Stay with what works!

hit on headToday has been one of those day where you could say “I shudda stayed in bed!” I doubt it would have helped. I have been doing so well and just chugging along in spite of the total chaos of my life at this point. Well, as you might imagine, that didn’t last. Again struck down by am episode of IBSD. Just when I think I have it all under control….WHAM!

Of course the problem is that I haven’t been doing anything I should. My diet has been awful, no meditation, insomnia, and whatever else can mess up. Today I went over the edge and realized this has to stop. When you are afraid to go anywhere because of IBSD it is time to rethink.

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So, back to real food, a good schedule, meditating and being sure to keep as much as possible stable and ignore the rest. It is amazing how easy it is to let all the things learned about keeping stable go right out the door.

It’s terrible when you know how to stay well and you just let it go. Life is always better when we do the things we should.

Stay on the right path and keep going!

Focus on now!

I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”

I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.

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We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.

We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.

We can change the ending. Believe it!

 

Was the 50’s easier?

While riding the car I listen to 50″s on Five on Sirius Radio. I know, I know….so old. But something struck me. So many of the songs talk about a lifestyle no longer around. In many ways it is sad. I don’t know if people have real fun anymore.

Things were so much simpler. We had sock hops in the gym and had fun dancing without drugs and flashing lights. We had costume dances around Halloween and prizes for the best costumes…..designed and created by us! NOT bought or rented. Half the fun was thinking up a costume and doing it yourself.

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We had hay rides in the fall behind horses on a farm that did that and sleigh rides. We met at the drive-in restaurant and hopped from car to car seeing all our friends. We got together and played games. We had pajama parties and we didn’t look like the girls in Grease.

We communicated by phone with most of us having only one in the house. Some of us had cars…usually old rattle traps that didn’t run well.  Alcohol was king but not overdone where I grew up. Sure, girls got pregnant and had to quite school but again not many.

We had to go to the library for information and my friends and I loved reading books. TV was watched but the shows were limited so we didn’t spend lots of time watching. We loved to go to the movies with out friends.

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There seemed to be less stress on us than on teens today. There was little bullying, no school shootings, little drug use. In some ways I think things were almost black and white like the movie Pleasantville. There weren’t so many grey areas and so many bad things for us to see and hear. In spite of the fact that we may not have been as “free” as today our lives were easier over all.

So what changed? Women’s lib, birth control pills opened up a sexual revolution, the internet, cell phones, media of all kinds, parents both working. Kids today have so much in front of them. So many ways to head down the wrong path. It almost seems that with so much on offer the simple pleasures are lost. I don’t envy them.

Caveat: this was the life of a girl from a middle class family living outside of Washington, DC.

The Nine Phases of Adultery/oops Adulthood

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With thanks to Mitch Teemley        https://mitchteemley.com/2018/09/24/the-phases-of-adulthood/

A spoof on adulthood with apologies to William Shakespeare

 

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man/woman in his/her time plays many parts,

His acts being nine ages.

At first the arrogant know it all of the 20’s. Bragging profusely and entitled to the best of everything. Inheritor of nothing, expecting everything.

And then the world wise 30’s always available by cell phone, avoiding marriage but just living together. Uncommitted.

The 40’s bring children, married or not. More money, more of everything, more than the Jones’s– family a show piece, acknowledged when able to break away from meetings. Mortgages, cars, big house, wishing time would allow more love and peace.

Come the 50’s exulting in success, self-adulating, Children off to Harvard enjoying money and status. On wife/ husband #2/3/4. Wishing for old love, should be happy but something missing.

The 60’s enter with shock, memory a little off, aches and pains when working out. Gym daily to get rid of paunch. Maybe face lift, hair dye. Still got it!

The 70’s are the new 60’s! Time isn’t passing…it can’t be. Grandfather/mother not possible! Child in 30”s living at home not working. Knee replacement coming up. Gave up gym membership. Maybe I’ll retire….next year.

The “I don’t give a damn 80’s” arrive and the whole government is lunatic! Read what? Facebook? That cell phone makes no sense. Text. Sure I can write….on paper. This is not a cane…it is a walking stick. Drs appoints get in the way of my naps. I’ve still got it!

I made it! 90! Living the life. Have several girlfriends/boyfriends here in the retirement village. Who cares about the rest of the world! It can go to#####.

The hearse pulls away and many tears fall from friends. Many relatives are already dead. Wish I could do it all again.

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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.

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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.

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Change is a challenge we can win!

 

Meditation is worth the work

caroline-myss-quiet-mind-meditation-quoteMeditation can be a daunting idea. For most of us our minds are running full speed and we can even have difficulty turning them off to sleep. This is the most common complaint heard by physicians about insomnia….”I just couldn’t turn my mind off.”

We hear that meditation will calm us and release endorphins. We can listen to meditation tapes and find ourselves wandering from the voice’s instructions. Turning our minds off is a difficult task.

Our minds have been running like this for years. What makes us think that turning off the thoughts can be just a matter of sitting down and expecting it to happen. Just like anything else in life it is a skill that we have to learn. To learn it we have to practise*. I have friends who run marathons and they have to be consistent in their training. They can’t just go out and run without work.

The same thing is true of meditation. We have to retrain our mind. You can’t learn to shut thoughts off like snapping your fingers. It takes time, work and consistency.

When we start to learn this new skill we must have patience with ourselves. We try it and we can’t stop the mind and we think it is hogwash and a failure. It isn’t any more than trying to run a marathon by just deciding…”today I am going to run 26 miles.”

In the beginning the only thing that we may accomplish is just taking time to sit or lie quietly. This is not a bad thing in itself. It helps to just stop for a while. Paying attention to your breath and checking your body for tension is always good. The next step is to recognize the thoughts that are running through your mind. My first (and very best) yoga instructor told us to see that thought and mentally watch it slide across your mind and on out. Continue to do this with each thought that occurs. With practise* you will notice less thoughts intruding and by watching them go by you are not allowing them to really intrude.

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Learn to take time for meditation. My yoga instructor said that when we are awake we are like a car in forward gear. When we are asleep we are in reverse. When we are in meditation we are in neutral. A good analogy.

Meditation is wonderful…learning it is a task worth putting time into.

*word press wants me to change practise to practice. Practise is the verb. Practice is a noun.