The Hard Questions

“For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind”

-2 Timothy 1:17

If we sat down an thought about it, how many of us truly like ourselves? How many of us are truly as confident as we would like to be? How many of us actually want to sit down and think about these things, or are we too ashamed of what our answers might be?

Are we ashamed that the answer that we want, and the answer that is true are different from each other? If so, why can’t we live our lives to make the answers the same? It would take some work but is that really such a bad thing? Does hard work really make it that much more of a reward, or would we really be better off taking a pill for a quick fix?

Why are we so much more accepting of someone saying we are broken and need medication to fix our pains than someone who wants us to put in a little more effort? Are we so afraid of a little work? Or is it the responsibility of it all that we find hard to swallow?

These are the questions that keep me up at night, but maybe, I’m just afraid of the answers.

Happy Thoughts Wanted

Months ago, I started looking into mindfulness. I have experienced trauma in the past and had a LOT of trouble coming to terms with it. Ten years worth of trouble coming to terms with it. Because of this trauma, I developed anxiety and depression which I have been fighting a slow but winning battle against. Mindfulness, I feel, had made that slow battle kick up into a much faster pace. Mindfulness is a form of focused meditation. Every night before bed, I sit quietly, hugging my pillow to my chest, and start to focus on my breath. I don’t change it in any way, I don’t judge it, just watch it. Eventually my mind wanders and it’s OK, our minds are made for thinking, wondering is what they do. Instead of getting upset with the wondering and telling myself that I am wrong and bad at this and other nasty self thoughts, I see where my mind wondered to because it’s important and there’s a reason it went there, and gently bring my awareness back to my breathing. The key here is letting all this happen without judging yourself for it. Accepting it and releasing it before moving on. The second bit, is noticing where your thoughts are going, because after all, thoughts are important. They are the make up of the health of your brain and they should be paid attention to. There is a distinction however. Your thoughts make up what you are but your mind makes up who you are. The thoughts in your brain are just memories that you keep coming back to, the part that is paying attention to those thoughts is who you actually are. That is why you should never judge your thoughts, never judge your memories. Use your mind to redirect your thinking away from the ones you don’t want, and toward the ones you do want. Your mind is the captain that your brain has no choice but to follow. For me, this concept is filled with so much hope because it brings credence to the “be whoever you want to be” that we were always told as children. This concept tells you how it can be done.

 

After a few months of practicing the meditation, I began to see it bleed into other areas of my life. One such instance being about a month ago, I had a bad day and my darling husband came over to cuddle with me on the couch. I began to feel better before my subconscious rudely butted in and reminded me of the awful day I had. Good feelings gone. But I caught it. I was living at the moment and noticed the shift in my attention from the now to the day I had. Instead of being caught up in that emotional back slide, I brought my awareness to how good it felt to have the love of my life come and comfort me and eagerly welcomed back my good mood. The more I noticed these emotional shifts, the easier noticing them became. I became calmer, less reactive and an all around happier person.

 

My bouts of depression have not gone away completely, however they are less debilitating. I no longer call into work because of them and my house is becoming a much cleaner place to live. I still feel the emotional pit but it is no longer quick sand. I can pull myself out. My mental health is no longer a struggle because I now have the medicine I need and I require no prescription for it. I feel free.

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Refinding My Spark

“Character can not be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can a soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

-Helen Keller

A Brief Background:

I must be the happiest I have ever been in my life, why? My house is the cleanest it has ever been! I finally feel like I am worth something and I want my house to reflect that. The more extra “for me” activities I do, the less I mind doing the things that I need to do. My husband is the main bread-winner of the family, he makes twice as much as I do and on top of that has two other businesses that he runs from home. One of which is day trading both the world market and cryptocurency. Any time he has a big win, James will come celebrate with me. Of course I am always happy for him but part of me is always green with envy at his success. For the longest time this made me feel very inadequate. James would always encourage me to find my own source of extra income, my own business if you will, but I resisted saying that between my day job and my chores at home, I just didn’t have time.

Then I heard about freelance writing. I LOVE to write! I have always been a writer but since a college professor told me that very rarely are people able to market their writing talents, I would be better off just writing for myself. My professor was an editor so I figured she would be an authority on the subject so her words cut so deeply that I felt like the creative part of my soul was ripped out. I just never felt the same about my work after that. Sure I wrote here and there, a little poetry, some journal writing, but I didn’t see the point because why write if I can’t share it with the world. I went into a creative depression and eventually quit writing.

“Some people dream of success while other people get up every morning and make it happen”

-Wayne Huizenga

Back To The Present:

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to have married the most wonderfully supportive yet pushy man I have ever met. He has always pushed me to better myself and gave me his full support in whatever I chose to do, as long as I do something. I stopped writing about the time that I met him so he never really knew me as a writer but when I brought up that I was picking it up again, he talked to me like I was going to be famous one day. He doesn’t ever say it in a way that puts pressure on me, but he talks like it’s just an inevitability. Like one day I’ll have a best seller and because of his faith in me, I want nothing more in the world than to please him and make it happen.

I started reading blogs and listening to podcasts featuring some of my favorite authors and their processes for inspiration and direction for my own goals. Once a step by step process came into place, I began to understand that all my childhood dream needed too become a reality, was someone to follow the steps so clearly laid out. So here I am now, writing and poetry to ease my soul, working on a novel with intent to publish and sharing my words with the masses and it feels right. I feel like this is who I am meant to be. My creative soul has been revived! It only took 10 years.

To The Point:

I should have never let that teacher destroy me in that way. There is a plethora of masses out there waiting in line to tell you in detail why you can’t. Their words mean nothing without your belief in them. After living this story, one thing I learned that has stuck and is branching out into all areas of my life is that not everyone is going to like you, some people are going to see your particular brand of zest and hate you for it. I decided that if they are going to put me down and dislike me, I’ll give them a reason to. I will make them hate me because they are jealous because I am making my dreams a reality in a way that they wish they could.

I am bettering myself in a way that they wish they could and I am happy. The right people will love me and support me as I will love and support them. Those who are inclined toward jealousy can come find me when they decide it’s time to take charge of their lives. When they are ready to love and support themselves and accept the love and support of others instead of hating people for bettering themselves, they can come find me. Those people are my tribe.

Speak Kindly

“Death and life are in the power of the tong, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21)

We’ve all heard it, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. In fact, don’t even think it! Dr. Caroline Leaf who is a cognitive neuroscientist has written many books on how your thoughts impact your brain health and how you talk and think matter. Her 21 day brain detox outlines how and why your thoughts shape your outlook and the health of your brain and body, not the other way around. There is an image on page 21 of her book ‘Switch On Your Brain’ that shows the illustration of a toxic thought and a healthy thought. You can see the difference because thoughts are real and have an actual affect the health of your brain and body.

Stress spikes your blood pressure, and can lead to heart disease, and diabetes. If its strong enough, a prolonged stress response can even cause autoimmune diseases! We know and believe how these negative emotions effect our health so why is it so hard to believe that positive emotions effect our health as well. According to https://psychcentral.com/blog/words-can-change-your-brain/ “a single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress ” In other words, YOU control how your genes are expressed by weather you think and say good words or toxic words. Science is taking away the excuses we all hide behind. Excuses that take away our responsibility over the health of our bodies and minds. https://www.td.org/insights/how-words-affect-our-brains says that “What we think about actually rewires our brains—for better or worse. This is true whether we are reacting to spoken words delivered by someone else, or to the inner self-talk that we hear ourselves “saying” inside our heads.” So for heaven’s sake, be nice to yourself!

“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:2

I am a hobby aerialist which for those of you who don’t know, aerial is a physically and mentally demanding sport. After a session on the silks, I am SORE. So like any good athlete, I stretch and massage out my sore muscles and I found something interesting. When I focus positively toward the muscle I am massaging or stretching, it seems to heal quicker and become stronger than when I didn’t! Positive vibes and thoughts have made me gain muscle quicker and my flexibility has improved dramatically since I started doing this. Positive words and positive intentions make a difference. When I took pole classes too, the class was a negativity free zone. Only positive and encouraging words where allowed behind the doors of my studio. On top of making most women feel more secure in an environment that exposes our least favorite part of our bodies, our midsections, this space allowed most of us to heal in one form or another.

We had this exercise where we would sit in front of the mirror and look at ourselves. Looking ourselves in the eye, as a group, we would tell ourselves “I love you and I accept you. You are an amazing human being. You are strong, you are sexy, you are beautiful. No matter what, I’m here for you and I accept you for who you are.” This exercise was one of my favorites because 90% of the time, it would stir up so much emotion in me that I would cry. It made me feel loved and accepted and worthy of that love and acceptance. Those words had a powerful effect on every woman in that room. What of words do you usually say to yourself when you look in the mirror? I’m going to bet that they aren’t very nice. Do you point out your flaws? Do you wish you looked differently? It’s no wonder we as a society have body image issues. This is the only body you have, love it for the way it is.

Challenge yourself!

This week, pay attention to the thoughts you have. Do you talk trash about people inside your head where they can’t listen? Do you trash talk yourself inside your head? For every toxic thought you have about someone else, say two nice things. For every toxic thought you have about yourself, say 3 nice things. Why? Dr. Caroline Leaf says that what you think about the most will grow. This way you will be thinking kind and healthy thoughts more often than you are thinking the toxic thoughts so healthy thoughts will grow more. The more you do this, the easier it gets and I am telling you from experience, you WILL find a happier and healthier you far sooner than you think. 😉

Me but Not

 

I hate my body

I hate how my soul is trapped inside

I hate how weak it is

How it’s never perfect

I hate the bones that protrude from my skin

I hate how often I have to rest

How I can’t do whatever I want whenever I want because of it

I hate how tired it gets

Hate how curvy its not

How people make assumptions about me because of it

I hate how It’s not what I want it to be

It’s never good enough

Never enough for everyone

Everyone wants to make it better because they don’t think it’s what I should be

I hate how my emotions make me want to curl up and be done

I hate how it’s always sick

I hate how much it cries

How much it hurts

How easily it bruises

How easily it breaks

How I’m always in pain because of it

How everyone thinks it’s me but it’s not

 

I Love my body Continue reading “Me but Not”