Best of Better Endings Guest Blog: The Secret of Life in My Opinion, by MoodyMandi of Caged No More (12/26/13)

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I’ve had an epiphany! The Secret to Life is NOT having it all, the money, fame, 1,000 “friends” on Facebook, designer jeans, an Audi/BMW, PhD or what not. However if you do have any of those that’s okay. It’s been used a billion times, but the secret to life involves the following:

• First and foremost learning to love yourself and your fellow man and God, or your higher power…FORGIVENESS!

• Once you’ve gotten better at loving yourself for who you are, and you can forgive others who have wronged you in any way whether betraying you or hurting you in some way, you will really begin to see RESULTS. Whether you are trying to lose weight, get a degree, or reach the ultimate state of self-actualization, you can if you can LET GO.

• Letting go is like the hardest thing a person can do on the planet, In My Opinion.

• If you can get past all of the drama, the person who stole your man in high school, the class you didn’t pass, the money you lost out on, the big numbers on the scale that won’t seem to ever go away…you will thrive, my friends

One might ask, How do you Let Go?

I will reply with this…it takes multiple efforts. Praying to God or your higher power, or finding a higher power, is necessary to be centered *Once again in my opinion* It takes eliminating negative influences in your life and on your mind like music that supports pain and bad moods, places that get you down, and people that put you down. It involves putting positive images into your mind and positive words and affirmations. The world actually sucks the positivity right out of us, and pulls the happy rug out from under us as well! So doing daily meditations, even if for a minute now and then throughout the day can help a lot. If you see you’ve gained a few pounds on the scale, know that this is only temporary, and that once you let go of the EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE that you’ve carried around for so long, the weight will drop, and with the forgiveness will come an interview/promotion. This is by no means an easy feat. It can be done.

I let go of everything that ever bothered me in any negative way a while back and lost a bunch of weight, but I stopped putting in positive things in my mind, and exercising to release Serotonin and feel better about myself. I am currently not practicing what I have just preached, but in the moment I am striving to get there again.
My hopes and prayers are that we can all learn to let go of what is standing in our way…because IN REALITY it’s all “in me/you”. We were born equipped with what we needed to survive and THRIVE!

You have to TRULY RECOGNIZE AND REALIZE that your feelings of negativity are just hindering you from what you are called to do, your purpose in life! I suppose you could look at it this in a cognitive-behavioral type way: Your negative thinking producing negative sad/angry emotion maybe resentment etc..which leads to your ultimate destiny in how you react to the matter at hand. The way you react has consequences which begin the cycle over again. So taking the initiative to make a stand TODAY could turn your life around so your dreams can be realized!

God bless us all tonight! xoxoxby

Mandi is the author of Caged No More. Her Bio can be found by clicking on: moodymandi . The heading of Mandi’s original Caged No More post is as follows:

December 22, 2013 ·  · in BipolarBulimiaHope,LifelifestylePersonal JourneypositiveRantself-helpSoul Searching.

Going Beyond ‘Stuck’ (and the story of Trouble)

 God grant me the Serenity

to Accept those things I cannot change,

the Courage to change those things I can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference.

– Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971)

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“What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?”

Recently I have been encountering, thinking about and hearing synchronistically about people who appear to have become “stuck” in their lives, often from some very real disabilities or addictions.  A friend’s son who has been jailed for selling drugs now grows marijuana in our ‘legal’ state of Colorado and trades it for his own “medicinal” portions at a local dispensary. Another friend’s 30+ age son lives mainly in his bedroom, an alcoholic. Neither of these men are able to function in the workplace or have succeeded at remaining in college courses they have attempted.

Others I know of have been apparently stuck in circumstances seemingly beyond their control. These seem to me to have established sets of negative “postulates” that self-replicate very easily. For some it is about “drama”, for others, “illness” that seems to plague their families and themselves intolerably.

Some have chronic troubles with either relationships and/or employment, finding it difficult to maintain a job or to retain a significant relationship. Chronic attitudes might be part of this picture, or simply an odd assortment of skills and interaction modes that find a hard fit in any one situation. Or, these have deep ambitions difficult to realize in the world of common standards and mundanity that they themselves abhor. Many are brilliant, artistic, insightful, finding life in this normalized world too limiting.

And so I wonder, what could be helpful to people who appear (to me, of course) “stuck”. Especially if they likewise regard themselves as in difficult binds that they wish they could move out of, I wonder about what it is they are seeking, or how they are replicating their conditions. On one hand I would say if someone is learning a lot from a particular set of conditions, it’s where they need to be; it serves them genuinely.

Or there is someone like my elderly mother, who is now literally ‘stuck’ in her body, dependent on others for almost all of her mobility, suffering from late stage Parkinson’s and arthritis. Yet, in her case, because of my amazing family members who are able to visit her more frequently than most, I see her smile, when they are there, and then I realize one factor that can help: focussing on quality of life rather than ‘kind’ of life experience.

So what is the basis of a quality of life that someone who feels ‘caught’ or ‘stuck’ in difficult, chronic conditions CAN embrace and maintain? For my Mom, it is the love of her family and friends that sustains her. They can’t be there always, and she experiences pain and depression regularly. But the very fact that she endures all this, I take as a testament to—in turn—her own love for all of us.

Then a few days ago, a friend told me about the story of “Trouble,” a café in San Francisco’s China Beach (originally) owned and created by Giulietta Carrelli, a woman suffering all her life with a schizoaffective and bipolar disorder. She often loses contact during psychotic episodes with her very sense of self, sometimes for months on end. But through the kindness of friends and strangers, inspired by her own desire to connect and to be of help to others, her business has thrived and even is expanding to other locations. She serves the following only at “Trouble”:  coffee, coconuts with a straw and a spoon, cinnamon toast, and grapefruit juice. The story I have read ( see below for the citation ) says Carelli herself lived on coconuts and grapefruit juice for at least three years, so they represent survival to her; cinnamon toast she associates with comfort; and coffee she associates with communication.  She struck up a daily friendship with a German elderly man, Greg, sunbathing on China Beach, and one day he asked her: “What is your useful skill in a tangible situation?” She had been able to work well in coffee shops; she liked conversing with people. So, with $1000.00 borrowed from apparently a small bank loan and friends, she opened a tiny shop, and it has spread.

I invite anyone feeling stuck, then, to answer Greg’s question for your own situation. How can you maximize what you already do well? What VALUES serve you well in almost any situation? What have you LEARNED well in your present circumstances that you could generalize or expand to other circumstances? Also, though, what holds you back? If you focus on the positive, can you eventually see yourself letting go of the ‘negatives’ and/or the addictions you might normally rely on? What are your goals, your Life Dream?

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Some of us think holding on makes us strong;
but sometimes it is letting go.

~ Hermann Hesse ~

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Carelli used to “self-medicate” with opiates and alcohol.  But she has been sober for years with the success of her business and the expansion of her meaningful connections. She has two children now who depend upon her. She still sometimes needs also to depend upon others, but she is open and practical about that, and when her friends or acquaintances see she is herself in trouble, they are there to help her get home, to cover for her at work, to help in any way needed. Because she is of great service to others!

“Build your own damn house” is one of Carelli’s mottoes and is the name she gives for an order of coffee, cinnamon toast and a coconut at Trouble.

Here’s my insight, for what it is worth: if this woman can succeed at manifesting her Life Dream (and she has!), so can you, in some form!

I absolutely welcome your further insights, comments and stories. How have you or someone you know transcended such debilitating chronic conditions or learned to develop a higher quality of life within such contexts? And, does it matter? If everyone is exactly where they need to be now based on their whole histories and medical/psychological makeups, is it better to help people to adapt to their disabilities (where these are seemingly chronic and fixed), or does it make sense at all to try to intervene, particularly when they are frustrated by their condition and do wish to find relief or to finally overcome the conditions holding them in place?

I do not know the answers but am probing here. I seek our collective wisdom.

***

My post above is partly based on an article that originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of Pacific Standard as “A Toast Story.”

Giving ‘UP’ — The Way of Surrender!

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Never Give Up, but you can always give UP—or, surrender—to attain Better Endings. Giving UP means, to me, releasing a problem or an attitude to a Higher Force and Higher Awareness, however you choose to define that. “I give UP!” releases my attachment to a situation or to a specific outcome. Then, what is truly needed or appropriate is free to manifest.

Surrender. What a concept this is, riddled with a dual character. A warrior might regard surrender as a failure of mission, although it allows for them to survive to another day. I imagine the Wicked Witch of the West on her broomstick, spelling out “Surrender Dorothy!” in the sky over Munchkinland. “Never!,” we think. At the same time, though, surrender is a path to freedom from attachment; letting go, or letting God. Surrender your fears and anxiety; be willing to “Take the Journey!” Here’s the double entendre: what if the witch’s message was actually a positive invitation to Dorothy, a wake-up call in the form of a waking dream?

When we hold tightly to a fixed position, attitude, belief or desire, we might be limiting our flow of creative potential and insight. Release your grip just ever so much to be open to the Way. I had a Quaker friend who used to tell me, whenever there was any confusion about what next step to take, “Way will Out!”

So, Give UP; surrender to your higher awareness; Way will Out!