The World Has a Heavy Weight
"I'm waiting here for my girlfriend," says B.K. (not his real name). "She's in the store buying some things. We are trying to get a phone." B.K. says that he is currently looking for work but sweeps the parking lots of convenience stores. The proprietors will offer him a few dollars, a cup of soda, some snacks.
"She probably ran off with some guy for a bit. For a nickel," says B.K. "She always does that or goes out with my friends. I support her too and that's what she does." B.K. also gets a little supplementary income from the government. General assistance.
"I wish I could stop it," he says. His pants are too loose and his boxers are showing. He is wearing a name tag from a local chain store that had closed down months ago. "I need to quit the crystal, the heroin. Quit it all," he says. "Can you help me this month?"
B.K.'s story is typical of those in Bakersfield. Young men and women who became distracted by drugs and then addicted. Heroin (black) and crystal (ice, rock) are some of the biggest culprits. Fentanyl has recently come on the scene as well.
Surrounded by drugs, barraged by cold mornings that grip you like a vice. Icy rains, hot days when the sun sears cracks into the thick sidewalks. Being homeless in the central valley isn't easy.
Affirmations aren't much to offer, but to some they give hope and are something they can carry with them for the rest of their lives.
And maybe, inspire a change.
Addiction and Homelessness
Some of these are taken from things which were written long ago and have become part of the language. You have probably heard them in one form or another:
I accept challenges. I persevere
The Past is in the past. The Future is NOW
Every path is unique. I will move forward and proud.
Every thing I truly NEED, I already have.
I am capable of what I set my mind to.
Whether you think you can or think you can't you're right. (Henry Ford)
The Power of Positivity
How Affirmations Work
One of the appeal of affirmations is the quality of the language, the imagery in a statement. "Procrastinators can be found at the airport, waiting for their ships to come in", for example is quite amusing. The irony is fairly obvious and the play on cliche quite witty. Other statements can be quite blunt and get right to the point: "Either you take the day or the day takes you".
Affirmations not only feel good, but they stimulate the cognitive center of the brain. They make you think in a positive and productive way. The cognitive triangle describes the relationship between thinking, feeling and behavior. In other words, by placing positive thoughts into your head you may be motivated into action which in turn could make you feel better. Or the positive thinking will induce pleasant feelings and you;ll be motivated to pursue something healthy, productive or happy.
The relationship is cyclic. Everything is connected. Mind, body and spirit.
Since thought is the element we most have control over in any given situation, affirmations are perfect for this element. By simply thinking about positive things, you can change the entire outcome of how a situation is perceived. In a sense, you can change your life.
Things are only temporary
One of the things to consider when working with the homeless is that they are often referred to as transients. This nomenclature can be viewed as someone disparaging so I try and turn this around into a more positive sounding description. They are in transition. We all actually are. Transition means that this is only temporary, a stepping stone to another place. Someplace better.
The unease I feel is only temporary.
The Best is yet to come.
Every day something new. Some things forgotten.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Walk forward. Don't look back.
Today I take my first steps...
I sometimes fear. I always hope. But I know I can. Today I WILL.
I am not defined by what I think others think.
Every thought I have creates my future.
A Meeting of the Minds
I find another group of individuals, hanging out behind a convenience store. A few of them are scattered about. Another group is standing by the frames of what used to be cars in an empty field.
A man is talking with a woman holding a dog. A black pit bull. The man has facial tattoos that look as if they were acquired in a correctional facility. The woman looks like she could have stepped from the film Coal Miner's Daughter, a typical Dalian - a resident of Oildale. She wears glasses and jeans. Her reddish brown, shoulder length hair, falls in curves around her face. The man wears a baseball cap and the two are having a conversation. The stubble on his chin and cheeks border a mouth with bright white teeth, some of them missing.
I hand them each a clear bag. Inside: some chips, a water, a sandwich, candies, a pack of Top Ramen Beef soup, a packet of Swiss Miss hot chocolate and a small index card with the affirmations. They thank me and I am trying to keep my conversations brief this afternoon. Drop off some packets and move on.
"Are there more of you here?" I ask.
"Around the corner," says the woman. "Don't worry. He doesn't bite," she adds pointing at the dog.
I turn the corner and there four other men there. Three of them are standing about and one of them is on a bicycle. They are all fairly young, in their twenties or thirties. A couple look like they might be parolees. All look as if they have some kind of issue with substance abuse.
A Homeless Woman Cleans Up a Camp Area
Simple but true
Keep in mind that sometimes the finest things are found in the most ordinary places. Simplicity is a delicate beverage, even gold looses its shine in time.
It's neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.
A day above ground: Sun...or rain. I am here.
Today. I WILL DO IT.
I can make a difference in others in the world.
I forgive myself and I forgive others. I FORGIVE.
Procrastinators can be found at the airport waiting for their ships to come in.
Today I chose to be happy.
My mind will make me right.
I am GRATEFUL for every day.
If you can dream it - it can be done.
I am doing my best EVERY DAY.
I am unique and will not compare myself to others.
Some Affirmation Cards
Simple But Truly Authentic
Here are a few more words of wisdom to share and pass on.
I am thankful for all the good in my life....and lessons learned
Do not permit the way others treat you change your true character
Turn Every Corner. Navigate Intersections.
Listen to your inner voice
Know the one you want to BE and BE the one you NEED to
Yesterday....I forgot. Today - I can. Tomorrow It will be Done
Dream. Believe. Act.
Words of Wisdom. A World of Ideas.
Affirmations are a simple tool that we can all use to make our lives better. If you can speak it, you can do it. If you build it, they will come. Of course, we place these in the small bags we hand out - water, a half sandwich, a small bag of chips etc. - the messages themselves would probably not be as appreciated otherwise. A nice thought - a fortune perhaps as the messages in the cookies you get at Chinese restaurants.
It may sound a bit cliche, even hokey, but a few nice words can go a long way. The homeless I have encountered were very appreciative. And this is a simple tool that anyone out there can do.
Shakespeare said "the evil that men do lives after them, the good is interred in their bones". We tend to remember the negative and the bad. Most news story programs on television feed us the wrongdoing in the world.
You can change that. You can pass a few good notes forward to someone who might like to hear them. Someone who might be in need of a good voice.
Now is your turn to speak.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Finn