Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and embracing a bit of Buddhism

For the past few months I've been very quiet here. I've lacked the will to write, and in many ways I still do, and it's seems like the lack of drama is the cause of it. It's like I have nothing to talk about or, probably more accurately, to whinge about.

That how it looks on the surface.

Under the surface there's been a lot going on, a lot of growth, and a lot of moving forward. Meditation was the rocket ship I needed to propel me out of the suffering I had accepted as my life.

I'm no different to most people when it come to accepting suffering in my life.

We tell ourselves stories about it.

"That's how life is."

"Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. (Most of the time others win more than you. You're not as lucky as they are, in fact you're not a lucky person. But that's life, isn't it?)"

"Life isn't fair."

"I just have to get through this and everything will be alright."

"If I work harder I'll get what I want. The reason I'm not happy is that I'm not working hard enough. Obviously."

Blah!

I've lied to myself my whole life. I've put myself and my own happiness on hold for all my life. I've tried to be a good girl all my life. I've suffered my whole life. I have allowed myself to suffer my whole life. And with suffering I don't mind torture and general really bad crap but the kind we put ourselves through every day, the Buddhist definition kind.

I've wondered a lot about it, this why I suffer and feel bad. I stopped wallowing in self-pity and I started looking at others and I realized that they suffer like I do. I wondered who we can all get out of it because I suffer from a hopeful disposition and I can't accept that this is all there is to life. I realized that I wasn't the only one looking at this problem trying to solve it, in fact, some 2500 years ago Buddha spent a hell of a lot of time experimenting with his mind just so he could get to terms with exactly the same problem.

Yep.

Buddha.

I'm not one to embrace religion but I've come to view Buddhism not so much as a religion (i.e. faith based superstition that requires you to park your thinking and just accept) as a strategy for dealing with your own mind. The Buddhist have technology I need and the more I look into it the more I like it and the more it helps me. I've slowly walked into it and found that this concept of mindfulness is something that suits me and that, more importantly, helps me.

So for now, I will keep borrowing their technology, I will keep learning more about my own mind and I will keep meditating. (Did I tell you that I have become and accredited meditation teacher?)

I still want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. This is the jolly season when many of us are forced into spending time into confined spaces with people we avoid like the plague normally (i.e. our family),  when many of us find ourselves lonely and without family facing guilt, depression and loneliness, and when many of us are embraced by others in a loving community (i.e. family) where we feel wanted, accepted and loved.

Wherever you are, I love you and wish you the best of Christmases and a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. Together we will change the world in 20014, you know that right?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Grant me the energy to last another four days please

My mind grinds to a halt five days before we're due to break for Christmas!

I thank my lucky stars that I live in Australia where we get a break. While our colleagues in the US scrape by with a few days off we get a full two weeks to ourselves. Maybe. It may be that I have to do some work during that time.

I'm dog tired, all y'all. I'm not tired in the way that I collapse into blissful sleep but the kind that makes your brain foggy, your thinking crooked and you worry about not being able to make it to he finishing line. I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to energy and I'm running of fumes. It's been happening kind of year and the shift in my soul just keeps shifting if you know what I mean. Sometimes I feel like I'm destined for much greater things next year.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Plans for 2014

About a year ago I boldly declared that 2013 was going to be a year when everything changed for me. It wasn't anything to do with the world ending on the 21st of December 2012 according to the Mayan calendar - it had everything to do with a deep seated need to move out of a toxic relationship, a stagnant existence at work and mental health that was to say the least really unhealthy.

If you've read this blog at all you know that the toxic relationship ended, a lot changed when it comes to my mental health, I'm really on the verge of being "normal" and work, yes well work, I'm still there and I feel like the whole place is trying to reject me.

Do not set intentions and then not follow through on the actions if you know what I mean.

I will get to deal with the work thing, eventually, but for now they pay me too much and I need the money so I can feel safe, safe in the knowing that I can take care of Boo and the three cats, and myself of course.

If 2013 was the year of change for me, 2014 is going to be the year of purification and detoxification. It's going to be the year of weeding out processed food and thinking of food as medicine and nourishment. I know what food can do for me and to me, and it's time to start using that to my advantage. I deserve to feel good and to be well.

2014 is also going to be the year of purifying and detoxing my mind. I have come to realize that I can't believe everything my mind tells me and that I think, none of us can except for the most adept Buddhist monks perhaps, and as such I will keep on working on getting to know myself and my thoughts better.

I never thought I would say this but I'm going to look into religion. You see, the Buddhists have technology I can use and want,  and I'm going to use it. This whole thing about being your own therapist and "unpacking" your thoughts, habits and beliefs is appealing to me and I'm going to put it to the test. I will not however become Buddhist because......because......I'm not going to become Buddhist.

Right now I'm so tired I just want to go into hibernation for a while. Work has been incredibly busy but the whole department soldiers on like the good drones we are. The word "must" is the most abused word around, "must finish this by...", "must be done now", must, must, must, must, must...I look at that word and it conjures up a more pleasant picture because in Swedish it's a kind of soft drink that used be available only at Christmas and Easter, special (I wish I could make that sparkle for you) in other words, and it feels better thinking about it that way.

Other than that, what can I tell you? I have ideas of things I want to do and write but at this stage I just don't have the energy. I want to talk to you because I love writing here but I just don't have the energy. I want to make things (and I'm currently making Limoncello using the lemons from my garden and it's a deliciously slow process if you want it to be). I want to sing. I don't know why but I want to sing. I want to make music but I'm not in the least musical so I don't know how that's going to work out for me.

So, I will be back, hopefully with bigger and better stories and who knows, maybe I'll grow incredibly wise in 2014 and become my own guru and inspire you some too. That would be nice. I can go to sleep with a nice thought like that.

:)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Oh. I'm still alive.

I have been lazy with the writing here because work (work, work, work, work, work) is seriously intruding on my life and it's making me seriously tired. I only realized today that it's only two weeks until the Christmas break and instead of shouting with joy and humming Christmas carols to myself I panicked.

I'm NEVER going to finish first draft of those manuals before Christmas like I wanted. It's not that I should be able to but it would have been nice to go into that short break knowing I could kind of sit back and wait while others check my work.

The schedule for this project is by far the most insane we've ever seen. It's like all sense has gone out the window and the company is squeezing what little energy there's left in our down-sized, hrmm, sorry, right-sized, department out of us before is decides to check that we're still meeting those KPOs (key performance objectives, in case you don't know what the acronym means) that have absolutely nothing to do with our actual jobs but everything to do with trying to make us robots who think and act the same.

I believe someone used the word "fascism" today when we were talking about it and I agree, the current corporate trend to squeeze workers and force them to "behave" is fascism. Maybe not quite the radical authoritarian nationalistic kind of fascism that hit Europe in the 1920s but nonetheless a brand of fascism. It's counter intuitive to community and I hate it. 

This is probably why I don't need to watch Rob Reich's doco Inequality for All but I want to anyway but you can't get your hands on it here so I'm forced to long for it and suspect that Rob and I are kind of soulmates even though that just seems a little weird. He's shorter than me for starters.

Remember when we had unions and they fought for a 40-hour working week and holidays and paid sick leave and shit? Remember? Some of you may not but there were ancestors of ours who actually fought for these rights and sometimes it got a bit violent. I think we owe it to them to make sure companies don't take too much of the profits for the shareholders (and giving workers shares to placate them doesn't count as counterbalancing, I'm just saying) and to make sure we keep capitalism honest which I believe it's not anymore.

Too many of my colleagues are worn out and afraid of losing their jobs and we're in Australia for Pete's sake so compared to our American brothers and sisters we're doing it easy. When we get sick from all that work we get free medical treatment after all!

My intention is to try to create a sort of space in between over the Christmas break. I'm going to do my best to relax and I'm going to play with whatever makes me happy. Maybe I'll just sit home and watch TV because I never watch TV normally so it'll be like doing something new. 

Right now though I'm going to lie down because I've conjured my first migraine in a long time and I'm now reacquainted with the awesome power of the migraine pain. It will bring me down on my knees if I don't cease and desist now and lie down.

I'll be in the corner sipping water in the dark. 

I'm just saying.

Monday, November 25, 2013

When your landline dies and you're left in the communication desert

Last week my phone line started playing up but who cares if there's noise on the line as long as ADSL works, you can connect, there are no drop outs and your download speeds are not compromised.

That's right, folks! NOBODY!

Landlines are so last century.

When, on the other hand your phone line gets so bad you can't connect to the internet anymore you are left incommunicado and alone, and you can't tell what the weather is like because you can't access weatherzone.com.

You realize that you've forgotten the ancient art of scrying the weather by just lifting your head and looking up at the sky.

You start having conversations with random people at the store and you talk a lot more to your cats.

You're incredibly surprised when your teen's life don't seem to change - you really expected it would lead to some sort of breakdown.

(And you forget how to spell and your grammar goes out the window - apparently.)

But I'm back and it took a while to get the Telstra guy out here but it was the same guy that's been fixing my phone line for years - yes, it's not the first time this has happened. Two of his cats have had strokes since we last met, he looks about 105 years old now but he sure knows how to fix a phone line. I've not had download speed like this since, ummmm, forever.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meditation medicine

It’s the kind of topic that polarizes people, I realize that, but I kind of want to talk about it anyway because it’s part of my healing. My healing. Me. Me. Me.

First I want to say that I’m firmly rooted in science and that I as a person, in general, require scientific proof before I jump on a bandwagon and proclaim myself a believer. I don’t want to tell you who you are and what you think but you’re going to think that it’s not really true because what I’m about to write about shows the contrary.

Since the somewhat spectacular ending of my last relationship a lot of things have happened to me mentally. It’s all good, as we say here in Oz, I can assure you, but it’s nonetheless a hell of a change and I’m being forced to just let go and go along for the ride. I’ve no other choice. If I tried fighting the changes occurring I would probably drown in my own emotional turmoil.

End of August, now nearly three months ago, I attended a meditation workshop that ran for a day in one of the lovelier and leafier suburbs of Sydney. I was in a right state at the time. I was still depressed. I was hurting like a mofo because of the break up and the betrayal(s) that ultimately caused it (and not a day too late). I was anxious, no let’s be honest, I was in a permanent state of anxiety which was only really interrupted by the occasional anxiety attack. My dear darlings, in a nutshell, I was fubared.

But, one is seldom as fubared as one may think. It’s amazing how resistant and resourceful we really are and that’s even when we don’t have any faith or hope to help prop us up.

The meditation workshop shifted something in me. The right people’s paths converged at the right time and Universe colluded to bring me little gifts in the form of messages that allowed me to start shifting my own reality. Fortunately I was aware and open enough pick up these messages and take them on board, and so began the path to…..here, where I am today.

First, I began to meditate daily. It’s not always been the sitting-in-lotus-position kind of meditation but it’s been meditation every damned day. I’ve been doggedly determined to do it for one reason: It kills anxiety dead before it even wakes up in the morning. Meditation is ninja and it’s gone about getting rid of a lot of the more bothersome housemates in my mind. They were the guys who burped at the dinner table, left the bathroom door open when they went to the toilet and never, ever cleaned up after themselves. They were noisy, to say the least, and opinionated and not particularly pleasant to be around. We, the rest of us, don’t miss them.

So, I meditate alone but I’ve also meditated with a few groups.

The first one was the Sahaja people. I found them a little confusing because they do a lot of hand movements and although they claim to not be affiliated with any religion they do have a guru and so my shackles went up a bit.

The second one is a Prana healing mediation held in a backyard shed with a bunch of Indian dudes who get together because they “suffer” from a bad case of wanting to heal Earth and its inhabitants. I like these guys. They were uncomplicated and nice. I will go back when my schedule clears but ramping up to Christmas and what with my darling daughter Bee heading out to Central Australia on a school trip next week they’ll have to heal Earth without me for a while.

The third is a psychic awakenings circle that I basically joined because the guy holding the meditation workshop back in August recommended I seek out spiritual people for a while because as a rule they’re kinder and more accepting, and that’s the kind of people I needed to be around especially to counter the fact that I work in real corporate surroundings.

The psychic peeps have turned out to be lovely and since a lot of the people who go there are healers I’m getting reintroduced to my old friend Reiki. You didn’t know that about me, did you? I’m an attuned Reiki and Seichim master. I’ve not practiced for years and it’s all to do with that scientifically minded thing I’ve got going. Some of the people practicing Reiki are a little too airy fairy for me and there are also a lot of fractions in the field and I loathe politics so I defected.

The thing about the psychic things is that as it turns out I’m good at it. I’ve worked with energies in the past, I’ve studied Shamanism out of curiosity, so it’s not like it’s all new to new to me but what is new to me is that absolute avalanche of energy and clairvoyance coming at me.

So, it’s all BS, right? Yeah, that’s the category I want to place it in but when I do a reading on a person I can’t see and I get shit right about them, I’ve never met them before and I only know their name, I start wondering. When I see the same things that others are seeing during a group meditation, and when someone else tells me they saw something I was doing during the meditation (in my head like) and I’ve not told anyone about it, then I start wondering.

But, it’s all really immaterial because the meditation workshop teacher was right. Being around spiritual people is in itself healing so I will keep going back. Maybe you’re watching a psychic being born. Maybe I’m just going quietly and desperately mad(der).

I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Making the Happy


I’ve decided to make, or rather I have the intention of making, happiness my business. Or, I’m making it my business to make happy. With business I’m not talking the money making kind but rather the nosy, sticky-beak kind.
 
In the past month or so I’ve digested a huge amount of information related to our fight or flight response not only because I’ve spent the past two and a half years in a very intimate relationship with it as you do when you suffer from an anxiety disorder. It’s made me realize that it’s not only highly anxious people that spend a lot of time being intimate with it; we all do. 

Fighting the fight or flight responses is interesting business not only because it can bring calm to the anxious prone but also because when you successfully manage to do it you actually become happy. It’s the unexpected side-effect that we all want to the full-time effect of just living our lives.

So, it’s captured my imagination, it’s taken up residence in my mind and it’s become very dear to my heart and I now suffer from a strong wish to share some of the things I’ve found along the way with you so that you perhaps can be a little happier too. 

We can all make happy. 

Together. 

You and I.

Sounds too simple? Yeah, I know.

The simple truth is that we can’t modify the whole world to our taste but what we can do is to change our mind and if we change our mind we change the way we experience the world and kind of create our own reality. We can change our own perception of the world by concentrating on something different.

So, we want to concentrate on being happy? Not deliriously happy but, you know, being contently kind of happy most of the time.

A selfish happiness can’t be the goal. A constant preoccupation with self and self-happiness is a kind of torment in itself because you’re vulnerable to everything that happens around you. It’s like having a thousand balls bouncing around in a very small space that you’re in. You’re going to get hit by bouncing balls over and over. When you focus on the bigger space, on other people and on the world, the space those balls have to bounce around in is much bigger and you’re not going to get hit by the balls with the same frequency, and it won’t be so much of a bother; the impact is lessened and you’re ability to remain happy increases.

What you want is to develop a state of mind that can withstand those pesky ups and downs of life that are inevitable so that you become less dependent and less vulnerable to your own emotions and feelings as they relate to the ups and downs. The state of mind you want exists independent of your emotions and feelings but it’s already in you. All you have to do is find it, cultivate it and nurture it so it can grow strong.

It’s much easier to be happy when you’re child especially before the age of two when you start developing a sense of self. Children recover from disappointment a lot quicker. They don’t have the same expectations of life that adults do. They don’t sit around and think that life is unfair for not giving them this or that, and they’re able to forgive life for not living up to expectations.

By the time we get to adulthood we’ve been knocked around, we’re a bit dented and scratch, and more importantly we’ve been taught to expect things of life and others. We’ve formed all sorts of expectations and if you look closely you see that the dents and bumps are really those expectations. If you start working on modifying or getting rid of the expectations you have of life or others delivering you this or that so you can be happy you become less dented and scratched, and you’re going to find it easier to be happy.

So, what happens when you are wronged by someone and they’ve hurt you? You’re not expected just to shrug and go “Meh!”, are you?

When you’ve been hurt you have to spend time grieving. You have to give yourself that time. It’s when you allow yourself to keep that grieving process going for prolonged periods and it becomes a grievance you’re holding onto that you’re allowing yourself to suffer needlessly. There’s some trade off in holding onto the thought that someone who’s wronged you is going to die a horrible death as a result of it, and preferably going through hell getting there, but it does nothing for your own happiness. Your own happiness involves you letting go of the hurt and grief, and allowing yourself to move on to think better more nourishing thoughts.

But it’s normal to feel that way you argue? Sure it is! Most of us feel and react that way but the fact that it’s normal doesn’t make it optimal, and wouldn’t you rather have optimal than this mediocre normal state?

You want to be happy, right? Yes? So do I! That’s why I've made it my business to be happy.

Everything is beautiful, or ugly, when you shine a light on it. The kind of light doesn’t matter; it’s where you shine it. Wouldn’t you rather shine a light on your own happiness?

OK, so it’s normal but you want to get to optimal. What do you have to do? What is, simply put, some of the things you have to do start moving towards optimal?

The first thing most of us have to learn is self-soothing. I talked about the fight or flight response. It’s there to protect you but unchecked it will go off and try to protect from things that are no biggie, and they’re no biggie because they’re not a threat to your life, to your ego perhaps but not to your life.

When the fight or flight response, or the nervous system, kicks in you feel it. Your heart rate is alleviated. Your breathing becomes rapid. You tense up. Your mind’s racing. You’re not thinking clearly. You’re ready to wage war at the drop of a hat. 

You don’t need to be in that state, you need to get out of if, and the way to do that is to get the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. What is the parasympathetic nervous system? It’s the anti-dote to the fight or flight response; it’s calm and it’s being able think clearly.

The easiest way to get the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, or to self-soothe if you like, is to take deep, slow breaths. It’s the kind of breath that fills your stomach with air and you feel the body responding to it by relaxing almost instantly. The deep, slow breath roundhouse kicks the fight or flight response in the face leaving it in a heap unconscious on the ground and you’re free to think again. That’s what you want, right? The pain of suffering is….not nice. Feeling relaxed and closer to optimal is nice. You’re on your way there now that you have the faculty of clear thinking back and your body is not all tense and wound up.

So, the first skill to master on the path to a more consistent state of being happy is the skill of self-soothing and an easy way to self-soothe is to kick start the arasympathetic nervous system by taking a few deep, slow breath. Try it! Try it when now when you’re not in right in the middle of the fight or flight response so that your mind start getting used to using this technique. It is not going to be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re fight or flight response kicks in unless you practice, right? You want to become your own personal, professional soother and you can do it with this highly portable technique.

What are you still doing here? Go breathe! Deep and slow!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I pick me

Remember when you were a kid in school and you were going play sports or do anything in teams, and how a couple of kids were picked out as “captains” who had to pick team members one by one, and how all the popular kids always got picked first, like you already knew the order before it all started, and there was always those kids that were picked last every damned time? Remember that? Remember how it made you feel? Like, I don’t know if you were one of those who got picked first or, god forbid, last or if you lived in the obscure gray area of middle mediocracy……but I bet you found it at least a little bit uncomfortable, like the experience stayed with you and you never, ever wanted to be picked last ever or ever again!

Well, I remember and I’m going to tell you this:

I pick me.

I pick me first and I’m going to pick me first every time from now this point on.

I pick me to be happy now.

I pick me to love now.

I pick me to feel compassion for me now.

I pick me to forgive now.

I pick me to be kind to now.

I pick me.

I’m not going to wait for life or anyone to pick me; I’m just going to go ahead and pick myself.

I’m just saying.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Floating

It's been so long since I posted. It's been three weeks. I've not died or generally left this reality. I've kind of taken time out. I've walked with me holding my own hand because I really needed to do that.

I sought the antidote to melancholy and I began to find it.

Let's not kid ourselves. Life is a roller coaster but on the whole I actually find it quite fair. It can feel rotten at times. It can feel rotten and it can feel like the whole world, or just one single person, is out to get you and to torment you for eternity but on the whole it's fair. On the whole there are enough life rafts to go around and to get you out of any sinking ship scenario safely.

You've just got to reach for it. Sitting on your arse wondering what's happening and asking "Why?" is not going to get you to safety.

Taking action gets you to safety. Any action. Just take it. Usually when you're desperate you instinctively take the right kind of action because you've stopped stubbornly holding onto how you want things to be, your preferred outcome.

So, I began to play. I did what small children do and I trusted. I took that one step off the cliff and I found that even though I can't fly, yet, I can certainly float and I can keep myself afloat as long as I keep blowing up the balloons.

A little effort brings results and I choose to think that one day my wings, my very own wings, will miraculously unfold, and that when they do they will be splendid.

Balloons? I'm crazy talking using metaphors that make no sense! No, no, I'm just trying to be poetic!

Seriously, I took myself right out of my comfort zone and found that it had become a very small comfort zone, probably by necessity.  Anxiety doesn't leave you much swinging room.

I went to a museum exhibition with total strangers and found friendly faces and kind souls.

I began to take meditation seriously and I began to look for others to meditate with. I found a group of Indian young men who get together and perform Prana healing meditations once a week because they too "suffer" from a pronounced need to heal this world and everything in it. (As luck would have it, it's the time of Diwali and I was treated to the little Indian sweets that are served during the celebrations just as an extra bonus.)

I found a group of psychics, and budding or wannabe psychics, that I joined just because I'm curious to see if there really is such a thing as people who are psychic. Incidentally, I had a tarot reading with the organizer of this group and refused to ask her any specific questions and she pretty much brought up all the questions I have about my life and answered them - am I convinced? No, not really but I had fun. The only man in the group was covered in "totem" tattoos and called himself a "channeler" - he even brought his own disciple and she was young and cute! He talked at great lengths about himself and his experiences while giving away absolutely nothing of substance. At the end of our session he told us how he had sat back and watched everyone's energy and what they were seeing. The only people he targeted with any "specific" details were the two newbies who were unsure of what they would themselves see to be begin with. He calls himself a "channeler". I would be more prone to call him a "charlatan" or "delusional". I know, I'm being a tad judgmental here but I can't help it.

I'm a skeptic at heart.

More important than all that bull was the almost complete shift in diet. I've left wheat and sugar behind almost completely and I've embraced a more wholefood like diet. I've stuck to my juicing (mean green juice filled with kale and with added beetroot and carrot for color) to keep getting nutrients. I've eaten nothing processes unless you count milk and tofu. I've eaten more protein (even though I've a hard time accepting how animals are slaughtered nowadays) and it's shifted my ability to stay on top of depression and anxiety yet again. I must not eat the sugary things or drink the alcoholic things and I'm learning why they both affect me in a similar way. I've created new recipes and I've cooked with coconut flour. I've kept healthy wholefood snacks in my fridge and I've lost weight without even thinking about it.

But most of all, absolutely most of all, I've meditated and worked on mindfulness, not in some attempt to find god or to become more spiritual but to find more of me and to learn to control the thoughts in my brain. It's working. I'm more able to discern and to have faith. I'm learning to trust. For now meditation is my life raft and it will continue to be so or else I fear I will be lost.

I don't want to be lost and hopefully you don't want to lose me either.

I'm saying.

Love and light to you all because that's what "we" are saying - a message from the spirits to you. *GRIN*

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A letter to my adoring fans

For the past week I've not been walking around feeling wounded; I've been wounded. My anxiety has ripped open a hole in my chest so vast that I wonder if it will ever be able to close and if it does, how much of a scar will it leave? This big gaping wound is so vast that I'm quite certain it's visible on the outside.

I suffer from mental health issues. A major blow, small by comparison in any mentally healthy person's life, left me feeling like all the hard work I have done was in vain and that the end result is not as pretty as I would like it to be. My mind is a sea of obsessing thoughts and it has spread to my body. The connection between my body and my mind is so strong now that there's really not separation.

I don't feel unloved.

I am unloved.

The intellect can argue and create images in my mind of people who appreciate me and love me, the intellect can present me with arguments and examples to prove all this, yet I'm completely alone on a hastily constructed raft in a raging sea and there's no sign of rescue.

My depression has returned and it's has me in a grip so tight  that I'm certain it will never let go and that things will get worse. Its hot breath is on my face and even with closed eyes I know for certain it's preparing to swallow me whole.

What will become of me?

The first obvious choice I have to make is whether I go back on medication or not. Do I succumb and wait the four to six weeks for the gaping hole in my chest to close and allow my raft to drift to shore and back to "normality". Do I allow chemicals into my system that will even out the highs and lows, take away the pain and allow me to assimilate into humanity again? Do I allow these chemicals into me that take away pain and anxiety, that allow me to sleep but also prevent me from falling in love and looking at the sky in awe of its beauty?

There's a part of me that's completely fixated on the heartache I've suffered. There's no redemption. Part of my mind is completely and utterly unable to believe that I was done over in the way I was and it wants it fixed. It wants this terrible mistake and mix up to be righted. Bring in the rainbows and the unicorns! It's a misunderstanding. Surely.

Part of my mind wants everything that was said about me being a fantastic writer, and that comment about how I set "unrealistic goals and achieve them" (but if they're achieved they're not unrealistic I argued - "they should be" was the answer followed by a look that hinted at the worry I cause with being such an overachiever) to be worth so much more than the comment about how I appear negative nowadays. My mind has ceased the negativity comment and made a placard so big of it that it covers my whole mind scape.

There it is. My depression summed up in one short sentence.

I have tried to shove enough positive into my mind to last me a lifetime but it's like a transplant being rejected or a new beautiful dress that I just can't squeeze into.

I'm standing on the edge of a cliff and I'm comfortable there because standing there means I don't have to try to fit in or ask to be rescued. Behind me humanity, society, community and life. In front of me a raging sea of....I really don't know what but I don't fear it anymore; sometimes it even feels reassuring to think I could belong to the waves crashing into the rocks and the chaos made where water, air and stone meet.

I am completely alone. I'm the void and no one is missing my presence in the world behind me. Not a single person has looked up and seen the empty space where I used to stand, if they have they don't care that I'm not there anymore. That's what my mind is telling me.

My soul tries telling me a different story.

I'm not ready to listen to the messages my soul is trying to send me. It's out there somewhere beyond the chaos of the sea below the cliff and it's using semaphores attempting to communicate with me. I'm not listening, I'm blind to it, but it's refusing to give up. It's not telling me to go back and find my place back in the fold, in humanity, society, community and life, it's telling me to walk on through to the other side (and it's really sounding like Jim Morrison when it says it). I refuse to believe it and I'm still confused as to what is being asked of me. Who in their right mind would take the step out in the commotion of the raging sea below, a step off the cliff, and trust that somehow it will be OK.


No one is coming for me. No one is reaching out to bring me back to my place inland and in humanity. No one is bringing soft cotton wool to stuff that empty gaping hole in my chest with. No one.

No one is supposed to come. I know that with my whole being. I should feel alone and abandoned but somehow I don't, not fully and hopelessly anyway.


Maybe I'm  finally losing my mind or maybe this is the break I've been looking for. Maybe this is the rebirth, the reclaiming, the healing. Maybe it's just the opportunity. If I keep standing on the cliff nothing will change. If I turn around and go back nothing will change.

Maybe all I need to do is to jump and everything will be OK again.

It's not the time to be a coward. It's the heroes journey and I will keep coming back to this point unless I do something to finally take on the beast that's been living inside me for eternity. The fear of failing is great. The fear of failing is the only thing holding me back - ever.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I’m lost but I’m found

It’s a weird thing that single moment in time when you open your eyes and realize that what you’re doing isn’t working for you. It used to but it’s no longer enough. It’s like being with a lover who used to leave you breathless only to suddenly find you no longer long for his touch.

It’s an even weirder thing when you refuse to close your eyes to it and allow yourself to slip back into the habitual doing of it but instead you allow yourself to open further to it and to feel what’s really going on in your mind, with your feelings and in your body, allowing yourself just to watch it without judgment.

It’s uncomfortable realizing that your life is not at all what you need, not what you want but most definitely not what you need.

It’s taken me a long time to realize but this feeling I’ve had for so long that I don’t belong and having to force myself to fit in isn’t because I’m some sort of weirdo but because I have travelled into territory that’s a really poor fit for who I am. The environment isn’t one that can sustain me properly and it most certainly doesn’t feed my soul. It’s OK to venture into territory we’re not comfortable in or that doesn’t nourish us, it can teach us a lot about ourselves, but to force yourself to stay and to try to fit in is futile business. There’s no gain in pretending to be something you’re not.

Unfortunately it’s hard to walk right out on a part of your life that’s vital to your own survival. It takes planning to get out. It takes changing tack and trying to walk out slowly. It’s not a time when you should panic; it requires courage, courage to stay with it and love yourself enough to walk out of there on your own terms. It takes keeping your eyes open and continuing to watch what’s going on with your mind, feeling and how it all feels in your body.

The signs have been there for a long time but when a situation or environment starts showing you the signs that you don’t fit in, rejecting you in a way, it’s time to think about where else you need to be in order to be whole. It’s time to get selfish.

Today I’m lost but I’m found.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Rant about....stuff

I really do want to paint everything in LOVE and LIGHT simply because it gives me HOPE and makes be FEEL BETTER.

That's not my destiny though.

Apparently.

I'm cursed with a mind that likes to actually look at what comes out of other people's mouths. I analyze it. If there are discrepancies that show that they're not being fully honest I find them. I can't help it. I look at the words used. I look at how they're used. I look at what the person is trying to say. I look at what they're really saying.

So, I've been hanging out on a Facebook page that is the home for a support group for anxiety. This is my fall back place. I nearly left the group a few months ago because all they did was to compare medications (not a helpful strategy for coping as such) and share more ways to be anxious (another not helpful strategy for coping as such).

I stuck around because it was useful to be able to go in there and type things like "I feel worthless and I worry insanely that a bus will fly through my bedroom window and hit me in the head" - a seemingly irrational worry - and have people type back at me saying things like "It's just your anxiety", "I know how you feel but buses don't fly so it's your anxiety", etc. Having someone with anxiety calling your anxiety out can be very helpful.

Someone dropped the Obamacare bomb in there the other day. He asked if anyone in the group was affected and so a sane and healthy discussion started, a discussion that could hardly be termed political. It was deleted by the admin because it was not about helping with anxiety. Apparently.

To me it was, of course, because it directly impacts people's ability to get treatment but that's just my socialist crap mind talking I'm sure.

What followed was a women declaring she would leave because there seemed go be a discrepancy in what was allowed and what was not. People chimed in and said "Don't leave!".

This was followed by the creator and only admin of the group saying she would leave. People chimed in and said "Don't leave!" and started to offer themselves up as co-admins. You all know how that goes I hope but if you don't I will give you an example: "Don't leave! You're an amazing woman! I would be happy to help out and admin the group for you." This is what they, some at least, really said: "And, I would give anything to have the power to shut people down when they saying something I don't agree with."

It's weird but people covet that kind of power. They don't know how to build their own page and make it popular but they see an already successful one and their desires to rule suddenly awakens. Or something like that.

So, apparently the current status is that we cannot talk about Obamacare, or about people not being paid at the moment, but we can talk about God even though it makes some people really uncomfortable and this for the same reasons we can talk about medication, and we can talk about partners cheating on us and ask should we leave them when they do (because that somehow helps us cope with anxiety?!).

Groups anywhere are hard to run but groups that are run by one person is seldom a good idea even if you have what you regard a very clear idea of what it is you find acceptable or not. Groups run by one person who has anxiety and anxiety that focuses mostly on not being liked by others, well, it's a recipe for disaster.

But this is the one that really gets me: Why is it that Americans are so sensitive about discussing this whole Obamacare thing? To me it's simple. A minority of politicians have stopped sectors of the country dead using a strategy that's not unlike a bunch of little kids holding their breath until they're blue in the face so they can get what they want. This is somehow OK and we mustn't talk about it. The more discussion the better I should think. These people don't suffer financially - others do! The more places they're called out the better! It's misuse of power.

I do agree with Obamacare even if it's none of my business but that's not the point because I agree even more with having free discussions. This constant shutting down people so that others won't get offended fucking offends me. To me it's what keeps us from talking about what really matters and it serves to keep people's eyes shut. It stops people from thinking because they start believing that they can't say or think things because it's offensive to others. This is what keeps us in the status quo.

The US is in trouble. This is one of the most powerful nations on earth. A small group of narrow minded have stopped parts of that nation from functioning properly. This is not OK. That is abuse of power and hostage taking and it's terrorism of sorts.

It pisses me off that people are told to be silent about it.

This post makes no sense but I don't care. I just have to rant.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This is kind of where I'm at with my anxiety

In case you missed the news bulletin or didn’t get the memo: I suffer from anxiety as a result of having suffered a nervous breakdown a few years ago.

I also suffer(ed) from depression. I write “suffer(ed)” because you never know if it’s going to decide to come back and haunt you. I hope it doesn’t but I don’t think if myself as out of the woods of the big black wolf just as yet.

I’ve not taken medication since June. I still have a few tablets of Xanax lurking somewhere in the house but I don’t want to take any more Xanax. As much as it kills anxiety it’s also highly addictive and even if I don’t regard myself as being at high risk of becoming addicted (whos does?) I just don’t want to go there. At all.

Plus, I want to beat anxiety. I want to body slam it into the ground, mash its face into the dirt and make it seriously hurt. Managing anxiety is hard work but this is kind of where I’m at with it:

I've learned that I can't defeat it or kill it off; I've learned that I have to compete with it and be stronger than it and when I am, that's when I have chosen to succeed.

It's ridiculous to hear people say things like "failure is not an option". Failure is the most readily available option there is at all times but I can choose failure or I can choose to be stronger than the anxiety and succeed. Yes, I stole this from Chael Sonnen and tailored it to me. What can I say? It resonated with me.

I'm not saying it's easy, far from it, but it is a choice. It's when I forget to tell myself "stand up", "move", "be grateful for something everyday", etc. that anxiety wins. When I notice that anxiety has got the upper hand I've got to tell myself again "stand up", "move", "be grateful for something", etc. and if that's hard for me I come in here and tell my story, I ask someone for help. I have to. Sometimes I can't do it on my own.

It's an ongoing battle and it's not always a fair one. My mind is a battleground and I can't for one moment stop remembering that I'm the one writing the battle story.

I have to keep at it. My voice has to be louder than the anxiety. Sometimes I have to shout. Sometimes I need someone else's help to tell it. I have to keep at it until my voice is consistently louder and stronger; until I believe it and not the anxiety.

It's hard work.

I’ve come to think of it as training for a marathon or a big fight. I have to become donkey stubborn about what goes into my mind and how I think. I have to monitor all my thoughts, learn to spot and weed out any thoughts that will hinder or slow down my recovery. I have to stalk my mind and I have to outmaneuver it. When I feel like I have no energy left and it comes to take over I have to show myself compassion but I have to be stern.

I have to be sure of what I want to achieve and I can’t waiver. I can’t let myself wander off the path. I have to fill my mind with things that are positive and that reassure – most of the time I have to saturate my mind with messages that support. I can’t allow anything toxic to get in there at this stage. I have to build a foundation so strong that nothing is going to rock it.

I have to become strong enough that when bad things happen it will hurt and it will make me sad but it will never bring me down again.

I know no other way of doing this so for now I will keep Chael’s talk with Uriah in my mind simply because it resonated and it made something stir into action. It made me move without me having to tell myself to do it.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Science of Happiness - An Experiment in Gratitude



When doubt seeps in

I've been watching season 17 of Ultimate Fighter because basically it's nice to see very fit guys beat each other up.

Umm.

Yeah.

I was no fan of Chael Sonnen, American mixed martial artist, in the beginning but then he sat down to have a talk with Uriah Hall who he's the trainer for in the series and who was struggling with his self-confidence, Uriah had asked Chael for advice. After his chat with Uriah Chael came out with this absolute gem:
 
"When doubt seeps in you got two roads - you can take either road. You can go to the left or you can go to the right and believe me, they'll tell you failure is not an option.  

That is ridiculous! 

Failure is always an option.

Failure is the most readily available option at all times, but it's a choice. You can choose to fail or you can choose to succeed. And, if we can plant seeds and let him know - "Move your feet! Keep your hands up! Stay off the bottom!" - that is the road to victory, or self-doubt and negative talk, and that is the road to failure.

But failure is always there, and it's okay to recognize that. 

If I can leave you with anything today, in my long journey through this is:

One, it's okay.

Two, it's normal.

And as athletes and especially as men, as male athletes, we hate to admit weakness even to ourselves, and when you're dealing with something and you got some kind of a hiccup, yeah, first thing is acknowledge it."

It's frigging good advice.

(Maybe this is why I want to take up kickboxing which it is, apparently, OK to start doing even at my age. :P!


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Needless worry

Needless worry isn’t anxiety as such but it can be a precursor or it could be fueling anxiety. There as some simple techniques you can use to stop needless worry. The first three are really easy to do anywhere and anytime. The fourth one may take a little more effort unless you’re really good at doing things in your head.

Relax your body 
Relaxing your body activates the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system which is responsible for fight or flight responses. To relax your body take three deep breaths.

Release emotions of anxiety, fear and apprehension 
Imagine that any emotions of anxiety fear and apprehension are released through your out breath every time you breathe out. If you find that this isn’t working for you imagine that your fingertips are like hoses and these emotions are simply draining out through your fingertips.

Consider your beliefs 
Consider beliefs that are driving the needless worry and begin to form counter arguments to them. It’s OK to just concentrate on one belief if you find multiples. Move on to the next one when you’re ready to do so.

Make a plan 
Define what’s in your power in regards to the needless worry and make a plan of action. Plans shouldn’t ideally contain avoidance strategies but if that’s all you’re able to do at this stage then use it. You can always rework your plan into something more daring later.

(Oh yeah, and you know the deal: I love you!)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Smile at yourself first thing in the morning <---start here

I spent half of today in other meaningless leadership indoctrination session course and there was this moment a graphic artist in his 30s asked a question about how you can measure improvement if your performance objectives affect other departments.

“You measure them in the amount of smiles you get from people in the other department,” I thought out loud before I realised my mouth was actually doing that talking thing making noise that others can hear.

“I get no smiles,” he said grinning mischievously, “I don’t even smile at myself.”

“What?! You need to get up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror with a big smile and say out loud ‘I’m awesome!’” I retorted.

“Like this?” he asked doing a two finger movement pointing and smiling at his imaginary reflection in the mirror.

“Yeah!”

“And, should I do this too?” he added winking.

“No, that’s a little creepy. A little too much ego there. You need to pull back a bit.”

Two guys on either side of him did the smile and finger point in unison without checking with each other as he did it again.


I got frowned at by the facilitator, that’s what I got, because I started shit, off topic like.

I think that that greeting ourselves as though we’re meeting our very own best friend first thing in the morning is not such a lousy idea. Odds are, like this guy, that you’re not going to get a lot of other smiles during the day so you may as well start off with giving one to yourself.

And maybe to a couple of other people who really need it.

And that guy you work with who’s been your mortal enemy for years (you can’t remember how it started but he’s an arsehole!) because if nothing else he’ll get hella confused (and your relationship with him is bound to change but don’t let on to your ego because it will fight it).

And the guy cutting you off in traffic.

I think you can take this even further.

When you get home tonight pretend you’re a dog and greet your family like dogs do – like you’ve missed them like they’ve been gone F O R E V E R even though it’s only a day. Don't start wagging you imaginary tail (again, a little creepy) but be really happy to see them. If you can't muster happy then fake it and maybe they will remember tomorrow and be really happy to see you! You know what I'm getting at here don't you?

Smiles: small packages of love. Love bomb the fuck out of the world today but don’t forget to start with yourself. In the morning.

(I love you!) 

:)

Looking for love in all the wrong places

I have a theory, and it really is just a theory so feel free to pipe up and comment if you feel moved to add anything to the discussion, and that is that those of us who fall victims to love frauds do so because we’ve not got our minds in the right space, or really, part of our minds.

Our brains have developed over millions of years and with the brain the mind. Most creatures have developed some pretty basic mind functions and broadly speaking all creatures function with at least two mind functions to ensure their survival. Let’s call them “to approach” and “to avoid”.

“To approach” is the carrot if you like. It looks for rewards and opportunities that will help survival and comfortable living.

“ To avoid” is the function that looks for threats and pain so they can be avoided so that survival is ensured and the chance of living comfortably is increased.

Within these two mind function there are two basic states. Let’s call them “in stress” and “in wellbeing”.

If “to approach” is in the stress state we’ll perceive that there’s a scarcity problem. On a real basic level this would be a lack of food or shelter. In our Western world today it may be financial problems or worries related to finances (real or imagined). It may be our inability to get the job we want. It may be that we can’t afford to buy the car or go on the holiday we want. Anything that makes you feel that there’s not enough of a resource indicates that your “to approach” mind function is in stress.

If “to approach” is in the wellbeing state we’ll perceive that there’s an abundance of resources. We’ll perceive that there’s enough for everyone and there’s no need for greed. It’s easy to share and to find more resources.

If “to avoid” is in the stress state we’ll perceive that there’s a threat and we will feel fear and anger. We will feel anxious and expect the worst.

If “to avoid’ is in the wellbeing state we’ll perceive that we are safe, we are in safety, and there’s no real need to worry or feel anxious about anything. We’re alright.

As humans, being slightly more evolved creatures and highly social at that, there’s a third state. Let’s call that state “to affiliate”. This state makes us want to join and affiliate (obviously!) and to make “us”. It makes us want to belong.

If “to affiliate” is in stress we suffer from a feeling a loss and separation. This may be reasonable if you’re grieving the loss of close one. It’s not reasonable if you’re not grieving and it’s your general state of being (regardless of what’s triggered “to affiliate” to be in stress in you). When “to affiliate” is in stress we are at high risk of looking for love in all the wrong places. We will try to connect with people who respond quickly because we’re desperate to connect with anyone or anything. We feel a desperate need to be loved and perhaps to love.

If “to affiliate” is in wellbeing we feel connected and find it easy to forgive and act loving towards others. We don’t feel a need to chase love because we already feel that we belong and are affiliated.

This is of course a very basic explanation of our states but it does go some way to explain why some of us end up falling prey to love frauds, people who are unable to love but fake it and end up breaking our hearts.

What triggered “to affiliate” to be in stress varies in people but a lot of the time it stems back to childhood experiences but it can also stem from having gone through a major heartbreak in adulthood. To me it’s not really all that important what triggered it, you can go to therapy or spend time querying your mind about it if you want to find out what triggered it in you, but what really matters to me is how to move from having “to affiliate” in stress to being in wellbeing.

I think I mentioned this before, a few weeks ago I met a man who had spent 30 years meditating (and he was a very warm and loving person) and his advice to me was to practice gratitude. He’s not the only one who advocates that as a remedy to feeling that there’s a lack of love or especially lack of love for self. I have also been told that an unwavering focus on love, acting out of love and acting in love is a sure way to move your “to affiliate” into wellbeing.

Perhaps we could all do with more love in our life so please join me in practicing love here at Spilling Ink. If you won’t, I will love you anyway. So there.

I LOVE YOU!

(I’m not just saying that!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Just got the bloody house cleaned up

I just got the bloody house cleaned up, I mean I'm not pointing fingers or nothing but O was messy to live with in the messy house sense too, and now the survey guys are coming and going like fashion. I like the house.

I like my fake pond at the front.

I like the open spaces in the house and the clean floors.

I like the eclectic collection in the bookshelf I moved into the "living room" - it's not really a living room anymore. The house is small so now it's a dining room and the spare room is the "TV room".

I like my meditation/yoga corner in the "TV room".

I also fear moving. Moving is more scary than doing your tax return.

I'm hoping that the real estate lady is right and that if they decide to build a new house on this lot it will take them at least two years to get approval. That gives me time to like this house for a bit longer. It feels like home now you know.

It feels like home.

The bookshelf in all its glory.

 
 A slight obsession with teacups....

....and assorted....stuff

My moose head. I have to have one. I'm Swedish. Mine is shrunken though. Mini moose.


 The corner of peace and tranquility.

Always wanted a pond but I rent so what can you do? You can do this, that's what you can do.


And, just in case you didn't notice, taking photos with an iPod touch should really be illegal. I really must dig out my camera and USE IT.

I don't know what just happened. I must have become house-proud or something. I just showed you around my house. I'm becoming my mum.....

PLEASE. SEND. HELP!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Color me different!

The last few weeks have been kind of hard, or perhaps rather hard work. Anxiety has been my steady companion and like some little annoying child it’s been yammering on leaving me with a knotted feeling in my stomach and difficulty sleeping.

Anxiety is a really poor companion but even worse, it’s really good at masking the underlying cause. 

Anxiety sits there and demands your attention and you just can't ignore it. More than anything you fear that it will bring you to your knees and really have its way with you.

This morning I got a little tired of it. I had tried to meditate before I hopped on the bike to go to work and it just wouldn't let me do it. My stomach was churning and my head was full of unhelpful fear messages. (Add to that the very unhelpful cat that thought that sitting on my head while I was sitting in lotus position would be a good idea...)

I began to question it while I was cycling through the park in the dark. My hands were freezing for some reason as if they were trying to distract me from this line of investigation. It dawned on me: My anxiety is born out of one fear and that is that I will fall into depression again.

It was a huge relief. I don't actually feel depressed anymore. There's a hint of sadness which is fair. This thing with O was a shit of a thing and if it didn't make me sad I would fear I had graduated to psychopathy. No, a little bit of sadness is OK especially if it can be pushed out of the way by something a little more happy with relative ease.

So, things are changing in me. Maybe all that work I'm spending turning my attention inwards is paying off or maybe the chemicals in my brain are just deciding to mix differently. Matters not. What matters is that I'm coloring me different.


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Don't go there sister!

This post is brought to you by me and inspired by a comment on my post Men. You are inspirational to me, my dear reader. (Times like these I love because now we're having a conversation and I love having conversations!)

"Do you track his presence on dating sites?"

I bet you're sitting there beating yourself up for doing it, shaming yourself, telling yourself you're being stupid and pathetic while at the same time you just can't help yourself; you  have to find out what he's up to. You may even feel a tiny urge to warn the public of this dating site terrorist threat. People like him shouldn't be allowed to roam free on the internet inflicting pain on unsuspecting, loving women folk. He's a fucking love pirate, that's what he is.

Not only did he steal your heart but now he's got your sanity too. He's managed to take up residence in your mind and you can't get him out. He's staying there and no amount of crying on your part makes him move; he seems completely immune to your suffering. He's demanding attention and he's issuing commands, and as much as you try to ignore him you're spending way too much time thinking about him, and what he's doing on that dating site or as a result of being on there, and too much time on trying to forget about him.

He's just sitting there comfortably in your favorite mind chair grinning at you letting you know that there's nothing you can do about his presence. He's refusing to leave, more importantly, he's refusing to leave you alone, and trust me, he's loving it and he's loving your attention. He lives for it and he;s living for it in your mind.

A bit too dramatic? Perhaps, but I think you're catching the drift here, sister (or brother).

It's tempting, you know, to want to know what they're up to. You really want them to think of you, to miss you, maybe even come back to you because they've realized that you are the One after all. You want them to turn up with flowers in their little hands begging for your forgiveness and to be ready to give you that love you know you deserved all along. It's OK, you can admit that there's a part of you that wants this and that it sometimes gets awful loud about what it wants.

It's tempting to want revenge when they don't turn up and declare their undying love for you, when you realize that you're one of many or that someone else may be their the One (fat chance of that by the way, but we will come back to that later).

You want to know what they're up to so you can plan your next move. You want them to hurt as much as they've hurt you, probably even more, because if they did they would know how you feel and how much you hurt they would feel empathy for you - they would understand how much you love them and they would start loving you in return. Or, something like that. Maybe you just want to see their face ground into the dirt and make them hurt and suffer.

Don't go there sister - or brother! The truth is you've been had and it's time to get back right up and see this for what it is.

You're not dumb or gullible. You're not broken. You're not wrong. You're not stupid. You're lovable. You're kind. You're normal. You're probably really sweet and caring. You're perfect which makes you perfect prey for these kind of people. You and them are not playing by the same rules.

You think that love conquers all (and you're right but not in the way you think) and you were taught to believe in the good in people. You were taught to give people the benefit of the doubt and to trust. That's really sweet and I love you for it but now you need to love yourself more than anyone else because that, my friend, is your salvation. You've been had by the best and there's no cure for it but to love yourself with reckless abandon. You need to be completely selfish about it. Spread your love around but only on yourself - for now.

It's hard, I know. You're not used to it, You desperately want to love someone else and you want them to love you back, I do too, but for now you and I will be content with just loving ourselves.

We need to change tack you and I. We need to understand that there are people out there who were not loved enough when they were children or were damaged in some other way. They're not playing by our rules. They don't feel the way we do perhaps they don't even feel at all except for fear. There's a vast emptiness where their heart should be (and it's not for us to try to fill it - you know now it doesn't work that way). They have a different set of rules they play by and they think nothing of using you to get their jollies off for a little while and to get what they want.

You and I have things to learn, things we need to learn to protect ourselves from going down this path again. As much as we may want to save these people, bring the love we know in our hearts they need to heal, it's not for us to do so because we will end up dying ourselves before we accomplish that mission.

So, leave that dating site checking thing you've been doing alone. (If you're like me someone else will anonymously contact you on Facebook with a made up profile to warn you that your love is out there hunting while he's with you - talk about humiliation.) Get up and go to the bathroom and look at yourself in the mirror. You are awesome! Plaster your walls with post-it notes telling yourself a different kind of story about who you are. Step out of this history and into a new magical story. Trust me, you will find that love you long for, you and I will find that love we long for, but first we need to change tack and become what we were meant to be and that is simply one thing:

Able to be loved. Love able. LOVABLE.

I will be back with more but you need to promise me that you stop checking the dating sites. He's out there hunting, you know he is. Better someone else than you. Better he turns his attention to someone else so you can get on with getting him out of your head but how you do, well that's another post.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Men

Yep, it's one of them days again when my mind starts running rampant with a subject, then runs around in circle for a bit, kicks the subject around the field and ends up with the inevitable conclusion that this world is warped, seriously warped. It's just the most of the time it seems like I'm the only one noticing which then leads me back to the realization I had the other day: I'm awkward.

Today I'm awkward in the sense that I don't understand men. No one say "Duh!" out loud please; anyone who's read this blog for some time would be aware of that. First thing's first though:

I apologize now to any man who reads this blog because what I'm typing may be seen as offensive. (Bill, I want to apologize to you now because you even comment on my blog sometimes.) I don't mean to offend, it's just the my view of men and the beliefs I hold about men just don't gel with some of this shit and so my mind is confused, very confused.

It started with the eight year old girl dying in Yemen after her wedding night. Or, allegedly dying. There was this other news piece that stated the father showed off said daughter well and alive after it all allegedly happened. Well never mind, apparently plenty of other young girls are being raped to death over there on their wedding nights. I cannot get this through my head but it makes the men in this country evil but more importantly why are we still being polite about this? Why aren't we more outraged? This is not some religious thing we have to tip toe around. This is a pedophilia rape culture.

It went on to an article asking the question if all that porn we now have access to on the internet is making men less sensitive to women and women's issues. Apparently it makes us all less sensitive to women's issues. Put me in front of some hard core porn for fifteen minutes and I will be less sensitive to women's issues apparently. I'm not game trying for fear of being desensitized and I'm really not all that into hard core porn.

It makes me kind of sad, the porn thing, but it does go a long way in explaining a phenomena I've noticed when it comes to dating sites. Three and a half years ago I met O through this one particular dating site. I used to look in there because it was still relatively sane. I never deleted my account and for shits and giggles I updated my profile when the fit hit the shan a few months back because of curiosity.

What was happening out there in online dating land?

I made considerable effort crafting a profile that makes some guys laugh, some think I'm a complete bitch, some think that I'm too smart for them and some run. I have also added at the bottom of my profile that I'm not after casual or NSA sex, in fact my profile states I'm looking for friends of both sexes.

You already know what I'm going tell you, don't you?

Yep. 98% of all messages I get ask me if I want some casual sex. 1% tells me that they can tell by my profile that I'm into submissive sex. The remaining 1% just say "Hi" or if I'm really lucky "Hi Sexy".

I have decided that the internet dating sites is the dumping ground for men who can't get a woman in real life.

But this does dredge up some stuff because I used to have this discussion with O about what men actually want. He claimed that men just want what the Aussies call a root (in other words sex) and that they don't fall in love. I really want believe that men actually do because I think I've seen evidence of it. I also don't really want to believe that we're going backwards when it comes to women's rights and how men think of women. I've worked too hard to feel respected as a human being to think that we're not just objects again.

I don't know. What's your experience? Do men actually want long term relationships, do they care about women as human beings or is it all just about casual sex now?

Just asking, folks.

Cup

I have things for cups, and shoes, and I found this little beauty on eBay. I thought it's perfect for my morning coffee at work especially now that spring is springing. :)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Doodle

When I can't quite get into gear at work I doodle. Couldn't get into gear today and the result was this:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The moment I realize (again) that I’m just fucking awkward at times

We had one of them team lunches today. The new head of global everything (our department) took half of the team out for lunch yesterday and half today. I just knew it would be…..awkward for me.

Self-fulfilling prophecies. Love that shit.

I’m just wasn’t in the mood, although this may be a permanent condition with me, so sit there and smile, and as the only woman (because I work in engineering) I actually felt a little…..like the odd one out. A bit like the only woman in cabinet post the Australian election.

I know I shouldn’t feel awkward, I know these guys and I’ve known a lot of them for years, but I did. There they were talking bikes, I’m a bike type person, but they were talking about bikes the way men do. We’re not just cycling anymore; we’re wearing full body armour.

One of the guys turned around and made an effort to say something he knew I would directly relate to. One guy.

I know it’s me. It’s not them. I’m just not the social butterfly. Should have brought a pad of post-it notes and doodled instead.

*sulk*

Monday, September 16, 2013

Mood change

There’s a weird mood coming over me more and more.

Maybe it’s that I’ve actually forgotten what it feels like being almost content, that I’m just not used to being less worried and able to bring myself back faster from any forays into depressed and anxious territory, or maybe it’s the weather. Spring is springing. Summer is on its way. It all shows in my garden where the weeds have suddenly decided on a full scale invasion.

My house is clean and sort of organized and that’s a big deal for me because I’ve been the queen of the disorganized for years now. The only place I’ve been able to be organized is work and even there chaos threatened to overtake as well. But there is it. Empty spaces void of any clutter and things presented in rather eclectic displays but nonetheless neat. My house feels like my house.

I’ve never been much for house proud and I’m not sure that’s what it’s about. Maybe it’s more of a “me-proud” thing. Maybe it’s about finding my own voice and expression and feeling like instead of sinking deeper I feel like I’m slowly but surely breaking free from some seriously bad mental shit.

The most interesting factor of all that I have come to identify is that all my “bad behaviour”, all that making waves and making sure I pushed back, was me telling myself that we need to end this situation. We cannot stay in this toxic relationship and we need to get out now. I may have told myself that I needed him and that I could save it but in the background my subconscious was doing some serious work on getting out. It feels good knowing that I’m there for myself even though it would have been so much easier if I’d just acted on it sooner.

I’ve been afraid. I still get afraid at times, deathly afraid, the kind of deathly afraid that anxiety attacks bring but I find it easier to identify these moments as anxiety attacks now. I realize that I can’t trust my mind to tell me the truth all the time. If I want the truth I have to dig much deeper and look harder. The truth is that I’m calm, I feel safe and that I’m loved. Sometimes it’s still hard to see but I’m beginning to learn that I am, wait for it, I am ENOUGH. That’s right. I am ENOUGH.

I’m not winning Nobel prizes or writing literary awesomeness things but I am ENOUGH. I have, despite really making it hard for myself at times, managed to do alright. When I doubt that looking at myself all I have to do is to look at Bee and I know I’m ENOUGH. I have somehow managed to help create a wonderful young woman and I’m finally allowing myself to feel proud of it.

I can’t help but to feel grateful today (by the way, I’m grateful for having a kick-arse boss because he really is just that) because my life is so much better today than it was just two months ago.

So, somewhat cautiously I declare hopes arrival into my life and I think I may have opened my door for more love too. Is nice. Is very nice.

Gratitude

Not so long ago I met a man who had spent 30 years meditating (taking the occassional break to live life no doubt) and he spoke about connecting and love. I told him that I have no trouble loving others but I have real issues loving myself and I asked him how you can learn to do that. He told me that gratitude is the way so I've decided that I will list three things every day that I'm grateful for. Please join me if you like in my little gratitude experiment.

Today I'm grateful for:

For having my daughter Bee in my life and her unconditional love.

For having had a really great weeekend when I could relax and just enjoy myself

For having a healthy body and for being well on the way to having a much healthier mind.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

My space

I started writing something deep and profound this morning, it was serious and meaningful, but then I was struck by the sheer beauty of having moved things around in my house arranging them just the way like them.

Four small Buddha statues in each corner of my living-come-dining room.

A small Ganesha statue next to the door on the way out to the little back room where the cats eat.

The blue and purple zabutons and the blue zafu that I consumer-whored for my meditation corner in the TV room - a room that has a TV we never watch because there's really nothing to watch on TV.

The floor space, it's like having a Savannah in your house where there was previously clutter and mess.

The kitchen with benches wiped clean after every meal and snack event.

It sounds so silly but all this is my space now, Bee's and my space, and we sometimes just sit at the table and go "Yeah, this is us!" and we talk crap and eat stuff like nachos because we've not had them for ages.

From the small "pond" I made myself in the front yard (I always wanted a pond but I rent so I had to improvise) to anything I've rearranged to suit me or us, it all serves to make me happy and content.

I like it.

This new freedom suits me.

I'm just saying.

I leave you with my "pond" 'cause I like it.




Friday, September 13, 2013

It has come down to this

I don’t want to be stopped any longer from doing things I want to do because I don’t think I can, shouldn’t or just don’t have the confidence to do it. I’ve played in my own little-league for most of my life and I feel it’s time I start living and that I start honouring myself and my dreams.

Sometimes it’s hard to define yourself and your dreams, and to be honest with you I’m OK with that. I’m OK with it being a struggle for me. That’s who I am. That’s my starting point, my you are here dot on the map of my life. Changing dreams into actions takes courage and stepping out of your comfort zone, challenging the way you think and the definitions you’ve accepted for yourself.

I believe in order to be happy we have to grow, we have to challenge and stretch ourselves but it’s important that the way we do it is in ways that we ourselves have identified as being what we want to do. There’s seldom the same satisfaction and real growth coming out of some work KPO that an organisation has determined for you unless you have the fortune of having a manager that also has an interest in mentoring you as a person.

Things around here will change; I did say beginning of this year that things will change for me in 2013. It appears I’ve listened to myself. A lot of things have changed and while there are things that I would have like to have happen a lot sooner I also feel that I’m right on track. I set something in motion when I said to myself with real conviction that things will change for me in 2013.

I hope that I can keep the momentum going and for the first time in a very long to time I have real hope that I can. Ideas are being formed and ready to be born and there’s a real sense of forming an idea of what I want to do with the rest of my life. This is good, it’s the beginning of defining me which is something I’ve been needing to do for a very long time. The best part of it all is that this birth is completely unaffected by others and this time I will allow myself to form into something that I truly want for myself, not something I’m doing to please others.

I’m working on some ideas for Spilling Ink. I’m not promising spectacular results but I’m promising myself to do it for my own pleasure and satisfaction. I’m looking forward to being able to be really creative this weekend since my house is now all clean and in order, and more importantly, it’s the way I want it to be, and the way Bee wants it to be.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday

I would totally write something profound if my mind hadn't enter a super relaxed state. I feel good. I feel really good. I'm going to stay with it.

:)

Monday, September 2, 2013

When life’s kicked you in the head the first thing you need to do is resist the urge to hit back

When life’s kicked you in the head the first thing you need to do is resist the urge to hit back. Turn the other cheek. “Like fuck!” you say! Your life’s just dished up one disaster after another and you’re not only screwed, you’re angry. You’re angry with yourself, you’re angry with others, you’re angry with life, hell you’re even angry with God (and you’re not even a believer but if there was ever proof that there is a God it’s what’s happened to you because there’s no earthly explanation for what you’ve just had to endure). And, you’re hurting. You’re hurting so bad you know that hearts actually do break because you swear you heard it when it happened to yours.

I went to a meditation workshop on the weekend and I had the loveliest time in the company of complete strangers. Best of all, there was so much love in that little room and in our temporary little tribe. Hearts were healed and golf swings improved. (There are many reasons for why people choose to attend meditation workshops.)

We all had the pleasure of meeting Julie whom I will guestimate as being “middle aged” because it’s a cop out and it could mean many things. Julie had lived, let’s just say that.

I arrived in the leafy suburb where the workshop was held. The suburb is really city utopia. Sometimes you can’t see neighboring houses for the trees. My run on public transport had been like a dream. It was as if the Universe had conspired and handed out happy pills to every damned bus driver and rail customer service representative (as they apparently like to call themselves).

Smiles abound.

Trees full of birds singing at the top of their little voices serenading ME.

Rays of sunshine lazily free falling through the tree canopies to come to gentle rest on the ground.

Banana eaten while walking. Peel unceremoniously recycled back into earth via a bush. (The possums and/or wallabies will love me for it.)

A whole day of meditating ahead.

Fucking massive anxiety attack.

I refused to take any medication because I wasn’t going to alter the meditation experience unless I really had to.

You all know my trials and tribulations of the past few years. If you don’t let me sum it up for you:

• Nervous breakdown
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Toxic relationship

Toast anyone?

We went through the group to introduce ourselves and when it came to my turn I heard my voice leave my mouth accompanied by unmistakable sadness and grief. It wobbled with anxiety, and for a moment I just wanted to up and run out of there, but when I looked up at the others I saw only acceptance and, I could have sworn, love. So, I stayed there, plastered to my chair feeling like they all knew a little too much about me but maybe perhaps accepted me as I am and felt a little love and compassion for me.

Julie arrived late. She didn’t get to hear anyone else’s introduction but she was asked to introduce herself. She took a deep breath and begun.

A few years ago she had lost everything. She lost her big house, her husband (he left her), her health, her job and her successful career – she lost everything – except for the car she spent six months living in. When she finally could afford to rent an apartment she couldn’t find anywhere she could live because of her health problems so she spent more time living in her car. Oh, and she had a nervous breakdown a few years before that, not that she had paid much attention to it at the time.

I sat there and watched this woman from across the room and a more peaceful face was not within kilometres of the place, I can tell you that. As I pressed my hands together in front of my chest and “Namasted” her across the room (“hello teacher and bringer of important messages”), the meditation teacher turned his head to look right at me. “Thank you,” I thought, “I did hear and I did get the message.” We nodded at each other at the same time. He knew I knew and I knew he knew. No secrets there.

It seems to be the case so often that we don’t’ listen to life’s little messages and when things go wrong we fight instead of listening. We’re taught to fight. Our ego wants us to fight and defend ourselves. We want to compete ourselves out of it to prove how strong we are. We’re deathly afraid of losing or being hurt. It’s just that when life smacks a giant lemon into the back of your head and you don’t listen (and for fuck’s sake don’t even think about making lemonade!) then it will probably end up roundhouse kicking you in the head in the end to make you listen. If it takes getting you down on your damned knees to make you listen that’s what will happen, you will be down on your damned knees.

(Good news about it is that once you’ve fallen onto the floor and you're on your knees there’s really nowhere further to fall. You can roll around in the dirt and feel sorry for yourself if you like but the only real direction available for you to go is up.)

I got lemoned.

Julie got roundhouse kicked.

The message I got from Julie’s presence on Saturday was that the last thing I need to do is to fight. The only things I need to do is to surrender, let go, listen and, of course, meditate.

The anxiety attack was gone by the second meditation or in the second hour if you’re bothered by the lack of time reference. The teacher (what a guy – I just love him now) remarked to me at the end of the day that something had happened to me during the day. He said “You’re like a different person now. When we came back from lunch you were practically beaming. I could almost touch the change with my hands. This morning you were……something else.”

I told him about the anxiety attack and he stood there and shook his head for a while then looked at me and asked “The power of meditation?”

“Yup,” I replied, “the power of meditation – and being surrounded by loving people.” Do not underestimate the power of a loving tribe even if it’s made up of complete strangers for just a day, yeah.

It was a great day on so many levels. I was told by several people that I have this enormously loving presence, and almost motherly love and caring that I radiate. Salve for my soul and fucking feeding frenzy for my ago I tell you but I know I have no problem giving love. I have a problem receiving and loving myself.

The teacher came up to me and started a conversation with me after the workshop had ended and he said “We need to heal you. We need you to find your way back to you. Do not stop talking to me after this – I’m here to encourage you to keep meditating. You’re so close, so close. Now, what do you want to do?” That last one, a very important question, and he wasn’t asking it about meditation, he was asking it about life. The man did not spend 22 years in celibacy and meditation not learning a thing or two, apparently.

So, I need to stop fighting. I need to just sit and wait and listen. I consumer whored myself a couple of meditation pillows today. The space is already cleared in the house.

Om.

Featured Post

It's Day Something of my Radical Something-Something Project

You can't trust me. I set out on a new and shiny path and I don't follow through. I feel a little like that about my whole life a...

Popular posts