It’s the start of another Wednesday – exercise class and write it day. It’s good to have a schedule, a routine. It helps to keep me on track. I should schedule a clean house day, too. I remember I had to dust on Saturdays when I was a kid. It worked then. It will work again. What a great way to start the day, getting ideas and finding solutions. I hate the feeling of being stuck, of no movement and nowhere to go first thing in the morning.
I love waking up early especially now when it’s already light by 6 o’clock. I saw 2 people out walking already at 6:30. Clearly they’re disciplined early birds. I’m up but I like to lull around. I did my meditation this morning but I was not in the present moment at all. My mind went wandering as soon as I turned on my usual recording. I tried to bring my attention back again and again. It was no small feat and I was not very successful. That’s how it was and that’s how it is with life. We try. We succeed or lose or don’t lose or gain. We try again and again. It’s call living. Nothing is static, not even when we think we are. The things around us change. They don’t wait till we’re ready.
I guess this is my self/pep talk to keep me moving, present and on track. My days are like my paintings. The outcome depends on how much effort I put in. Even then the results are different from day to day. I don’t come with a ton of energy. I am slow as molasses in winter. I can only handle so much – people and activity. Needless to say, I don’t have a load of friends. I am not a party goer. I don’t accomplish a lot in a day. I did a little grocery shopping for my mom this afternoon. It came to only $45.00 and I’m pooped. Everything takes a lot of effort. One thing I can say for myself is that I do make the effort – every day. No matter the size, any effort is no small feat for me. I tread water a lot.
One of my problems is that I have to get to the root of everything. I’m obsessive about it. I dig and dig, trying to get to the heart of the matter. Sometimes it does me in. I’m worse off. There’s such a thing as knowing too much. I go into overwhelm. Another problem is it takes a long time for me to overcome an every day illness like a cold. These two are not a good combination. It comes as a no surprise now that it’s a huge battle for me. They take away much of my time and energy. Quite often I feel I’m robbed of huge chunks of life.
I see some of the error of my ways. I don’t have to get to the root of everything. They will be revealed to me in time. AND I do have a lot of knowledge already. I have to accept how my body heals. I cannot hurry it along. It goes into more stress and I into more distress. Everything gets worse and I go beserk. Not a good scenerio. Now I have learned to chill, just be in my usual mode of moping along, laying in the sun, sipping my tea, watching my navel, do a little of this, a little of that, and not trying to get anywhere. In essence, be the tortoise.
On the other hand, it is always good to rise to the challenge. I should not so readily accept my bodily’s inability or my mind’s disability without question. I should at least give it a good go without pushing too hard. There’s the rub, to have good judgement and to have balance. Upon rising in the morning, I drink my little cup of hot water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. I meditate to the voice of Mark Williams on Youtube. Then I listen/watch something educational and uplifting. This morning it was a lecture on Immunology 101 from the University of California. I have a passion for learning. I just need to keep in mind not to pursue it to the nth degree AND to put the knowledge into practice.
I’m coming out of my body and mind funk. The other night I gave up fretting, took a pain killer, laid on the couch and watched two episodes of Grace and Frankie. Comedy can be healing. Then I popped a sleeping pill and went to bed. Uninterrupted sleep is very healing. I’m not advocating medication but sometimes it is what I need to get over the hurdles. When all else fails, it is how I get over my over obsessive mind so that I can heal. Now that I’m unchained, I’m in a better place. I’m soaking up the sun in my space, tapping out my melody. Meanwhile it is cold out, baby. I don’t feel it, only the warm healing sun though the windows.
It’s hard to find that great opening line whether it’s to greet a stranger or to start a blog post. I’m happy to say that I’m feeling more like my normal self, though normal is up for debate. I feel as if I’ve had a psychotic episode. It’s like that after each encounter with my difficult neighbour. The time before this was 3 years ago. I’ve slipped in that she tricks me into engaging with her. I pay for it whenever I do that. There are no two sides. There is only one – hers. I’ve had to relearn my lesson over again. I am not 100% fool proof. This video is a great reminder for me.
In the same way, Pema Chodron is a great teacher. She shows up when I most need to hear her gentle powerful words. I’m reminded to look at things in a different way. I remember a photography class where our instructor told us, Don’t forget to look behind you as well to get a different view. Now I’m trying to reframe how I see my troublemaker neighbour as an opportunity – to develop patience. The incidence has shown me the benefits of my sitting meditation practice. I’ve been faithfully doing 20 minutes every morning for the last couple of months. Though I have been stressed and distraught, I have had less negative physical and mental impact on me this time around. I can testify that I’ve been tested and tried. Meditation, being mindful is good for me. So, onward and forward ho!
I’m on a 7 hour countdown with WordPress. I’ve decided to end my personal plan and go back to the free one. Nothing much changes except I’m not paying now. My handle is still athousandandtwo with a .wordpress added after and before the .com. Of course my media storage space is cut back to 3GB from 6. I wasn’t using much of the extra space these 2 years that I’ve had the plan. So what’s the point?
I know, a picture is worth a thousand words and they do speak to me. There’s whole conversations in a photo. Not everyone can hear them though. Words can speak just as well if not louder. I’m making a choice now. I’m choosing the written word. It’s not as if I’m giving up the whole picture. I still have 3 GBs of them at my disposal. But perhaps now that I have chosen the word, I can work on getting one thousand of them. It’s a worthy goal.
I can see the benefits of reaching beyond myself. It will boost my self esteem to prove that I’m not just a one or two liner girl. I can write more than just Hallmark greeting cards. That’s nothing to sneeze at either, if I can sell them. Secondly, working on more words could help slow down and organize my attention deficit brain. Having the goal would give me purpose in coming to this space. I’ve been mostly sighing and whining about this and that. Who wants to listen to that? I tire and bore myself.
So now I’m down to 5 hours before I’m booted back to the not so professional version of WordPress. My words will stay the same. I still give them equal and careful thought before hitting the PUBLISH button. My proof reading is not superb. Having an attention deficit brain, my eyes run ahead before the words can register. My thoughts skip all over the place, too. I work on pulling eyes and attention back to this page, to this moment, to this purpose.
I’ve been sitting every morning in meditation with Mark Williams on Youtube. I’ve been doing it since July. Sometimes I hear myself thinking with his British accent ..”and if you should find yourself…” It works. When I do find myself wondering off, I bring myself back to the breath, to the moment. Deliberate practice does make for better. It’s enough to encourage me to continue my practice. My moods and thoughts are getting healthier. Whenever I find my thoughts veering off in the wrong direction, I try to picture them as clouds passing in the sky. I let go of the emotions they stir in me though I do feel the resistence. I tell myself it is the right thing to do. I send them back into the clouds passing in the sky. I feel the turnaround, the resistence melting away, the letting go of bad thoughts and feelings.
Now, WordPress tells me I have 4 hours left. I can still renew by paying. No, I’m keeping it simple and free. Hopefully I will still be here, in this my special tapping space.
End of July. End of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. This is my last post for it. It is after 4:30 in the afternoon. I’m sitting in the kitchen. There’s a nice cool draft from the two opened windows. I was relaxed but not anymore. Intrusive thoughts, phone calls, Sheba panting at my feet and the sound of traffic through the window. I’m feeling annoyed. I do my 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
Not much better. I lose count of my counting. Sheba is whining at me. The traffic is still so loud and distracting. We head outside. I kick Sheba off the deck with a rawhide chew. It is warm but not too bad. I can hear Sheba chewing her rawhide. At least one of us is settled. I do another round of 4-7-8 breathing. I listen to the traffic. I listen to the kids play at the daycare one house over. I don’t wish or fight for quiet. I accept what is.
I’m a slow learner in life but I can still learn. This month has been all about learning the things that will make life easier for myself. I’ve been doing the same things over and over, expecting different results. I hadn’t known before that was what I was doing. I really worked on being mindful and seeing things objectively. It has changed how I see and think. It has removed the personal and emotional from many situations. For the first time, I see many things as they really are.
I was very proud of myself earlier in the day. I felt intrusive thoughts working their way into my mind. I saw what they were. I willingly and easily changed my thoughts. I felt smug about it, thinking I’m some kind of saint. But then, later, they came again. I took them personally and emotionally. I became irritated and annoyed with myself. So here I sit now, telling you about it. I think I must accept all my feelings, the good and bad. Otherwise, the bad will cause self-hatred. And no one is a saint.
Now it is almost 8 in the evening. I’m trying to finish my thoughts. July has been a good month. The weather has been volatile, changing day to day and within the day. Maybe we need that to remind us how precious our earth is. It reminds me how precious life is. It is not to be taken for granted. I have to take care and tend to it like my garden. The month and the challenge is over, but I will still come to this space to sort out the weeds in my thoughts. I will continue to learn and discern what is nurturing from what is noxious.
I generally like my eggs easy over. When I do just one egg for breakfast, there’s nothing to sopped up the yolk with. A runny yolk after a couple of weeks is not tasting delish even with hemp hearts and chia seeds. I try to think of something different and equivalent for a change. I could find none. It is a perfect little meal in itself. I could get through my aerobics class without a sugar low. Since I’m this far in without a carb in the morning, I want to finish the month. So, I requested to have the yolk broken and fried. Perfect! I added half an avocado. A perfect combination in taste and texture.
What is the result of my dietary efforts thus far? I’ve decided that I would not step on the scale as a measurement of success or failure. Rather I would focus on observation, how I feel and how my clothes fit. 17 days into the Ultimate Blog Challenge and changing my diet, there are definite changes. They were minute at first but they are getting more dramatic. Maybe I am just losing fluids but it is encouraging enough to keep on. I am feeling slimmer along my neck with a lesser double chin. My belly is not so bloated and bulging. My arms don’t feel as chunky and my fingers don’t look like sausages. I can bend and flex them better. They don’t ache as much.
Aside from cutting out the toast in the morning, I am eating kimchi with lunch and supper. After buying the first jar, I am making my own, experimenting with different recipes. I think it is helping with the bloating. It’s suppose to promote good gut health. I am super delighted with my results. I am encouraged to be more conscious with what and how I eat. I try to remember to taste and feel the texture of the food I am chewing. Being mindful, I realize I do not need as much food as I had thought. I often eat out of fear of being hungry.
I need to learn how to apply my energy and success here to work with my paper clutter. Yesterday was not a good day for it at all. I did recognize when my head’s all heavy and clouded up like the sky, not to fight it. Those are the times to just do what I can and to laugh at my mistakes, try to relax and read a good book. Tomorrow will be another day.
It’s a perfect afternoon sitting in my outdoor space. Warm but not too hot. The birds are chirping behind me in the cedars. The traffic whooshing by in the background. Sheba’s asleep on the deck floor. I’m facing a blank screen. It’s the 9th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. What shall I talk about today?
Pardon me but I have to get up, stretch and shake out my legs. It will give me a chance to do my breathing exercise. Maybe movement and more oxygen to the brain will loosen and free up my creativity. This writing challenge is holding me accountable to my words. It’s been a week of an egg with no toast in the morning for breakfast. I decorate it alternately with hemp and chia seeds. I prefer the hemp. It has a pleasant nutty taste. The chia is rather seedy and snappy, getting into the teeth. I haven’t stepped on the scale nor plan to. I’ve been rewarded with less jowls. That’s my measuring stick.
Now I have to work on my other nemesis. It’s no secret that I hate paying bills and paperwork. They send my brain into a frenzy. Seeing that my credit card bills are due today, I had to sit down and deal with them and other crap this morning. The bills are paid, insurances and car plate updated. The paper pile remains on my desk. There’s only so much my brain can handle at one go. But I must follow up tomorrow with sorting and filing. There’s also a couple of things I need to send in the mail.
That very thought unsettled me. I had to get up and make a black decaf and eat a couple of chocolate covered almonds. It stayed at only 2. What will power, eh? I will work hard at avoiding unpleasant tasks. I will approach my bill paying and paperwork like my after-lunch dishes – mindfully. In the end, it will not be dreaded.
It’s the Fourth of July. Happy Indepence Day to my American friends and relatives! It’s also the 4th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge where I have commited to show up every day to write a post. It’s too early for me to crow about my success but so far, so good. It was a challenge yesterday to have the inspiration, the content and the fluidity to satisfy myself. I was left feeling dissatisfied and a bit down in the mouth. Then I received a very nice and kind comment from Bing, a content writer and blogger. I am buoyed again.
Breakfast is ate, the kitchen and dining room floors are vacummed. I am here to start my words. It is good to have a routine, a few rituals before I sit myself before the keyboard. A few ideas are percolating in my head while little bits of housework are done. A win win activity. Life works best for me in little bites and blocks. I cannot handle the whole enchilada. I am envious of those who can. I am a small splash in my little pond.
I am inspired and motivated by Karen Sammer, a health coach and fellow blogger on the Challenge to lose 10 pounds. I am sure I would feel better for it. I am not a big person with a lot of weight to lose, but I feel every extra pound because of my height. It has nowhere to go except horizontally. Though I do attend an aerobics class three times a week and walk the dog daily, it is not enough. I need to do more. I need to be mindful of the way I eat. So many things to be mindful of!
It goes to show of how not in the moment I am. It is true that I worry excessively of things not done or mistakes I’ve made. I ponder too much on options and make no decisions at all. I let things decide themselves or others do for me. Today is another wake up moment. I can start with the food I eat. I haven’t done this exercise in mindfulness, thinking it is not a big deal. It is a big deal, to chew and taste the food in my mouth – the flavour and texture before swallowing. After all, I am not Sheba, who wolfs down her kibbles before I had a chance to stand up and turn around.
Just practicing it at breakfast and lunch, I feel more relaxed, losing this sense of rushing. I have time to chew, taste and enjoy. Meals are a time to rejoice and give thanks for the food on our plates. For this month I will give up my toast at breakfast. I will have one fried egg with hemp seeds and a piece of fruit. It’s good so far these 2 days. I’ve experienced no sugar lows before lunch, even on an exercise class morning. For my other meals, I will cut down my portion sizes. I’ve been adding ferments for gut health. I will allow myself a bit of snacking. Being too strict and limiting will cause me to obsesse too much on things I can’t have. I know that about myself.
Now I have a plan. I am pumped again. To tomorrow and the food on our plates!
Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.
I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations. I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them. I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.
This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes As an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.
And the winds continue to blow. I feel its howl in my bones. I’m caught back in the space of restless anxiety. Have you ever been there? It’s not a restful place. I’m here tapping on my keyboard on this 25th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I hope the rhymthic tapping can soothe and smooth me. If nothing else, I will have a blog post. I am a little displeased with myself for having fallen into this nervous trap – again. I feel like Alice plunging down the rabbit hole. But it is really not my fault. It is my brain and nervous system. I am built this way. I can’t help it.
I breathe and think loving kindness towards myself. May I be safe. May I be calm. May I be peaceful. May I be loved. I imagine the wind whispering all these to me. I picture a kind smile on its face. I feel the wind wrapping me in its warm embrace. I am stroked and loved. I am safe. I can let go of the tightness in my limbs. I can let go of my breath. I will not fall. I feel the sun coming out to smile down on me.
All is well. The world is as it should be. There is nothing I can/need to change except what is within me. When I change, everything changes also. I am that pebble thrown in the ocean. Gee, I have more power than I realize. What a Eureka moment! I am not immobilized by my fear. I am moving my fingers across the keyboard. The fear is a catalyst for opening my senses to new ways of seeing, feeling and thinking. I will survive this after all. Hallelujah, Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
So now it is evening. I have survived another day. And none the worse for wear, I might add. I got lost again, led astray by Mrs. Google Maps. Lost is my usual state of being. I drove around and around. I was a little frazzled and late for my appointment. People are kind. Women are not good with directions. I am not good with directions. Nobody was mad. We all had a chuckle. Life is mellow again.