Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Working On It

I spend about 15-20 minutes a day writing. It's like a form of therapy. I write in my journal, most often. It's where I emote, express, spew, ramble, rant, let go of some of the demons that bug me, and relish in the good things that surround me. It's cathartic, relaxing, freeing, and leaves me with a sense of peace, tempered with release.

I want to share some of the personal stories of my life when I blog. This is where it's getting tricky for me. We remember what we remember the way we remember it. Our memories and their interpretation or recall is as individual as we are. Sure, there are other people in our episodes or chapters of life but their recall of a moment can be as different as we are as people.

I have been working on a couple of posting since my last. They are specific to events or a series of events in my history. I worry as I'm writing them, how they will be interpreted; will they be disputed? I've been keeping in mind as I write that it's important that my recall or storytelling be about my thoughts, experiences, and how they relate to my life today.

So, I'm working on it. I'm hoping that it will be an interesting and delightful adventure. I appreciate those who read my blog, who listen to my rambling, who support me in my endeavors...with love...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Validation – It’s A Personal Thing

Our lives are our own. We work at educating ourselves, building and nurturing relationships, fitness of body, and peace of heart and mind. We have jobs both inside and outside the home. The level of fullness of life or hard work is entirely up to us as individuals. What drives us? What determines the amount of time and brain space we give one option over the other?

I believe that validation means a lot. I don’t necessarily mean a, “Hey, way to go!” from other people. I’m talking about that sense of satisfaction and well-being that comes from within. We do things for ourselves or other people to get that feeling of a job well done, no matter how big or small. The little twinkle that might appear in our eye, that small smile on our face, that feeling of overcoming a particular episode or bad incident relatively unscathed, are examples of a little “feel good” moment we are entitled to. We give these moments as a gift to ourselves, most of the time we don’t even know it.
It is a special thing when others recognize our talents or accomplishments. When your happiness or sadness is acknowledged and supported. Most of us don’t look for this from the people around us, but when it happens it’s generally unanticipated and greatly appreciated. We enjoy, whether secretly or not, that feeling of validation. We like to know that our efforts or actions mean something to somebody, sometimes.
On the opposite end, if our feelings are hurt for one reason or another, a simple gesture of kindness is extremely healing. An offer of real sympathy or sincerity is huge. I try not to consciously hurt the feelings of those in my life, but sometimes it happens. I am working harder to recognize when it does and what I can do about it. A genuine apology or acceptance of a mistake can work wonders for you and for the person who has been hurt. Time does heal wounds, not all of them, but some of them. Reconnecting after a passage of time can help to forgive. I’m not really sure that it’s possible to ever forget.
We are self-soothers; we get hurt by some who have no idea or don’t care. We need to get over those instances ourselves and it’s a learning process. In reality, no one has control over your thoughts and feelings except you. No one can “make” you feel or do anything you don’t want to; choices are up to each of us.
The level of validation that we require is as unique and individual as each of us. We appreciate knowing that we aren’t a second thought that runs across the minds of those we care about. Remember to acknowledge or recognize the actions and accomplishments of those that we welcome into our lives. It will offer a sense of peace of mind and heart to you both…with love…

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Willing Spirit

We are probably all familiar with the old saying that begins with, “The spirit is willing…” I wasn’t really interested in the second part of the saying because, let’s face it, we all have some weakness of the body. I was more interested in our willing spirit.

Some days we have more strength and determination then others. We wake up; hit the ground running, positive, busy, and relatively happy. On other days, we wake up tired, cranky, irritated, and slow moving. It doesn’t mean that our spirit isn’t willing. It’s always there and willing to do what we want to.
We make sacrifices for ourselves and our loved ones. We work toward goals and enjoy our accomplishments. It’s relatively simple; we have the right to choose what we do, when we want to. It’s important that you do whatever strikes your fancy, as long as you aren’t hurting anyone in the process.

I was watching an old episode of “Friends” the other day. I can watch an episode over and over again; those crazy kids at the coffee house are amusing to me. This one in particular was about a book the girls were reading about other people, “stealing their wind.” I interpreted this as wind = power of spirit.  In the end, they discovered that they were the mistresses of their own destiny; no one can take your wind.

Who has the power of you and your spirit? You do. You have the gift of a willing spirit and the direction you take is completely up to you. You might have to shift direction depending on life and living, but which way you go is your choice. It’s OK to put the focus on you and your life.

If you aren’t happy with your choices, if you aren’t willing to make the ones that are right for you, you are sacrificing a part of yourself that you cannot afford to lose. Use your spirit wisely, it’s part of your core and should be cherished and protected…with love…

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fight Or Flight – That IS The Question

For those who are diagnosed with panic and anxiety disorder, this is a question or term that I am sure that you are familiar with. When you are about to have a full-blown panic attack, everything in your mind and body has the urge to run as fast as you possibly can away from the certain danger that is upon you. In most cases, the danger is perceived, but when you are “in the moment,” there is nothing that will convince you that something terrible isn’t about to happen.

I became familiar with this disorder 15 years ago. There was a trigger; I lost my best friend to cancer. This was my first “peer” death experience, way too soon, way too young. How could this be? Why did this happen? Most importantly, why didn’t I stop it? Yes, I really believed that I had the power to prevent this from happening to her. I believed that I didn’t do enough; I wasn’t a good enough friend – what the hell was wrong with me?

Then it started; numerous trips to the emergency room with stuff that was happening to me – stroke, heart attack, you name it, I had to have it. On one trip, I felt a tingling that started at the top of my head and was traveling slowly down my face. I was certain that my face was becoming paralyzed. I was convinced that I was not going to make it to the hospital in time, to tell someone what was happening so that they could save me. Surprisingly, to me anyway, when they did all the tests, they came back normal. When they gave me a shot of Valium or Ativan, the terror was gone. It was suggested to me just about every time, that I should seek counseling for panic, anxiety and depression. Perhaps some medication for this was in order. What? No way, I was too smart for that! They HAD to be missing something; I was being treated by a bunch of quacks!

After thousands of dollars in hospital tests, for just about every possible affliction known to the medical community, I faced the facts. I was carrying around a lot of baggage and it was time to let it go, if I could. I couldn’t run away from my problems, especially the loss that I was feeling. I had to face my fears; running wasn’t an option any longer. There was nowhere to run. It was the fear of losing my own life that taught me to fight for it, rather than run. I found myself a therapist, took some medication, and learned proper breathing techniques to make sure there is plenty of oxygen in my blood stream. These are the steps that I use to deal with episodes of panic and anxiety. It's not easy, but easier.

My life is a constant learning experience to teach me the importance of why I’m here. Things haven’t been easy; there have been losses and lessons that have been difficult to learn. But they have been tempered with such growth and happiness that I realize should be at the forefront. It’s taken some time, but I am getting it.

Living should be celebrated. There are times that are hard and times that are truly wonderful.  I believe that there have been instances where the hardships have been self-inflicted and it’s time to stop. It’s important to take care of your mental health, as well as your physical health. Choose your battles wisely; you and your life are always worth it…with love…

Monday, January 9, 2012

Give Yourself A Break

The process of daily living is a challenge, both positively and negatively.  We go about our business with specific intent or on auto-pilot, depending on the day. I think that most of us have a mental agenda that we work to follow, that can be either long or short, depending on the day. The agenda can have lots of bullet points on it or none at all, just random little blips that pass through the brain to remind us of our “stuff.” Some days, the flow is free and easy; others are overwhelming and stressful.
What happens if you don’t complete everything on your mental agenda? I mean, what REALLY happens? In my world, what happens is that I tend to beat myself up, especially when I put too much on my personal plate. I get frustrated that I don’t get everything done; it has an effect on every sense of my being, mentally and physically. Will the world end? NO! Can problems be solved, appointments rescheduled, plans changed? Of course they can! Will feelings get hurt, people disappointed? Sure, but if our relationships are built on love, strength, trust, and understanding, these will be mended too. Stuff  happens, that’s the fact, it’s hard for some of us to accept, but in the end, we do. It time for me to stop the mental beatdown.
I’m working on giving myself a break; let myself off the proverbial hook. I’m trying to not put so much on my plate that I can’t get what I really want to accomplished. It’s time to take things one at a time and enjoy the life I am grateful to be living. The fact that I wake up in the morning is a step in the right direction; I need to be thankful and move on. Things will get done, all in good and appropriate time.
Give yourself a break. I think that you’ll find that your tasks will get done; your blips will be taken care of either by you or on their own. Try to live with a little less pressure and a little more peace of mind and heart. It’s what you really deserve…with love…

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Day Of Rest

I have relished the time I have spent writing since the new year began. Whether I am posting in my blog or writing in my journal, it has offered a personal detour on my life journey.

Mending fences, opening lines of communication, taking care of myself are goals that I have set going forward. I have every confidence that I will accomplish them.

I am going to start writing stories of my life experiences, interspersed with postings of health and well-being. I think this will lend some insight to who I am, how I got to be where I'm at, and remind me of lessons learned.

For today though, a brief posting. A little taste of things to come. Try to rest and relax today, you deserve it...with love.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Making The Effort

There are days, albeit few and far between, that I do what I feel like. Sleep late, stay in my jams, watch TV or movies, eat whatever strikes my fancy, take naps, paint my nails, read, have some wine, no phone calls, don't leave the house, just spend the entire day chilling out. It's a day with no pressure, flying by the seat of my pants, so to speak. I make the effort to have these days every once in a while. They restart my engine, a "me" day to regroup. I have a busy life that I love and appreciate, but a chill day is just what the doctor ordered, Doctor Jude, that is!

I have a great job. I'm not just saying that I have a great job; I understand completely that I am lucky to have a job in this economy. I work in a field that I find interesting - publishing, and every day is a learning experience. I am a customer care manager with a team of employees that are hard-working and dedicated. The co-workers outside my department are intelligent, talented people who work well with each other. I make the effort to assist every customer in a positive, proactive manner and expect my team to do the same. In addition to earning my paycheck, I am in a primarily positive position that takes effort to maintain. It's worth it.

I have wonderful people in my life. We talk on the phone, chat on Facebook, send e-mails, get together for a meal or night out, whatever it takes to maintain our relationship. It takes effort to make that call, click the "like" button and comment, send the e-mails, make the plans. There are those that profess loneliness, boredom or stagnation. It's time to make the effort to snap out of it, reach out, make a plan, talk about it. Do something if you are indeed frustrated, bored or lonely; no one can do it for you. You'd probably be surprised at the results.

There are friends of mine that are dedicated to causes with a passion and determination that I admire. They work hard to assist those who don't have the power to do it for themselves. They make a tremendous effort to change wrongs to rights for what they believe in.

It's time to make more of an effort for what YOU want or believe in. I know that we are all working hard to direct our lives in a way that is good for us. I am also aware that we make effort to do things for ourselves and others all the time. Maybe it's time to step it up a bit, if you want to. You have the power to make the time, to strengthen the relationships, to continue to build a life that is good for you. You could be perfectly content with your life or situation as you are right now - that's a great accomplishment.

I am optimistic that my efforts will make me stronger, assist the growth and nurturing of my relationships, and increase my desire for peace of mind and heart. Making the effort - what a concept...with love...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lay Down Your Pain

I have spent the last 18 hours in a state of anger and frustration. It happens to the best of us; things don’t go our way, people around us don’t seem to be cooperating, and everything feels wrong and aggravating. I really hate spending brain power or energy on the negativity, but I can’t help it – or can I?
Let’s just say that life has been challenging for me for a while. Not only medically, but occasionally in my professional life, most definitely in my personal life. One of the challenges that I have decided to face going forward is to release the things that I cannot change and embrace the things that I can. I don’t know why, but I’m in shock and awe at the effort that it takes!
It’s becoming a painful process that causes me to worry. Will I make it through? Will I get to the other side of this process? The side where things get better and that I can live my life with less aggravation, irritation, pain and stress? With determination and perseverance, I am hopeful that my life might become a little easier and more fluid with time.
What can I do about it now? I can start by not taking things too personally.  I don’t have control of what those in my life say or do, I only have control of my reactiveness. I will work hard to face obstacles with a sense of calm. I will try to take a deep breath, if time allows, and make a decision that is good for me. I am entitled to have an opinion about what others say or do, but I don’t have to share them. I will mind the business of my own life; there is enough on my plate without micro-managing. I will continue to support and love my friends and family with genuine warmth and compassion. But it’s important to do it in a manner that doesn’t hurt me or anyone else in the process.
Life shouldn’t have to be as painful as it is at times. Unfortunately, there will be occasions where it can’t be helped. Fortunately, there will also be occasions where you will have the opportunity to take it on or not. It’s time to let go of the anger, frustration, and unhappiness. To lay down the pain, let it rest and take time to rejuvenate your strength. Be diligent in the awareness of what you are willing to give of yourself. You can’t be good to others unless you are good to you. This is not selfishness, but self-preservation…with love…

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Written Word Versus The Spoken Word

I have been writing a lot about my passion for the written word. I am a lover of reading, so writing seems a natural progression to me. I appreciate the English language and I will admit that misspelled words make my brain hurt. I know that sounds a little nutty, but it is what it is. I was able to read and spell at an early age, thanks to my Corporal Grandfather Buckley drilling it into my head. At the time, I didn't appreciate it, but with maturity I have embraced it.

When you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, you expect the person reading to absorb and interpret. When the reader knows you and they read what you write, the interpretation becomes a little more personal. Now that can be a good thing or a bad thing. I write from my experiences and from my heart. I want to weed through the bad and embrace the good. I am always hopeful that those desires come through in my writing.

Speaking to each other is always the better choice. If it's on the phone, tone, inflection, and volume are taken in along with the words said. We pay closer attention to what we say and what we hear. Having a "face time" conversation is best, in my humble opinion. While tone, inflection, and volume are taken into the conversation at a higher level, the look in the eyes, the expression on the face, makes the words spoken more crystal clear.

I have decided lately that I am not a fan of texting. I appreciate it for situations where it's not possible for me to have a conversation, but in general it feels impersonal to me, not real talking. It seems like the art of conversation is getting lost somehow. Trying to have a "conversation" via text is frustrating to me. You attempt to sum up something relatively important in a limited number of characters. I find it exhausting and I am giving up having text conversations. Text me if you are going to be late. Text me a phone number that's better to call on or that you have time to talk. Text me if you want to get together and have some face time with me. I have a tremendous fear that future generations will not be able to spell at all and have giant mutated thumbs from texting!

I have a large amount of love and respect for the written word, but the spoken word is more honest, truthful, and appreciated. Pick up the phone and have a conversation. Better yet, pick up the phone to make plans to have some face time. Having a lovely, lengthy conversation with someone you care about and that cares about you is always the better communication choice...make it a habit...with love...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finding Your Message

Last night, after a busy day, I was half-listening to the television. In the midst of the usual blah, blah, blathering, I heard this statement: "If you don't write it, no one is ever going to read it." Something in my head snapped, like it was a personal message to me. That my new determination to reach my potential doing something that I love is a good thing. Writing is my passion; I believe it's meant to be shared.

I have stories to tell from my past that define and shape who I am. I have stuff that goes in my life right now that covers of a plethora of things - humor, irony, sadness, growth, you name it, it makes for a great story. I am planning and setting goals for the future; I am gathering information and ideas. I am staying flexible, yet focused and purposeful.

I am detail-oriented. I tell stories like I want you to be there. It's like if I miss the smallest little thing or detail, you might not "get" it. I'm learning to condense when I speak - there are several people in my life who will probably appreciate that very much.

We all have something inside us to share. A talent or quality that is meant to teach, inspire, or guide us and those in our lives. I had recently decided, with the help of some very smart influences in my life, that writing more often will be healing and help me grow as a person. Publicly or privately, I will be able to let go of the baggage and hang on to what is meaningful. Sharing thoughts and words, telling stories and listening to them, can have a profound or simple influence on what you do for you.

Your personal message is out there; maybe you have heard it before, but weren't really listening. Find your message, the reason or reasons that will improve how you feel about yourself and your life. It's out there, you might find it where you least expect it, but it's there if you look for it...with love...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Peace Of Mind

There are days my mind is like a swirling, whirling drain, spinning with so much thought and information that it is a little overwhelming. I think about what has happened, I'm thinking about what is going on right now and I am trying to plan or map out what's coming. I get exhausted and can't seem to see the forest for the trees. It's maddening.

When I write, I talk about finding peace of mind and heart. I talk about looking for the good in yourself and others. I encourage those around me who read or hear my words to think positively, work hard, but don't get hurt. It's time for me to follow my own advice.

I find writing cathartic, cleansing, a release. A way to express myself and to get some of the thoughts and information that I take in, out. When I don't write, it's when I'm in that "shut down" mode. It's hard to get out of that funk, so I am going to work a little harder not to get in it.

I am trying to write or journal every day, just a little, 5 or 10 minutes, to remember the good and the bad. It is a good habit for me to have. I express myself either publicly or privately to release some of the energy, to let go of some of the anger, to share the good. Look for the release for yourself. Express your feelings with words, music, whatever it is that will help you reflect on what has happened, but also allows you to enjoy today and move forward, onward and upward to the future.

It's time for peace of mind and heart. To rediscover the core of my being, to truly live in the moment. I have been reminded lately of how short life is. It's time to live in the present because it's a gift. Time to concentrate on me, not selfish, but self-preserving. It's important to remember that you are special and purposeful, your influence can have a profound impact on people and events, even when you aren't trying.

We are all deserving of good health, well being and peace of mind. Look for it, find it and hang on to it...with love...

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sometimes, What Seems Hokey, Really Works!

I'm coming up on 2 years since my heart "event." Time seems to be flying by. 2011 was a year of real ups and downs, both physically and mentally, for me personally. I have reviewed everything that has passed in my life during 2011. I am hanging on to what real lessons I've learned and filing the rest away.

I am working on letting go of the stress and pressure that seems to be a constant in my life. I don't like how I allow fear to influence some of my decision making. The string has gotten so thin, ready to snap. Work, family, friends, the environment, society, the economy, moving, thinking faster and faster - we all are. Somethings got to give, but what? Putting things in perspective, especially when you're in the moment, seems to be the hard part. What can you do?

I've read books, talked with friends,  been to counseling, gone to support group meetings, relaxation breathing, listen to music, tapes, DVDs, searched the internet, you name it. It seemed overwhelming and a little...hokey.

I was having a particularly, pressure-filled evening yesterday and starting thinking about really implementing a process to release some of the problems or stress in my life. I remembered a tape that I listened to, that was for relaxation, while I was driving to work about a year ago. Not exactly what the instructions said to do, but, hey, I was listening to it wasn't I?

So, a couple of really deep breaths, and use your imagination. I was walking down a path next to a really clean stream. The leaves on the trees were turning fall colors. It was sunny, but cool, like a great fall day. As I walked, leaves were falling and floating down the water, around a bend that never seemed to get closer as I walked. Those leaves were my worries, things that I can't change, floating down that crisp, clean, clear water, around the bend, out of sight. I have to say that after a few minutes, my mind felt sharp, crisp, clean, ready to take one step at a time. To let go of things that I can't control, that weigh me down. I slept like a baby and woke up feeling rested and positive.

Find something to relieve your worried mind. Work on making sure that your health and well-being are in the forefront of your life every day. Challenge yourself to remember the things we have to look forward to. That's the direction we are going in - forward. The next year will bring so many positive things to my life and yours. Look for the positive, find a way to eliminate the negative...with love...