I am Worthy. I am Strong. I do Matter. I Belong. Each day we are born anew and it is what we do today that matters most. Today I will find something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to.
The statements above are part of my “enriching thoughts before m y feet hit the floor every morning” routine. (Sorry, I couldn’t come up with a better name for it.) This month marks my one year anniversary of blogging….. and I am so grateful to be able to have shared this blogging experience with all of you. I have not posted in many weeks and to be honest, my posts recently have been few and far between…..much less than I had expected to post. My past conditioning would have me quickly condemning my inadequacy and self pummeling for failing to meet my own expectations. Instead, I have learned tools that have empowered me and stopped if not reversed this earlier conditioning. I am now aware of these uncomfortable and punishing feelings and thoughts. I can observe these and allow them to pass through my conscious awareness without attaching judgement to them. The tool I use for this is to imagine or visualize these thoughts as twigs floating down a river bank…..I notice them, watch them with detachment, and allow them to pass on by. I admit that at times I do this in retrospect…..meaning I have already bought into the negative thought process and internalized the feelings associated with them before I am able to recognize the self-defeating nature of them. But this recognition is real progress for me and leaves me feeling proud to be exercising this new mental muscle.
I am actively working to stay grounded and mentally healthy amidst what feels like overwhelmingly brutal circumstances. The several surgeries I have had since the start of the year now numbers four. That seems to me more than most people have in their lifetime. Alongside of this I am enduring financial and legal challenges. My relationship with my children has become strained as they have distanced themselves from me. And as I try to plan for my future and take steps toward ultimately getting rid of social security disability and returning to the workforce…..roadblocks pop up all around and threaten to squash my efforts. I have met blatant fraud and corruption while attempting to complete an internship program, medical emergencies while trying to complete certification as a domestic violence counselor, and bizarre legal issues that just might bring my whole world to screeching halt. Sounds horrible right? I am whining. Focusing this way…… on these thoughts…..with the negative energies they carry…..does nothing to help my mind, body, and soul stay well.
So what do I do about this? I will tell you! One powerful tool I use daily is my gratitude journal. Taking a few moments every day before I even get out of bed to take note of the blessings I have really does set my attitude for the day in a positive way. Yet before I know it, my focus shifts…..old habits and patterns of thinking take hold. Even without my conscious awareness, the negative energy starts to seep back in. So the next tool I pull out is the power of nutrition. For any of you reading that have ever been caught in negative mindset, you can verify that eating right is often the very last thing in the world you care about. Rather, I would forego breakfast or be drawn to fast food…..or comfort food…..loaded with processed ingredients and chemicals and just plain garbage as opposed to nutritious. That has now changed for me as I have realized that something I care about the least is what I need to focus on the most. So I make time to prepare a green smoothie or some other nutritious morning meal even when I really don’t want to. Ah, but time again goes by and the devilish habits sneak back around. I stop. I just stop. Mid morning every day I make time to sit quietly and meditate……time to just be. Twenty minutes…..sometimes more. This brief practice allows me to refocus on my intention and more importantly my awareness…..or ability to be consciously present in the moment. Lunchtime comes ’round and I make the effort to eat this meal with mindfulness. Mindful eating is an interesting practice that leaves me feeling full and appreciative. The next tool I avail myself of is the power of connection and genuine love. By mid afternoon I resolve to have made a loving connection to at least one person and to have smiled to at least three random people. This might sound a bit silly or simple but the power it gives me is undeniable. Instead of feeling empty and unworthy, this practice allows me to feel full of love. Sometimes the connection I make is virtual…..thank you world-wide web! Isolation causes me suffering so I really try to reach out every single day. As the world around me proceeds through the evening rush hour, I take the time to exercise physically in some way. And on those days when I am hospitalized or to ill physically, I visualize my exercise routine by closing my eyes and imagining my body actually going through the motions. Modern neuroscience has given this practice validity and even if it is a ‘placebo effect’…..it works for me.
Throughout the day, I find a way to connect to nature. This truly fills me with a sense of calm and peace. If I find myself particularly perturbed then I look for a way to immerse myself in water and concentrate on dispersing my energy into the H2O. Oh, did I mention that hot flashes are ruling my days as I now enter menopause? Yep, water really helps me with that issue. Evening approaches and I enjoy my dinner and follow it with another meditation session. Leisure activities typically dominate the rest of the night until an hour before bedtime. At this point, I reflect on the events and thoughts of the past day. What works best for me in this review is to be both totally honest with myself yet gentle and forgiving. Following time contemplating my future, plans, wishes, and desires….. I prepare for a good night’s rest. In the past, this was almost impossible for me as I struggled with falling asleep, staying asleep, sleeping too much, and night terrors. Add in a few episodes of sleepwalking and you have all the ingredients you would ever need for a lousy quality of life. My solution has been to buy and old-fashioned CD player and a good set of comfy headphones and plug in to some amazing recordings. My bedtime CD collection contains relaxation tapes,binaural beats, subliminal positive messages, visualization exercises, self-hypnosis, and spiritual chants. Rotating these throughout the evenings has done something that no prescription drug ever did…..allow me to actually have some good quality sleep without negative side effects.
I still feel deep pain, sadness, and have tough days. But with the consistent implementation of all these tools, the urge to jump off my balcony and end it all for good no longer drives me. I call that the best present I could ever have!
For all beings out there suffering in the world, may you find some measure of peace and know that we are all connected and you are never alone. Happy Anniversary my WordPress family. Let’s keep on healing. Let’s keep on loving. Let’s keep on going!