We actually prefer our own stuff

I am not sure if I have written about this before but I wasn’t going to look through everything.

A while ago I went to a conference where the speaker asked everyone to write their worst problem on paper…no names….and pass it up to the front. She asked us if we would want to come up and draw out a problem that we would then be responsible for. Needless to say there we no takers.

We all consider our problems to be the worst. We have lived with them and struggled but we know them. We understand them. We really don’t want to take on someone else’s stuff.

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I guess the lesson we learn is that we each deal best with what we already have and know about. Maybe we can take heart from that.

I put off

We procrastinate. I think we all do. We put off things. Those of us who have anxiety would rather suffer being anxious than tackle the thing that is causing the problem. We would rather obsess about it and keep putting it off. This make the anxiety blossom and nothing has gotten better.

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I am better at doing things than I used to be. Somewhere along the line I discovered that doing the thing I dreaded got it our of the way and then I felt better. Sometimes the list has to be scrapped until the next day. Sometimes I fall back into the trap of putting things off and then I suffer for it.

Image result for listsOne of the things that got me started was some advice a number of years ago. The person suggested making a list of the things that needed doing and then prioritize them. You may not get to the end of the list each day but you will be able to cross some things off. Seeing those cross outs makes you feel better. It also tackle the things that I obsess about first.

It doesn’t work for everything but is does help with some things.

 

The elusive memory

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation.  Eudora Welty

Our lives move forward on a continuum. Events happen every day. Some events are memorable and some are not. I have always found it interesting the things we have stored away and can recall and the things we can’t. Our memories are selective. Our brains store information….probably everything we ever did but most of it cannot be recalled.

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I have been asked about my earliest memory. I have a memory but it is not really clear. I am standing in a crib in my mother and father’s room. That is all there is. There is no context…nothing more than that. I don’t know why I have that memory. It seems to have no significance but there it is.

Image result for memoryOf course we remember traumatic events or days of special happiness but we don’t always remember the specifics and our memories will usually not match those of others who were there.

It is also interesting how memories can be triggered by other senses. A certain smell can cause recall. I grew up in Virginia and my family had large privet hedges around the back yard. When I smell privet it brings back memories of that place.

Music can remind us of a particular time that we heard it. We also experience the feelings associated with those memories. This can be a good thing but in the case of persons who have had a trauma it can bring it all back full force. That is what happens to those with PTSD. The memory comes with all the feelings of fear and horror.

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How our brain keeps memories and which ones come to light is not fully known but more is learned each day.

 

 

 

Coping

Life can be challenging. Sometimes things become overwhelming and we feel as if we are drowning. The feeling that one more thing will put you over the edge is awful. When that happens we have to use any tools we have in our tool box to bring us back from the edge. Many ideas have been brought up in the blogs on Word Press and I have tried many of them. Some work and some don’t. The good news is that we can try different things and see what works for us.

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My granddaughter says that every school should teach Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She says that all children need to learn the skills that are taught in that program. I suspect  she is right. There are so many issues cropping up with children today that we have to change something.

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I feel that I was lucky to have learned many coping skills from my mother but I am not sure that many people have that advantage today. We are such a society of quick fix that we don’t learn to cope with anything. One of the doctors that I worked for said that what people want is to come to a drive-in window and have the doctor reach out and say “heal” and it will be done.

Coping is learned when faced with real life. If we think that nothing should ever go wrong we are much mistaken. I worry about people who have never faced up to a major problems as they have not learned how to cope.

Knit Wits

Today our Tuesday knit/crochet/whatever group decided to knit blankets for the Humane Society. We all love animals and they need all the help they can get. We feel that we get so much joy from knitting together that we can share that joy elsewhere.

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I spoke to the humane society and they are thrilled that we will do that. It is one way to pay it forward. I can’t believe the way some people treat animals.

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Of course I also can’t believe the way children/adults are treated also. I guess my comprehension of how someone must think to abuse anything/anyone is something out of my understanding. I don’t even like to step on a bug and when I can I will put them outside. Where we are we get small lizards in the house and I have been known to chase all over to catch them and get them outdoors where they can thrive. It hurts my heart (actually) to think of the abuse some people/animals suffer.

Live each day

Fear drains us. It takes away our ability to think straight and we struggle in the depths. I have always loved the quote “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” That is so true. There are times when being afraid is logical….when in danger it is appropriate. The fear that tears us apart is the fear of things we don’t know. Many people are afraid to go to the doctor because something may be found wrong. Illogical. It is crossing bridges before we get to them.

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I have done this kind of nonsense most of my life. I can picture all the horrible scenarios and play them out in my mind. Then nothing happens and all that time was wasted in worry and fear.

Somehow we need to lean to live each day as it comes. Not an easy task but one worth pursuing. The day we are in is the only one we have. Savor every moment. I have a friend who has been living with a disease that should have killed her years ago. He life is a struggle. Each day a challenge. Yet she lives each day to its very limit and doesn’t think about dying tomorrow. This is surely how to live!

Memories and emotions

Where families are involved life can treacherous. Sometimes the most innocent remark can be twisted into a major conflict. I suspect this is because there is history and much emotion involved. Often the negative reaction has nothing to do with what is going on at the moment. It is rooted somewhere in the past where the emotions are stuck.

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I have never forgotten that our emotions are tied to so many things. A piece of music from our past can have us experiencing the emotions we felt at the time. These past connections can emerge at the worst moments and skew our perception of the current experience.

Many of us have been taken straight back to our past feelings by a song, a scent, a person, or a scene. We don’t realize what is happening and our responses are not appropriate to the moment. This is doubly true for those we spent a lot of time with growing up. We are creations of our environment as well as our genes.

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It takes real strength to look inside and connect with the past so that we can disconnect ourselves from it. Most of us don’t want to relive the negative things that formed out emotional responses. It make take talking with a counselor to root out those emotions and at least understand them. Hopefully doing so will allow us to reconnect with those we have turned away from. Maybe not. Some we may not want to but there can be some that can heal connections that will change our hearts.

Burned books

Recently a college near us ran into some controversy. A novelist came to read a selection from her recent book and students protested and burned copies of the book.

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The book is:

The novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, is by Jennine Capó Crucet, ​an English professor at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, who came to the Statesboro, Ga., campus last Wednesday to read “Imagine Me Here, or How I Became a Professor,” an essay included in the novel, according to a statement from Crucet.

Make Your Home Among Strangers was selected among a list of recommended readings for freshmen as part of Georgia Southern’s first-year experience program. It is the story of a first-generation American born to Cuban immigrant parents who is accepted into an elite university and is rejected by her family as well as the white students at the college.

Students were offended  by some of her statements about white privilege and staged the protest. The school responded with statements.

Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing John Lester wrote in an email. Book burning does not align with Georgia Southern’s values, Lester told USA Today. But the university does uphold students’ rights to assert their freedom of expression, he said.

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I cannot disagree with the students right to protest. However, I was a young child about 5 years old at the end of WWII. I am sure I didn’t remember much then but as I grew older and understood Hitler’s policies I was appalled by the burning of books. The episode at the school triggered memories of burning books and banning books. This, for me, is a reminder of where things are headed when we are told what we can and cannot read.

These students were not around when books were burned to remove freedoms. They don’t have experience of thoughts being limited and controlled. I know that was not their intention but I am always anxious when I hear about books being burned.

 

Disturbance

Today I thought about the word disturbance. It struck me in two different ways.

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This is what has been happening in my home and my life. Workmen tramp in and out. Stuff is carried about and dust collects daily on anything that doesn’t move. I clean in vain. I know that this will be over soon and the house will return to normal?? ( I use that word loosely) It will be wonderful to have things stay clean longer than one day. We will have a renovated and safe bathroom. We will not fall through the shower into the depths beneath.  Hooray!

Our home will return to what I hope is:

disturbance

“Act as if”

why_holding_a_grudge_can_ruin_your_health_600xSometimes it is difficult to let go of a grudge against someone. Over time our church has had difficulties and unfortunately we (my husband and I) tend to feel some of them were because of some bad decisions on the part of someone.

We have struggled with this and know it is time to let it go. However just deciding that and actually doing it are two different things. I read something years ago that we don’t really let go until we can think about the issue without emotion

Act-as-if.

We will work on that. I like to use “act as if” to help change a pattern or habit so I will begin to “act as if” there are no feelings attached to this. Eventually it will go away.

“Act as if” works really well for lots of things. If I am feeling down I will try to act happy. Many times it works. Just setting your mind to change things can make a real difference.

Try it!