Chaos vs. Stability...a major factor in winning or losing

My daughter and I have taken up walking one mile per night to spend time together.
Since I started my job as a case manager for domestic violence victims, I try to fit in talk and walk time at least three days a week.
She was explaining to me that she and her friend were talking about their issues with their respective lives.
My daughter stated she gets bored easily and that everything is very predictable in her life (internal cheer here). This was a goal for my children. I pointed out that because she knows what is going to happen, she has the ability to try new things. She then stated that her friend's life is constantly changing and she can't get her bearings, that she can't even join clubs in school. She is too busy paying for the poor choices other people are making.

Over the last several weeks as I have settled into my job, I have noticed that  because of the chaotic nature of their lives, many of my clients have settled into a pattern of reacting instead of planning.  They have been on the edge of violence and survival that whenever they perceive danger or uncertainty, they react in ways that undo any progress they might have made. In fact, many of the behaviours that kept them safe are the same behaviours that are counter productive in both relationships and career opportunities now that they are moving forward.

That is to say, they have brought the chaos with them.
They've inhaled it and it is part of their spirit.  To overcome that, I believe, The time that needs to be invested to turn it all around is directly proportional to the time spent steeped in it...
I grew up with that chaos til the age of twelve.
I did not learn to tame the chaos until I was in my thirties.
Realising it was an issue was the first step.
There are so many variables to taming the chaos.
To unraveling the disparate threads of violence and anger and self doubt and sadness...to unravel And trade all of that for peace and joy and faith and happiness...you have to learn to trust yourself first! Then learn to trust that people are good and that the world will catch you.  That your good effort will be rewarded and not see setbacks as permanent, but just temporary detours. That is hard when every effort you have made has been denigrated and denied.

People have no idea how much sheer will, faith and determination  that takes.

When you grow up with stability, you have the time to stay still and discover who you are and what your place is in this world.

When you grow up in chaos, you have to undo all of that damage and brain training. You have no opportunity to even begin to discover who you are or what your place is in this world until the violence and chaos ends.

There are levels of course.
There are different levels of trauma.
But people who had loving stable homes have a lead in the race of life.
If you are living in the chaos of your childhood, just know you are going to have to question all of your home truths.
They could be keeping you stuck in a repeat of bad relationships and failures in job and any other goals you might be attempting to achieve.

Quitting too soon is the chaotic souls primary glitch. I've learned not to quit, and from that one simple decision...I've seen more good come and have had my faith restored in life and in people. But it took many initial leaps of faith. Many Day by day decisions to simply keep moving forward, whatever the voice in my head was saying. Pick one thing you want and do not quit til it happens.


Release fear

Quickest way..tell everyone the absolute truth and let everything you fear happening happen.  
Then when the smoke clears and you are still alive...your fear factor will be nearly nil...that's my public service announcement for today.  I know this because I did that this summer.  It wasn't nearly as horrible as I feared. In fact..it feels 100 times better.


All the ways to run away

There are many ways to quit.
There is the obvious way...quitting outright.

"I quit!" we yell...
We can feel quite righteous about it.
Someone wronged us....
It was a toxic situation.
These are good reasons to quit something usually.

These are also good opportunities to discover why we picked those people or situations to begin with.

That's another post for another day..
What are some other ways to quit.

How about being in the right situation..so right it's scary....
And fearing you will fail..you allow little slights to add up till you can safely yell I quit!
It's called self sabotage.
You call it being polite.
Or being self sacrificing.
Or not making a fuss.
But is that what you are really doing?
 Is that really what it's about?
Or are you afraid of failing?
Is it your children's fault you don't carve out time for health related activities?
"I have to run them tither and yon!"  You cry...
Is it your child trying to involve themselves in everything, or is it you?
Would the people you work with really have a hard time if you told them the truth?
Or do you just not want the aggravation of confrontation?
Do you really not like it..or are you afraid of trying and failing.
Or hell...trying, succeeding and finding out it isn't what you thought it was.
It's easy staying the same..change requires self reflection, sacrifice and hard work..
And a commitment to honesty and sincere introspection and a willingness to change and grow..
Our Pride can hinder us in this regard.
If you find yourself highly insulted over a minor criticism..
There is a very good chance the criticism is dead on accurate.
Let it be a moment of growth..
Not the moment you run and hide and regress.


Be the change before you die

For some reason death is a topic lately..
I guess I'm getting to an age where people I know have started dying.
It's happened three times in the past two years.
Always the words..they were too young. 
When I hear those words, I always think of a little girl named daisy who was seven when she died..
That was too young.
Health concerns raise their ugly heads...
You start to feel the creep of time..days, minutes and hours.
This may be what inspires the so called mid life crisis.
Let me tell you..
It isn't a mid life crisis...
It's a mid life reality check.
It may seem out of control..when what it really is, is an expression of longing to live out the inner life that they may have been repressing to be "productive members of society"
Then one day...people you know start dying..and suddenly life is not a endless commodity.
The reality of limited time sets in...
And you look around and say..how did I get here!
Hopefully that is a good how did I.
A 'good family, productive work..further than you thought you'd be' how did I. 
Not a 'broke down in Hoboken with a dead hooker and a flat' how did I....
When you see your how did I...
you can do one of four things...if it's bad..change it..whatever that means.  
If it's good...keep it...recognising all the gifts you have been given.
..or, bad keep it, too scared to change..good, throw it away for the sake of change because you bought into a societal lie about status and image.

What I have found it really all comes to is this.
What makes it okay to die, at whatever age..
Is that you feel you have fulfilled your life's purpose..
I think that is what people mean when they say someone died too young.
They mean that perhaps that person has not fulfilled their purpose.  
That's why people go insane in their 40's and 50's.
It's 'twenty years of useful life left' syndrome.

While Everyone's individual purpose is different..
Like that great philosopher Arnold once said...
Do what makes you happy..regardless of how crazy it may seem to someone else.
How we implement our purpose is the same.

We are all dying...the time left is invisible..no man knows the day or the hour.
It could be one hour..or 40 years.
Are you going to waste the hour?
The month?
The year?
Playing fast and loose with time helps no one.
I will not let my life be a legacy of untapped potential.
Unfulfilled promise..
Acceptance of a life of pain and heart ache.
Or apathy.
Every minute is potential.
Our purpose may be quiet.
Maybe it's intimate.
Or our purpose may be larger, with a communal or societal impact.
Either way..
Every person or interaction is an opportunity.
The opportunity to be the person who makes things better..in whatever sphere you enter.
Be the person who lifts people.
Who cares.
Who encourages.
Be the person who helps others find and fulfill THEIR  purpose..
Real leaders create leaders.
Because we can sit here and talk about change.
Or we can be the change.
We can complain about a lack of community.
Or we can help create a sense of community.
This is down to the cellular level. 
Down to every thought..
Every intention..
Every individual act.
It can begin in the next breath..
In your next thought..
In your next determination.
And it builds.
Change comes one compassionate act at a time..
Our purpose is fulfilled when we begin.
Chris out


Making monotony work for you.

I used to have a real issue with routines..
Like the color beige....headbands, minivans and day planners..I thought they were anethema to the soul.
Once I started working full time and my life crumbled like a dry tea cake...I realised that I needed a plan...
A plan...
(Yes..a routine...but plan sounded more...something).
So I created one...
A plan.
And it kept the big pot stirred.
I'm going to tell you the unglamorous truth of weight loss...
We are what our routines make us..or our habits.
What we habitually do.
If you get up in the morning and your habit is to eat a big breakfast and then Facebook..go to work..eat whatever donuts some evil troll brought to the office, then come home...pay some bills..binge watch Netflix...eat takeout and go to bed...chances are you are overweight and too tired to care.
Now say if, instead of getting up at six..you got up at 530 everyday and did a half hour of cardio...ate a yogurt and an apple and a morning coffee..went to work with your pre packed sandwich ( avoiding office troll) came home..did weights or walked with your family..then ate a nice, home cooked meal...
You wouldn't be....
Because it's the day in, day out grind that builds our reality...change one thing per week until your new usual has built a whole new lifestyle..and let the movement of time propel you..the months go faster than you think.


El puño

.El Puño means the fist..
I'm studying Spanish because I would like to be hired by tessa..I have no degree, no money to obtain one..so being bilingual is my best bet.

When people think of abuse..we are used to thinking of battery.
 Someone hitting someone else.
I have found the biggest hurdle in someone trying to turn their lives around...is the fist of government.
I have heard many surprising things in the course of deciding to advocate for abused women...I am always surprised how negatively people can view the process.
WHY wouldn't she just leave...
I would never allow anyone to abuse me!
If she stays, she gets what she deserves.
Now, I understand not everyone has been in an abusive relationship....and not everyone understands the dynamics that occur when a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship...or even how someone gets to a place where they "allow" it to happen.
How do we allow anything?
How do we allow ourselves to get fat?
What do we tell ourselves that makes it okay?
Many things.
An abusive relationship does not appear, full blown..if a man came up to you..beat the shit out of you and then asked you on a date.
You'd say no..
These things don't happen all at once..our lives don't slip away from us all at once. It's a gradual eroding of self...
Giving small pieces away in exchange for peace and quiet, or a nice dinner...or an end to the argument..
Or to spare your kids another argument.
Then, one day you look up and realise you lost your friends two years ago because you got tired of the shaming comments, or the accusations of infidelity when you took time with friends.
You stopped talking to your sister because you didn't want to argue about your relationship....you had a child, you wanted it to work...
Little by little...concession after concession...and one day you look up..you have no money, no job, no friends..and he hits you..and tells you that you are the reason...and he is the only voice left.
Now you want to leave.
But you have a child, no money..no job, no friends and no resources.
You call the police, they arrest him..he's out in two days...
And now he's angry.
He has a temporary protection order..which he violates repeatedly.
And gets nothing but a slap on the wrist.
Because, believe it or not..it's a misdemeanour.
Even if he is convicted, it has no effect on his parental rights.
So he can use the courts to control her.
And a man who has spent years psychologically and physically abusing her will now have unfettered and unsupervised access to her children.
And only she knows what he is capable of...
And people wonder why they don't leave...
I wonder that they do. It's a miracle really.
A tremendous act of courage.
People have a hard time changing jobs, or losing weight...
Let alone....
Leaving the only home you have, with threats of violence and death..with your child...only to get ground up in the machinery of a system that doesn't recognise the affects of trauma.

The fist.
El Puño.

That is why I love this job...I'm on the inside of the fist...the only way to really change anything is to join it.
And try.

Chris out.


To whom much is given...

Much is required..

Any church going people recognise that?
I remember hearing that in Sunday school...it didn't sink in..
Probably because deep down, I didn't think it applied to me...
I'll get back to that..
So I am at the gym yesterday..without music. I hate it when that happens..leave your MP3 player with power on overnight, and you are left listening to wannabe Arnold shwartzennegers grunt their way through their 30 pound deadlifts.

So, without music..I think.
About my life.
And I seriously wonder wtf sometimes.
Shit childhood.
I wandered into a marriage where I was alone most of the time...
Then when my husband came back..it was PTSD and anger issues and marriage recovery.
Every step of the way I feel I'm scaling walls..
Obese..lose 100 pounds..stay home with my kids, nearly lose my marriage and have zero work experience..no college...then to work in a pretty toxic work environment..made manager..
Recovered my marriage with a lot of hard work.  

Then finally I have a friend..for six months..I wasn't so alone in my adultness..
And she dies...
To whom much is given...
What is my much? 
I have had a lot required of me..

And I was done with my workout..
Walking down the hall..and it hit me.

My much is that I will not quit.

And I finally realised that is not a gift everyone has..
In fact, it is extremely rare..and I have a feeling that the people who read this blog are the same as me.
They recognised it in words I wrote...the feeling of it..but never those exact words....
I will not quit..ever.

No matter how badly I want to sometimes.
Even as a child, I didn't.  I never could accept my nickname (dummy) from my abuser. 
I just tried harder. 
In the army, I never could quit on a run...til I made first run group.
I didn't quit on my kids and homeschooling and moving and keeping our family together.
Even though I was tired and done 70 percent of the time.
When my friend died...
I didn't get scared and quit on life...
There was something terrifying and exhilarating in this thought...the idea that you will not quit.
If you are that person...deep down you know.

All of  these hurdles are not what was required..
They were the trials that were meant to show me the nature of my gift.
What is required is that I take my gift and help the people who weren't given this gift..
The people too tired to move forward.
I think you will find your true gift in the tools you used to face your battles...my gift is perseverance...fight...determination and the acquisition of wisdom.
What is your much? 
Have that answer and you have your purpose.
You may wonder what I decided to do with my much..I did my second domestic violence intake at tessa today..I quit my job in March, took the training and jumped in both feet...I am equipping women in the fight to recover their lives from domestic violence, and on August 31 rst, I am also going to help teach a self defense seminar at a local church...helping women feel safe and secure in their person. One person at a time, one day at a time.
Chris out