Category Archives: #grace

Thoughts from Drug Court

I left my house this morning at 8:10 to visit Drug Court with a defendant I know.

Things I noticed:
Young men who wear their pants below their buns actually go through the motions of pulling them up, but only to just-below-bun level. 
These same young men can rely on their pants to stay up just by virtue of the pant legs touching the floor. They can’t fall down anymore than they already have.
The court system is incredibly dehumanizing. Even with a caring, competent judge, the accused is at the mercy of the court and must simply wait as long as it takes. In our case, we waited over 2 1/2 hours for 3 minutes in front of the judge. But that’s the way it works.
It is my preference never to be handcuffed as that looks like some kind of uncomfortable situation right there.
I have added court-appointed attorney to my list of jobs I am grateful I do not have. I think they provide a necessary service and are hugely important to the legal lives of millions of prisoners, but what is it like to work with person after person without really being able to touch them. I’ll grant you I’ve never been an attorney or a defendant, but from the outside, that looks like a tough gig.
My heart went out to the old man next to me whose CAA told him in front of everyone that he does not qualify for Drug Court because of his “extensive felony record.” When the attorney walked away, the man said in frustration, “I haven’t been in trouble in twenty years.” I responded sympathetically. Before he walked away, he sadly said. “This stuff just never goes away.”

Don’t I just wish that every young person in that courtroom could understand what an opportunity they have in Drug Court. The opportunity to come out without a record, while being given treatment to deal with the substance abuse issue. And yet, substance abuse is surely only the tip of the iceberg for many, if not all, who stand before that judge.

The opportunity not to have to say in 40 years, “This stuff just never goes away.”

What if we Still Received Report Cards?

What kind of grades did you get in school? In college? How important were grades to you?

Imagine if we still got graded as adults, receiving a report card periodically:

Here are my subjects/categories for this day:

  • Showering the people I love with love
  • Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
  • Following the Path to Excellent Town
  • Living and Telling my Story
  • Being a Real Bunny
  • Stepping Over the Edge
  • Yowch!
  • Shipping News
  • Tiramisu for my Mind
  • Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
  • Sharing like a Big Girl
  • All the Diamonds in This World
  • Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
  • Doing the Best Version of the Job
  • Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Maybe this is a different way to approach the values clarification discussion. I cared about my grades. They helped me see whether I was doing the work.

These days, teachers and professors clearly define what it takes to achieve a certain grade. I’m my own professor now. What would it take for me to get an A in my subjects? Here is my grading scale.

10 self-defined Standards per Category/Subject

Number Met
Grade
10
Yeah, BABY
8
Getting There
6
Meh
4
Uh
2
Let’s Try Hella Harder

Could this work? Would it be too cumbersome? Is it worth a try? [yes] The act of defining the standards in itself creates a more intentional lifestyle for me.

I decided to go ahead and create my lists for these categories. So, I’m trying to distract you in case you would rather not read them. They are probably not all that interesting to anyone besides me. You are welcome to read them for edification, education, erudition, exclamatory expressions, etc. But feel free to skip them as well.

What categories/subjects would you like to receive grades in?

Showering the people I love with love
Telling those I love that I love them, every day. 
Sending monthly letters and packages to my away loved ones.
Getting gifts and cards shipped and mailed in time to arrive on or before the special date.
Being on the lookout for small tokens/gifts to show my love and appreciation
Taking good care of myself; speaking well of myself
Receiving compliments graciously
Being affectionate with the ones I love; touching them
Keeping the pantry stocked with their favorite foods
Making sure the bathroom is clean
Getting up at a reasonable time and being productive
Keeping Important Stuff from Becoming Urgent
Bills are paid on or before their due date 100% of the time.
Online payments are initiated in time to process by the due date.
All tax payments and estimated taxes are paid by the due date.
Gifts and cards for special occasions are mailed/bought in plenty of time.
I complete jobs by the date I commit to
Arriving at appointments on time without speeding like a maniac
Allowing myself extra time to accomplish anything
Using the library without incurring fines.
Paying off credit cards every month
Grocery shopping on a set day every week.
Following the Path to Excellent Town
Doing the most I can in a situation
Making and keeping regular checkups
Making my bed every day
Taking pride in my appearance
Taking pride in my home
Eschewing all fast food, but especially Wendy’s, Boston Market, Kroger fried chicken
Finding out how to clean my house efficiently and regularly, and doing it.
Overcoming set-down disease. 
Cleaning as I go.
Embracing the messiness of being human.
Living and Telling my Story
Blogging daily
Reading The Message of Me as committed
Setting goals for sharing my story in at least one speech
Connecting with a person face-to-face every week
Looking for opportunities to share my story
Finding a way to observe or practice improv
Act on impulses which urge me to action
Be willing to fail
Complete the storyline exercises
Write for a set time every day with butt in chair
Being a Real Bunny
Looking people in the eyes
Asking about their lives
Giving the person I am with my full attention
Keeping my phone away when I am with someone.
Saying yes when I mean yes.
Saying no when I mean no.
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate.
Asking for what I need.
Being willing to receive help even if not at death’s door.
Not engaging in activities I think I “should” do
Stepping Over the Edge
Saying yes when I mean yes
Saying no when I mean no
Acknowledging my feelings, aloud where appropriate
Asking for something I want without assurance of getting it
Shipping/blogging about things I am not completely comfortable with
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Finding times when I can do something other than play it safe
Trusting people I have been afraid to trust
Trying a new activity/group/way of thinking
Doing the most I can
Yowch!
Limiting or eliminating my cat naps
Making healthy choices about food
Going to bed and getting up at a set time
Fighting through negative thoughts to get to the positive ones
Saying no to what I need to say no to
Experimenting with outgoing behavior in group settings
Limiting or eliminating credit card use
When tempted to Fight or Flight, STAY and ENGAGE
Learning to delay gratification 100x better than I do it now, or
even 1/1000th better
Going outside and walking no matter the weather
Shipping News
Blogging every day
Getting the blanket supplies by March 1
Making a weighted blanket by March 15
Surveying moms of boys with Down syndrome about special clothing needs by March 1
Attend the Lifestream of SisterGiant (3/28-29/15)
Create list of 20 for ScaryClose group by March 8
37 Fling Boogie 3x week Feb 20-26, 2015
Revive profiles on elance and odesk by March 4
Create outline for Down syndrome presentation by April 1, 2015
Continue discussion with TL about creating Improv group
Tiramisu for my Mind
bloom, a memoir
The Message of You
What to Do When It’s Your Turn
Infinite Jest
Blog posts by fellow UTYC members
Blog posts by Martha Beck, Geneen Roth,
Reading good stuff every day
Responding in writing to some of what I read
Do more creating than consuming
Read book club book and interact with it
Watching and Listening to Ahs for my Soul
Define what it means to feed my soul
Drunk Ex-Pastors every week
Marc Maron WTF podcast once a week
Limit episodes of Netflix shows to no more than two per day
Reflect on what I am listening and watching
Create a list of shows and movies worth watching for this purpose
Create a list of questions to ask about a show or movie
Write about my musings
Listen to ebooks and write reviews of them on Goodreads
Walking at the park and looking around me
Sharing like a Big Girl
Volunteering in Kepler’s classroom
Spending quality time with Kepler doing the 3 r’s
Help people throughout my day as I meet them
Do more creating than consuming
Celebrate others on social media
Ask my sisters and mom how I can support them
Reach out to JE on a daily basis
Continue discussion with TL about improv class
Blog daily
Contribute in the schools in the ways that nourish me as well
All the Diamonds in This World
Print out texts and comments that are meaningful and supportive
Freely ask for help even if not at death’s door
Say yes to generosity from others
Drink in compliments
Receiving with gratitude the lessons the School of Life presents me with every day
Trust that others can be responsible for their own feelings
Focus on the joy that DB gets out of clearing our driveway
Keep the good energy moving — take it in, give it out
Asking for what I need or want
Stepping boldly into bigger things as they arise
Be Careful, Little Hands, where you Put Your Stuff!
Manage clerty clothes by hanging, laundering, or folding
Keeping track of charging cords, lip balm, glasses, purse
Regular joyful clearing space for joy by decluttering
Processing email every day for [20] minutes (OHIO)
Pick up living room every day — have Kepler help
Share my extra things with others
Create to-go lists/bags for each outing, esp for Kepler
Fix house stuff within one month of noticing, or have plan by then
Clean: K-Mon, LD-Tues, FStrs-Wed, OK-Thurs, MBR-Fri, Ba-Sat
Laundry start to finish one day per week
Doing the Best Version of the Job
Putting folded clothes away where they belong
Washing up the broiler and griddle same day
Create and use OHIO system for my paperwork
Practice making decisions NOW
Schedule my day a little more
Do the work (It’s always my turn)
Persevere and finish what I start
Put my stuff away when I come in the house, first thing
A place for [every]thing and [every]thing in its place
Spend time thinking about what result I want
Walking My Theory Feet into My Action Shoes
Actually do the things on my list of things that make me feel better
Fulfill what I commit myself to
Take care of myself by scheduling appts for myself and kids
Have a spending plan and carefully adhere to it
Find my yes in the uncomfortable no’s
Do what it takes to stay in a good brain space
Commit to paper the results that I want
Let go of something every Friday
Practice Making Decisions NOW
Join the Mobius of Giving/Receiving

The Grace of Reaching Out

created by Kepler, February 2015

When I awoke yesterday, I was completely dismayed to discover that my wicked bad sore throat was back in spades. The idea that I was getting better was completely decimated. In desperation, I reached out and asked for help.

I let three lovely someones know that I was in pain, struggling, and in need. All three immediately responded. Throughout the day, I was blessed by my angels putting Kepler on the bus, rubbing my feet, making me smoothies, soothing me with a warm cloth, picking up the slack for all the driving I was supposed to do, washing my damn dishes, getting Kepler off the bus, and speaking words of support and love. 
Even writing that paragraph is difficult if I focus on the fact that I was in such a low position, one where I could do little more than receive. 
On the other hand, I love it when I have the opportunity to do something for someone who truly needs me. I know the women I reached out to; they all have giving hearts, and I believe they treasured the opportunity to give. 
So, I accept it. When the critical voice scrapes across my consciousness, I remind myself that I believe in interdependence; that we all need a little help from our friends and family; that the presence of need means I am human, not defective. 
With the space provided by my mom and sisters, I could finally think about turning down the intensity and volume of my everyday existence. Remember I mentioned being overwhelmed. I noticed that every nook of my bedside table was full to overflowing. Before bed, I decided to calm that space down. The drawer is slightly larger than an iPad box. It’s pretty tiny. Here’s what I pulled out of the drawer: mail, 3 pocket knives, a shot glass, jewelry, nail clipper, lip balm, unopened medicine spoon, earbuds, 27 vials of prescription eye drops that i do not use, replacement earbud pads, lightbulbs, trash, glasses cleaning cloth, a key, ink pens, wristwatch, lifesavers, a 2 oz bottle, mouthguard, a little black mysterious thing, and a scrunchy. That is a ridiculous amount of stuff to have jammed into that tiny drawer. 
Now that I’ve solidified my reputation as a packrat extraordinaire, let’s just focus on the fact that the sheer volume of what I had stuffed in that drawer is kind of a perfect little picture of what I’ve been doing with all my “too much.” Stuffing it here and there. And there. Here’s more. And under there. 
Everyone needs the space to clear their space, and I’m sure that means different things for different people. This illness has been a time for me to slow down long enough to notice the pot I’m boiling in. 
For someone with as strong a Meyer’s Briggs “J” as I have, I LOVE the journey. I love the opportunities that arise to learn. I love sharing my journey with others.

What are your tried and true methods for clearing YOUR space?