The Lessons of Regret

Doing The Shadow Work

Healing from our past doesn’t just involve looking at the wrongs others have done to us, but the wrongs we have done to others as well. I knew I needed to write this, and even decided I would not share another until I did. That led to an absence of me sharing. But it’s a necessity to do the shadow work, it’s even in the AA 12-Step Program as a way to heal. It is something we all need, not just those in AA.

If we can’t go back and undo it, we must share what we’ve learned from it so others can see it from the inside. That means stepping into the uncomfort of our mistakes and regrets. People speak of regret because we cannot change what’s already happened. 20/20 vision of hindsight brings clarity to the why’s. We wish we had seen the insight before.

What if we could change the past? Would it truly make things better? The movie The Butterfly Effect challenges that concept (it’s graphic to watch). Those that have been through traumas and used them in their purpose, will tell you why it became a Blessing of their bigger picture. Sometimes we fail to see how our regrets could have possibly been a Blessing. This is the story of that one for me.

My Regret

I have one, a regret of my own words, that has stayed in my soul, from preteen years probably until the day I draw my last breath. It has haunted me since my view of 20/20 clarity kicked in. The day I let a good friend down, by my narrow perception and focus on myself.

It goes back to junior high school. I had a classmate in homeroom who worked with me to care for the small animals we had in the back room.. We talked often and I considered him a good friend. My ego killed our friendship and I hurt him. Let me offer, not an excuse, but simply the true explanation.

He came in one day and summoned up the courage to talk to me about his accusations against one of our male teachers. I had already heard and was both hurt and angry, shamefully, not for him, but rather for myself. You see, it was the very same teacher, I had a deep crush on. He even attended our church alone and I spent the Sunday service eagerly awaiting my chance to say hello to him on the way out. My friend’s accusation killed that for me.

I lashed out at that beautiful soul trying to tell me something so difficult, and making himself so vulnerable to me; and yet my reaction was all about me. I truly regret that. I wish I had listened as the friend he needed. I failed him as a support system when he trusted me enough to have the belief I was one. For that I am truly sorry, and have been for quite some time. Looking back from the lens I have now, what courage he had!! He spoke his truth with no guarantees of what he could be faced with, even from his peers.

I pray God has helped him with a quality life full of wondrous moments that take your breath away. If it has been the opposite, I pray for his strength to give him a 20/20 clarity of how he can become an inspiration to others.

Taking the lesson

We all read stories, reflecting back on our own. Where in your story, did your ego cause regrets? Can we ask ourselves, before we respond to the next situation, “How can I truly be there for them?” Don’t make it about you, and you may avoid regret later because of it.

For those who have been hurt by others in a moment of vulnerability, remind your soul, that their actions are from a lens of their own wounds. You may never know the impact it has when they finally see beyond it and look back. Don’t allow the hurt to create a limited lens for yourself.

Moving Forward

Any conversation with connection requires two things, alternately: vulnerability and compassion. If someone speaks to us with the courage to share their vulnerabilities with us, we need to have intentional compassion for where they are in their share. They have entrusted us with their soul. The have entrusted us with no guarantees that we will even hear them. But until we do, we cannot truly see them. We are all in this together, and we show each other just how much we understand that by how we treat each other.

Hopefully, sharing my story, my regret, will prevent someone else from being hurt, the way I hurt him. It is the only possible way it could be called a Blessing. For me, it is my truest regret.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Independence Day

Yesterday was the 4th of July or Independence Day. I waited most of the day to write it. Why? I had to ask myself what the hesitation was about (there is a reason for everything – it’s not just about procrastination).

What does the holiday truly mean?

I am grateful – to live in a land where I can choose my career. I can pursue my purpose with many options to choose from to spread my gifts to serve others with. I have the freedom to bring my grandkids to the park or play kickball with them and to celebrate (or not) the holidays the way I choose. I have much to be thankful for.

I am happy – for the precious memories I have of family gatherings we enjoyed celebrating as I grew up. Family holidays were an important part of not just my life, but many others. Those memories can bring, not just a smile to the face, but to the heart and soul as well.

I am sad – for the meaning to others that suffered through the birth of our nation. Our history is not full of only prideful actions but shamefully cruel ones as well. Most Indigenous people do not see it as a celebration – but the beginning of the end of their freedoms. I am mindful of that. The fact is, we had to take time to distinguish who could be free in steps of civil rights that still need much more work. The facts of slavery that took until this present year to have Juneteenth declared, speaks volumes of how slow our speed of equality proceeds.

But mostly I am reflective –

Reflective of the words written on the Declaration to which we celebrate.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness…”

They are words that when imbedded in our actions make us feel like Patriots that are proud to be Americans. As a nation, however, after more than two hundred years, we are not there yet. Sometimes, we are so divided, it seems we have abandoned the desire to even hold them as truths.

If other countries, anywhere, could see us stand out based on our example of those truths, then we would have arrived. But we are still far from reaching it. Anytime we look down on others, see them as less than ourselves, we are not holding up to our Patriotism no matter how much we wave our flag.

Your neighbor, your community, your state, along with others, are all equals, no matter what their skin color, gender, religious beliefs, or political views are and they are part of your pledge of Patriotism. To say you are an American, is to say they are entitled to be treated with respect, regardless of their differences. It means your rights are no more important than theirs. They matter as much as you do.

Consider this:

It isn’t the laws that make us matter, it’s how we treat each other that make up who we are. Each one of us collectively, with our individual actions, speaks to who we are as a country. What can you do as an individual, to show you care about others? Not just those you relate to, but those you don’t are just as important, maybe even more.

If you live in a community where people complain about those setting off fireworks and scaring pets as well as those suffering from PTSD and Anxiety such as Veterans, and you cross state lines to purchase them to set off despite this – you are going against the very truths you are celebrating. Consider the others. Perhaps an act of kindness – volunteer at a pet shelter to understand the impact with more clarity or mow that Veteran neighbor’s lawn (you get the point with these examples). This would go so much further to show your true colors of Patriotism. What a day of true celebration it would be if we all acted that way for Independence Day and beyond.

Sadly we’re not there yet. From the sounds in my neighborhood, and the social media complaints that have others saying, “what do you expect, it’s the 4th of July?!” This year’s Independence Day did not reflect the unity in compassion for each other. Maybe someday, somehow, perhaps we will start.

Compassion Not Contempt

Written by Melody Belliveau

Finding the Gold Nuggets

Stepping out of judgement

What happens when we step out of judgements for others? We learn that there are valuable gold nuggets from anyone that crosses our path and we can learn from them all. Those who know me would be shocked that on my music playlist, right after Imagine from Mercy Me (my type of heartfelt music) is Eminem’s Lose Yourself. Why? Because although I am not a fan of his style of music, this song is a message that I have needed in my life.

“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip?” these are the first lines of the song. Powerful to anyone, anywhere, with the potential to make an impact. Our steps to our future are just that, but only if we take them as each one presents itself. This song gives me the courage to go beyond myself and take the shot when it presents, and the more I do, the more appear.

The Universe serves you

When we focus on our dislikes for something, such as some distasteful words in a song, we miss the powerful message that it contains. This song tells you to take the shot or opportunity you were meant for. It’s a strong Blessing when you are out of your comfort zone to do it, and not to quit. A message that EVERY SINGLE PERSON needs to hear at some point in their lives. I know it’s a message that helps me. Can it help you?

There are gold nuggets along our path and we cannot judge who the universe sends to present it. All we are responsible for is seeing it and using it to make an impact. Only you can decide, no matter who teaches you. When presented with that opportunity, will you let fear hold you back or are you going to Lose Yourself? See it, feel it, and then take your shot and give it all you’ve got.

Thank you Eminem for being a Blessing in my life.

Written by Melody Belliveau

Putting Out a Hand…

Reaching out a hand

There are times when the universe calls out to ask for a helping hand. We are given so many chances for it we don’t even see it sometimes. It opens the chance for someone else to see something they may need along the way of their journey. We all have a purpose and sometimes we are a branch outstretched to help or outstretched to receive. After you read this, could you reflect on possibilities in your life? Sometimes we are Blessed with signs of guidance, and it is a gift for it to be both in the same instance.

I can give you a little story that is an example of a possibility:

While cleaning my work space on my Saturday routine, I came across a printout from several years ago (2017) of “16 Personalities” where I had taken the personality test. I had been pleased with my results as it was a nod to who I felt I was inside. I searched my emails for the remaining results I had not printed. I reread the ones I had, and felt it was even more true to who I am now, at least in my pursuits of life.

The next day, personality tests were the topic of a live feed I was randomly watching. I responded to one comment and I hope he did something with it, even if only out of shear curiosity based on my response. Could that have helped steer him into a fulfilling future? Maybe….. that’s good enough for me. I gave the possibility of #IWillHelpOne with my presence. Was I meant to help him with direction? Maybe….. The possibility is there. I don’t know him or even remember his name and it doesn’t matter if he even noticed mine. It is irrelevant.

Tool to help

Perhaps you won’t remember where you read this, but my hope is you look it up and take the test because you’re curious too. Could it be a tool for you as well? Wouldn’t it be great if it helped you with a focus and you shared it with others too?

Popping up along the path

Upon reflection, maybe you can find an example of how someone has either, given you a piece of what you needed in your life, or a time you have offered it out. I hope it makes you more aware of the possibilities when they pop up along your path. It is how we are truly all in this together.

Written by Melody Belliveau

We Trust Together

An example of how we are all in this together:

Your family pet, otherwise called “a family member” gives love with no limitations. Sometimes something happens to them and you have to leave them at an animal hospital in the hands of others. What is on both your mind and theirs is simply – I don’t feel good and I can’t be with my Mom and family. It cuts you more than a physical wound. Are they spending their time with someone who sees how special they are? Will they comfort them while they are scared with no one they know?

Those in the field:

Thank you a million times for caring enough to be there for our Bane. Our trust is in you and your gentle, loving care. He is the personification of love and we reflect that back on him with how much he is loved. We trust that you will see it in him too because he is our sweet and lovable furry toddler, our child. When it counts the most, we are indeed, in this together.

Written By Melody Belliveau

The Union Issue – A Different Side Of The Coin

Union Workers

I was the child of a blue-collar worker that worked for a unionized corporate plant. He worked for the American Dream of home and family. We had a house because of it. He earned a living wage. There were difficult times, especially during s strike. It is not for those unwilling to make the commitment. He would be forced to work other jobs until the strike ended, a big deal they don’t agree to lightly. It impacts their families and trying to predict a strike’s length is fruitless. But it earned him a job with pride. We were a middle-class family.

Non-union workers

Fast forward to being an adult raising children, I became a middle-class blue-collar worker and took pride in the job I did. It was a wonderful company and I loved it there. We were asked if we wanted to vote to bring in a union. We were not pressured even once by the company. I spoke to my teammates (because that’s what we were) and we agreed that it was a company that cared about us. We were already content, so we voted no. I knew some of the ups and downs of a union. We didn’t need it, and we were happy with the vote turning out against it. The best part was a nod of approval to the company. It spoke volumes of who they were. We were happy…..until…..

The company was sold to a bigger corporation and we shifted to not being valued. “You should be grateful you work for such a big company” we were told. Step by step the things that made it such a great place to work were removed. “A happy worker is a productive worker” was no longer the heart of the business and the volume of production required for each worker was increased to the work of two plus. Talk surfaced about the need of a union, the previous vote now feeling more like a mistake. We were told they would shut the place down. A vote was never taken. We could not chance it.

Perspectives

There is good and bad about a union and many are either fans or opposed to them. It is all based on the perspective they have on what they know. So what should come out of this? Where is the middle ground so desperately needed to this issue?

For the Companies

If a company or corporation really wants to “walk the talk” of caring about the workers, perhaps they could take a look at the true value of those who work for them. Do it to the point they feel no need for a union. If threats are the deciding factor of a vote, what does that really say? When your workers can say “we see no need” then you can smile at a job well done at being leaders.

Perhaps you could find out what those who voted for a union felt and study the answers. If the company could use the answers as a learning opportunity to improve things for their workers, they would never have the need for a union. What an opportunity to learn what matters to the employees!

For the Unions

For the unions, look at the regretted votes and what their message in it is, to improve your services. Always strive to be the best allies of your workers without making it a power and dues money grab. You have a Noble purpose and perhaps you could pride yourself on making sure your workers feel that way. Then companies who really do not care will have the protection for the workers. It is a sad statement to say there are many of them.

So, where is the bottom line?

Employees are an investment, not an expense and deserve the respect of that focus. They matter, and it is your job to prove it. For many, the employee is also your customer. Is it because they cannot afford not to, or because they believe in you? The answer is important.

The Blessings of a Struggle

Reflect on the struggles

When you reflect on the struggles of the past, do you ever wonder about what would have helped you, or was there someone that was a Godsend to you? What did you do with that when it was no longer a struggle for you? Many organizations and support groups are founded on that premise. I found myself on the end of a struggles that became a humiliation. If you finish reading this (even if it’s out of pure curiosity), you will understand the share.

The Point of Struggle

I found myself short at the cash register of our local grocery store (not an uncommon thing for many) but after using 2 cards and my change, along with the pennies left behind by others, I still had to put back a package of Ramen Noodles. The epitome of humiliation as others looked on. I cried while walking home and asked God (we talk a lot) why he had allowed me to go through that. He answered me right away, knowing my feeling of failure. It was the only way he could show me what he wanted me to see.

Discovery Begins

There was a need in my community he wanted me to address. My call to action was planned before I even reached home. When I got my next (and it will be a continuing thing) I went to the same store, to the courtesy booth and purchased several of their gift cards and called the manager over and asked him to please give them to the cashiers to use when someone needs to put something back.

Why?

The Point

Because what if there is someone out there that is struggling and feels the humiliation of putting something back as the final straw of no hope? What if that small token can make them feel some of the good there still is and it is the nod they need to keep pushing on? My desire is for them to know they matter and help them keep a sense of hope.

Following His Purpose For Me

Please do not let your takeaway from this be how nice it was of me. It was just me listening to God’s direction. Sometimes he leads us where we don’t want to go for a purpose. All we have to do is ask him. He allowed it because he knew my response would not be anger at him, or cursing him, but rather questioning him. I am grateful he allowed me to serve that purpose.

Inspiration to Answer a Call

Let your takeaway be inspiration to watch for something you can do, from an experience that you might have (or have had) where you see it’s purpose. I know I missed this one more than once on that lesson.

We Really Are All In This Together

Written By Melody Belliveau With special thanks to Stephen De Sede for the encouragement to share it.

Happy Birthday Dad

If I Could talk to you today……………………….

I would tell you I didn’t get enough time with you. We never got a chance to just sit down and really talk about the important things. I know you loved me, I don’t think I ever questioned that. I always knew. You were a humble man, and simply a farm boy at heart. I know the things you sacrificed for me. You were the reason I saw pride in the Blue-Collar worker you were. I am proud of the example you set of hard work. You always did. You showed me the meaning of responsibility.

But there are so many things in my life I would have loved to have talked to you about. It would have been great to get your advice on a lot of things. I would have asked you about what lessons you learned from mistakes we’ve all made in life.

Distance put a hardship on that and I missed the ability to spend time with you. I lost you before the Alzheimer’s set in. I lost you when you lost your hearing and phone conversations were frustrating to us both. I missed you then. I didn’t get to come see you in your final days and I will regret that the rest of my life. You did matter to me.

I hope I make you proud. I have taken wrong roads in the journey of my life and had to climb some serious mountains to keep going, and I still am. I promise you, I may pause, but I will never quit. I know my purpose in life. Maybe yours was to have children that can help make the world a little bit better. We are a persistent bunch! We have all struggled through life’s challenges and have come out stronger, just as you did.

Everyone who knew “Frenchy” knew he had a good heart. That is the legacy I hope to carry forward for you. I love you Dad, very much! If you ever want to show me you’re around, feel free because your love is always with me anyway. There came a time I needed to hear it from you, and you knew. “Just remember one thing kid. I love you”. I remember Dad. I always will.

Happy Birthday Dad!

2019 – A Year of Rebirth

It has been a year full of challenges and changes for me.  I moved out of a town I had built a life in, to a town I knew no one but family.  For someone with PTSD and anxiety, that is no easy task.  New counselor (mental health treatment is important), new community connections, and just functioning outside the house were things that were extremely difficult.

I can remember how much energy it took to find the courage to walk to the post office around the corner to put in my change of address.  I was so proud of myself and feeling very silly for thinking that way.  I knew it was simply a baby step, but I knew it was at least a step.  Then the grocery store and local CVS to transfer my prescriptions.  I saw them as hard, but necessary steps that drained me to the core.

When I reflect on that, although I realize I have not yet managed to grab the proverbial brass ring, I have come far enough in this one year that I can be confident in facing my road ahead.  I genuinely want to be a better me in 2020 than I have ever been.  My New Year’s Resolutions are more structured goals that I will be pushing for until they become part of who I am.  I am indeed a work in progress, but no matter how slow it goes, I will keep taking those baby steps forward.

Sunrise

A friend of mine tried to explain the beauty of the morning to me.  It was special to him and he wanted to share it with me.   Although I joined him in enjoying it a time or two, I’ve just never been a morning person.

Those who know me, know I’m naturally a night owl.  I am more awake in the wee hours of the morning BEFORE my bedtime routine.  Five AM is a fable to me after finally falling asleep at two AM.

But I’ve seen it and the beauty it beholds:

I was a child; a preteen or a few years older.  I took a trip with my Father to my Uncle & Aunt’s  house in Vermont.  You would think it was not so great for my allergies to farm animals and my asthma.  But it was just that, that had me awake when the sun came up.  I was sitting up near the window, with breathing a challenge.  I watched out the window as the light slowly appeared and revealed the early morning mist over the fields.  It was so beautiful!  The rest of the world seemed asleep and mother nature was showing herself to me.  I felt connected, and it was something I have never forgotten.  It’s what morning people feel when they try to change your morning habits.

Oh, I have my intentions to do just that.  My bio’clock disagrees.  But if I’m giving up a better way to start my day just to have late night TV time, I’m cheating myself letting it win.  I will succeed in changing it at some point.

I have a life I’m envisioning and I’m working on getting there, even if the progress is at the speed of the turtle.  After all. he did win the race.