Adversity

Adversity

“Always seek out the seed of triumph in every adversity.” ~ Og Mandino

Adversity is part of life, but you don’t have to let it define your life. We all have our stories of adversity. Mine started with the seeming misfortune of being born to a 16 year old wild child who married a volatile man who abused me. I never knew my “real” father.  My grandfather was a predator too.  What’s a child to do? Tell someone? I told several people who did nothing. When I finally worked up the courage to tell the authorities, I was the one that got locked up and had to take a lie detector test to prove what I said was true!   

At age 15, and after two suicide attempts, my aunt and uncle took me in. For the first time in my life, I felt safe and free. But, I sabotaged myself by running away. Again, I faced adversity as I was preyed upon by grown men. Fortunately, God was watching over me and I returned home safely.

I graduated high school, got married and had a baby when I was 18! Adversity raised its ugly head time and again as I adjusted to my “married with children” life. It was tough at times, but we worked it out. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” right?!

Then adversity struck again when a flood and fire took away everything we spent a lifetime building. Within minutes our home and livelihood was gone along with our precious pets. We had been struggling for months to keep our automotive business afloat and many bills were unpaid, including insurance.

It would have been so easy to throw my hands up in despair, but instead I counted my blessings. I was still alive. My husband was still alive, even though he was in the hospital due to smoke inhalation. His story of overcoming adversity is ten times tougher than mine. When dealing with adversity, I think about the people who have it tougher than me – the kids who don’t get rescued, those that don’t make it out of the fire… 

Adversity is best kept in perspective. It happens. You just have to roll with it and you will come out stronger on the other side.

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Addiction

“Every addiction arises from an unconscious refusal to face and move through your own pain. Every addiction starts with pain and ends with pain. Whatever the substance you are addicted to – alcohol, food, legal or illegal drugs, or a person – you are using something or somebody to cover up your pain.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

While incorporating the other “A” words will help you live a richer life, avoiding this “A” word like the plague will help you live a richer life!

Addiction is born from pain and as the wise Eckhart Tolle reminds us addiction covers up our pain. In order to avoid or overcome addiction, we have to learn how to let go of the pain, forgive those who have hurt us, and move on so we do not get pulled down into the abyss that is often disguised as pleasure.

Addiction leads to a limited life. I have struggled with a food addiction most of my life. It’s not just any food like fruits and veggies, it’s SOS (Sugar, Oil, Salt) aka processed food which is part of the SAD (Standard American Diet). Pizza, hamburgers, french fries, fried chicken, deep fried fish, potato chips, cookies, cake, candy, soft drinks, ice cream, sweet tea… those were the foods I was addicted to that led to morbid obesity and inflammation which put me on the sidelines of life more times throughout the years than I can count.

Obesity made me uncomfortable in my skin to the point that I avoided going out in public, especially to the pool, which is something I love to do. It eventually affected my health causing life-threatening abscessed diverticulitis which resulted in having 18 inches of my colon removed, spending six months in recovery, and racking up over $100,000 in medical bills.

Addiction, especially to drugs and alcohol, has very negative outcomes which includes incarceration, disease, and death.

The best way to avoid and overcome addiction is through faith, affirmations, distraction, and support: I cannot stress enough how important my higher power, that I call God and sometimes the Universe, has been for me in so many areas including addiction. I will go deeper into this subject in the “Faith” and “Spirituality” section, but I am sure you know that faith has helped millions of people overcome addiction.

For distraction, find a positive and purposeful outlet for stress such as work you enjoy, volunteering, writing, exercise, drawing, painting, music or whatever you favorite hobby is that is not associated with any addictive habits.

Writing proved to be very cathartic for me to release the strangle hold of my past which in turn helped me create the Break the Cycle book series that helped other people write to release their pain. It doesn’t happen overnight, but a definite healing takes place that opens you up to getting the help and support you need.

If you are struggling with addiction or want to understand it better, read “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll and listen to his podcasts which you can find on his website richroll.com. Rich is a recovering alcoholic several years sober. He transformed his life through a plant-based lifestyle and the things mentioned above such as meaningful work, support, and exercise. In fact, he takes exercise to the next level as an endurance athlete. His show often features former addicts with powerful testimonies that are inspiring and prove that if they can do it, we can too!

The more I read books from survivors and connect with wellness warriors, the stronger I become. There are some powerful Ted Talks that makes a lot of sense about connection being the solution to addiction. Find as many of these positive messages, connections, and opportunities as you can to nourish your mind daily.  Believe that you are stronger than any obstacle that life presents you because you are!

Transcending Addiction – Jackie Hilos
 

Everything you think you know about addition is wrong – Johann Hari
 

The Power of Addiction and the Addiction of Power, Gabor Mate

What is a Rich Life?

The ABCs of a Rich Life

I am creating this blog as a legacy project dedicated to my grandchildren. I was originally going to write a book for them, which I still plan to do, but I quickly realized how much more than one book it will take to define a “Rich Life”, so I decided to break it down by making a blog post for each word. Once I have exhausted all the words for one letter, I will publish a book to add to the A-Z series. So, if you follow along on the blog, you will essentially read all the books for free in short sections!

The goal is not to get rich, the goal is to live rich.

Let’s start by defining the word “rich”. Darren Hardy, one of my favorite mentors, author, and founding editor of my favorite magazine, “Success” has this to say about being rich, “The goal is not to get rich. The goal is to live rich.” Learning to live rich is what this blog is about.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rich as:  “Having abundant possessions and especially material wealth.”

This definition is what the majority of people think of when they hear the word rich. Ask a few of your friends what the word “rich” means to them. Having a lot of money will probably be their reply.

However, the dictionary has several other definitions of rich:

  • Having high value or quality
  • Well supplied or endowed
  • Magnificently impressive
  • Vivid and deep in color
  • Full and mellow in tone and quality
  • Having a strong fragrance
  • Highly productive or remunerative
  • Having abundant plant nutrients
  • Highly seasoned, fatty, oily, or sweet
  • High in the combustible component
  • High in some component
  • Entertaining
  • Laughable
  • Meaningful
  • Significant
  • Lush
  • Pure or nearly pure

Reference: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rich

Abundance, productive, pure, quality, significant… as you can see the definition of rich has vast and colorful meanings. I believe it is a subjective word that YOU can define for yourself. What does RICH mean to you?

In The ABCs of a Rich Life blog, I will share my “Rich” words along with some stories, quotes, and insights in an effort to inspire you to make your own list of words and interpretations so that you can have a powerful playbook to living a rich life!

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