There's been so much hard stuff lately for so many of us on this board. I'm very thankful that we aren't all in crisis at the same time. For every time there is a season. So.....what are we to do? With all of this mess. Well, for starters---and for finishers----We have choices. I remember the first time I heard this in Al-Anon. I brushed it off, like I did so many things I heard there for so long. Impatient for an ANSWER, something NEW TO DO, a WAY to FIX IT ALL, I didn't want to hear short, seemingly meaningless statements like this one. ***We have choices. Today that statement---those three words---are a cornerstone of my recovery and my daily comfort. Those three little words can bring me back to NOW so quickly. Instead of living in the past or living in the future---they help me live in the RIGHT NOW. ***Living in the moment. Right now I am just fine. Pinch yourself. Right this very minute, you are okay. Aren't you? Oh, you aren't ecstatically happy or Pollyannaish---all is great!---but you are okay. That is the Right Now. We are most often really okay in the Right Now. It's when we go off to Then and What If land---the past and the future---that we derail. We don't want the worst to happen, and we believe that by "preparing ourselves" we can ward off the intense hurt and pain. If we imagine it, we can control it. That is really what we are saying. Not true. ***We can't control other people, places or things. Another short statement. Packed with meaning. Well, if you let that fly right by you, of course you agree with it. But....if you sit with this statement, this truth, and let it flow into you, and rest with it, in silence, you will start to not only intellectualize it, but to feel it, and soon, to live it more and more. We can't control another person...at all. We can be like the Whack A Mole game---we can try. We can whack the newest upset, the newest problem, down. We can whack, whack, whack, each one as it pops up. But soon, problems are popping up all over everywhere, faster than we can whack them. We move faster and faster, whacking more and more. We get good at it. But we're still way, way behind. Our difficult children can create havoc way faster than we can put a bandaid on it all. Soon---or years later---we sigh, we stop and we look at what is really happening. Instead of one out-of-control person, there are now two out-of-control people. And the moles are still popping up faster than we can whack them down. Nothing has changed, except we are just about crazy with it all. ***Changing our attitude and our thinking is the pathway to peace. You hear about making a daily gratitude list. Just sit for five minutes every morning, and write down five things you are grateful for. Sounds simple doesn't it? Then why don't we do it every day? I think there are many reasons, but two of them that come to mind are these: 1. We don't really believe writing a gratitude list will make anything better. 2. The neural pathways of what we have always done are too deeply grooved in our brains to allow any change easily. But consider this quote: "Gratitude doesn't change the scenery; it merely washes the glass clean so you can clearly see the colors" (Richelle E. Goodwick) There is a point to recognizing the good things in our lives, and actively being grateful for them. Does it take away the pain of what difficult child is doing? No. But it does give us a balancing perspective. And it evens out the despair. These things are tools (and so many more). If we consciously pick up one or two or three tools every single day, and use them for a short period of time, over time, our neural pathways WILL CHANGE. They will. And then....we will be better. We will be happier. We will be better able to function, regardless of what difficult child is doing. It's the little things. ***If we can change just one thing today, we will take one step toward a momentum of change for ourselves. Let's change just one thing today. Meditate for 10 minutes, pray on your knees, write a gratitude list, go to a 12-step meeting, get on the NAMI website and read for 10 minutes, study the 12 steps online, etc. etc. If we start doing things differently, things will be different for us.