeless. It’s not a choice; it’s a reality. Yes, plenty of these people are sick, but a great many of them didn’t start out that way.

Ultimately. the good we send out into the world returns threefold. If we do it again, it returns in ten. Do something good. Look people in the eye when you do it. You’ll be glad that you did.

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Your Pain Is Challenging You

“Your pain is challenging you. Rise up from your sadness, frustration, and low spirits, and allow the privilege of life’s challenges to be your guiding companion. We are all just humble students of the world. What lesson does this painful majesty of life have for you today? The teacher can only provide the lessons, but the student ultimately decides what to learn. Life is a procession of painful lessons, and how precious those lessons are; so precious that we rejoice in the bittersweet gift of life. If you learn to look at the worldly madness through spiritual eyes, you will begin to see divine balance and sanity. Your suffering is not senseless. Your suffering is here to help you unfold and to awaken into compassion, love, and strength. Your entire life has unfolded for your heart’s ascension to love. Are you willing to accept its challenge?” —Bryant McGill

I have some issues with this one on levels I’d debate, but it’s still worthy of being shared, as so much of Bryant’s thoughts are.