There are two ways to look at hitting rock bottom.
One is that you can’t lose any more. “You’re bottom is where you stop digging.” You’ve lost your family, home, career, money, self-respect. What more can you lose?
The other is to treasure anything that you get after the point of crisis. You’ve lost your home, but you’re grateful there’s a shelter that you can stay at. Your family is gone, but you’ve met someone who is willing to pray with you.
The former is a natural attitude toward a bottom. Is the latter grateful attitude more likely to lead to recovery?
If their health deteriorates, the elderly might need people to care for them. When a family isn’t available, they can live in nursing homes. The staff of these facilities helps as much as they can with their needs.
One need that might not be met is their need to nurture and care for others. All through their lives, they’ve cared for their children and grandchildren. Once the transition to assisted living and other support arrangements, there’s no one for them to care for any more.
People are much more mobile now and move far away from their parents. Other people have had bad experiences and don’t want to be around their parents. These barriers can isolate the elderly and disconnect them from the rest of the world. Loneliness and depression are often the results.
One aspect of this can be to care for pets that are in the facility. However, that leaves out the human connection that is a spark of life that only people can share.
One approach for progress in this area is for churches, synagogues, mosques and temples to help with this need. They are well-equipped to organize volunteers who could support the elderly in their community. By going and learning more about the individuals and their stories, this lonely time can be more meaningful. It would be an effort to honor the ones who still need to care for someone.
Original image: Happy Planet 2
. By Patrick Doheny
People talk about litmus tests for candidates. Do they vote the right way on abortion? The right way on the LGBTQ rights? The right way on immigration?
In chemistry, a litmus test is a chemical reaction on a strip of paper that turns red in an acid and and blue in a alkali.
I guess the use of litmus tests is unexpectedly appropriate to American politics. States are marked as red and blue, just like the litmus test.
The litmus tests that ask questions about abortion, LBGTQ rights, and immigration are emotionally charged. People get passionate about them. They can violently disagree and not be willing to listen to the other side. Heaven help us if you bring them up at Thanksgiving dinner.
I have a much simpler litmus test. It’s not complicated. It isn’t based on emotion and passion. It’s something you can discuss at the dinner table without getting indigestion.
Test to ask a candidate: Would I hire you as a crossing guard in my neighborhood?
Very simple, very to the point and something that gets right to the heart of life… what is best for our kids? The kids are the ones who have no say in the matter and are the most affected by who we vote for in November.
Can you trust a candidate with your kids when you’re not around? Choose well!
Original image: Kitchen Science 27. By Lenore Edman [Image license]
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Self-castigation: attacking oneself with severe criticism, reproof and punishment.
Before recovery, this can be a way of life. The shame of letting your family down again. The regret of losing a job by acting out at work. Everything is your fault and you can’t get out of it.
It seems that the people around you are not as hard on you as you are to myself. You see all the lies and secrets and know how badly you’ve really been doing. The family is ready to forgive you and your friends just hope you’ll get better. You’re out on your own in your own head and that makes it all worse.
After a while, the self-castigation can become as bad as the effects of the substances or not having them when you need them. If you’re so bad that you can’t even control it when you want to, your shame and guilt don’t have an answer. One conclusion is that punishment and criticism are the responses that make sense.
Once this attitude has taken hold, it takes a long time for it to go away. When you make a small mistake, it reminds you of past big ones. You get support from your friends and you’re glad they’re in your corner. It’s almost as if you have a resentment against yourself and can’t let it go.
It was a big relief when this attitude isn’t your first way to respond to your own mistakes. You talk to people who understand you and believe them when they say you’re doing well and that they are glad to see you or hear from you.
When you’re alone, it’s hard to find a balance, but with friends and people who care giving you support, you can get closer to self-acceptance.
Self-acceptance: To be contented with, appreciate and respect oneself.