Think too much!

Today I saw the new Mary Poppins movie and enjoyed it very much. I read the book as a child (in the deep dark past) and always loved the story. I adored the original film but found this one deeper and more profound. I know that I will watch it again in the future.

I am often caught by phrases spoken in films and in this film it was said “some people think too much.” I suspect that any of us who worry and obsess and have anxiety do this. We think too much.

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Thinking too much is definitely what we do when we worry. We lay out every scenario that can possibly take place. I explain to myself that if I encounter one of my scenarios I will be ready to face it. Usually I don’t face any of the things I envision and if I did I would probably not be prepared at all.

This obsessing is a venture into futility. It is a total waste of time, energy and, last but not least, an exercise in chaotic thinking. It leaves me anxious and exhausted.

It has been said that people who do this are smarter than the average. I don’t know if this is true but there are studies with that information. The reason given is that they can come up with more outcomes for any scenario.

A Mixed Blessing

If it is true that anxious people are smarter than the average then it is a mixed blessing. I might want to give it up for some peace.

Blessings for the new year

year1The end of another year…the beginning of a new one. What will come to us? There is no way of knowing. The best we can do is hope for the best. There is truly no way to plan but we can make sure that our attitude is positive. May each of you have a blessed new year!

Find your growing place!

complain volunteerSome people delight in complaining. They want to tell you what is wrong. They don’t want to fix it they just want to complain. Some of them are negative all the time but some are not. If you are part of a group plan there is always someone who wants to tell you why it won’t work. I hate to say it but probably the worst are church members. I think that part of the reason is that everyone who belongs think they own the whole thing. If there is one typo in the bulletin they have to point it out. Especially in some place where everyone can hear.

The hardest part about belonging to a church is that it is as imperfect as we are. I think that’s what turns some people off. The expectation is that everyone in the church will behave in a Christian way. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Church may not necessarily be important to your spiritual growth but a community of people is. If you can find a church that feels like home that is wonderful. If you can’t then at least seek our some like-minded souls who will support you on your path.

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It is very difficult to grow in your chosen faith alone. We all need people who share their stories, their struggles and their journey. Connecting with others gives us insights that we would not find on our own. That is the same kind of support that some of us find blogging. We can gain support that way if we truly exchange our formation stories and our successes and failures. However, where faith is concerned, I think some sort of physical connection helps. Not everyone benefits from a place where we experience physical touch but as humans it changes us.

Don’t ever stop seeking the place that you can grown and thrive!

 

A wider God

This morning the pastor at our church said in her sermon…spoken to God….“Let me not confine you in the narrowness of my mind.” This is a very profound statement.

Whatever your belief, if you espouse any God, this tells us where most of us want to be. We want a God who is like us. We want to create God in our image instead of the other way around. We want a God who thinks like us. We want a manageable God.

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If God is like us then God has the same bias, the same prejudice and the same belief system. Then it is easy for me to point fingers at others and scoff at their beliefs. It allows me to pick and choose what God thinks. Aren’t I amazing?

This God can occupy a nice closed box in my mind and I will only let out what I deem appropriate. However, God is tricky and sneaks out of the box in and plants ideas that I don’t want to consider. He/she is constantly challenging me and widening my mind, calling me on prejudices and making me rethink my ideas.

It is abundantly clear to me that however much I could live with God in a box that is not going to happen. And in reality it would not be something I want.

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I see a God who is infinite and intimate. I see a God whose mind I cannot comprehend. I see a God whose thoughts are so far above mine that the universe can’t contain them. Maybe this is not at all comfortable but this, for me, is God.

Life in balance

Expectations. Something that can really send usĀ  into a tail spin. It seems that there are always people expecting things of us. We can spend our whole lives trying to live up to someone’s expectations.

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Too often those expectations are not appropriate. Sometimes they are actually too low because we are thought to be damaged because of mental health issues. That prejudice can make us feel “less than” and sets us up for problems with self esteem. Labels can be so damaging.

The other side is when expectations are too high. They may not be logical or reasonable. We are set up for failure and again threatened with low self esteem.

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Challenging expectations that are too high may require discussion regarding what is appropriate. Too often anyone can find themselves pushed by overwhelming expectations. It is part of the society we live in. Sometimes it’s hard to bring it up, as for some, jobs could be on the line. The most important part is to recognize when it is not your issue but someone else’s. Don’t let the situation affect your own sense of self worth.

Somehow we need to find a path down the middle. There may not be anything that can be done about other people who give us labels. Until things change just consider the source and move on. If it is just an education problem that can be solved. Continuing to work within your own abilities solves many issues.

life in the balance

Watch out for people who want you to fail or who want to put you down. These people are toxic and need to be avoided.

We also have to be careful in setting our own expectations. Setting them too high or too low can make us feel inadequate. We have to find a reasonable path.

 

Remember you count! Your life matters too! Seek the place where you can find success and self affirmation.

Remember the good

Life can be miserable. It can be painful. The thing is it’s what we have been given. No one’s life is free from trouble. That sounds like everything is awful but it’s not. Without the pain and the bad days how would we recognize the good when it comes. Life is lived in opposites. Good/bad, up/down, here/gone. We always have these things to deal with.

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It is a quirk of human nature that we often spend time remembering the bad more than the good. The late song writer, Johnny Mercer, said it all: “we need to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.” It is so easy to remember ourselves and our emotions from the bad time. It is harder to remember the feelings of joy and euphoria. I don’t know why that is.

I can tell you stories of bad things that have happened in my past. They are vivid and come into my mind bringing sounds, smells and feeling. There are many more of those than of the wonderful moments. I have had many wonderful moments. Why are they less vivid?

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I am beginning a journey of writing down the good memories when they come to me. It may be that they are vivid but I am not paying attention. That is why I know we need to log the good things that happen each day. There is a rule in nursing that if it isn’t written it isn’t done. I think the same thing is true of the good. Writing things down helps memory and I will be logging at least one each day.

Today it is: My husband is healing well.

Remember the good!

Change?

The last 3 or 4 months I felt as is my life was on hold. It now feels different to have my husband’s surgery behind us and move forward. In some ways I have put my life on hold. I haven’t done any mediations or scheduled any appointments. Now I want to get back to my life. There will be healing time and check ups but that can be managed.

It has been strange to plan little for myself and I miss it. I look forward to what I call “a new normal.” I have discovered that life is never consistently normal. We can go along for a while and this something changes our plans and our perspective. I have decided to call this “new normal’ and not expect to get back to the old one.

change is a process

Life is constantly changing. That is one thing we can be sure of. The trick is to learn how to deal with the changes. Also it is important to know that nothing will always stay the same. When we are young we hope for change—growing up and getting to do the adult things. When we have been adults for long enough we realize that it may not be what we imagined.

As children we don’t understand that with adulthood comes increased responsibility. We are the ones who have to make decisions about life altering things and we don’t always choose the easy path. It was a lot of fun when we weren’t the responsible one.

Change is one of the stressors that can set off anxiety and depression and we do have to learn ways to manage it. Some people love change but I am not one of them. It can be hard to let go of a calm and peaceful time and move through something that is not much fun. For me, acceptance that change is inevitable is the first step and then to imagine weathering my way through the storm. Finding any good that is in the change helps and picturing what life will be like on the other side. When change hits us suddenly it is harder to get through. If we expect it we can think our way ahead and do better.

new life loading concept on blackboard

Change is a challenge we can win!