Return of the thoughts

 

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Not that my thoughts ever left. I mean, whose can? Nonetheless, I’ve come to realize that I must work with them instead of against them. My battles are long and hard and bloody and end in roses and tears. Every thought I have makes a stand against rationality. My egoic mind rushes in to save the day, the hour and the minute, constantly releasing stress into my aging body. The body I practice, sometimes, taking care of. I can’t pretend that I’m perfect however I can say with confidence that my eating habits are decent at worst. That makes up a lot of the battle in this modern society. But mind health, where do I fall on the spectrum? Can I claim mental health? Bah! No way. I’m a basket case a lot of the time even though externally some have said they thought I had it all together. People really have said that to me after I open up about anxiety and depression. I’m like, dang, guess I was doing a good job faking it. And in that moment I’ve felt like a fraud, a liar, an imposter. But let’s step back a bit, perhaps that is a win. Being able to hold it together enough to sustain a level of normalcy to others. My accomplishments cannot be denied despite my self loathing tendencies. I have a successful career, take care of my financial responsibilities, am kind to others, practice healthy living, continue to practice recovery… I mean, come on Universe! Things are good. Too bad the Universe is not in charge of my thoughts. Sure, she supports me in my efforts for growth but when it comes down to which file I choose to open, which detail I extract from my past and which outlandish idea I imagine for the future she just stands back and witnesses the struggle. The fact that no matter what I do she will be there is soothing, there seems to be no judgement. But going back to the thoughts, can we harness their power? Can we invent new ways of coping on the fly and in crisis? I don’t believe I can and there lies the problem. I know it is true. As soon as I believe I will most likely not need to anymore. Life is that ironic. And today I feel forlorn and optimistic, excited and anxious, betrayed and invited. I once thought that ONE defining emotion was the driving factor for my life at any given time. Most recently I discovered what I call the emotion wheel, and this wheel encompasses all emotions all the time. So while my thoughts seem to dictate my emotions I still have the choice in any given moment, which emotion I focus on. Let’s say someone’s comment induced a negative thought in me which resulted in sadness, I could also choose to feel empathy for the pain the other must be in to treat another in that way. Or I could choose to have compassion for myself and recognize that I have some work to do with self-love. The options are there, choices all around us. The emotion wheel is extensive and ever changing. The wheel incites play to me and I picture it very colorful. I beginning to be curious about this wheel and possibilities it holds. Like pendulum swinging back and forth, my emotions switch the light. However unstable I feel I know the ground is solid. If my confidence is wavering I have my breath to focus on. Rational mind sees the path, emotional mind really seems to enjoy the messy roads. Like driving down a dirt road with some bumps and ruts and washboard texture, it’s more exciting than driving straight on the perfectly paved asphalt. Less risky sure, but wheres the blood pumping excitement. I’m drawn to the drama. And believe me I used to claim others were, not me. But I see it now, my body lives on the adrenaline. I get it. Now it’s a game of finding new, healthier, less destructive ways to get that adrenaline. Like hugs, hiking, off-roading, bicycling, reading a racy story, practicing cartwheels and handstands, or playing with the dogs. Can life be that simple and still be fulfilling? I haven’t figured that out.

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Reminder of Awesomeness

  1. I am overall a very nice, sensitive person
  2. I mostly put others before myself
  3. I love animals and the earth
  4. I’m very empathetic
  5. I eat healthy
  6. I workout regularly
  7. I can make people laugh
  8. I am fun
  9. I am generally not judgmental
  10. I am smart
  11. I am creative and artistic
  12. I enjoy nature
  13. I am good at sharing my emotions
  14. I am good at reading others emotions
  15. I am a good listener
  16. I am loyal
  17. I am compassionate…

I needed that. 🙂

Optomism in the face of reality

I’ve heard this quote before and always find it to be so telling. People often say “look at the bright side.” Like that somehow makes that situation less bad. I understand that being negative or focusing on the problems in our lives is not a healthy way to live. But there are some situations that barley have a bright side. In fact, they’re so dark what little light you see could be mistaking as a mirage.

BUT, I am trying to lighten up my blog. I had originally set out to make a motivational outlet, not a venting platform. And unfortunately I have falling back into old habits. So from now on I want my posts to be positive and encouraging. Something you read and feel better after doing so. I feel that is an obtainable goal.

My reality is not so bad, just your normal life experiences most anyone faces. But yet my brain can make it out to be the worst thing EVER. And someone once pointed out to me that it may very well be the worst thing ever to ME and that is something to keep in mind. Just because another person’s situation, by definition, is substantially worse than yours does not mean that what you’re going thru is not as bad to you or even worse. Because we cannot fully understand each others life experiences unless we’ve lived them ourselves it is hard to compare. And even then, if you had the exact same situation, each individual will feel it differently. Because EVERYONE is unique from head to toe.

I try to keep that in perspective while I’m dealing with my life experiences. I also try to remember how lucky I am. YES, there are many things I WANT to have and do. Who doesn’t? But I do not necessarily NEED anything. And if I do, I can make it happen. The world is, quite frankly, at my finger tips. It’s quite disappointing that I don’t utilize my situation more effectively. There are so many peeps out there that could and would make much more out of my situation than I am currently doing. And some how, even though I realize this, I still don’t take those next steps. At least not by leaps and bounds. I suppose I do take very miniscule baby steps. The not so noticeable steps that can only be seen after a long span of time. I MUST give myself credit for the strides that I have made. Whether large or small.

So what now you ask? What can I do to begin the next phase? Well, that is where I’m stuck. I am completely filled with fear and negativity so I cannot fathom what could propel me into the next chapter I SO wish to be in. If I am to be completely honest with myself I know that I must face my fears. THAT is how I can break down this wall. THAT and that alone is how I will be able to fight this monster inside of me who controls my courage. Why can’t I try things and succeed or fail like everyone else? Why can’t I fail? It wouldn’t be the end of my existence as I know. Yet it feels like the worst possible thing EVER?

I CAN DO IT! This is a mantra that I need develop. I need to believe in myself. I need to find passion! I need to find my purpose on this earth. Then I will no longer be afraid because I will understand what it is I need to do. Right now I am so lost fear is a natural emotion. Everyone is fearful when they cannot see what is in front of them, when they do not know if they are going to smash into a wall. This may be the biggest challenge I have faced yet. My instincts are to run away. That is what has been holding me back from facing what is going on right now. I’m clouding my mind with dreams of running away from the issue and focusing on NOT being able to do that. Instead I need to focus that energy on what I CAN do right NOW to make this situation better.

I see it. I see the path I should be on. But I still don’t see how I can get there. I’m too afraid of change. Afraid of failure. Afraid of rejection. I feel numb and useless.

But I WILL do it. Because I have to. I will find a way. I will succeed. I will be eternally happy. One way or another. No matter my reality.

The perfect failure

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My search for the perfect job is off to a bad start. First of all I’m not actively looking, more so just thinking about it. Secondly I have no idea what the perfect job for me is. And so there lies the ever troublesome fear that I always succumb to. FEAR stands in my way most every day. And if I had to rate it’s success I would give it an A. See, I’ve come to realize that I could be categorized as a perfectionist. But, like my quest for that perfect job, I’m the type of perfectionist that only talks about the perfect things they want. But never actually tries to obtain them for FEAR of imperfection. Are you following me?

Let’s dig deeper, really tear me apart.

I want to be a free spirit. One might call it a hippie (I do.) I envy those who go with the flow and embrace natures way. They don’t worry about details or outcomes. They live in the moment and fully enjoy the present. At least that is my interpretation. This type of free thinking does not mix well with my need for perfection. How could I let me hair down and enjoy the moment if I’m worried about what is going to happen after the moment? Will it meet my expectations? Will it be perceived by others as a failure?

FAILURE: Now that is the root of my perfectionism. FEAR of FAILURE! I know I am going to fail (by my own standards because I don’t give myself any chance of not failing), the fear is so great, I don’t even try. I lose out on so many life experiences because my FEAR paralyzes me into thinking I cannot do it.

Fortunately I am a functioning FEAR of FAILURE sufferer. What I mean by that is that I realize some individuals suffer far greater than I. I have a full time job, a husband, 3 lovely dogs and a handful of people I can call friends. My appreciation for those things should be more than it is. My negative self image diminishes the idea that I am worthy of any of it. A perfect person deserves to have those things and I am far from perfect.

Let me try to explain how I feel in words.

When someone gives me a compliment, let’s say they told me I am doing a great job at work, I completely freeze up. My face flushes and I get hot and uncomfortable. If I’m already having an emotional day sometimes my eyes well up. And you might think, good, you feel proud. But no, I feel ashamed. I feel unworthy. I feel like I somehow pulled the wool over their eyes and fooled them into thinking I deserved such a compliment. My inner self does not let me forget that I am not good enough. That I am less than everyone else.

My rational side tries hard to fight this ugly monster. Tries it’s hardest to point out the facts and bring me to the other, positive side. But majority of the time that battle is lost. And I might be able to hold myself together for appearances but you better believe that on the inside there are casualties as far as the imagination can reach. Even as I write this post I know how ridiculous it sounds.

I’ve discovered over the years, through many different counselors, that this is only just a bad habit. With practice and self awareness I can retrain my thought process to take a different route. And I do believe that to be true. Because I have made great strides in acknowledging my bad habits and redirecting some of them. But this battle has proven to be harder than I can handle. My struggles are evident to the ones closest to me. They suffer the greatest from my inability to move forward and for that I am very sorry. But I am still optimistic that I will keep improving. That the FEAR of FAILURE perfectionist inside me will lose power and the free spirit that has been trapped inside since childhood will find her voice.

She has to. I need her now more than ever.

Opening new dialog

I have recently been expressing more of my views and concerns on my Facebook page. In the past I didn’t want to push my ideals on anyone else. But through this site, where I don’t really have to worry about because you are all strangers to me, I have learned how to voice my thoughts better. It’s a bit empowering. Although I don’t always get a response. But at least people know what I care about and the life experiences I have faced. No need to go into detail here, that is for another post. But I will say my passion about food has recently shifted. I’m trying to eat as fresh and unprocessed as possible. And when I think about all the crap people eat it makes me worry a great deal about the future.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. I’m excited to share with my friends and family the things that make my brain turn. Maybe someday I will link my blog to Facebook. But not any time soon, that just sounds scary. LOL

Good chat. Talk to you later.

Sleep is so finicky

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We’ve all dealt with those days when we just feel so tired. And for no particular reason. You went to bed at the same time. You pretty much eat the same foods regularly. So what causes our bodies to be completely exhausted? Here are a few of my experiences.

  • Dogs. The first obvious sleep disruptor are my dogs. From taking up to much bed space to hogging my pillow my dogs sometimes rule my nights. And now that one of my mutts is 15 years young and often has restless nights my sleep deprivation has increased. It’s almost like having an infant. Except for the fact that I leave my dog home alone all day while I’m at work. Other than that, totally the same.
  • Mind. Okay, let’s get serious. Our minds have a way of never taking a break. It’s like that over ambitious friend you have that is always working, studying and working out. It is hard for us to shut off our minds so that we can get some much needed rest. I’ve experienced full blown anxiety attacks in my sleep. When I wake up I feel like I was facing my worst fears all night and could easily sleep for another 10 hours. You need to recuperate after an emotional ordeal like facing your fears.
  • Food. There are many opinions and eating before bed. Some say it is okay depending on what you eat. Other studies suggest not eating after 7pm (or a few hours before bed time.) I have a tendency to snack while watching TV. Who doesn’t? So I often have a late night snack while watching some guilty pleasures. As soon as the show is over, off to bed I go. I’m pretty sure that last spoonful of almond butter probably wasn’t a good idea at 10pm.
  • Sore muscles. Last night I just couldn’t get comfortable. My arms were already aching from that evenings workout. I tossed and turned and even had limbs go to sleep occasionally (but not in the way I needed them to go to sleep.) There are times when I get a tension headache while sleeping. I wake up with a sore neck and pounding headache. That is always a terrible morning. On those nights I think about people who are bed ridden and the terrible pain they must go through all of the time. Not something I would wish on anyone.
  • Sick. Now this is an obvious one. It’s often hard to sleep when you are not feeling well. Unless of course you are loaded up on over the counter meds and are knocked out. The other night I wasn’t so much sick as suffering from a mild case of sun poisoning. I was not sunburnt but I had spent the better half of the day in the sun. I felt super cold after showering so I bundled up in long sleeve pajamas and a big blanket. Well, the heat from the sun was trying to escape my body so I ended up drenched in sweat. That was a rough night because I kept switching back and forth from cold to hot.

I’m usually a great sleeper. I think that is why I am so affected by sleep deprivation. I can’t go more than one night without adequate sleep. So, in an attempt to minimize these sleep disruptors I have come up with the following solutions.

  • Dogs. Make them sleep on the floor. There, that was easy. Just kidding. I could never do that. I enjoy the snuggles too much. So for this one I am just going to have to sleep through it. 🙂
  • Mind. Keep a journal handy and right before bed write down everything that is swirling around in your head. It can be words, a picture or even a doodle. What ever it takes to pluck those thoughts out of the cycle and stick them into time out. You’ll come back to them tomorrow. Don’t worry, they’ll still be there. With today’s tech world maybe you could even send yourself an email with your smart phone. Or start a blog of late night thoughts…
  • Food. Be present in the evenings. Don’t mindlessly stuff food in your face while staring at the TV for hours. Remember, you are preparing for the next day and all the obstacles you are going to tackle. You need to make sure you are in top condition. Try brushing your teeth when you are done with dinner. This might deter you from grabbing that last minute snack. Or, pick a different activity to do right before bed other than watching TV. Maybe read a book or sit outside with the dogs.
  • Sore muscles. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and after a workout. Always stretch your muscles whenever they feel tight. Ease into it and make sure you don’t over do it. If you are really sore stretching every couple hours and keep your muscles lose and prevent them from cramping up. Other than that there is not much you can do about being sore. Just enjoy the results of an intense workout and know that it’s all worth it in the end.
  • Sick. Again drink plenty of fluids. Don’t over do the medication. And allow yourself ample time to rest. Turn off the TV and the lights and any other distraction and allow your body heal. It can be hard to unplug and a lot of people feel like lounging around watching TV is enough. But to really give your body the energy to focus on getting better you need to eliminate all other activities.

I have practiced these solutions before and find them to be very effective. But it’s like working out, getting to the gym is the biggest challenge. At the end of a long day sometimes anything other than vegetable mode seems like a daunting task. But do yourself a favor and follow through on those good intentions you have. The you of tomorrow will be so thankful.

 

Pink Is Not the (Whole) Problem

I love the color pink. But that did not happen until I was an adult. In grade and high school I thought wearing pink was too girly and therefore threatened my tomboy image. This article is very interesting and explains so much about the color that I had never even thought about.

The Mamafesto

Whoever is doing the PR for the color pink is doing one heck of a job lately... Whoever is doing the PR for the color pink is doing one heck of a job lately…

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My relationship with the color pink is a mixed bag. I’ve never been much of a “girly girl,” instead opting for more muted tones for much of my wardrobe (save for that period of neon during the late ’80s/early ’90s). Lately, however, I’ve come to embrace it somewhat. Blame it on this never-ending winter that has brought cold, dreary, grey days and has essentially forced me to wear some pink to brighten up my spirits. Last winter I even dyed my hair pink and purple!

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I say all this because pink has been in the news lately (this color will *never* get a break). Over at NYMag’s The Cut, Yael Cohen asks, “What’s the Problem With Pink, Anyway?” Cohen takes a look at the backlash to the “pink aisle” – aka the girls’ aisle…

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