Reprinted with permission
Scott and I were so happy you were our waitress the first time we went to First Watch. You were the perfect combination of friendly, engaging and professional. Providing amazing service while letting us have our space to talk isn’t easy. We asked you your name to make sure we requested you each time we came after that.
With all the guests you serve, I couldn’t figure out how you remembered exactly what we both liked every time. You make us feel so welcome and special each time. When you aren’t working it just is never quite the same. It was like we were visiting someone we knew when we saw you.
A few weeks ago I happened to wear an NA t-shirt I had recently gotten at a convention I attended. You immediately noticed and said something about it. Scott and I both said we were in recovery and your face lit up. You admitted that you were an addict and had been going to meetings at one time and needed to get back to them. We were excited to tell you about our home group that met on Friday nights knowing you only worked days. You said that was a perfect time and you would be there next week. I gave you my card and said you could call any time. We left excited that we were able to share a message of hope with you and there was a meeting 5 days later.
The next time we were there you apologized for not being able to make the meeting. We said we would be there when you were ready to come. You said you would be there Friday and would give me a call and again Scott and I were excited knowing we would see you in a few days in a meeting.
You didn’t come to the meeting Friday night, but at least you knew where we were. We came over Sunday and they said you were working later than your normal time. For a moment I thought that was strange since you only serve breakfast and lunch, but didn’t give it another thought. Once again breakfast wasn’t the same without you. There’s something about you that lights up wherever you stand. Your warmth was felt by so many. I guess that’s why so many people request you.
Scott went there without me yesterday morning. A couple of the waitresses walked over knowing we always sat with you. They let him know that you overdosed and died on Sunday, the day they told us you were coming in to work later. I can’t imagine what it was like for him to hear that in the very place we met you. He knew how excited I was that you wanted recovery. There aren’t many women in our meetings and the idea of you joining us was part of the reason we started the meeting. We wanted a place for anyone seeking recovery from addiction to have a place to hear the message of Narcotics Anonymous and know that a day at a time, they never had to use drugs again.
I don’t know how he found the words to tell me what happened to you. I sat in shock unable to process what he shared. He said you have a 9- and 11-year-old. How are they going to grow up without your love? I’m sorry that you were so in the grip of your addiction that you didn’t call or come to a meeting. We would have helped you; I promise. All you needed to do was pick up the phone or shown up at the door.
Now nobody else, most of all your children will ever see the twinkle in your eyes, feel your warmth or be excited just knowing you are in the room. I hate this disease and what it does. What I hate even more is that this past Sunday it won and took you.
Rest well Natasha and know the world glows a little less bright now that you are gone. I will miss you.
Please, if you or someone you know has or thinks they may have a problem with drugs, pm me, no matter where you live. I will help get you in touch with someone in Narcotics Anonymous near you or let you know about online meetings. They are available 24/7. Help is available and NA is free. Out message is simple…an addict, any addict, can stop using, lose the desire and find a new way to live. Give us a chance…. what do you have to lose?
Karen is so sincere that she gave me her cell phone to put on this blog: is 1.404.626.0946 or you can email her at email@example.com.
The link for NA is www.na.org.
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Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.com
The fire was just below our yard and I saw it moving fast right for us. I called the fire department, but they never came to us. In the few moments during my call I watched the fire head up the mountain straight to neighbors' homes. It was a summer brush fire and it raged hot and fierce with no mercy. The fire licked at our yard. A pack of us from the neighborhood fought with hoses and buckets. We moved our cars, I grabbed a few things in case we had to run away.
Anyone who's been through a fire knows that the effects can last a long time. It was years ago and things are mostly growing back now. But even months afterwards, we still felt the loss.
It took days for the smouldering to stop. It was devastating even though we didn't lose so much--some trees, some yard equipment, and such.
It was weeks later that I noticed my cat's feet were still being stained by the blackened, burned mountain. The initial trauma was behind us, but it still affected us,the experience left its mark. If fact, there's a charred tree that stands just outside our yard as a reminder of what happened. Most of the other trees grew back.
Here's what I want to remind you with this post: Remember to be gentle with yourself. You may not think you even feel the effects any more, but they may still be present. It does take time to heal. The effects of trauma don't just disappear even though life goes on. Some things were lost. And... there's new growth! We don't have to get stuck in the loss and at the same time it's a loving way to be if you can be tender and gentle with yourself and others as you process through trauma and into healing.
Sometimes life sends you a whammy and it doesn't feel good at all! Someone says something that hurts, or looks at you in a way that stings. Sometimes people are rude, or the project you're working on isn't working out. Or maybe you worked hard on something and it seems like every obstacle that could possibly show up, does--and then some! Hard stuff.
Hang on! Take a deep breath.
This is a test, it is only a test. The purpose of the test is to help you grow. The 'Universe', God, Spirit, your Higher Power, what ever you want to call it, is sending you a lesson so that you can become stronger and grow.
It doesn't matter who you are, what you do, how much you weigh, how tall you are, male, female, or how old you are. It doesn't matter if you are experienced or not. Life will send you lessons and they will NOT be comfortable.
And guess what? That's OK! It really is. Because if you're reading this right now, I'm here to tell you, you can get through this test and you can use this experience to make you stronger. You can use any experience to your advantage and flourish in AMAZING ways. Amazing! Do you hear me? Amazing! I'm not exaggerating.
What ever tests life presents you with are there for a reason. In the end even the hardest stuff will turn out to be for the best because you'll be a better person. You can learn and grow and you are always stronger in the end, even if it doesn't feel like that's possible right now.
When you find yourself in one of the 'tests' of life, hang in there. If you don't 'get it' the first time around, it will come around again and you can catch the lesson the next round.
All along the way, remember that you are not alone. Everyone else is being tested, sometimes the same tests, sometimes different, but we're all tested. Even the people who look like they have it all together... you'd be amazed at the stories each one of us carries.
You can handle anything that comes your way. Keep breathing, ask for help when you need it. Be good to you and those around you.
With lots of love and some cyber (((((hugs))))) too!
I love you enough to tell you the truth. Complaining doesn't do a dang thing. Complaining won't make your life better. In fact, it will drag you down, down, down into the depths of deeper crap.
We all know that hard things happen in life. There are things in life worth crying about. The loss of a loved one, you have to grieve. The loss of a pet, you need to grieve. But mostly crying about what is wrong with your life doesn't fix it. It doesn't lift you, and it doesn't make things different.
NEWS FLASH... Unhappiness does not bring happiness!!!
Blowing off steam is over rated. I've tried it thinking it might have some value is helping to get past things that have upset me. It just increases the upset to go over things again and again. YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Want love in your life? Don't cry about being lonely, JOY is what will attract love.
Want success in your life? No more waaa waaa waaa! Imagine the most successful people you know--what ever the area of success--and I'll bet you don't hear a lot of whining from them.
Complaining is a habit that you have to change. It will not be comfortable and it may not be easy. It may even take some effort. Like the effort to look around your life and find a reason a day to be happy.
Create a new habit of noticing and acknowledging things that will make you feel good. This is a place to start. You can do this!
Are you listening? Are you listening to what is going on inside of you? Each one of us is such a complex being. What I find over and over and over and over again is that each one of us has the knowing inside for clarity about what is best to do or not do. The tricky part is learning to sense the the truest part of your inner knowing and not to be tricked by the mind or emotions or impulses. This is about owning your own personal power in the deepest way.
The best way to hear that truest inner guidance that comes from the highest place of the soul is to be still and quiet. And then Listen. Listen. Listen.
Sometimes you gotta get stuff off your chest, rant, blow off some steam. But that doesn't mean you have to do it in a destructive way. Gossip, talking about other people, is a pretty destructive way to go. It won't really help you in the long run, and in truth, gossiping about other people will hurt you, the listener, and the subject in ways we don't even fathom.
That's not to say you can't talk about things ever but when other people are involved, caution is important. Once you let the words go, you can't get them back.
One way I have dealt with my hardest of feelings, hurt, anger, disappointment and so on, is to write it out. Let it loose and say what you need to say. The idea here is that you will not be sending it. Just spill out the feelings and get clear. Clear out the hurt and anger and maybe even get clear about what you need to learn from the situation, if you can.
Some people rip up the paper after they write the letter. Some people even burn it up. I was very upset about a few things and wrote a bunch of letters in my journal. At first I thought I might send them but in the end, I felt better and there was no reason to send the letters. That would not have served anyone at all.
The issue here is how you are inside yourself when times or relationships are challenging. You'll be happier and more peaceful inside your own skin and that will have a ripple effect in positive ways.
So, spill your guts onto paper and then let it go. Delete the hurt and keep the growth.
When things feel like they are turing upside down, that's a message from G.d that it's time to break through to a deeper place. It's really a kind of a treasure hunt to find the whole of you and shed the dark protections that you don't even need any more. You are a treasure! You are a whole, wonderful world.
So when things seem really rough, it is not for nothing. There is a purpose! You can take that as a cue to dig deeper. Turn in to your Soul and return to the truest, most golden you.
You are the treasure!
Yes, you are.
A sweet soul that I know asked where will home ever be. It got me thinking. I've been on this planet for a while and have devoted many of my years searching for the comforts of home. Here's where I will share some of what I've learned along the way.
First of all, this is a world of imperfection. This is a world of struggle: the struggle within to find truth and worth, the struggle to do good and build, the struggle to find what is right. Nothing will ever be just perfect. There will always be dirty laundry in the hamper. Maybe the journey is about the struggle and we just forget to enjoy that journey. Have you looked at your courage to go on in the face of challenges? You are brave and courageous for waking up, getting up, and heading into this new day. No kidding!
The place of that feeling of peace is, in my experience, based on two things: 1) Living the truth of who you are, and 2) making a difference in the life of another.
Living the Truth of Who you Are
This is not about the way you dress, this is not about your job, this is not about who you know. This is about knowing what is important to you, knowing your values, then walking the walk of those values, being true to you and the people around you. The process of knowing your strong points and sharing them with the world, and also of knowing your weaknesses and being open enough to change and grow. This also means loving yourself enough to set boundaries.
Making a Difference
How do you make a difference? The classic, simple, inexpensive risk of sharing a smile with someone makes a difference. Saying "thank you" makes a difference. Giving charity that feeds someone, helps someone smile, or any of dozens of other causes makes a difference. A love note, a flower, a kind word.
Do you know this story? A young man was walking along a beach that was full of starfish, stopping to stoop down, pick one up and throw it into the water; then he picked up another and another and did the same. Another man came along and said "Do you think you're really making a difference? There are too many starfish to put back into the sea." The young man bent, pick up another starfish, tossed it into the water, turned to the other man and said, "It made a difference to that one."
This life is the journey. We are broken vessels each and every one of us. The idea is to take one more step anyway. Find the lovely, loving place that is the truth about you. Spend as much time as you can in that place. Sometimes doubt will creep in. As soon as you notice that you're doubting yourself, give the doubt a kiss and send it away as you step back into a the good thoughts. This takes practice. Just like any other skill (cooking, building, dancing, fill in the blank!). Acknowledge that there is a lovely soul that is the truth of you and that soul is nothing less than a spark of the Divine! Honor that, walk with it. If you find that you are discouraged, get back up again to the sweetness of the truth.
So what is home anyway? The comfort to accept and be yourself, your truest self, and to take gentle steps as you joyour best self. The idea is to embrace your whole self and in so doing is the healing.
You can do this!
Thank you once again to the wonderful Mary R. Vogt for sharing this photo with the world.
Live the extraordinary life you deserve.
Aunt Laya inspires and encourages you to live the life you want for yourself! She'll tell you the truth, even when it's not always so easy to hear so that you can learn to handle the hard stuff of life and be your best, happiest self. Always with love and caring.