In memory of Ben Comparone, we are offering a token of support. We created these stones with inspirational words and images to be given to those who suffer with addiction and those that love them. We believe that prayers of hope and healing sent out to the universe are heard by every denomination and anyone with a connection to these stones will receive these prayers daily. For more information or to receive stones, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
In peace and love, K
Inspirational books and websites (including my own) can remind me that I fall short. They all make so much sense and seem easy to follow. I become frustrated when I simply can't say and do the right things.
I am a human, and you are too.
I would love to practice what I preach all the time but I can't and I don't. That would be impossible for anyone.
Please let me be clear: being a human being means I am fallible, not perfect and I make really poor choices at times just like everyone else. I regret some of the things I have thought, done, not done, said, and not said.
Still shot 1/2 & 1/2 pic
This is the gift I gave myself at Disney's Haunted mansion. (by far my favorite attraction)
Everyday I try to be a person that I would be proud of and want to spend time with.
I am sorry for the things I regret.
My faith lies in forgiveness, I know that when I am sorry for the things I regret and I try hard not to let them happen again; I am forgiven by my higher power and I have learned to how to forgive myself.
My goal is to try to do more good than harm to myself, the world and all the creatures that inhabit it.
My prayer for human beings
Loving and forgiving divine spirit
Thank you for your forgiveness
And for granting me another day
to try again when I have fallen short.
Today and every day I am grateful for another day to let my light shine and
When I am in a dark place I am grateful that your light shines for me.
In school recently I was taught a really cool concept that I have used quite a bit. It involves creating your own mentoring circle in your mind. We have all met people and have learned about people that have made in impact on our thought process. This could be a historical figure, a religious leader, teacher, friend, family member, coworker, etc.
What I would like for you to think about is the people you admire and why.
When you experience times of trouble, change, fear, or choices arise; think about who you would ask for advice and why (alive or no longer alive, really doesn't matter).
Ask the people in your 'circle' what they would do; I am certain because you admire these people for a reason, the answer will come to you. The people in my circle are people who have found a way to shine in the face of adversity. they are also people who have found a way to rise above their challenges and to succeed while making a difference in the lives of others.
My 'circle' (technically a square)
My circle includes; Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, Helen Keller, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, Martin Luther King Jr, and the list goes on. My circle is always changing, it can be my family and friends, at times it is people in my family who have gone before me; My step-father, my grandmothers, my grandfathers, patients that I became close to before they left this life and of course Ben. I remind myself that they are never far and I CAN call on them through my memories of what they have taught me and how they made me feel.
Going back to the last post, it is all about your ability to listen. Ask the questions of those in your circle, sit back; truly and actively listening for a response. It gets easier as you practice, give it a try.
We all have the power and ability to make changes and to find ways to cope that are beneficial to us and do not damage our bodies and spirits more than they already are.
I have said it before, this is NOT easy but it is possible.
doubt, think it out.
Think of me, and those before;
listen to our answers more.
At times it is not ours to know.
We must ask for help from our circles
so.......I ask you; my circle,
of people I admire, help to set
my heart and soul afire.
Help me find that inner peace
so all my troubles, I can
with continued offerings of love and support, Kristyn
Being silent and listening does not come easy to me. My brain goes a mile a minute and at times I am so focused on my own thoughts that I am hearing but not listening. There is a difference; hearing is your ears actively working to notice sound and listening involves hearing and focusing on what the speaker is saying and doing your best to not hear the voice in your head drowning out the speakers. I have a tattoo to remind me to be at peace within my mind and listen. Even with the visual reminder I still struggle but I refuse to give up. Today my prayer is for all of us to do our best to listen to those we love.
Book stores; new or used and libraries are some of my most favorite places to be, there are so many possibilities. In the past I would only browse the sections that were my 'go to' sections. I did not want to take a chance on wasting my time looking at something that probably was not going to interest me and I certainly would not like. I was very closed minded. I started working at Border's back in the day and found that I was interested in more than what I was used to. I started thinking outside the box and tried not to judge a book by it's cover. Some of the most wonderful things I have ever read were as far from what the cover looked like as it could possibly get.
Many people look at those that suffer from addiction and their families and make a snap decision based on what they see on the surface or what they think they know. The negative statements that; it is a choice, or a moral failing, or poor parenting, that the person clearly was not loved enough otherwise this never would have happened are all 100% not true. Plain and simple. Addicts and their families look just like you and just like me. We are all 'regular' people who were dealt a crappy hand. No one I know would "choose" this life.
This disease has humbled me in so many ways. Since starting this prayer chain through this site and the stones, I have had folks from all over reach out and share their stories and hope for a brighter future for themselves and those they love.
What we want; and I hope it is okay to speak for all of you reading this, is for people to look beyond the 'cover' of those that suffer with this disease. Open the book and look inside at the wonderful things that come out of all of these people. Having a daughter that is an addict has taught me more than I have ever learned anywhere else in my life. Knowing Ben and loving Ben has made me a better person than I was before him.
Annie and Cameron reading her Medical dictionary; Quite interesting!
Please open your hearts and minds to the endless possibilities that these folks are capable of with the love and support of others. I am not so naïve that I am not aware that every addict isn't ready to make a fresh start, but if they are; support them where they are. Sometimes we have to open a book that we had set aside to find that where we are now is where we need to be to hear the story again and appreciate it for what it is now.
On this long awaited glorious spring day I wanted to share with all of you Ben's garden. In the spring of 2015 when Ben left this life for the life eternal, he left us all with a lot of empty spaces. One of the things we have done to honor his memory is to create a memorial garden; I know his mom has done the same. There is something very therapeutic about gardening. Whether you start from seeds or a young plant, watching life grow gives a sense of miracle and hope. Ben's garden has a place to sit and remember all the wonderful things he was and will always be to our family. Hillary and I started the garden together with Cameron's help and over the past year it has seen abundance, laid dormant through the winter and sprung to new life again this spring. There are some new additions 'a friend for Billy', memory plaques and a toadstool seat just the right size for Cam. We love the garden and enjoy sitting in the warmth of the sun tilling the soil and keeping it safe from the squirrels and chipmunks who do there best to chomp away at the hard work. Hillary planted some berry bushes today and with all the love she has put into it I am certain we will have quite a harvest come summer. To all the families and friends out there who have lost a loved one to this disease, you are not alone, we are part of a club that no one wants to join. Finding ways to remember and honor Ben has given us all a little bit of peace in an otherwise very sad existence without him here. The sadness remains but so does the seeds of love he planted in our hearts.
Yesterday we talked about building up and holding onto your energy. Today I want to focus on how everyone has a super power that is fed by that energy. Some people are born knowing exactly what that power is, while others take longer to figure it out and harness that power to help the universe and all that inhabit it. Think about what you are good at and what the people around you compliment you on. Most times your super power is right before your eyes but it is hard to see because we choose to look at what we are lacking in as opposed to what we are good at. There are many super powers out there and no two are exactly alike. For those of us that have spent our lives watching Wonder Woman, Superman, Super Girl, Batgirl, Batman, etcetera; it is clear that by day these are regular folks living regular lives until there is a need and out pops the iconic phone booth for Clark Kent to transform into the hero he was. I believe that we all have the ability to do our part to help our world.
Hillary is learning that one of her super powers is gardening and she is using that power to bring new life to our home (more about this in another post).
Annie is learning that being a smart and powerful young woman is a super power and she is using that power to propel herself through her premed program at school with honors.
Bert is learning that his power is being a leader. He has been well liked throughout his life for choosing to be his own person and 'marching to his own drum'. He is using his power to lead his junior class at school and his running teammates.
Izabel is learning that she has the power to show compassion and love for the elderly. She uses her power to make them feel special and cared for.
My Super power is my ability to offer comfort to the dying. I use my super power to show compassion and provide dignity to my patients who are leaving the physical world.
What we must remember about super heroes is that in almost every situation they come from humble beginnings or a place of darkness. They make a conscious effort to take that darkness and turn it into light.
Throughout history there are people we look up to and see as visionaries. A few of the people that I have always seen as super heroes were Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. Those are popular ones that most people have heard of, a few of the ones you probably have not are MT Winter, my professor at Hartford Seminary (google her, I have no doubt you too will be inspired). Kim Sullivan, Ben's mom who amazes me with her ability to educate others about addiction, her story, and her loss, in the hopes of saving someone else's child. Most of my hospice patients, although their lives are nearing the end their primary focus is making sure their families are going to be okay when they have left this world. There is something heroic to be found in everyone.
It is not boastful to say you have a super power, we would never say 'oh that superman he is so conceited'. Sharing your super power is humbling, it keeps you grounded on your journey. I believe there should be super hero counselors. A person who can listen to you and help you to establish and find ways to share your power.
Everything has an energy, including all of us. Our energy comes from within our souls and creates an aura around us. Have you ever been somewhere and felt good for no apparent reason? Being at the beach or in the woods, a park or in a city, maybe when you arrive 'home'; you get close to where you are going and you start to smile or breathe more easily. I call those places my happy places and I try hard to be in those places as much as I can because they restore my energy when it is drained.
There are people who you receive energy from as well. I know certain people who enter a room and instantly, I feel refreshed. These people have so much positive energy that it simply oozes out of them.
All of us are a combination of both, and the idea is that we need to do everything we can to keep our positive energies up and the negative energies low. That can be really hard to do. It takes a lot of work and even more practice to find ways to do this that does not cause harm to ourselves or others. Sometimes we do things that give us instant gratification but it can not be sustained so it has to be done again and again which inevitably causes more negative than positive.
Today I am asking you to think about what energy you feel surrounds you the most. Do you put yourself in places that have a history of stealing your energy; are there people who you see often or places that you go that seem to drain you and when you have walked away from those places you feel better? Ask yourself what you can do to change this. The more positive energy that leaves you the harder it is to function in a positive way. There are people who continually drain me, sometimes it is because they don't have enough energy of their own so they try to take mine. This never works, absorbing someone else's energy freely doesn't deplete theirs. Stealing someone else's by trying to bring them down with you only depletes both of your energies.
We all have days with more negative than positive and I know there are days that my negative energy could fill a coliseum. My hope is that I do all I can to use my energy for good rather than not good. When I am at my lowest I try to find something to do for someone else and when they smile, or laugh it puts more positive energy in the space I am in. It really doesn't have to be a huge thing, sometimes it is something simple like waiting the extra few seconds to hold the door for someone rather than rushing through. Complimenting someone works wonders as well. For me, I find that in the long run giving someone else energy ends up giving me more than enough energy to pull out of the negative path I sometimes walk.
There is always a choice, There are people we love that exude a ton of negative energy most of the time. No matter how we try, nothing seems to make a difference for them. That is ultimately their choice and they are going to have to find their own way down the path. It is hard to put distance between ourselves and the ones we love because it hurts to see our loved ones hurting. However, at times it is necessary for our own protection and their own growth. It is not a statement of giving up on that person, it is simply a statement to them that their negativity is not acceptable to you. They are going to have to learn how to get rid of their negative energy somewhere else, you are not a dumping ground. Remind yourself that your energy is yours; when you choose to share it, it does not take away from you. When someone drains it like an energy vampire you can choose to protect yourself. That is not selfish, that is survival of the soul.
These are just a few people, places and things that refuel my energy.
On Friday morning I had the honor of being a guest on my friend Cleo Duke-Wright's story telling hour on Access TV. The theme of the day was finding out who you are; not trying to be like someone else because you are who you are supposed to be. She shared an African folklore story about a knee high man and I shared one of my personal favorites about a monster who thinks she wants to be a princess. She asked me questions about my life and I was thrilled to be able to share our SOS message with her viewers. Please enjoy my visit with Miss Cleo.