Once upon a time I chose abusive men. Once upon a time my self-esteem was so low I had to crawl underneath the bed in the morning to find even a shred to keep me going. Once upon a time I could not talk to God as I was so filled with shame. Once upon a time dark shadows lived with me on a daily basis; I was filled with despair, had too many suicide attempts (and was angry that I failed); I could find no way out.
Then I began recovery, created and followed a path called REPAIR and found my way out of the darkness.
Today my life is filled with simple pleasures.
Buttered popcorn while watching Lord of The Rings, beating myself at Scrabble, decorating my entire first floor for Christmas, playing with my great-grands while they scamper about on the Jungle Gym at their Aunt Tammie’s house, having silly conversations with one of them, four year old Eli (we found a snail Gigi, what are you going to name it? pause, pause, then with much solemnity, I’m going to name him Mr. Snail, good work Eli)
I talk to God every morning while I walk my puppy, following a path on the trust land behind the house. I see the red cliffs of Sedona in front of me, behind me are the Mingus Mountains covered with snow in the wintertime, my path filled with high desert foliage, rocky trails and in the spring a carpet of multi-colored flowers. When I first moved here, I was hiking by myself at dawn. I heard the ground shake and feared that Arizona might have earthquakes. Then I looked up. A herd of elk was running across the path silhouetted against the rising sun. It was a never-to-be-forgotten memory. A Simple Pleasure.
Every morning I burrow under covers in bed with both my puppies, five year old Rocky, our Shih Tzu and one year old Stuart, our yellow lab (and my husband, age undetermined) while we romp and play tunnels. Later on I play toys with them, throw balls for them, talk to them, knowing they understand every word, break up their fights. Long phone conversations with friends and family fill my days bringing deep satisfaction and humility that I should be so loved.
I look up at the sky at night, the dark Arizona night, and see a quarter moon perched right above Venus. I wonder what it would be like to leave my body and fly up to join them. I wait for the full moon every month to see its glow, to marvel at the pinpoints of starlight that surround it. There is nothing like Arizona sunsets, especially framing our windmill and the billowing clouds against azure blue of sky has nothing to compare it with.
Last weekend I watched the Super Bowl and shrieked every time my team made a touchdown. Every night I lay in bed in my jammies and read 14 books at a time, mostly history, mysteries and bios for an hour and a half (and manage to keep all the characters separate) while my two pups lay near by spread out on our pillows (they sleep in bed with us – oh brother! who’s idea was that?) competing for attention with their snores. I make out birthday cards for my grandkids, my kids, my friends and think how lucky I am. I have decided that giving love away enlarges your capacity to receive it.
I didn’t know that clipping roses out of your rose garden could bring so much pleasure; that laying in the hammock, my senses tuned, orchestrating perfectly, the sound of music playing on my cell phone, the feel of the hammock rocking while my puppy lays on my lap, the smell of the nearby rosemary garden, looking up at the huge fruitless mulberry tree, a canopy under the sky above me, all of it making me feel as if I am the only person in a perfect world.
I love doing housework. It causes me to be complete, to achieve a sense of accomplishment. It reminds me that I received something from my parents that was good, the ability to be a hard worker, conscientious about household projects. My husband calls me his trophy wife and teases me about my obsession with food. Deciding what to cook for dinner starts in the morning, a pot roast in the crock-pot with potatoes and carrots, celery and sweet onions? perhaps sautéed veggies with Filet Mignon and wild rice? No, I think maybe sweet Italian sausage in a pasta sauce cooking all day filling the house with delicious smells. I used to tell people that I starved to death in my last life. I’m blessed as my weight has been the same for decades. My husband eats a bowl of cream of wheat for breakfast. Not me. I savor delicious ham and egg, English muffin with butter and sweet orange marmalade, orange juice, a banana and an apple. I live to eat; he eats to live (obviously) My pup, Rocky and I share the apple.
Once upon a time I dreaded waking up. I partied too much. I drank too much. In some of that I have fleeting memories of enjoyment. I traveled alone to other states, to hike, to play my guitar in lonely motel rooms, to climb cliffs that terrified me (I have a fear of heights) to make new friends only to leave them as I traveled to other places, always running from memories in a darkened bedroom at the age of 13. I made friends that I will treasure forever, some who I love deeply though they may not be aware of it. They linger in my mind with tantalizing memories. Once upon a time I sang the words, Those were the days my friend, I thought they’d never end……. and thought I probably wouldn’t live long enough to see that.
How could I know,
When I was thirty
And impossibly sexy,
To imagine myself
Would teach me something,
That age is not a loss,
But an exchange
Of wisdom for youth,
Grace for foolishness,
Love for lust,
And it is an exchange
That will seem
A very unfair trade,
Not for the woman that is me,
But for the girl.
And so today I have Simple Pleasures. Never believing I would have them, I cherish all of them. I thank God that he allowed me to live long enough to experience them. Every morning I start my day with three prayers/beliefs: “Thank you God for giving me another day of life; The best years of my life still lie in front of me, and Just for today I will be joyful and unafraid; just for today I will be calm and cheerful in the face of any adversity.” I thank God that he allowed me to go from being married to my third abuser, suicidal, and living part time in a women’s shelter, to creating a program called REPAIR, a program that guided me out of the dark into the light, to being the happiest person I know.
Want to join me in finding your own Simple Pleasures? Get a copy of REPAIR Your Life and get to work!