Unexpected Gift of Balance

Two wrecks in six weeks! Yes, and in addition to that, I had drawn police to me in the oddest places to give me a ticket my entire life until I began to balance in the mornings. My record started the first night I drove a car. I attracted the attention of a policeman on 23d street in Oklahoma City. He stopped me and wrote a ticket in memory of my first night with a driver’s license. I had to go home to share the experience with my mother and father, plus tell them I also backed into a pole and dented the fender when I picked up a friend. The excitement of a driver’s license got me! It was awhile before I got to take the car out again.

Police officers seemed to appear out of nowhere for the rest of my life, especially during life’s difficult times. For instance, it happened several times when we were moving across the country. I would be in one car while Don was driving a U-Haul. Of course, I had two small children in the car with me. I would be following him, traveling at the same rate of speed. He would not get a ticket, but I would have the honor of being stopped. He generally would drive a distance ahead and wait for us to catch up to him. One time, however, the policeman did not give me a ticket. Being in a small town in Texas, the policeman decided I needed to see the Justice of the Peace and pay a fine. Don had the money. I did not. Ugh! They finally realized my husband was not coming back for our children or me. They decided that I could go and mail the money back by a certain date. I did not see Don again until I arrived at my parents’ home in Oklahoma City, our first destination. I was more than unhappy.

Life went on and policemen with tickets continued to crop up here and there. When Don got sick and was in the hospital in Clovis, NM, I got more than one ticket. Let’s just say that he was in and out of the hospital for years and so I got multiple tickets. Two tickets were written for me by the same policeman within an hours’ time. Not fun. I never got so many tickets that I lost my license, not even when Don was dying or afterwards.

The next difficult time that happened with police wanting to stop me came during the divorce. Plus a ticket I received, I totaled my fairly new Lincoln Town Car during rain. I was hydroplaning as I passed through an I-35 construction area on the way to do a seminar in Oklahoma City. I first hit the concrete barrier on the west side of the road and then the car careened across both lanes to the east side of the road where I slammed into another concrete barrier. Luckily everyone on I-35 had slowed as they watched me, and no one was beside me. I had the whole road plus a policeman right behind me that could not believe I did this. I could not either, because I was not going fast at all! My car could not be driven, had to be towed, and then was declared totaled. However, the final decision was to fix it, because it was so new. Insurance paid for a rental car until the car was fixed. I did do the seminar.

I picked up my car when I received the call that it was ready and drove it for about two weeks. This space in time for my next accident fell between filing for divorce and waiting to go back to court to end the marriage. I simply was going to go to the grocery store. I slid into the seat of my car and drove, stopping at the corner where there was a stop sign.  I looked both ways before turning onto a busy street. It was a rainy day with light fog. I pulled out, turned left, and had a head-on collision with another car. A very kind couple jumped out of their vehicle to see if I was hurt. I was afraid that they might be the ones hurt because I crossed the line and was in their lane when my car hydroplaned right into the front of their vehicle. Thank goodness we were all three just fine. The insurance company was not happy with me at all. I had destroyed the car twice in six weeks. Again the car was towed to the same people that just fixed it. I felt safer in a rental car. Once more, they made my black Town Car look like new! By this time, I was hesitant about driving my car.

I received the call. My car was fixed, but I was scared to even drive this car. Was it jinxed? I went to pick it up and actually had the man that handed me my keys go outside with me to bless my car. He said, “Are you serious?” I said, “Yes.” He complied because I explained that I was not going to get into it until somebody did that with me. This was not normal for me to wreck a car twice in a short time! I only got tickets, so I knew that something was really wrong, and decided that it was me and the fact that I truly was having a difficult time filing for divorce and going through the divorce. It was something I did not believe I would ever do, and I was truly off-balanced. My awareness was not good. I had to do something before I hurt someone seriously, or maybe me. I began to do activities to balance myself every morning.

I put an affirmation on my mirror to say every morning. “I like myself just as I am.” It was simple. This was the beginning of improving my self worth. If I flinched, I knew I did not yet believe it. However, if I smiled while I said it, I knew I was beginning to think so. Next, I explained to God that I wanted to be able to hear my guidance; however, I needed help with this. I talked to God as if He was sitting in a chair right across from me. Since I had messed up several critical situations in my lifetime, I asked God to bring answers through other people on earth until I learned to hear in different ways. Other people might include a minister preaching, a friend, a salesperson, whomever.

I then explained reading books others suggested prior filing for my divorce helped. I told God, “I will listen intently, and if I hear the name of a book three times, no matter what the book is, I will buy it and find my answer within it.”  Then I  began listening for a books’ name everywhere I went.  Sometimes I caught the title of a book as I eavesdropped on a conversation. Unexpectedly, it made me begin to be more present in my life. I was actively listening to receive answers. When I did hear the name of a book three times, I bought it. Sometimes many answers for me were in a book, and sometimes I had to wait until I was deep into a book before my “aha” came. Book names and answers did come! I generally found the books named in the Science Fiction area, Business area, self-help, or inspirational. I never knew and it was a fun adventure to find some of the more rare titles.

Now I was finding answers in Al-Anon and in books. With my self-worth diminished through the marriage I just left, I gave myself a gift every day for thirty days. That was a suggestion from a friend I began passing onto others when they were going through difficult times. Since I was tight on money and was left with all the bills after the divorce, I had to devise simple gifts for me that cost only a little or nothing at all but brought a smile to me. One giift was giving myself time to sit on the porch and watch for a beautiful sunset. Another was going to lunch with my daughter or son. Then there was giving myself time to visit a friend or telephone someone I wanted to visit with! I sometimes spent time with a flower, thinking about how it grows, drops its petals and lets go so easily, and how another then how another flower is birthed.

With those gifts, I gave myself permission to be kinder to me and took time to do so. One activity seemed to lead to another. I began working on increasing ways to “hear” guidance. I would go to a bookstore and stand in front of the books in the Self-Help section or the Spiritual section, or I would look at the new releases. I watched for a name of a book that calledto me. I was attempting to improve or develop my intuition. This was different from hearing the name of a book three times and going to the bookstore for a specific book. By going and standing in front of aisles of books in someplace like Barnes and Noble or by “stepping over boundaries” and going into a bookstore that I never entered before, I had to learn to “listen within” and develop my intuitive skills.

So every morning I made a “prayer” and then opened an inspirational book and read for ten minutes before work. The 15 minutes expanded. What did I discover? I was becoming happier. I was reclaiming my Self and, well, everything felt better, period. The tv was off and what I was learning about life “by listening” without and within was much more interesting.

LESSON: Begin your day with time for you. Meditate or pray or do both. Listen to your universal source to begin guiding you. Then pick up an inspirational book and read for ten to fifteen minutes.

LESSON: If you decide to give yourself a gift for one day when you are moving through a difficult time or for thirty days. Before you sleep, think about what you can give yourself tomorrow and all the good possibilities coming into your life. Especially do this if a door has closed with a life-changing event of if there has been a multitude of events that have might cause depression to set in. Then be certain to follow through. Do give yourself your gifts! You deserve it. See what you feel like in a few weeks.

GIFT: Life can throw us some very difficult times. We can make it through them. Center Self. I got more done in a day by taking the time to balance in the morning. Everything went smoother. In other words, I made fewer mistakes and did not draw chaotic situations to me.

BIG GIFT: Once I began balancing every morning before beginning work or leaving the house, my life began to change. Life became more smooth. I quit drawing policemen to me. I checked myself on each of these next two situations: I was off-balanced when each of these happened. One dark night on Highway 9 going into Norman, a deer jumped in front of me. My car was hurt, but not the deer. About ten years later, I pulled out of a driveway going very slowly and ran into a van that I absolutely did not see. It was a specific green color that is difficult for me to see to this day. No other accidents, no totals! After each one of these incidents, I went right back into my 10-25 minutes in the mornings for me to gain balance. I have also been stopped twice in the last thirty-one years by a highway patrolman and received a warning each time. On both of those times, I was trying to do too many things in too short a period of time and had not balanced in the morning. It makes all the difference in the world!

Dancing With Destiny

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It was the night following a wonderful Christmas. “Wonderful” had nothing to do with presents. It was just so good because there was no stressor, no grumpy person, that ruined every holiday inside the house. Johnny was in the Navy and unable to spend this Christmas with us, but Dawn and I made a plan to visit multiple relatives in Oklahoma City and Norman on Christmas day.

While we were at a cousin’s home on Christmas afternoon, my cousin encouraged me to go to Pauls Valley with her and her husband to a party planned for the night after Christmas. Our cousins that lived in Pauls Valley were having the party for friends returning home for the holidays. She shared that I might know many attending the party from our school days. Throughout my growing up years, I spent as much time as I could in Pauls Valley. Both sets of grandparents and many cousins lived there. When visiting, I had so much fun. We walked all over, went to restaurants by ourselves, went to the movie for a dime, and played hard. I participated in activities with my cousins, many of which I was not allowed to do at home in Oklahoma City.

You can do some things growing up in a small town that you cannot do in a city. For instance, we did not have a main street in Oklahoma City, where everyone drove up and down, finding each other on the weekends. We also could not or did not dare, go to the park and have water balloon fights or watermelon fights after dark. Nor did we fill up sacks with cow manure and leave it on someone’s front porch, sometimes lighting it with a match! My parents allowed me to car date in Pauls Valley several years before allowing me to do so in Oklahoma City. About the only thing we did in both places was toilet paper friends’ homes. I felt freer in Pauls Valley and could play with no worry because Mama was safe with her mother.

Deciding to go, I telephoned my Al-Anon Sponsor, Sally, the next morning. It had been about two months since I filed for divorce, but my divorce was not to be granted until we went to court. Shortly after I filed, Sally asked me to do something she had done when she worked with her own sponsor. She asked that I not speak to a man for six months. I was more than a little surprised by this request. I knew that I was getting better and better with each of the other suggestions she gave me to do. I considered her idea and committed to it. If I had an appointment about my business, I could speak, but if a question or statement turned personal, I had to guide the conversation back to business or end the appointment. (The result of this experiment brought a calmness that I did not expect.)

Now I was going to a party, and there would be dancing, which I loved to do. I asked if we could waive this request to not speak to a man for this one night. She agreed, so I called my cousin, Judy, and her husband, Phil. Later that day, we headed to Bob’s Pig Shop located in the town where we all three had been born.

As I entered the door, an attractive woman was exiting. She stopped, and we introduced ourselves. There were already quite a few visiting and some dancing. Many had familiar faces that I had not seen for over twenty years since I lived out of state most of that time and usually saw only relatives whenever I returned home. Seeing a friend, I walked over to the jukebox, and we visited a little. A man standing by me introduced himself to me and asked if I would like to dance. His name was John Blake. He was a great dancer. We talked some while dancing, and when the music stopped, we stood still and continued talking.

Our discussion was odd, and I loved it, for we were talking about something of substance. Somehow we found ourselves talking about spiritual experiences and God. As the music began again, we continued sharing. During this second dance, the lady I met at the door tapped me on the shoulder as she said, “I guess you know you are dancing with my husband.” I responded, “No, I did not know. John, you have a pretty wife, and, Susan, you have an adorable husband.” Susan laughed and said, “continue” and went to sit down in a booth.

Upon completion of that dance, we both went to sit down with Susan. Our discussion included my history with Pauls Valley. Surprised, they shared with me they had restored a home built in the late 1800s/early 1900s, and they thought a part of my grandparents’ house that was torn down and replaced with a nursing home might be in their home. They also invited me to come by sometime to see if they were right. About that time, Susan excused herself and left John and me sitting in the booth. I watched as she left us and went outside again. We visited until another friend I had not yet seen at the party came and asked me to dance.

I saw him last when I was 17. He married his high school sweetheart, also a friend of mine. He then said for me to go into the other room and sit with his wife when we finished dancing. I was also not to come back into the place we were dancing in. I did join Sharon for a visit until her husband returned. I then asked why he said for me to leave the other room. He responded by saying that he learned I was coming out of a marriage, and he felt I was about to get into trouble. I asked if the person I danced with was a womanizer. He said no, and he needed to stay that way. He said that he had not ever seen him attracted to someone else.

Judy and Phil were ready to go. I was also. But I loved my evening, and I knew there was something very different in my encounter with John Blake. John did call later about nutritional products. I was back to not speaking about anything except business. In about a year, I ran into John and Susan at a restaurant in Oklahoma City. The three of us visited.

Another few years flew by, and I ran into Susan downtown in Oklahoma City with another man. She shared that she and John divorced about six months prior and reminded me that I never came to see their house. I said that I was attending a family reunion the next Sunday in Pauls Valley and would stop by.

Release Brings Blessings

John and I began isolating in this house on March 11th. Boston, a son, decided to join us when SanFrancisco started its lockdown due to the coronavirus. He drove from San Francisco, CA, to Pauls Valley, OK. That took four stops overnight, but he made it and then quarantined himself for two weeks before we began to be a pod of three. Boston has done all of the grocery shopping for us, and that has been a blessing for John and me. We have each eventually developed our own projects and stay busy. The only meal we usually share is supper. All in all, we have all remained 90% happy and grateful during this coronavirus change.

One of us will possibly have a bad day of crankiness, but that is not often. This last Sunday, I guess it was my turn. I awakened agitated. Thoughts ran through my head. “Did I have a bad dream? Why am I frustrated?” At breakfast, something Boston said triggered an old story. Perhaps the writing of my past pulled it up, or maybe it was because two good friends lost their husbands this past week.  I have been praying for each of them and reflect on the difficulties of going through significant losses. I recalled the shock and denial stage I went through, plus the anger and also the blame stage. Remember, in a past blog; I mentioned that I telephoned my mental health center and asked my secretary to look through all of my notes to see how long each stage of change lasted when there was a death. Of course, I had no records on that because it is different for everyone. I think I wanted to move through all stages in six weeks or something like that. That just doesn’t happen.

The following is the story I told at breakfast. John had heard it many times. I thought I also told Boston in the past, but I began again with sharing what happened: The doctors at Mayo Clinic came into talk to us about Don’s surgery the next morning. They said, “If the operation goes the way we hope, he will be back in his room in about thirty minutes. However, if we run into difficulties, it will be longer, but you should not worry.” So the next day, I sat in the room next to surgery and then returned to Don’s room in thirty minutes. He was there, but not awake. No doctor came to talk to me following the surgery. I assumed they were busy.

Thinking all was okay, I telephoned our children and all friends on standby waiting for news and shared the good news. All went well. At 4 o’clock that afternoon, the doctors came and asked me to leave the room. I went down to the end of the hall and looked out the window, wondering why they asked me to leave. Then one came to get me. I entered the room and stood at the end of Don’s bed.

Don said: “Susie, they told me that I would die in six months and there is nothing I can do about it. They do think I should talk to an oncologist, but it really will not make a difference. It might help with the pain.”

Me: At that moment, I was stunned. I wanted to deny it was true. The doctors left. I started crying and could not stop for about four days. Sometimes I could pull it together for a few hours, and then the tears would flow again. Don did not seem upset. Perhaps he had suspected this result. He was so peaceful about dying, and I was a wreck. His peace permeated the room. People from other parts of the hospital came to his door and asked to enter, so they also could feel the peacefulness they had heard about. I, on the other hand, was falling apart. What about the goals we had set and the fun times we planned to have later? What about all of the time he took away from the three of us trying to achieve so much? I felt like all of the work that we each had done was for nothing. Every goal we were each trying to reach was for, supposedly, was preseumably for our family. Now all of the goals we discussed were just “gone.”

He seemed fine with dying, and I was reeling between “the loss of a husband, our children losing their father, and being upset about Don being so peaceful and not seeming to be upset about leaving. I even felt some anger mixed in. He was going to leave me with a mess. We had school loans to pay off still, campaign losses, money owed on the house that he wanted, and was being built. It was his dream, not mine. I loved our present home. I also knew I was thinking about “decisions one has to make and guidance for two teenagers. What if I made the wrong decisions without him?” (And I did make wrong decisions, by the way.)

Don continued to be peaceful, and I continued to be a basketcase. His doctor finally asked me if I would like a prescription to help me. I said no. I have always believed that ‘we will have more joy in life later on than we are having pain in the present, and that we move through the pain better when we do not medicate.’ That is my belief. It does not have to be someone else’s belief. I felt guilty about being mad at Don for being able to let go and be free of our problems when he was the one facing death. Even though we had excellent communication about his death, I am not sure I ever told him all of this. I did not tell others about my feelings, about how mad and sad I was at the same time. It did not seem right to be worried about me and have a pity party for myself about what I was going to face alone when he was the one in pain and was dying. I even felt guilty about “perhaps I could have done something different in our past that would have prevented his stress and cancer?”

Boston: “Susanne, you have told me that story multiple times, and you are still mad about it.” That story is stuck in you. You need to release it by blogging about it. With so many deaths right now, other people may be feeling multiple responses in the same way. What you say may perhaps help someone.”

As he said those words, I looked down at my body language. I was holding both arms open and to the side with my arms bent at the elbows. Each hand was in a fist. I looked like I was ready to fight someone. I agreed that I needed to blog about this and release this last bit of anger. I have had such an amazing life and so many great experiences, I could not imagine I was still mad. However, this may have surfaced to help me release the tiniest bit of negativity remaining within. Keeping these thoughts to myself about what I was being left with in the beginning and staying so positive may be why this was stuffed.

I want to tell all out there that have lost a spouse that it is normal to have these multitude of feelings. Hopefully, this will give someone permission to feel, know it is okay to have the odd thoughts you are having, and do not hesitate to get help or ask for help if need be. It is reasonable to have all of those thoughts.  I had a multitude of feelings that I did not understand as I went through Don’s death experience. And I had feelings after his death I did not understand. That is why I kept trying to find a book that would answer my questions. There was none. I had to pray and wait for answers, and I eventually got them!

With the coronavirus, we are “all” going through an unprecedented change. The first stage affected is awareness.  We initially want to deny the situation, and may even choose not to recognize it. Then we have shock and disbelief as the reality of truth becomes clear. Next, attitude is affected. Perhaps anger with Self comes to the surface. I believe violence is coming out sideways these days, through arguments about masks, fighting, acting irrationally.  Rather than flowing, perhaps we exhibit the confrontation of this virus plus the many changes we are having to make. Information we learn sometimes leads to guilt or self-doubt. Maybe we experience depression or self-pity takes over.

We look for the source of the problem and blame others. We even project “personal guilt” onto others. Many get stuck here and do not move forward. A person sometimes remains in this stage for the rest of their life. For those that do move forward, behavior improves. Understanding, rational thinking, and an improved attitude about the situation bring new ideas. Finally, we come to acceptance. With new knowledge and skills, an action to implement a new plan takes place.  

LESSON: It is good to move through change and ask for help. Life is so much better and I have had so much more joy than pain by working on me and going through the ‘letting go processes, learning to flow, gaining spiritual solutions, practicing gratitude, and so much more. Years ago, I began doing a small ceremony to completely release a negative reflection I have had from my past. I plan to let go of this bit of anger within and release this story I have told Boston multiple times within a few month period. How? I am going to write it out, get a shovel, make a prayer, and bury it! Then I will release it completely. That is my plan.

GIFT: I became aware that I had retained this little bit of anger even though I am so happy and have been so happy for many years. My words, my tone, my body language all suggested it. Releasing brings blessings. Kindness replaces irritability. The light within becomes brighter with each negative thought gone!

Thank you to all that read my blog. If you are having something negative happen, I do hope this brings about new thoughts and new ideas to help you work through something. Time does heal, but we can do things to help with the healing along the way. What is most important is “keep hope, belief, and faith.” A future blog is going to be about our electromagnetic energy field and what good will come when many of us improve Self!

18-Wheeler

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Following Don’s death, I returned to basketball games. The first time I went in, I felt odd. Dawn was cheering. Johnny was with the band. Sitting down and waiting for the game to begin, there was no one around me. One by one, young people came and sat close to me. No parents joined me. People my age still seemed to feel awkward with me.

Moving right along, let’s fast forward to the basketball finals. We won and were to play in the state playoffs in Albuquerque. I had a meeting in Albuquerque on the same day the playoffs began. Dawn and Johnny went to the game with others. I went directly to the university’s gym to join them as soon as my meeting was over. I had offered each of them the opportunity to invite a friend to go with us to a nice restaurant following the game and ride home with us. They liked the idea.  

When I arrived at the gym, the score was close; however, we lost. Johnny and his friend waited with me in the bleachers as people began filing out. Dawn and her friend, both cheerleaders, joined us. We were about to leave when three others also showed up. Each said their parents sent them to me to ride home with us. With the gym almost cleared, I asked, “Where are your parents? I need to talk to them.” They each told me their parents said that I would take them home and then left them. WHAT? Now there would be eight in a car that holds five! While still being dumbfounded that friends left their children with me without saying a word to me, I increased our reservation at the restaurant from five to eight. 

We climbed the steps to leave the entrance/exit of the gymnasium. Nan, with suitcases and a strange-looking box, was entering. Nan was a twenty-one-year-old young friend that was returning home to Portales from an extended trip. I said, “Nan, what are you doing here?” She gave me a frustrated look and responded, “I cannot believe this. I haven’t been home for several months. My plane came in on time, but my flight from Albuquerque to Clovis canceled. I called Mom and asked that she and Dad please come pick me up. Instead, she directed me to take a taxi from the airport to this gym, find you, and said you could take me home.” I was stunned. “What’s in the box, Nan?” She shared with no hesitation, “A dead fish.”  

So now I had nine and a dead fish plus two suitcases to ride in my Thunderbird that seated five. Keeping my promise to Dawn and Johnny and their two invites, we scrunched into the car and headed for the restaurant for lunch. By mid-afternoon, we headed home. The uncomfortable ride began. In only a short while, teenagers in the back seat started poking each other. I asked them to stop. It increased. After multiple requests, and it not ending, I picked up the CB and said, “Is any trucker heading Eastbound?” Receiving silence, I asked again. “Breaker, Breaker, is any trucker heading Eastbound? I am having trouble and need help.” A nice man responded hesitantly, (I think a woman on the CB surprised them.) “We are. What kind of car are you in?” I pulled over to the side of the road after telling him and waited. In only a few minutes, he pulled over in front of us.

I then said, “Nan, you get behind this wheel and do not lose sight of me. Follow closely and, Frank, you are the biggest. You come with me.” With me dressed in a suit and heels, I dressed in for the meeting before the game, Frank and I climbed up the ladder and entered the bed of this tall truck. We asked if we could have a ride, and they agreed. The two truckers were kind. They asked all sorts of questions about my work and Frank’s schooling. We asked them about trucking. They were to continue straight past Santa Rosa, but we were to turn. We pulled into the truck stop, and Nan pulled right in behind us. The truckers asked if they could treat the whole group to a hamburger or a snack of some kind. The seven others in my car loved it when we all stopped to share this opportunity.  

Following dinner, we nine scrunched back into my automobile and headed home. There was silence. Then my children said that they could not believe what I had done. They were mad. I explained, “Not a single person asked me if I had room to take another person with me. They are all friends, but this was too much.” I shared that I would appreciate it if they didn’t poke or yell at each other again. All were good.

We arrived at each home safely. I dropped into bed. The next morning I was awakened when my telephone began ringing. Several Moms asked me if it was true that I left our children and got into an 18 wheeler? They were not pleased. I said, “That is correct, but you left me and did not even consider what my plans might be.” We all remained friends, but I did not have that problem ever again.

Lesson: Be respectful and ask permission rather than assuming something about another person. I do not suggest this way to set a boundary for others. It was most likely not a good idea for me to do this, but all were safer!

Gifts: If there has been a death in the family, know your friends still care about you but are not comfortable. Make the first move, and it will be okay again. No one ever sent their child to me without asking me first. Word traveled. None of us, as friends and parents, would have had this problem if we had cell phones back then.

I Was Emotionally Unavailable

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I never understood emotional unavailability until we all three were having major problems following Don’s death.  This also took place through the second marriage.  It is harmful for the child when a parent is emotionally unavailable repeatedly. That was I.  It is important to be “in the present” with children and “raise my awareness” in order to know what is happening with Self and what is happening with them.  

If you want to know more about emotional unavailability, keep reading.

I did not see how much Dawn and Johnny were hurting until later.  It can happen so easily without us realizing we are being emotionally unavailable for others we love. I did not realize I was emotionally unavailable until later. I was taking care of my children’s whereabouts physically. I asked them “How are you doing?”  I asked, “What is going on in school?”  However, with so much on my plate and with trying to make it through the days, I was hardly listening.  I was just hoping to make it from day to day with all of the expected and unexpected health situations, work expectations, and trying to make ends meet financially when Don took leave of absences to run for Congress and did not get paid the last six months of his life.  

It is so important to stay aware and in the present when difficulty arises. By doing so, we are better able to know what is happening with Self and our children. I definitely continued to be emotionally unavailable as Don was dying, taking care of him, with all that happens afterwards, and then getting back to work, and “not giving myself permission to grieve or time to grieve.”   

Emotional unavailability can happen so easily with a continual illness in the family.  Priorities tend to be with the one that needs you and it is usually the patient.  I was in the ICU with Don in Clovis, NM, when I received a call that Johnny was in the ICU in Portales, twenty miles away. It can happen when one parent is looks outside the marriage for intimacy and truth is not told.  The partner not looking outside the marriage feels it as well as the children.  I have personally seen examples of that.  Know there is help! Take action.  Blessings will come!

LESSON:  Even through difficult times, take at least ten minutes in the morning to balance Self. Give yourself that time to pray, meditate, or just be still and listen for answers following your prayer. Meditating five minutes a day several times is good also.  It raises awareness of what is happening in life with Self , children, and others.  

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

We had discussed divorce. This husband informed me that our marriage was typical, and it was normal for a husband to look outside while married. In other words, he thought the man could date, and it was normal. I shared that I did not want that kind of marriage. Several more months went by after our discussion. Continuing to work on me, I no longer responded to his intimidating words nor what he said to make me have fear about leaving. More answers came to me, confirming his lies and his actions with other women as I moved towards filing for divorce. Suspicions were true. I learned, for sure, that one person he was dating was my best friend.

We had an initial meeting, each with our lawyers, about the division of property. It did not go well for him. It was November, and we were having our first snow of the year. When I arrived at my lawyer’s office for the meeting, my lawyer told me I was not to say anything, not one word, during the conference! Amazingly, I did not. My lawyer and I listened carefully as my unnamed husband spoke. He surprised me when he turned to me and said, “Susanne, would you like to respond to some of these statements?” I did so. His lawyer was stunned with my response, so he must not have been told the whole story by his client. 

In a few days, we learned my present husband was going to contest the divorce because he wanted alimony and we had not agreed to that during the settlement conference. My lawyer expected him to want more than was offered and he felt certain my husband would be entering the courtroom on crutches, no matter how far out the court date would be set. I was fine. That hearing was not scheduled until the middle of January.

The morning before our court date, however, my lawyer telephoned saying, “Your husband is having a witness to confirm his good character. Can you find witnesses to help us? This was about 9 o’clock a.m. I was on my way out the door to do a stress seminar for Norman’s fire department.

I took a breath and then put my situation in my God Box before leaving. I said that I would make no telephone calls, but would ask every person that called me for an order for the nutritional products I sold or others telephoning if they knew anything about my husband they wanted to share with me and, if so, would they consider being a witness for me. I then finished my note saying that “I only have until 4 o’clock to find a witness because my lawyer has to provide the names.

I arrived home about 11:30, and by 4 o’clock, I handed him the names of fourteen witnesses. My lawyer could not believe it. I couldn’t either. I was even amazed by what I learned. My Angels did great!

It turned into two full days in court. He wanted alimony plus my nutrition business. The Judge’s final words were, “I do not know why we are here. He has already spent all of her money. He then turned to me and said, “I am so sorry, but I have to give you every bill, your house payment, everything, because he has not worked. However, you do not have to give him alimony payments or your business. You keep the house. (That I was hoping he would get due to high payments.)

GIFT: I was free to grieve both Don’s death and this divorce. I did so, but first with no energy, I went straight home, to bed, and slept two days. 

Lesson: Do not enter a relationship until you take the time to both grieve and heal the past. When one has not taken the time to learn more about Self and walks into a gathering while still sick over a situation they left, the person will draw the sickest person in the room to him or her. Of a person is whole, that person will draw a whole person and a relationship that is healthy and happy.

GIFT: This work I did on me prepared me for greatly improved relationships in all parts of my life. I now believe we are in school on earth and are here to discover the answers to our repeating negative patterns that cause us problems. When we do the work, life dramatically improves. God is good.

Facing My Mistake

Because of beliefs, I continued in my bad marriage. No friends knew about his actions in my marriage, because I wanted him to be liked by others if I could fix the marriage. Thus, I let no one know what was happening. It was now time to step forward and do something!  I considered divorce. It was okay for others to get a divorce, but not me.  Never! I had to let go of my belief about myself not ever divorcing.

The stress and pain in this marriage was awful.  My self worth was diminishing.   I was having insomnia for the first time in my life. I knew Don died loving us.  I thought my second husband would be like that. After marrying, I felt no love.  I could tell when he lied.  He denied that he was on dates, but I could not prove it.  I began reacting before thinking. Sometimes I could sit on my front steps, feel where he was, and drive right up to his car. I threw a huge bowl of popcorn on him once.  (Guess who cleaned it up?) I threw a glass of water on him when we were eating out and could care less if someone saw me do it or heard what I said.  I did not clean it up. I went home. None of this behavior was like me. Both children told me that I was not even the same person their mother had been. 

 This marriage brought wisdom. Lessons that came to earth for me to learn had been presented mildly in my first marriage.  In this marriage, they were magnified ten fold. Eventually I discovered some past beliefs were no longer mine. In my past, I had book knowledge. This marriage was bringing experiences showing me what I needed to know.

Suddenly I saw what I did not see before. Many of the negatives in my first marriage were presented much larger in the second marriage. Don and I made it seventeen years, including his six years of health problems, his two leave of absences for campaigns, community theatre productions plus work, and taking care of two great children still at home.  I made that marriage work, but this one?  I could do nothing right.

GIFT:  I thought about Jesus healing the blind man.  I began to “see” as I woke up and went on a search for my truth, not someone else’s truth that I had heard. Others that meant well in my life had programmed me for years. It was time to know my “own” truths, what I now believed and did not believe. I discovered Al-Anon and a serene calmness was entering me.

LESSON:  I learned I was an unhealthy codependent and needed help.

A God Box/Letting Go Box

  1. Find a Box. It can be “any box.” I began with a small one and had to go to a larger one later.
  2. Decide if you need to talk to someone or call someone for the last time before putting your problem in the God Box. Once you place your request in the box, you stop talking about it. If someone knows you are having a problem and they question you, truthfully answer their question. Otherwise, say nothing about this problem.
  3. When you are ready to turn your problem over to God/Spirit/Angel, take a small piece of paper and write down the problem or situation you are worried about on your paper. For instance, “Dear ______, will you please solve my problem? I have tried, but you can do better.” Before ending your note, “thank them” for taking the problem.
  4. Find someplace where you can get on your knees or sit in a chair if you cannot get on your knees. Place the small piece of paper in your hand, raise your hand as high as you can. Say a prayer and ask them to take this situation. Visualize God or your Angel or your Divine Source taking it out of your hand.
  5. Place the request in your box and replace the box’s lid. Now “it is in the dark.”
  6. Once you have given it away, truly let go. There is no talking to others about the problem unless someone asks you about it.  Make no telephone calls about your issue. You can return a call or answer a question if someone asks you. Instead, you simply sit back and watch.

When you have a problem that is not being solved, no matter how hard you have tried, use this God Box/Letting Go Box. Many wanting to use a God Box think they must have “just the right box.” They put off letting go because they are looking for that perfect box. Just do this. Use any box temporarily. It is worth a try. I have used a God Box for different situations for over thirty years. Obviously it worked. Each time a problem was solved, I continued and still continue to be amazed.

I stopped trying to control what others are doing. I no longer get upset with them for their decisions. It seems that once I finally step aside and quit attempting to interfere or control a situation, God, my Angels, or whomever above that is helping me is able to take my problem and transform it when I finally get out of the way. It might look a little worse before it gets better. I just relax and trust. This God Box gives me the assuredness that I can let go completely and wait to see what happens. Sometimes I might get frustrated waiting, but I look at my box and say “I know you are working on my situation, right? Thank you.” I then smile and again “trust” they are working on it.

The energy surrounding the problem begins to change, sometimes rapidly and, at other times, more slowly. I simply continue in my life,  as I remind myself to “stay balanced and kind.” A small sign that my problem is being taken care of comes to me. Next, I see or hear another sign, and the change or answer comes. I understand more about Jesus saying to go into the dark to pray. I put the problem in the dark as I put the lid on the box, and answers do come.

I watched an IRS problem go from $40,000 to $250. I could have stewed and stressed over that for a year, but did not. I put it in my God Box and allowed it to play out. The only telephone call I made before I gave the problem to God was to my accountant before using the box. When he returned my call and asked about my problem, I simply shared everything I learned from a surprise telephone call from the Treasury Department with him. Our accountant was amazed as he watched how the IRS worked on my problem with him. Many strange things happened. He telephoned me each time to share the story and was so excited to later share the result with me.

My God Box helped me through my divorce, helped me find fourteen witnesses to speak for me in court, helped me with problems my children told me about, problems I have had with friends, and my list goes on. One more time, I will share, “It works for me, and it will work for you.” You will be able to watch as God’s grace covers each situation, and Angels/Spirit works on the problem rather than you. What they do will be much appreciated by you.

Ready for Change

I began to take steps to find the truth.  I began doing affirmations first.  Next, I decided to fast, because an unknown man I rode the ski lift with Colorado said “you have a beautiful smile, but your eyes do not look happy.” I then shared with him I wanted to find a truth about my husband. He then shared with me fasting with an intention for truth works. Was he an Angel? Odd experience to have on a ski lift. I returned home and fasted one day a week for four unusual weeks. Two books I previously mentioned came from other people during those four weeks.  One was “Tough Love” and the other was “Women Who Love Too Much.”  I read both and asked if I could keep the books. I next asked an admired friend to be my prayer partner. We prayed together every morning on the phone.  

Then I took another step.  I acquired a counselor for us because I still thought we could save this marriage. My problem was my partner went twice and said he thought life was good.  I am sure he did.  He was dating and using my credit cards that I did not know he had.  He quit counseling and I continued. It was through the counseling I went to for about six weeks that I discovered I was a great codependent.  The counselor suggested I read “Codependency No More.”  He also thought I might like the Al-Anon Program.  He was so right.  I went and felt better.  I tried several meetings and found the one that was right for me.  I quickly asked a woman I met at a meeting to be my Al-Anon sponsor, and I began the steps.  I discovered the “God Box” from a speaker at one Al-Anon meeting.  I immediately went home, found a box, and started using it.  Miracles began happening.  

All of this helped me take my focus “off him and what he was doing.”  I was finally able to put my focus back on me. Using that God Box helped me with the IRS problem, problems with children, and personal problems of all sorts.  I returned to a balanced and more confident person that could sleep. I had no more insomnia. On a bad week, I went to more than one meeting.  An answer came to me at every meeting.  I also learned techniques to stop reacting.

LESSON:  Learn to watch for signs/answers within and without. Make changes in Self. Use a God Box. Journal your life. Read an inspirational book for ten minutes every morning to balance before leaving. Al-Anon brings answers.

GIFT:  I learned techniques to stop reacting to emotional abuse. For instance, I began praying silently continually through his emotional abuse sessions when he told me what I could do to change so that he might like me.  I barely listened.  I gained the courage to file for a divorce.  

A Fun Encounter with Billy Joel

We were returning from a meeting in Albuquerque. I was sharing the story with Rob, an employee that worked with me at our mental health center about the 18-wheeler event a few weeks prior As we drove through Santa Rosa, I told Rob I needed to stop and call home because Dawn and Johnny would be worried if I got home late. They had been waiting up for me ever since their Dad died. I pulled over at the filling station, where I usually filled up with gas. Rob said that he wanted to remain in the car, so I went in to use their telephone.

As I entered, I saw a man using the only phone this service station had. I waited for him to get off. No one else was in the office, so it was easy to hear every word he said. I listened to the man sitting at the desk say, “I like staying in your hotel, but do not do what you did the last time I was there. I got no sleep. If this happens again, I will never return. I had people knocking on my door all night. List me under the name Sam Smith, not Billy Joel. Do you understand? I told you to do this when I previously stayed with you, and you ignored my request. Do not list me as Billy Joel. Sam Smith is my name tonight, have you got that?”

Not being able to resist this fun opportunity, I walked closer, smiled down at him sitting at the desk with the phone to his ear, tapped him on the shoulder several times, and said, “Mr. Joel, Mr. Joel, may I have your autograph?”

He ignored me and kept talking. With no one else in the office, I just stood there and listened to Billy Joel as he continued, “Now I have forgotten how to get to the Hilton Hotel. Can you give me directions?” He stopped to write them down and got confused. “I don’t understand.”

I quietly shared with him as she was giving confusing directions, and he kept trying to write them down right. “I just came from the Hilton in Albuquerque. I can give you easy directions.”

Billy Joel spoke into the phone: “Never mind, I will be there in a few hours. Have all of the suites on the top floor ready. Thank you.”

After completing the transaction with a credit card, he ended the call. I gave him the directions that would take him right to the Hilton and picked up the phone to call home. Billy Joel walked out the door. Johnny answered, and I began telling him where I was and shared I had stopped to call but would be home soon. (Billy Joel re-entered the station’s office and interrupted me.)

Billy Joel: “I did not mean to say that I do not like my fans. I want to give you my autograph.”
Me: “I don’t want your autograph. I could not resist teasing you a little bit, because you looked so tense.”
Billy Joel: ” But I really would like to give you my autograph.”
Me: “No, I do not need it.” I kept returning to my phone call home.
Johnny: “Mom, who is talking to you?”
Me: “Billy Joel”
Johnny: (excitedly) “You don’t want his autograph? I want his autograph!”
Me: “My son would like your autograph.”
Billy Joel: “O.K., Give me a piece of paper.”

I struggled to hold the phone and find a piece of paper. Unable to find one, I pulled out my planner and opened it to a page that had writing on it. I passed the planner to Billy Joel open to the pages written on and pointed to where he could write. He turned the pages to find a future blank one. I reacted, “No, do not write on that page. I will need that page later.”

Billy Joel: “You want me to write my autograph on a page where you have already written? Are you kidding?”
Me: “No, I am not kidding. That is my planner. I need those other pages.”
Billy Joel: “Please find me a page I can write on.” I did so, and after writing his autograph, he returned my planner and again headed out the door.

Then I was able to focus on my phone call to Johnny. Dawn asked to tell me something. Johnny relinquished the phone to her. About that time, Billy Joel re-entered the office again. He now had another man with him. They stood across the room opposite me, watched, smiled, and listened as I finished with Dawn and hung up the phone. I started to leave. I thought they might be waiting for the phone.

Billy Joel hesitantly said, “Wait, we want to ask you something if you don’t mind.” (I paused, and they slowly continued.) “Would you consider going with us to Albuquerque? You would have a suite all to yourself. We would love to have someone like you show us Albuquerque, places to eat, sites, whatever you like.” I said, “No, I need to go home.” Billy Joel continued, “You had better get this man’s autograph. You are going to want it, but first I have a question for you.”
Me: “What is it?”
Billy Joel: “Do you know who I am and what I do?” I was thinking for a minute before responding. He said, “She doesn’t know who I am. She doesn’t!” Then I said, “I think you sing? I have heard your name.” Billy Joel came back with, “I don’t believe it. You do not know. What do I sing? I tried to explain that I had lots going on in my life. I love music, but only half-listen to it. “I do not know the titles of your songs; I am sorry.”

“The other man was quiet and smiled a gentle smile while Billy Joel questioned me. Then Billy Joel turned towards the man and said, “You truly do want this man’s autograph now because he is going to be famous soon.” I asked, “And why will you be famous?” Billy Joel answered for him, “This is Richard Gere, and his movie will be coming out soon. Remember this title. It is “American Gigolo.”

I said, “Congratulations! I will watch it, but it might be a long time before I get to see it. I live in a small town, Portales, NM, and we have only one theatre. It takes us a while to have a new release. I will watch it, though. Right now, I need to get home. I hope you two have fun in Albuquerque. I have two children waiting for me. Their Dad died earlier this year, and they worry if I am late. I also have a friend in the car with me that needs to get home.”

Billy Joel: “Are you sure you cannot call them and go with us for just one day in Albuquerque?” I decided they wanted someone that looked at them as usual, not famous. I said, “No, have a good time.”

I returned to the car, and we headed home. Rob asked, “What took you so long? I shared that Billy Joel and Richard Gere were in there asking questions. Rob was stunned and sorry he did not go in with me.

When I got home, Dawn and Johnny wanted the details. I said, “They wanted me to turn around and go back to Albuquerque. They responded, with something like this: “You mean you left us several weeks ago and got into an 18-wheeler, but you would not go to Albuquerque with Billy Joel? ” They were quite put out with me. It has been a fun story for all three of us to share over the years.