Post-Thanksgiving Gratitude Post
Now that we have made it past Thanksgiving and Black Friday and I am back in “my zone” – I can take a moment to reflect and share the significance of this recent holiday.
These first 40 years of my life have been a bit rough around the edges. This last year and this recent month has been a mixed bag of good and bad.
Sometimes we have to ride out some really difficult storms (mental/emotional angst) in order to get to smoother waters. Those storms can be referred to as grief, loneliness, PTSD…
The “simple” action of getting family around a dinner table for a meal – all safe & sound is something that I cannot take for granted. It becomes something of a monumental achievement.
I still did do too much cooking still this year for my own good - to really get to take the time to enjoy that meal with them fully. I felt I used too much energy on TG to really convey how deep my well of love extends for my family. Hence, I write this now.
But as my Spanish teacher used to say if someone arrived late to class “más vale tarde que nunca” …Better late than never.
Admittedly, I have a hole in my heart at the moment for my oldest son Valan – who was not with us this year. Not everyone knows, but my oldest Valan (20) has been struggling with chemical dependency for some years now. His situation has become much more grave in the recent year as he is using heroin and much of what is on the street is laced with fentanyl. So there is no way to really candy coat these situations. It is what it is:
My oldest son Valan is trying to survive on the streets because he is chemically dependent on a substance – that has potentially fatal consequences.
As an individual – my baseline persona is calm and steady – even in high-stress circumstances.
As a practitioner of yoga and also someone with a deep spiritual connection – this has perhaps given me tools to improve on maintaining this aspect.
As a parent – when you know your child is at risk of dying – the realization of that fate and its emotional weight is undeniable and impossible to hide at times.
I feel the need to share this publicly – as I believe it is important for us as family, friends, colleagues and as a society to get away from the stigma and taboo that surrounds drug use and chemical dependency. We all have to “come clean” be honest with one another about the gravity of the situations we face on the daily.
I believe that by communicating and sharing our experiences – we can make leaps and bounds in terms of healing and recovery and find effective solutions.
I believe it is important to bring this subject to light from my personal point of view in a way and in a place that is beyond that of the office of a therapist, or a group. Not everyone goes to an NA, AA or Al-Anon meeting – for various reasons.
I have ideas on how to help Valan, as well as others – but all in good time. I have to start here and I know the importance of taking things one day at a time.
Where ever Valan is right now, I want him to know that I love him very much.
I know that he is in a difficult space. I want him to know that even though we cannot be together in person right now – I am doing everything within my personal power and means; to put together a plan to support his recovery. It might take some time – so I hope that he can hang in there. But if he cannot, I hope that he does not hesitate to reach out for help to get to a hospital or shelter if needed. I believe that this being “Los Angeles” – we are surrounded by angels in this city that look out for those in need of direction. I pray for those angels to keep watch over Valan and keep him safe.
Back to Thanksgiving.
While I have the energy and feel a divine connection to make it through all sorts of challenging days and frightening moments – I certainly would not have been able to prepare, cook and serve Thanksgiving dinner to my family this year; without the companionship and partnered force of my dearest friend Ozzie Sutherland.
Anyone who is brave enough to endure the trenches of my world with me – deserves a purple heart.
Anyone who knows Ozzie knows what an awesome dude he is.
But I will say, that I felt privileged to have this man next to me in the kitchen and as my accomplice in making a meal of epic proportions. He is truly a brave and beautiful soul.
We have known each other for over a decade now. But we have grown together over the last 10 months in ways that I would have never imagined. He has the courage and heart of a lion and as a fellow Leo I recognize this and I love him fiercely. Over the recent months he has given me opportunities to visit places and experience life in rare and magical ways. He has awakened and revitalized my soul and creativity with intensity that is daunting yet exhilarating.
He has reminded me of how to value myself and be accepting to the fruits of life.
Ozzie - I am forever grateful for your existence and for the depth and blessing of our friendship.
While God and yoga and meditation and many of these beliefs and techniques can help us get through many situations - it is important to always remember that at the end of the day we are still human. We are still animals. It is important to remember that we are social mammals. Perhaps “co-dependance” is not so much of a sin or sign of weakness as it is a birth right? Perhaps “Co-dependance” is an intrinsic part of our human nature? Can we allow ourselves to help each other to help ourselves?
With much Gratitude, Love and Prayers for all of those facing personal struggles this holiday season – Happy Thanksgiving.