Compassion heals Pain

Cropped Photo: Mural street art - Montréal, October 2013 Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

Cropped Photo: Mural street art – Montréal, October 2013  © Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

Pain has become my best friend forever
that actually makes me feel alive…
without it?
I’m not sure I would survive.

Acceptance is the magic key
prognosis of a puzzling condition
he who has a medical degree
diagnosed a painful affliction.

But rather than sink into despair
I simply trudge on anywhere
and work with passion at my career
filled with compassion that is so dear
and knowing that my fate is clear
destined to help , soothe a hurt soul
I  feel blessed fulfilling this role.

Nothing better than to give…
listen, care, help them  forgive
yet not regress but
live again
and moving on, learn to let go
of their past hurts and childhood pain.

To feel a physical pain inside
simply confirms that I’m alive.
And when I think of those who stride
in war and poverty, still survive;
how dare that I consume self-pity
and whimper meagre aches and pains
when those who suffer ‘round the world
of hunger, rape …do they complain?
They only ask for peace … petty portions
of cease-fire, gain some liberation
and tranquil minds, and scanty rations
what so often we take for granted.

Pain has become my best friend
that actually makes me feel alive
without it?
I’m not sure I would survive.

I feel so humbled to assist
these youths who suffer silently
and reach out to us for a list
of ways to live more positively.

And then I try to instill hope
that will in time conquer despair
and offer skills to help them cope
until they learn to truly care
and turn their life ‘round for repair.

I feel so humbled to assist
these youths who suffer silently
and reach out to us for a list
of ways to live more positively.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 5, 2014

Poetry share, prompt 37 for MindLoveMisery – Unavoidable Pain 

Motivation

Photo credits: KellieElmore http://kellieelmore.com
Photo credits: KellieElmore
http://kellieelmore.com

Photo credits: Kellie Elmore

James’ wife had left him and took the children too.  She told him it was no longer safe with his alcohol induced rages.  He lost his job. He still drank day after day, night after night. He’d finally hit the lowest of lows.  What could he do?  His friends shunned him, his family no longer trusted him and now he was alone.

James tried selling house items that might give him more cash for “drink” but soon there was little left.  He called his favourite aunt and asked for help.  She offered to bring him to hospital for detox and from there he would have to decide his future.   He called Alcoholics Anonymous.  He wanted his family back, he wanted his self-respect back…and that motivated him to work the programme (AA) until he could find the courage to ask his wife to take him back.

Every day he went to meetings.  His sponsor was a kind man and after 6 months, he offered James a good job.  He was originally a brilliant Chartered Accountant and his sponsor saw his potential in offering him this opportunity.

He worked long hours and continued with his meetings.  After he got his one year chip, James asked his wife if she would consider getting back with him so they could be a family again.  His love for his wife and family motivated him to persevere with this difficult struggle with addiction.

Many years passed and the family fell apart eventually again.  James had drifted into over working and dating many women.  He lived a single life far away from his family and over the years he slipped back into his addiction.  He’d been faced with adversity, pain and suffering and he could not handle it.

James eventually found his true love…his purpose to motivate him to stop drinking again.  His love for himself…to regain his self-respect he had to find love for self first.

The End.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 4, 2014

Story prompted from DungeonPrompts, Season 2, Prompt #1 Motivation

Interpretations differ of Dec.24th

st nicholas

Photo credits: Wikipedia Images

(Tanka)

Christmas Eve joy 

Hosting my loved ones

We eat, drink, giggle a lot

mostly we just love.

Snow falling, blessing the earth

Kids awaiting ol’  Saint Nic.

Baby Jesus Christmas Nativity

Photo credits: Baby Jesus Christmas Nativity

(Haiku)

Christmas Eve – hallowed

Midnight mass we pray.

Celebrate the birth of Christ

Rejoice in our prayers.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, January 3, 2013

Better late than never, having been away for the holidays. This is in response to Prompt, 006 Wedrinkinspiration

Bye Bye 2013!

me sideways

2013 was a busy year for me filled with surprises, many learning experiences and one huge discovery…my love for writing and I am getting better day by day!

I have written about my surprise and gratitude in receiving the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee Medal and to be able to get to Toronto to receive it with my colleagues made it all the more special and meaningful. I can`t find the words to say how grateful I am and to be among many wonderful amazing people who were also honoured that night. One woman whom I admire for her courage and her compassion is Pam.  She has suffered such a tragic loss and yet with her compassion she found the determination and the courage to go to schools to give a powerful message…there is help…suicide is not the answer and Kids Help Phone is one safe place that youths can reach out to.  Bless you, Pam, for doing what you do…you have no idea how much you have touched so many hearts. I feel privileged to have met you in person.

2013 was a difficult year in that more youths reached out with very very serious issues.  I am not sure if that means youths are struggling more OR if it means that they are finally realizing that there is a youth line that may just be able to support them.  If it is the latter, I say, good on you for the courage and trust you put in this help line.  I feel privileged being a part of this support and honoured to listening to  youths who are looking for guidance and a helping ear.

I am grateful for having 2 amazing adult children and a grandson in my life.  I know may sound mushy and a bit old to them when I get all weepy thinking how much I love them, but hey, that`s the way it is when you love your kids, right?

This past year I was fortunate winning 2 tickets to see Oprah on her grand tour with her inspirational message.  WoW!  What an experience.  I  am pleased I was able to share this with my son and that he even accepted to go with me.  I think 98% of the people there were women…so, yeah, he was pretty brave too…hehe.

After 4 years of searching for an organization to volunteer my services, I finally found a great place. Ami-Quebec which has run for 35 years is the ONLY  anglophone agency in Quebec that offers support to families and friends, counselling and peer support with those suffering with mental health conditions.  Over the years it has widened its outreach outside of Montreal by offering webinars and teleconferences so English-speaking people in areas far from Montreal can receive the same educational services.  I feel privileged to be volunteering here and to have received some enriching training as well.

Friends are family to me. Life could not be as fulfilled or enriched without these special friends both  in Quebec and in Ontario. They make me laugh and they hold me when I need to cry.  I am so grateful having them in my life.  Thank you for being in my life, merci d’en faire partie dans ma vie…vous ne pouvez savoir à quel point que votre appui me touche.

Speaking of Ontario…well, my cousin and his wife who is really like my sister and their son who is so precious and amazing and of course their parents…(my ma tante and uncle) my second mom and dad away from home give me so much and more.  Their home is like my resort where I can unwind, get pampered and just “be”…yes, I would say I come back feeling Zen!

I am grateful having the health to be able to continue working fulltime in a career that is so fulfilling and gratifying.

I have to say that the WordPress community has also touched me in so many ways. It is a support, encouraging and enlightening. I have learned and continue to learn about many issues especially mental health with my blog Stigma Hurts Everyone and reading about experiences people are generous enough to share.  Now why would I even think of going on Facebook when WordPress is feeding so many facets of my life? Oh, yeah, I know…to keep in touch with friends and to share my blog posts…yeah, that`s why.

Last but not least, my lovely feline friend who loves me unconditionally and if I don`t give her attention, she definitely lets me know!

I don`t quite believe in making New Year`s resolutions but I will TRY to walk more, would like to start Yoga again and perhaps swimming as well.  Let`s see how well I do there.  I do have a spiritual outlet however, which is writing more poetry and narratives.  Some day I may even compile some to self-publish…or at least to give to my close friends and family.

Happy New Year and wishing everyone peace and health in 2014.  Let`s get a bit more involved in the environment…that would be nice if we all did our part.

Blessings,

Cheryl-Lynn, January 2, 2014

Exploiting for ratings!

me sideways

This man has a degree,
of a higher level decree
yet he’s slipped in the arms of fame
money may also have been his claim.

How does one get caught in such games
and losing integrity for a bit of cash
to show melodrama and T.V. trash
exploiting the pain and suffering
of people who are actually struggling?

They are all human interest shows
but must they always air their woes
in front of a huge live audience?
on occasion there’s no public appearance
just the camera and this host with a Ph.D.
Global home viewers don’t count as a presence?
I find his approach an atrocity
he makes a long process look way too easy
when we all know counselling is a long journey.

He may give the impression of informing
or a pretense of educating?
Well, I beg to differ.
why exploit those who suffer?
that’s what I see when pain is publicized
this exploitation is really insulting
and it should be criticized
rather than be glorified.

So that’s me diffusing, my heart spills
after watching a few minutes of Dr. Phil.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

This is just my opinion on some exploiting the suffering of folks; On Christmas Day an old September episode of Dr. Phil interviewing a grieving mother was aired.   He went through details of the last moments she spoke with her daughter as she took her life. 10 minutes of this was enough for me to change channel but I felt sad 1) for having this poor mother feel her guilt, as if it was not bad enough  for her to process the grief she was living 2) for showing such an episode on Christmas Day when there are so many vulnerable and suffering on this day. So I decided to voice my frustrations on shows like this.   Cheryl-Lynn

Can’t wait ’til I see you!

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Posted to WordPress from my Android, Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

Can’t wait ‘til I see you!

 

Rushing and shoveling and shopping too

will I ever get there in time for you?

I’m counting the days, the nights too

can’t wait ‘til Christmas Eve when I’ll see you.

 

I’m cleaning, sorting and dusting too

Want my home to look nice for all of you

I’ll make Grand-Maman’s dressing that tastes so fine

and also candied yams prepared with you in mind.

 

If ever you try to make the same some day

remember I have a secret that comes to play

it may seem a mystery for you anyway

it’s simple really,  I have to say

just whisper some loving over your food and see

it will turn any cooking into a delicacy.

Love,

Mom

Nana

Cheryl-Lynn

me sideways© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, December 21, 2013

 

 

 

Comfort ‘n Joy?

advent image dec 

As the holidays are approaching quickly, some people think changed behaviour of some friends and relatives…sometimes it is less to be desired.   i.e. more fighting, arguing, behaving inappropriately including sexually.

Here are a few snippets of stories I have heard over the years talking with youths:

It may be the first Christmas without mom and dad together;  When  parents separate a child may have mixed feelings. He may remember the fighting when they were all together.  He may feel torn with sad or angry feelings towards one parent or both.  Change is never easy but it is more difficult for youths especially teens.  Keep that in mind when making plans for the holidays.

A youth may feel guilty being more with one parent and not know how to reach out to the other parent. How can a parent help a child sort this out?  It is totally okay to feel these emotions..confusion, guilt, anger…and hope. It’s just nice to have a shoulder to lean on when it gets messy in the mind and confusing.

Some youths are worried their family have enough money to get through the year. Many people are laid off end of December and contracts are sometimes renewed only in the spring.  Some older youths (teens) feel they should quit school to help the family by getting a job.

Some families are transferred in other parts of the country or the world due to employment…parents have to move their families…sometimes children have to say goodbye to long-term friends.  Getting through  the holidays in a new place can be exciting and yet it can be overwhelming as well. 

For some families and youths, this is a marked season without a special friend or family member…grieving this loss, and their absence is felt more so during certain holidays.

For many youths who have lost a loved one, regardless when that was…the holidays are often difficult because it is a time to share with loved ones and that person is not among them.  And so, the holidays can be an “opportunity” rather to take time and think about this person and include her or him in your well wishes during the holidays. 

Let’s be honest.  It is a bittersweet time for adults too. Some of us have lost a parent or both. So keep in mind that it’s okay to talk about it. Normalizing grief and loss on important holidays is acknowledging that big elephant in the living room.  Once that’s out in the open, it will actually give a sense of relief for everyone.

This is a time of year that many teens are invited to parties, exposed to alcohol and drugs; they need to know they can call for a ride without getting scolded…is this a possibility for many? 

Some youths share they feel a bit left out because they know their friends are celebrating Christmas but it is not part of their culture or religion.  They share that it is not only at school or with friends but it is everywhere they go…the television, the radio, the stores, the newspapers…all bombarded with this Christmas cheer that is a bit foreign to them.

It may be a good time to emphasize that the meaning of this word ‘Christmas’ and that for many it is an opportunity  to connect with people and tell them how much they care about them; it can mean having people over for the holidays to share a good meal and that that sense of giving and sharing is perhaps more universal this time of year.     

The holidays  represent many diverse things for youths and families.  There is the joy of getting together and yet the stress of having enough time off to enjoy this time with the children.  There are cultural and religious differences that some face and are forced to be off work and exposed to the commercial aspect of this time of year. Let’s face it, even those who celebrate Christmas get fed up being bombarded by the commercialization too.

Ultimately, it is supposed to be a time of year to bring friends and families together; sometimes we need to be more creative in the gatherings and have more “pot lucks”.  Children also feel the stress and depending on their age, are often confused as to who they are supposed to act.

Planning, decorating and cooking and baking…all of these traditions can be part of the fun too…how are you planning your holidays?  Children feel special when they are given certain roles and tasks too.  What have you planned for your children?  Remember, if you are anxious and stressed about the holidays, chances are some of your children may be feeling some of this angst too.  They are like sponges, soaking up emotions we had no idea they could relate to. Usually the younger youths do not understand what that emotion is, they just feel something…

Some families want to also teach values to their children and it is a time of year where families volunteer at a food bank for a day or a soup kitchen too! 

Wishing you warmth, love and health … Happy Holidays!

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts, December 17, 2013

The O’Donnell spirit

me sidewaysMae O’Donnell had been daydreaming, sitting in her rocker as her boys were playing a board game. She smiled fondly at her sons. She felt so fortunate that they enjoyed playing nicely. They never complained about not having computers or television. They were content just being together. Tomorrow she would bring them to the public library to get new books and stay for a few hours. There, they were allowed to get on the computer. The two youngest liked to play on-line games but Liam enjoyed doing research. He was surely to become something great someday, she thought proudly.

She went to the kitchen pantry to start dinner for her children who’d been whining to eat soon. “Come on, Mommy, we’re hungry!” the three shouted in union. The youngest of 5 years old yelled louder than the oldest of 12. Hmmm, she thought, that one takes after his grand-daddy for sure!!

She knew it was time to start scrounging for something to eat…She looked with dismay in her pantry…there was not much to rummage here, she thought. She had to go back to the welfare office to get more food vouchers. She had a can of beans, a large bag of sticky rice and half a carton of molasses (she always had enough molasses, so rich in iron and good for her growing family). This was not good indeed, she thought. What would she make for their lunches for school tomorrow? What will she do for the entire week? She did not have enough money to pay for the bus to the welfare office PLUS the food bank. She had to make a decision quick.

She cooked a big batch of rice and wondered what she would do. Then suddenly, she had an idea! She would make bean balls. She would roll up some beans in the rice and make balls. It would harden and be a great snack! She’d add molasses to the beans to make it sweet and sticky. Why that’s a grand idea! She thought hopefully.

She spread the cooked sticky rice that was on two large cookie sheets and spread the warm beans that she’d heated in a pot with molasses, sparingly to cover BOTH cookie sheets. Then she decided to have the boys participate and tell them her plan. They knew all too well that they had little money and did their best to make the best of things.

“Patrick, Liam and Sean! Come on over here and help Mommy. I need your gifted artistic hands to help me make Rice-Bean balls for school tomorrow.” They ran over to the kitchen table excited and shoulders held back pompously. They were young men helping their mom!!

They managed to roll out 60 balls. They still had not had their supper but they seemed to have forgotten how hungry they actually were. Mae boiled an onion in chicken broth and added the leftover rice…this would do for tonight, she thought.

Tomorrow the boys would sell each ball for .25 cents at school. The students often had Loonies and Toonies and the teachers liked her little special treats. That would give her at least $12.00…(she would give 4 balls to each son for their lunch and sell the remaining 48) enough to get a few things to get through the week. She could go to the corner store and get a few things to eat. Thank goodness they were part of the EMO programme with free Eggs, Milk and Oranges each week delivered on Friday mornings. At least the government did one thing right by offering healthy items for eligible families.

The boys did not complain; they were excited about their new project. Liam, the 12-year-old used to like calling his family the O’Donnell Entrepreneurs…If you need it, we’ll find a way to get it or make it.

“Mom,” Liam looked at his tired mother, “You know if we just mark “donations are appreciated”, we usually average more than .25 per item. Do you want me to do that?
His mother looked proudly at his son who was already 5 inches taller than her. “Maybe another time, Liam, honey. I don’t want to take a gamble on the generosity of folks this week. We need at least $12 to get through the week. Is that okay by you, son?” He nodded and went off to bed.

She finished washing the last of the dishes and got out her notebook to write in her journal. She wrote for a few hours. She yawned, “Time for bed now.” But she added one more line before turning in, Please, Great Spirit, make it that we get a nice surprise for Christmas, so the food bank will spare at least a small chicken for our dinner. Thank you for blessing me with the finest lads in the county!, Mae O’Donnell, December 17, 2013.

The holidays have their highs and lows for most folks. During this season, think of giving a little extra for your local shelter or food bank. This year our office surprisingly doubled their collection of non-perishable food and toys. Just think about it…if everyone gave a little extra, that would fill a few tummies for sure.

Give just a little, it’s better than naught
look at a homeless person this week in the eye and smile…
even if you don’t have money that particular day,
that’s okay,… just don’t turn away…
they’re also actually human by the way;
if you do have something to spare, then
don’t just throw the money their way…
look at the person and wish him/her a good day.
It does make a difference to be treated with dignity.
And trust me, you’ll feel better too!

Happy Holidays

© Cheryl-Lynn, December 17, 2013