I find my living in the moment mind amongst the rubble of life by simply realizing what is happening right now…at this moment full stop. Using this mind certainly does not happen easily in our instant gratification world. Simply, it is the mind that must be used to heal the angst and the pain we allow to control our lives every second of the day.
Here’s the on-line instruction manual with directions for how to use this peaceful other mind: ask yourself what is happening right now…right this moment! Interpreted….If I’m not thinking and living the past while constantly being triggered to react to present moments by how I felt when…what someone said …. what someone did TO me… how I felt about the last conversation or the last person I encountered. Or the future…what I have to do today while at work…the stress of grocery shopping or meal preparation … how am I going to lose weight…OMG I have to do this or that. Nope…right now in this moment. In this once in a lifetime present moment, if the mental chatter stopped, if the stories we tell ourselves stopped, right now WITHOUT all of the fears we carry…with this breath I’m breathing is everything ok? Quite frankly, I am seldom able to live here in this moment all day long because, of course, I have figured out an excuse..I have 60 plus years of habitual thinking and over thinking to stop and like everyone else, I have that persistent, incessant talker sitting on my shoulder distracting me.
But what I have found is once I find the discipline to quiet my mind, I realize that my anxiety, my angst, my fears are not from things happening in the present. They are the thoughts of my past or fears of my perceived future. There is absolutely nothing I can do about the past…it’s done and gone unless I keep my version of it alive in my mind…and the future hasn’t happen…I really have no control of the future in spite of my obsessive thinking that I can control it.
A short exercise to bring my mind to a screeching halt is to STOP! Take 3 deep breaths and say to myself….3 things I see right now, 3 things I hear right now and reach out and touch three things I can feel right now. If I practice this every time I am aware of anxiety, irritation, dislike or fear, soon I realize that what is going on right this minute is just fine…is peaceful and this is where I’m going to live….but just like having a push ups goal, it takes practice.
The difference in the thought process and the decisions I make in my life are based solely on which brain I’m using. Oh….and I certainly don’t speak from a tone of arrogance here…I don’t share this because I always listen to the right brain…but I’m speaking from hours and hours of study….I eventually figure it out and know the difference in which brain I’m thinking WITH. Kind of comes down to my “knowing” brain just knows that I ended that last sentence with a preposition. As soon as I typed it, I knew it was going to be the last word in the sentence and I knew that grammatically there was “someone” out there who learned the old school rigid rules about prepositions and would think…she just ended that sentence in a preposition “tsk”.
….and then she/he might really examine my other sentences like…OMG she just started that sentence with and…then…same person might go back to a time in school when they learned about past participles or prepositions or to spelling tests and perhaps compare themselves to a sibling who could do difficult math in their head or remember when they used to get in trouble for day dreaming and by the time that whole thought process was over, this person felt like a total failure….all over a preposition trigger. This person who first noticed the idiot woman’s blog that ends her sentences in a preposition just triggered a lengthy egoic or “personal” mind process that left them feeling inferior or insecure and in all probability introduced a mindset of being snippy with someone..sent them to the kitchen to eat their insecurity away or had them ordering something on Amazon to make themselves feel better.
This is just one of the minds we think with. The mind of fear. After many years of driving accident free, one traffic accident-fender bender might have you afraid to drive on the interstate. Having a cancer diagnosis upon returning from a long trip out of the country might have you afraid to travel again, an early life of worry about not having money to feed the kids might have you fearing poverty even with a bank or mattress full of money. The egoic mind. The mind that you fear with, compare yourself to others with, feel insecure with…the mind that provides a free-of-charge little voice on your shoulder that chatters incessantly through out your day telling you that you are not ok.
There is another mind…
Because of my upbringing which I can sum up as do what you are told, no need to have a mind of your own because this is what you believe and this is what you will do, it took me a long time to realize that I was going to begin stepping out in my own direction. I still followed rules and, for the most part, laws, but I learned through experience that if you continue doing what you’ve always done and think with the same mind you used before, then you will have the exact same outcome. BUT…if you pay attention to nuances (which I now call intuition), speak with respect, do your homework and intelligently defend your case, then sometimes rules will be changed. I also learned that if the rules don’t change, you can either suck it up and follow the rules which MAY be the appropriate behavior or more likely for me, I would get mad…scream and holler in my head …. then organize like- minded individuals and go at it again…. being sure to attach some negative emotion to it so that in 20 or more years later, similar emotions about similar situations can rise up and before you know it you are overwhelmed in anger and hatred and vengeance which will probably be overblown for the situation…ie:road rage. There are many years and many experiences that have occurred before which exploded this workable problem into a full blown battle in your head. When they rise up, you will be reacting and responding the way you did 20 or more years ago to a completely different situation….the cycle just continues throughout life.
What did I just read or hear the other day..something to the effect….you can’t fix a problem with the same mind that created it.
My opinion as to the answer is not going to come from me in a 3 paragraph blog, or quite frankly, from me at all…I’m learning and all I can really share is what got me from there to where I am now sharing my thoughts on my blog, but I will credit the PRACTICE of meditation, the book Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz, Jr…his daddy wrote the Four Agreements, The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer or A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
Until next time…
Are we just harming ourselves? I’m not sure yet if I believe in the karma theory but I know in the past from my mental flapping, I’ve entertained lots of negative hopes for those who have been on the other side of my personal battle line. It is starting to sink in that you are what you think…in other words…negative attitudes and gossip or bad mouthing others is nothing more than a show of your own personal insecurity. Continually trying to drag someone else down with your words and attempting to incite YOUR jealousies in others really only feeds your own negative agenda. ESpecially if your opponent is wearing the shield of love and their own personal acceptance and self love. It’s unflattering and harmful only to the person doing the bashing!
We have no control over how we were treated and loved or not loved as children. We have no control over how other people treat us. But we do have total control how we receive the information and more importantly our reaction to negativity. After a conversation with a friend today AND my own personal experience, I’m convinced sometimes we must just cut ties with those people who hurt us with their words, actions and intentions. As a people pleaser, it is often hard to stop the cycle of trying to force people to love us and respect us. For the most part, these relationships bring us pain, sadness and personal retreat in order to save ourselves! These relationships are not worth the angst experienced in your mind and in your heart!
Until next time….
GroundHog commented on yesterday’s blog “Empty Houses have no soul” that he also felt there were evil trees….I was quite taken aback by his comment because I’m a tree hugger and never, ever been in the presence of an evil tree. He expounded on it in his blog this morning and I understand what he sees….and feels?
I have always soaked up a lot of peaceful energy from trees. Years ago, we planted two weeping willow trees and because of the awesome wet soil, they became massive weeping willow trees in just a few years. During many of my high anxiety moments, I would walk down to the trees, stand under them, gently stroke the leaves and just feel. I felt peace and healing. There was a willow tree at a camping spot at Red Rock Lake that I used to lay my head back on the lawn chair and just let the peacefulness soak in. I’ve always used this picture I copied from the internet as my blog profile picture.
I think my Dad had a similar love for trees; but, I question that he would admit to their healing power. My dad loved to plant trees in our backyard when I was growing up. My mother, of course, used to complain that there were too many trees..I interpreted her words for dislike and I didn’t like her for it! I was shocked many years later when he had a grove of trees bulldozed out of the family farm in order to make more room for crops. This was my grandma’s farm and he rented out the farm ground so I understood the reason for losing the grove of trees…but I didn’t like it!
….and just to pass along a little family joke….One year we were on vacation…I have no idea which state we were driving through but we passed by a grove of weeping willow trees. I made the off hand remark that you just don’t see weeping willows trees very often…sometimes it would be wiser to just keep my thoughts inside my head…to this day the family remembers…and they always point out weeping willows to me with the words…you just don’t see weeping willows very often…and to this day, I always give them the “side look”.
Until next time….
I’m not even sure I know who I am anymore. He is in having his colonoscopy and it is too cold in the waiting room so I’m sitting outside on a bench….on the most hot and humid day so far this year in KC.
I have never been too cold except one year during an Iowa winter….oh and the Chiefs game we went to last season. Weight loss? Kidney loss? Old age?
While he drank and purged yesterday prepping for today’s activity, I cooked myself up linner or was in dunch….something I knew he would detest and not hunger for. Salmon pattys and sweet corn. Actually I was going to do peas but the corn at the grocery store looked awesome and it was!
Back to the labeling…I’m becoming one of those people who does not like to leave the house. I’m totally content in my habitat…that’s not to say I don’t want to go outside…it just means I could go for weeks and not leave the house and its surroundings..
In fact….*long pause…. I have a little anxiety when I have to attend a social event.But ask me to speak at a social event in front of an audience and I’m energized. My girls insist that I’m an extrovert and they, like their father, are introverts. Their father who talks to all the neighbors, knows where they all work and the names of their dog…..I know who has the friendliest wave from the end of the driveway.
So. Where do I fit. I fit in no little box. I am me…I’m comfortable being me and just like everyone else, I can participate or not participate. It is my choice….and quite frankly, I’m probably the only one who is questioning this? Or am I?
Until next time…..
I’m glad it is Monday! Last week ended up being an emotionally draining week! I got the call and then the letter that the radiologist saw some density on my mammo that he didn’t see on the previous one. I did what I always do..I turned to the internet…. GAWWWWW. While the news was emotionally supportive with many stories from women who have had a good outcome – there were a few devastating posts. I had him go with me this morning for my tests which included a second mammo and a possible ultrasound. It turned out to be normal breast tissue…PHEW…I made a pact with myself on the way home that February will now be my month for an annual mammogram. This waiting 4 or 5 years between them is just stupid and ridiculous. One thing I read on line is that women should continue having mammograms until the time when you choose to not have them because if cancer is found, you will choose not do anything about it. I assume this means that you are either not healthy enough to endure surgery or something else got you first.
I had very little spunk this weekend after the fall in the parking garage. But I’m recovering and will probably make a visit to the chiropractor this week once I know I won’t scream when he adjusts me.
Last week Jax had an eye infection…it was better after the first 24 hours of antibiotics…but I told the girls that the only time I regretted having kids is when they were sick. The unknown has always sent me over the edge with worry and anxiety. It’s not different with grand babies!!!
For me – good health is good life. Everything else can be dealt with.
Until next time……
their home was to be placed squarely on the coffee table with the remote placed vertically straight on top – centered. If I noticed anything eschew, I would lean over and straighten them so they were perfect. Back in the day when Jenny was a toddler, before I would go to bed at night, I would count every one of her colored plastic blocks as I put them back in the container and if one was missing – I enlisted him to help me find it…THEN we would go to bed. There was a time when I cleaned my bathroom – at least once a day…cleaned – not cleaned up. For most of my younger years, I did not leave the house without my hair being perfect, my makeup on and agonized over what clothes I would wear – changing my outfits several times before I left the house. Yet, my closets and kitchen cupboards were a mess. I jammed things into them anyway they would fit and then I would close the door.
I have a tendency to revisit similar habits now…when I’m feeling insecure. Perhaps I should turn that around to this: I realize I am feeling insecure when I have the need to obsessively organize things on the outside…the things that others might see as a failing on my part. Just a few minutes ago I was in the laundry room and thinking about the multi-colored hangers I own. The thought crossed my mind that maybe what I should do is have different colored hangers for him and different colored hangers for me. The theory that when I pull things out of the dryer, they could be hung on the appropriate colored hanger so when I put them away, I would know which go on his side of the closet and which go on my side of the closet. Then I thought – sounds great but what if I have a momentary lapse and hang clothes on the wrong hanger and they are put in the closet wrong, you know 180 degrees off from where they should be…and then patted myself on the back because I realized how much more anxiety this could create….what’s going on in my life right now that I can’t control!
I tightly hold on to the things I can control because there are other things I can’t control and anxiety and cold sores are the symptoms!
Until next time….
When I finish this post and hit enter, I assume that my screen will light up with balloons; and dollar bills will rain from heaven..isn’t that what we expect from life? When we hit goals, we celebrate with approval from everyone else and then set new goals…not that I have had a blog quota in my head and/or quite frankly, I haven’t set many tangible goals in my life other than weight loss and isn’t that pathetic…but I can top that…seems that when I have reached a goal or milestone in my life, I haven’t really celebrated other than the internal dialogue which says…but you can do better. Or using different verbiage…it isn’t good enough. I think this may be one of the multiple keys to my door aka my brick wall which feeds my anxiety.
I look back at my childhood and the false praise I received. In an effort to build my self esteem, I heard things like – I was the best dressed, the prettiest, you are very smart, you are better than that, you have a lot of piano playing talent, you have beautiful long fingers for piano playing. I HAVE AND HAVE ALWAYS HAD SHORT STUBBY FINGERS! When you are a child, and are praised for things that are untrue, it doesn’t build your self-esteem – you know the truth – it screws with your psyche! I was not the best dressed, not the prettiest, never felt smart because of a learning disability and I did not have incredible talent for playing the piano and I HAD SHORT, STUBBY FINGERS! I know now this set me up for believing I couldn’t live up to my mother’s standards of the perfect little princess and so I tried harder and harder and never learned to be good enough!
Which brings me now to the New Year and fickle New Year’s resolutions and new anxiety because I have to live up to standards which I will not uphold and the cycle continues. But, I’ve always believed that once you recognize a problem – you then must fix it. Nuh uh. This year, I’m going to strive to be just okay. Okay with who I am. Live 2015 knowing that I have no goals or standards that I must live up to. I am good enough.
Until next time….
Does everyone do it or am I just a professional ruminator? and by ruminator, I mean continuously mulling it over in my mind until 1) I am able to name it; or 2) my subject matter morphs into another subject entirely…which gives me the opportunity to compulsively focus on IT. While brooding about my anxiety tonight while trying to cycle my breathing with his (but not to the earth shattering pitch), I fell upon the idea that perhaps I’m not suffering full blown anxiety, I just can’t shut my mind off which leads me to be anxious because I really do need to go to sleep and I just can’t! I also realized that my over analyzing does have an end…and that finalé occurs when I can label the mental flapping, stick it in the right drawer and then move on.
With this little morsel of information, I realized that I have to analyze or name nearly everything that meanders through my mind during a 24 hour period. I pigeon hole, pigeon hole, pigeon hole everything once I can categorize and label it! Few things are accepted at face value, few things can just be put to the side…they must be analyzed ad nauseam.
Sunday morning news shows are a great way to pick up more fodder to think about. During a two week period, I spent considerable amounts of brain cells thinking about politics, immigration, the racial discord with police and the release of the CIA report. I watch/see/hear about these threats to America and my attitudes and opinions volley back and forth. This past Sunday, I was able to finally sit down and share a conversation with him…I was able to firmly name where I stood on the issues and now I have moved on. I probably should just go back to bed and try to go to sleep now that I’ve gotten this all down in black and white . #&(!# …and I think that is exactly what I’m going to do. So….
Until next time….