A Penny's Thoughts


Sound Healing

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Columbia, Maryland

Dealing with Disappointment


I know the best way of dealing with disappointment is to not have had any expectations at all, therefore preventing the possibility of disappointment.  However, I am all too human and regardless of my intent to be open to all possibilities, there is a part of me that still wants a specific result.  What I keep learning is that everything that happens in my life from the miniscule to the epic is for my ultimate benefit, if I have the patience and courage to look at it closely.  Some days, I have to postpone that effort for another day or time, but when I do find the will to look at the events that disappointed, I inevitably find lessons I can learn and gifts that have been bestowed upon me.  My ego still wants what I want when I want it but my soul has more patience and a longer view.  2-19-11

What refreshes me and gives me clarity


Wildflowers swaying in the wind, the smell of ozone after a summer afternoon thunderstorm, children laughing, leaves conversing in a still forest clearing, a virgin field of snow, the fairy palace created by ice coated trees, a line of ants struggling to carry a crumb back to their queen, a flurry of hummingbirds in a friend's garden, the fawn that lets me approach ever so near, the moment after narrowly escaping an auto accident, icy cold water on a hot, steamy summer's day ... I can go on and on.

There are so many opportunities every day that catch my attention and remind me to breathe in life and breathe out love. I am constantly reminded how simple life really is. I am the one who makes it complicated until I catch sight of an eagle frolicking on the thermals or the full moon as I howl my kinship to the night or ...

Well, that is the point, it is life that refreshes me and gives me clarity.

On Solitude
Solitude is more than being alone. Solitude is a withdrawal; the quieting of the chatter and observations that run through my mind. Solitude is breathing slowly and steadily, sinking my roots deep within the earth, sending my spirit soaring on a capricious breeze, remembering to live from my center. Solitude is silencing the internal and external noise to dwell in the place that knows I am a part of the universe; stardust in human form. When I reach that level of awareness, I can expand to encompass the All while remaining the unique entity that I am. It is in solitude that I restore the resources to allow me to resume loving and living fully, deeply, and in integrity.

On Gratitude


I hear and read a lot about manifesting our wants, dreams, goals, ideas and future. I hear about envisioning prosperity and abundance in all things and ways. I read about opening ourselves to the infinite possibilities stemming from the new energies bathing our planets and lives. But I don’t hear very much about Gratitude for what already blesses us and our lives.


During pre- and early recovery, I used to say “if it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all.” I had a very wise therapist who helped me see that the reason I believed I only had bad luck was because I was ‘blind’ to all of the good luck that I either didn’t see or that I had pushed away out of distrust and fear.


I had narrowed down my perspectives to see only that which I expected to happen. I was exhausted from having to deal with dysfunctional people (mostly family) who would blind-side me with situations that further drained my capacity to have hope, move forward or even just survive. Even though I had moved far away from the environment that produced me, I was still inextricably enmeshed in the life and survival mechanisms I developed as a child when too young to know there were other options.


As I worked hard to widen my perspective and allow for the possibility of other ways of seeing and experiencing things, I began to be able to be grateful or at least acknowledge the positive influences and attitudes in my head, and then in those who populated my life. It was a humbling, enriching, embarrassing, joyful and encouraging step forward in stripping away the habits that kept me enslaved to my abused past as a victim.


I realized, sadly, that I didn’t notice much about the life around me. I rarely took pleasure in a sunny, warm Spring day; a gentle breeze that carried the scent of lilacs as it passed me by; the appearance of baby green leaves on tree branches that had appeared barren of life; the luscious smell of ozone after a summer thunderstorm; or the breathtaking beauty of a brilliant full moon in a black sky polka dotted with the sparkling stars of the Milky Way. And, that budding awareness of the life around me made me angry. Mostly at myself for having let myself down, once again; but miraculously, I was able to let the anger fuel my quest for recovery.


I began a Gratitude Journal. I forced myself to find at least 5 things each day; 5 different things that I could be grateful for. Sometimes, I really struggled to find 5 things I could be grateful for. Sometimes it was just that I woke up and my body didn’t hurt as much or that I made it through the day without crying. For a while, I kept the lists on a series of 3 x 5 cards that I kept in my purse. When I was feeling hopeless and emotional and depressed, I could pull the cards out and read the lists and try to remember that there were good things in my life.


I don’t remember how long I did this, but at some point I didn’t need to struggle to come up with just 5, I was able to jot down many more than that; statements that included people rather than just nature or getting a good parking space. I noticed people who opened doors for me, smiled at me, invited me to visit or hang out with them, a spontaneous laugh about something silly. The ability to play returned, then the ability to play with others. Eventually, I just stopped keeping the Gratitude Journal because I noticed life and all of the myriad ways it supported me as I went about my daily chores.


The habit of gratitude was formed during that painful time in recovery. Gratitude has sustained me since then, especially during hard and painful times. I now have the eyes to see that each day my life is filled beyond the brim with blessings to be grateful for. I rarely have what I used to consider bad luck because I am surrounded by so much good fortune that it simply outshines the darkness. It is hard to find the dark when I am standing in so much light.


© Penelope S. Rice

March 2011