Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crap Happens - Hope

Roadblocks, challenges, issues, problems, trauma-drama, dilemmas, circumstances, acts of nature, distress.

Crap happens.

You can use it as fertilizer for the other things going on in your life, or you can let it do you in.

Grueling at times to see the opportunities, in a grim situation? Yes, without a doubt.

My personal ability to see and act upon the chances misfortune brings swings from muted to blaring and all the decibels in-between. A saving grace is that logically I know these situations hold doors I can open. I know this because I’ve seen it happen in regard to situations in my last year and a half.

However, the logical capability is not necessarily enough to allow myself hope and that I can deal with situations when I find myself dangling over the side of a cliff grasping a vine being gnawed on by a rodent, with a woman-devouring beast above me and a woman-devouring beast below me. (variants of the tale: http://soundofrain.net/the-strawberry-story/ ; http://users.rider.edu/~suler/zenstory/cliffhanger.html ; http://omdammit.blogspot.com/2009/04/zen-story-strawberry-and-tiger.html ; http://workingwithinsight.wordpress.com/2006/08/29/the-tigers-and-the-strawberry-story/ )

How about you? Do you find yourself wondering where the dickens is my strawberry and is it poison or not?

What constitutes a dire strait varies depending on the eyes beholding it.

What is an earth-shattering experience for me is not necessarily the same to you (and vice versa).

How we deal with said situations may or may not be the same as how another person deals with their zen strawberries.

Hope is one of my strawberries.

For instance, last month (February 2011) saw some of the brightest moments of my last two years: housing; an income; the ability to communicate (cell phone, internet, California lifeline landline phone); grant to present to other homeless and poverty stricken; the ability to wash clothes steps away from me; a disabled bus pass; toilet paper; nutritious food I can eat; camaraderie beginning to blossom – all things that I found myself able to draw tremendous hope from.

So the 3rd of this month, when I found out as I joyously went to withdraw the money to pay my rent for the first time in 2 years, that both IRS and a decades old student loan had offset (the current buzzword for garnish or levy) my SSDI monthly income by 15% each (a total of a 30% loss of my income) without any word of warning, I was caught offguard.

In fact, the incident ripped open all my recently bandaged wounds of being homeless, of being helpless, of being violated, of feeling secure or insecure, of believing I could take care of myself, of feeling hope.

Hope flew by the wayside and I’ve had to work constantly to turn things back to feeling I am capable, worthy and able to handle things.

I am fortunate. The biggest scramble – to pay my portion of the rent – was able to be met, I had enough left to me on my SSDI to cover that. Because I am being subsidized by private individuals and an organization I cannot say enough good about, I still have electricity, gas, and water – they pay those bills. As you can see, I’m not fully on my own, even though I am not homeless.

Other bills (my California lifeline was safe, I had the funding for that); food; toilet paper; clothes washing (the $1.00 for the wash machine and the $0.50 for the dryer); my necessary monthly haircut, and any other expense went by the wayside, with no hope in sight for the return of that 30% offset for a very long time.
The hoped for seeking of health treatments, most notably my mouth at this juncture, disappeared in a thunderous poof, since meeting even my basic needs is now in question again.

Everyone I know … everyone, has some situation facing them.

From HIV, to cancer, to mental health issues, to being in emergency shelters, to no longer having the Winter Shelters and being back on the streets – these are just a few of the things my comrades on the streets, the homeless, are dealing with daily.

My housed friends are experiencing issues:

Shortage of food, shortage of transportation, shortage of toilet paper, shortage of utility services, shortage of toothpaste, shortage of adequate clothing, shortage of internet access, shortage of leisure time activities, shortage of social communication, health issues (physical, mental, emotional), shortage of funds …

Crap happens.

I can use it as fertilizer for the other things going on in my life, or I can let it do me in.

I’m using it as fertilizer.

To eat, I’ve had to locate the local food banks, I got a lead on those from my therapist at PATHAchieve.

Granted, my health is suffering for eating canned foods, wheat, refined sugar, salt and other things I know I cannot eat without repercussion. My sensitivities are acting up like mad because most of the food offered is rife with things I react to. As I told my therapist, my body is not in shape to fast, so I have to make the choice to eat things that give me reactions, it’s the same choice I had to make my last week and a half in winter shelter. I choose to see it as temporary.

The strawberry is:

Since I have the information I’m passing it onto you, and with luck through the ripple effect, you’ll be able to pass the information onto someone who needs it.

The even greater strawberry is that by my expressing this you can pass on the hope of finding information to someone else so they can feel their own empowerment and handle their situations.

Food Pantries:
To find a Los Angeles area Food Bank online. If that link gives you issue, go to http://www.lafoodbank.org/get-help/useful-links.aspx. In the second paragraph you will see the phrase "See the Food Pantry locator on our website -- to search for food pantries by City of by ZIP code" click on either link.

Homeless (on the streets) or not ... many people are having to make use of foodbanks. If you are local to the San Fernando Valley here are some references:

I recommend you contact the provider in advance if you can. Many service providers require appointments. Some pantries have restrictions. Some require ID, proof of residence, proof of low-income.

Housing for disabled people:
Here is a program I haven't had a chance to research, I picked up the flyer at a local foodbank 2 days ago (3/20/11):

Want to live in a House with a Garden? $500 or less per month. For information call toll free 1.877.SHARE.49 (1.877.742.7349); or a direct line at 310.305.8878 This is Collaborative Housing, a public-private partnership to provide affordable, permanent, supportive housing to disabled people.

Crap happens. When it does, one of the opportunities you will have is to pass on the value you are gaining through the throes of the experience.  By doing so you give yourself and others hope.

Good thing hope. It's a lifesaver for many. What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. God Bless Ya Bother, Im right there with you on a housing program, no income had to quit trying to work (health issues) Im just now filing for disability so the churches are keeping my wife and I fed, sorta. You are correct we are using it as motivation instead of excuses for failure. We are determined not to fail. I will not allow my wife to die broke and hungry on the street. Not gonna Happen, While I am alive.


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