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Anyone read The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? I’ve been hearing about it for months, but I’ve been skeptical. New Age sorts of books make me suspicious, though I have read some I’ve enjoyed.

The premise behind The Secret seems to be “if you imagine it will happen, it will.” To a certain exent that’s true, but only if you follow up that wish by being proactive. You can’t sit around thinking “I wish I had a million dollars” over and over and expect that to happen, not unless you have a rich uncle who’s on the brink of death in the hospital, and you’re his favorite niece. If you should “accidentally” kick the cord in the hospital, okay. You may get your wish.

But then Karma will come along and bite you in the ass for being a jag-dork.

I believe in Karma. How we act, what we do, all comes back on us. If you do good things, you’ll get good things. Not every, single time, but most of it. If you’re a grump who spends all his time yelling at small children, “Get off my lawn!” you’ll get something equally unpleasant in return, like having your house egged at Halloween.

This is just plain common sense. It’s no miracle. Nice, generous people attract both admiration and the attention of other kind people. Crab asses attract crabasses. Or, worse, no one at all.

There’s something to be said for a good attitude. My doctor keeps asking me, almost begging me now, to jot down three or five or whatever “little blessings” every day. That’s tough, especially at first. I was writing down things like, “The dog didn’t crap in the house today.” That’s a positive, but what she was really aiming at were things that either I did or that had a direct impact on me, like “I got through half an hour without calling myself stupid.” Stuff like that.

So, I’ll try it here. It may not be every day, but it’ll be more than I’m doing now, which is nothing. Let’s see what I can come up with:

1). All my working out is paying off. I can fit into dress pants I couldn’t button a month ago.

2). Though it’s overcast and rainy today, it’s warm.

3). I’m reading a couple really great books lately.

4). I have a job.

5). My graduate school semester will be over in a few days, and I expect to get good to very good grades.

Not all of those are technically perfect. They’re positives, but not always worded the way my doctor would like. For instance, # 5. She’d like to see “I’ve worked very hard this semester, and my natural intelligence has helped carry me through a tough semester.” That makes it more about me, and what I’ve accomplished than just a generic statement.

Yeah, whatever. I finished a small list. I think that’s good enough for now.

Love,

Hope

I finally cut my parents out of my life in July of last year. Though my father was the offender, my mother didn’t protect me, so I partially blame her for being so blind, despite all the obvious hints something was terribly wrong. She never even asked me if something was going on.

And she, herself, was abused by her own father.

Though I told the both of them I wanted NO CONTACT ever again, my mother eventually started sending me letters, packages, flowers and emails – to my work address of all places.

I’ve ignored them all. Everything she sends goes straight into the garbage now. At Christmas she sent a huge check to buy the kids some gifts. It’s uncashed, and I’m planning to shred it. At Valentine’s Day she sent each of us a card. Again, garbage. For my birthday, flowers. My husband refused them and sent them back to the florist.

At first I couldn’t bear to even touch her letters. I had my husband read them, but now I don’t even do that. Nothing she has to say matters to me. Now she emails my husband. He doesn’t reply.

I have a brother I love, and I talk to him and his family. He’s the only person in my family totally innocent of ever hurting me. My oldest brother did, in a different way. He’s dead now. I’m sorry for that, and don’t hold as much against him. At least he didn’t give me a veneral disease that could one day lead to me getting cervical cancer, like my father did. But probably only because he was impotent.

It wasn’t hard cutting off my parents. I’d despised the both of them forever. The sound of my mother’s voice on our answering machine used to send shivers up my spine, making me feel sick. Now we have caller i.d. She hasn’t tried calling yet, but if she does I can avoid her.

If she becomes more of a nuisance I’ll see if there are legal means to keep her from contacting us. Maybe a restraining order? A cease and desist? I don’t know.

But I do know there are things you must do to help preserve yourself. And cutting off my parents was a huge weight off my shoulders. I should have done it much, much sooner. But at least I’ve done it, and it’s over.

Love,

Hope

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