Thanks Mom

I have a strong belief in the visualization process. I can put this as simply as this; if you want it then you have to see it. I believe in the value of our visions but more, I believe in the hunger this creates. I believe in the need to see things to whet the tongue and have the taste for more. I have to see my dreams. I have to detail them. I have to know what they look like so I can build them. Otherwise, what am I looking for?

Another thing I believe in is the need for support. I believe in the cheering section and how this needs to begin with one. namely me, or you, or us. I believe that in order to find motivation, we have to create movement. Otherwise, there is only stillness in which case, where do we go except for nowhere?

There was a small classroom in the back of a homeless shelter, which is where I held a Sunday morning empowerment class. There were different intentions for this class. One intention was to help create support for those looking to incorporate more than the typical 12-step models of recovery and sobriety. Unfortunately, the overdoses and the opiate crisis is very real. Alcohol is plentiful and readily available anywhere we turn. However, mainly, the intention was to provide support for the guests at the shelter.

Part of my goal was to encourage new life strategies. Another goal was to create a safe place to open up, share or find both the motivation and the inspiration to gain housing. Unfortunately, not everyone had the best of intentions. Honesty is certainly a rare commodity. Some attended the class because they had to. Some of the guests showed up for no other reason than to put their name on a list. This way they could use their attendance to their advantage. There were other guests however, that used this class in the means in which it was intended. I met some of the best people in my life at this shelter. The best smile I ever received was here. I can say this without question.

The class eventually ran its course. After a little more than two years, it was time for me to move elsewhere. It was time to create a new program in a new atmosphere. Plus, it was time for me to create a new experience for myself. I had to learn some painful lessons during this process. I had to learn about politics too. Again, not everything is as it seems and not everyone’s intentions are virtuous. Nevertheless, the class helped me to create a format in which I learned to build from. In any case, the need to visualize our plans, goals and strategies are important.

There was a question I asked the guests in my class: How would you like your new home to look? I would have them talk about this. I would have them detail the walls, the couches, the dining room tables, the kitchen and the bathrooms. I would ask about the bed and the bedroom. What colors would they choose? We used to talk about our dreams and visions. I would talk about my hopes to someday build a farm, which to me is the dream of all my dreams. This is the place I have been building in my head for a very long time. I shared my hopes and they shared theirs.

The purpose of this is because life’s conditions are not always optimal. Although the shelter was run very well, the rooms were clean and well kept. There were three meals each day. Plus, there was shelter from the cold. But still, the old adage is true. There is no place like home. The goal here is not to make the shelter a home but instead, to help the guest achieve housing. And again, not everyone has the same intention. There were those who were comfortable to use the facility to their advantage. More accurately, not everyone had the same goals. Still, services were provided nonetheless and the goal here was very clear: eradicate homelessness. 

I can say there were some who unfortunately chose a different path. I can say that yes, I listened to people explain their

May be an image of text that says 'Good Morning BREAKFAST WITH BENNY An empowerment and wellness group that creates an encouraging atmosphere OPEN το EVERYONE Sundays at 9:45 am 269 PASSAIC HACKENSACK, NJ BEN KIMMEL Mental Health First Aid Instructor, Certified Recovery Coach,'

choice of the street over the shelter. Of course, this came with reasons. One reason above all are the rules in the shelter which were certainly different from the rules on the street. First rule above all is there is no heroin allowed in the shelter. You can’t fix-up and nod out in the hallways. There were challenges but management at the shelter were experienced with this. And me, I was learning but still, I had challenges of my own.

I go back to one of my favorite lessons. There is something to the benefit of visualization. There is something about seeing your own dream grow strong enough to whet your appetite. There is something to the soul that lures us in. At least, I hope there is.
I have this vision of mine. And no, this is not about me or personal greatness. This is not about ego or anything of the sort. Instead, this is about my dreams and my need to create a purpose for myself. The reason I offered visualization exercises in my empowerment classes is because I used them for myself.

The need to create hunger and thirst for success is the core of motivation. To break this down without any over-complicated suggestions; I had to simplify this in one question. Without the internal engine, how can there be any drive?  This is why our fuel source is important (and so is our usage).

With all the changes throughout the pandemic and social distancing, the rules prohibit gathering in groups. Therefore, there was no “Breakfast with Benny” for a while. This is the name of my Empowerment class. I still run one class on Sunday mornings in Hackensack, New Jersey.

I can say there were results from the classes at the shelter. In fact, I can say that there were results from all of my efforts. I suppose results are not always so noticeable. I spoke with someone that was able to change his life yesterday. I was proud to hear from him. I also heard from a friend that will be celebrating 10 years of consecutive sobriety next week. I thought about this. I thought about the regard, which was an honor to be thought of and mentioned by them.
I thought about my groups and my hopes that one day, the farm and my ideas will finally come to fruition.

Anything we do is done to create a means and find our purpose. There is no life without effort. I know this all too well. I know that we all have our challenges. I certainly know that I have mine. It can be hard sometimes. (You know?)
You can stand up and scream to the stars. You can swing for the fences (and miss) or you can give it your all and feel as if you’re coming up short. It’s hard to live without that internal cheerleader. It’s hard to live when it seems as if all you do is exist and no one notices. It’s hard to believe in things that sound too magical to be real. Then, out of nowhere, the telephone rings . . . .

By the way, I saw my first butterfly of the season yesterday.
Remember? This was right after I asked if you could send me a sign.

I don’t always know if I believe in things like this or not. But either way, I sure like the idea that it’s true.

Thanks, Mom.
I needed that one.

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