New progress, new companions

Life-journey-experienced-problem-solvedI began this blog to follow me through changes that I need to make in my life. I don’t know how much progress I have made but there has been some. My anxiety is more under control and I have begun some new habits that focus me.

I have enhanced my prayer life which had slipped considerably. I have added “praying in color” which is a book that my daughter gave me a few years ago and I never pursued it. This has been a wonderful thing for me. I am not in the least an artist but it if wonderful to take colored pencils and create prayers. I am doing them on black paper and enjoy creating light from darkness. I can also look back (they are in a spiral sketch book) and see who I have added to my prayers.

I do occasionally do Mandalas and love doing those. They help me when I am in crisis. For me, they consume time and I have to feel the need to do one. I have saved these also and can look back over trials and tribulations. It is helpful to see where I have been and how far I have come.

Prayer is a real way for me to “center down.” Meditation for me is also a prayer. I don’t do that enough.

encourage

Since writing this blog I have encountered so many wonderful people who have understood and encouraged my journey. I have been enriched by reading their blogs. The community is a comfortable and comforting place to be.

Thank you all.

Birth–Death

birth-and-deathBirth – death. Funny how they go together. I loved an episode of “Call the Midwife” where a grandfather to be is dying as his grandson is born. He makes a comment about the two of them passing. I really love that thought…..one generation turning life over to the next.

It is so wonderful for me to read blogs from people of all ages. I love that I can share with those just starting out in life and those who are on the other side like me. There is a wonderful continuity in that. My granddaughter is about to give birth to my first great grandchild. It feels so strange to say that. Sometimes if feels as if my life as a teenager is just a moment away. Sometimes I dream that I am back in college and it feels normal to be there.

Life is connections. My husband went to West Point and they call those who have graduated from there “The Long Grey Line.” There is this sense of a line reaching back through history and froward to the future.

We are all part of that line. Our lineage goes back in time beyond my understanding. It will go forward in time to a future I can’t even begin to imagine. We are connected. We are part of the human family. As connections die others are being born. Life prevails.

life

The middle ground

middle-groundToday I worked in the yard re-potting plants and cleaning up.  I overdid it. By the time I came in I was over-tired and over heated. I know better than this but I got going and didn’t want to stop.

It is so easy to take on more than we can manage. You say yes to one thing and then another and suddenly you are in overload. Then add to that the worries that we all carry and the things we HAVE to do and we are in serious trouble.

It is so hard to stick to the middle ground. The Greeks talked about the Golden Mean….that center place where we have done just enough. If we choose to do too little we end up with a vapid face…if we choose to much we are tired, irritable and overworked.

We face the problem that in today’s work scene many employers expect too much. Since we can be reached at almost any time on our cell phones we are seldom out of touch. We are afraid to turn the thing off because we might miss something. It’s hard to call time when a job is on the line.

balance2There is a balance and we have to try to reach it. It may not be easy but unless we do we are at risk for more anxiety and more stress. None of us need that.

Reach for that center place where peace dwells.

inspiration-peace

God’s dump truck

out_of_the_frying_pan_and_into_the_fire_by_amorous_inc-d5zf87rHave you ever felt that you move out of the frying pan into the fire? Lately I seem to be doing that. I get past one crisis and another arises. I do key into other’s problems and help if I can. At times that can be overwhelming. Sometimes I just need to back away.

Today I have a very open and honest conversation with a friend. I hope that we both came away with a positive feeling. It is in relation to my journey to discover the next place that God is calling me. We will see how it moves forward and I trust God to help me discern what is best.

I have also been with a friend whose husband is ill and has been fighting the medical system. I hope things are getting better.

As we know these kinds of interactions can push the anxiety button. Fortunately it is only hanging in the background and that is where I want to keep it. It is time to use the things I have learned about taking control.

Control is a word that can have positive or negative connotations. Being in control is where we want to be but that is not always possible. It is so difficult to turn loose. I once taught a class where I talked about putting all of our worries and aggravations in a trash bag and handing them over to God. Then we would move on. However, our inclination is to move and drag the bag with us….move and drag the bag. We can do this endlessly. We just can’t seem to turn it over and leave it there. I wonder if it is our lack of trust or maybe the feeling that we should be able to handle it.

garbage truck

No matter what is the reason we have to learn to stop dragging the bag and let the God dump truck take it away forever.

Kindness begins with ourselves

teaYesterday I talked about the importance of touch. There is another side to the idea of needing touch. It is very important that we learn to treat ourselves well. We can get some positive touch from things that we do. What do you like to do to make yourself feel better? I love smells so lighting a candle for the odor makes me happy. Slipping between clean sheets is something that I love. I love to take a walk with the dogs. A wonderful sup of tea. All these things tend to bring me down from whatever stressors are jumping on me.

While at my grandson’s wedding I was feeling stressed (weddings are always stressful for those involved) but really had no way to stop the cycle. I wanted to but I was away from home with other people and couldn’t think of a way to stop.

When I think back I realize that I could have taken five minutes to take a short walk outside and just breathe.  The way that we do nice things for ourselves is a way of giving ourselves soothing touch.

small-actsThe secondary benefit of this is that we are more ready to offer something soothing to someone else. Being kind to ourselves is a step in the direction of being kind to others. We will begin to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Kindness can start at home. Learn to take time to do something for yourself and let yourself pass it on to others.

 

Routine,good or bad?

Today was pretty routine. It made me realize how much I respond to routine. Routine keeps me calm. I don’t know how much it helps others but it is my safe place.

There is something about living with what you expect that is soothing. Surprises are really not for me. I like plans. When traveling it is hard for me to just go with the flow. The interesting thing is when pushed I end up enjoying it.

I wonder if most of us who struggle with anxiety and depression feel like this. Are we trapped into routine? Are we caught by needing to keep things the same. I hope that we can overcome this tendency enough to keep moving forward.

New day, new creation!

wallowToday is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.

Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:

 

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep.  Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.

Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!