#4 to think about

Here is # 4 Epiphany to think about:

4. Most of life is imaginary.

Human beings have a habit of compulsive thinking that is so pervasive that we lose sight of the fact that we are nearly always thinking. Most of what we interact with is not the world itself, but our beliefs about it, our expectations of it, and our personal interests in it. We have a very difficult time observing something without confusing it with the thoughts we have about it, and so the bulk of what we experience in life is imaginary things. As Mark Twain said: “I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” The best treatment I’ve found? Cultivating mindfulness.

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Mindfulness-

I find mindfulness difficult at times.  Most the time my mind is way to FULL.  I have these very busy thoughts running and running around in my head.  It’s hard to slow them down enough to just sit and breathe somedays.  But ya know, if you can actually sit down, turn off your phone, shut down the computer, turn off the tv and music, and just sit.  Total silence.  I know…..silence.  You hear what?  Your breath?  the hum of the AC?  the birds outside?  the neighbors upstairs?  What do you hear?  do you hear all that noise in your head?  STOP!  for a few moments and block out all that noise and listen to your own breathing.  In and out.  feel that breath go in and out.  relax.  and breathe.  calm your insides which calm your outsides.

It works!!  just try it for a moment.  Once or twice a day.  If things get too hectic….stop!  block out all that noise and take a minute or two and become mindful of your breathing.  relax.  and breathe.  you will soon notice your heart beat calming down.  you will be able to think more clearly when you get back to work or whatever it is that you were doing.

I am no guru in this.  But i have practiced a lot of this.  I believe this is how I survived for a long time.  How I got through some most stressful times in my life.

I am working with K about not making big things out of small things.  Her thinking makes her observation of things clearly out of proportion of what is.  I know her brain isn’t all grown into what an adult brain is, but trying to help her to understand that these little things don’t have to be huge things is something that she needs to figure out.  She soon will be in situations where having full blown melt downs is not exceptable at her age.  albeit, her melt downs have become less and less over the summer (thank the good Lord).  I know she is growing up and showing change.  Her attitude is changing too.  Teaching her mindfulness is difficult tho.  She has a hard time grasping that idea.  But I am not giving up on that.  🙂

Pondering Thoughts

When I was little I internalized a lot. I’m sure we all do. It’s human nature to take things people say to heart or to even read between the lines and perceive what they may really think or feel about you.

When I was about 9 or 10 I remember running in gym class. We must have been playing some sort of game or sprinting or something. The gym teacher began to laugh at me. It was an innocent laugh, followed by a “Julie, you just aren’t a natural runner, now are you?”  I heard that again in junior high when I tried out for track and field.  The coach said something very similar.  It continued into high school as well.

I don’t remember being particularly hurt by the comment. I didn’t cry or even care that I wasn’t “a runner.” I just absorbed the statement and assumed it to be true. All through middle and high school I’d shy away from activities that involved running. In high school, I often was late for volleyball practice because I knew the first few minutes was running laps around the gym for warm up.  But I did it when I had to.  But I could play volleyball.

I would love to run now.  That is one of my goals since weight loss surgery.  I still can’t run.  I jog a little.  My left knee is still horrible.  With  no cushioning in the joint, it makes me want to stay away from running.  But……

Anyway, moving forward a few years past school years.  During college, I really loved working with kids.  I thought being a teacher would be amazing.  So my freshman year, strangely enough, we had the chance to be placed into a classroom at the local school to just observe.  The first few days was great.  Then the teacher asked us to help teach.  That is when it all fell apart.  The particular teacher I was with told me after school that she didn’t think I was cut out to be a teacher.  Mostly because I didn’t have the heart to take control of the classroom.  I didn’t have “it”.  Not sure what “it” was…..I felt defeated to say the least.  Going back to my classes at college and having my professor giving me a C in the class was just as discouraging.  Now what?  I am still wondering.

The next trip down memory lane isn’t really a specific moment more like a sprinkling of one particular statement I heard throughout my teens and 20’s. It is one remark that makes my blood boil. Not that this phrase was uttered to me but that this phrase even exists in my collective consciousness.

It’s the dreaded “You’d be so pretty if…” statement. You know the one, right? Tack on any “if” at the end but it mostly involves losing weight or being at a particular size. I heard it in many forms growing up from a whole host of different people. Peers, adults, bosses. The one that sticks in my mind the most happened when I was working at summer camp just after my sophomore year in college.  I fell hard for another counselor.  He was amazingly fun and a great “christian” guy.  But he shot me down with the, “You’d be such a great girl if……”  OMG…are you kidding.   This is a Christian camp!  Broke my heart.  I just worked 2 1/2 months with this guy.  Got very close to him and most of the other counselors just have have this happen.  I wondered if all the other counselors felt the same way…..

I remember wearing swimsuits and raggy shorts and t-shirts (just like everyone else). I recently lost a few pounds (it was the summertime, always a consistent dip in the scale as per my yo-yo dieting cycle) I felt like a million bucks! I did my hair, wearing my staff shirt on that last day, walking confidently as we all were getting ready to leave to head back home or to college.  I, of course, laughed it off.  Now I could give a shit, but that’s much easier to say and mean at 43 then it was at 20.

Let’s do one more memory for humor’s sake. At least I find it humorous. Sophomore year of college was an exciting time for me. Still away from home. I was  smelling the air of independence I longed after for so long. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I was in the right place.

The year was 1989. Computers were starting to become abundant but college was my first experience using one. We didn’t have the means growing up for our own and my small town school was proud to have the 10-12 word processors for it’s computer processing classes.

Regardless, one of the first classes I took that year was Creative Writing. I was stoked as my teacher was super cool. He embodied everything I thought a college professor should be. He was older, wiser, and very articulate. I really looked up to him. One day, in his office, I brought my little 3.5 inch floppy disk with my latest paper saved on it for a critique (terrified, I should add). I go to put the disk in and it wouldn’t fit. It’s upside down! Now remember, this really is one of my first interactions with a computer. He gives me a little jibe of , “wow, you really are computer illiterate, aren’t you?” I immediately agree and declare myself and techno idiot. Telling him I have no idea how to use a computer. I agree, I must be “technologically challenged” as he put it.

I don’t think my professor’s intention was to define me as a technology idiot but I wonder; If that was told to me when I was just a little younger and more impressionable would I have shied away from technology to the point of me avoiding it completely. And where would I be now if so?

My goal with this post isn’t to sling blame at people in my past for things I did or did not do in my life. It’s more about self discovery, confidence and spreading a message of self-esteem. Have you ever thought about how you define yourselves and possibly how you came to those conclusions. Do we live to others expectations of ourselves no matter if they are negative or positive. How much do other’s innocent words affect our choices and confidence.

I still have been doing some internalizing.  Things my young nearly 10 year old daughter yells at me, those internal tapes have found their way back into my head.  Forward and rewinding over and over.  It’s been really hard to combat all those negative messages.  My goal this week is to combat those negative thoughts.  Either by doing something physical or creative.  I gotta get out there again.

Just something I’ve been pondering lately. Please excuse the extra long wordy post. I felt like writing. 🙂

Something to think about

self_thumb

I had therapy today and we talked about lots of things pertaining to life.  I have my 25th high school reunion next weekend and I have no clue what to say to people when then ask what I have done during that time.  I don’t remember most of it.  I wasn’t on drugs.  I wasn’t drunk.  I was ill.  I was depressed.  I was full of anxiety.  I was checked out of life.  So my therapist and I talked about some of that.  He also told me about what I posted next.  It’s something that just has me going hmmmmm?  what do you think?

1. You are not your mind.

The first time I heard somebody say that, I didn’t like the sound of it one bit. What else could I be? I had taken for granted that the mental chatter in my head was the central “me” that all the experiences in my life were happening to.

I see quite clearly now that life is nothing but passing experiences, and my thoughts are just one more category of things I experience. Thoughts are no more fundamental than smells, sights and sounds. Like any experience, they arise in my awareness, they have a certain texture, and then they give way to something else.

If you can observe your thoughts just like you can observe other objects, who’s doing the observing? Don’t answer too quickly. This question, and its unspeakable answer, are at the center of all the great religions and spiritual traditions.

(full post found here)
I will be posting more from this list later on…..more things to ponder….

Musings for the Week

 

What a week……recap…..

Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend, which means it’ll pretty much be dark as soon as you finish your lunch.

The cramps in my toes would be much nicer if they didn’t happen during the time I was sleeping.  Sleep is good!!

When I was little I didn’t care about things like what to wear, my parents dressed me. Looking back at some of my old pictures, it’s obvious that my parents didn’t care either.  Welcome to the Crop for a Cure day!!  (Scrapping for the Cure)

Halloween is by far the safest day to kill a person and leave them in a chair on your porch or down the street in the neighbors “cemetery”.

When I die, I want to be cremated and put in some silly putty.

Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter have taught us that for every giant technological leap ahead, we will find a way to use it for dumb crap.

Apple crisp is a perfectly acceptable midnight snack, right? I mean, I haven’t had my quota of fruits today, so it seems fitting that I try to work it in before I head to bed. . .

Guess what’s for dinner when mom doesn’t want to cook after tutoring 14 kids at school? ….frozen pizza, cereal, and poptarts. I think we hit most of the food groups, right?

**Despite what I may think, God never gives me more than I can handle.

Joy, Happiness, Compassion….

 

 

Had therapy again today.  Adam said some really though provoking things.  He said that he thinks I am doing well.  But I am missing JOY.  Never really thought about joy.  Have I ever had it?  I think so.  Many moons ago?  Camp…..college….birth of K.

What about now?

What brings YOU joy?  I ask this to everyone who is reading.  I want to know what brings you joy.

When I was in Bible School many moons ago….Joy meant J=Jesus O=others U=You

Don’t know what I think about that now.  I mean…praying wise, yes.  Helping others, yes.  But I seem to always put myself last when it comes to stuff.  I am too nice…if there is such a thing.

 beatitude, blessedness, bliss, blissfulness,felicity, gladness, joy, warm fuzzies, elatednesselationexhilarationexultation,highintoxicationecstasyeuphoriagloryheavennirvana,paradiserapturerapturousnessravishmentseventh heaventransportdelectationdelightenjoymentpleasure;cheercheerfulnesscomfortexuberancegaietygladsomenessgleegleefulnessjocundityjollity,joyfulnessjoyousnessjubilancejubilationlightheartedness,merrinessmirthcontentcontentednessgratification,satisfactiontriumph

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Where do I fit into all this?  K brings me joy.  But Adams says there has to be more.  K will grow up and learn her own way.  Not that finding joy in K is bad.  But limited.

find joy……creating, music, camping, nature,

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Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift. – Albert Einstein

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. – Buddha

There are those who give with joy, and that joy is their reward. – Khalil Gibran

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I get so caught up in my own inadequacies , worry, sadness, disappointments, flaws and then feel the guilt and shame and some self-hatred that goes along with it.  I know that is really unfair of me to do to myself.  This is the stem of my anxiety and I know that.  But I can’t keep dwelling on the bad stuff.  I feel like I have beat myself up for so long, enough for a million some years….enough is enough.  I need to start living.  Figuring out how to squash the anxiety so much.  I see more good in myself than bad.  I see more good in others too.  It helps, but not completely gets rid of the anxiety.

Sink into feelings of gladness.  That is similar to joy, right?

Glad means to be pleased with or happy about.  Be aware of small, subtle, mild, or brief feelings of gladness.  I guess this could be for joy too.

Stay with good news.  Don’t let my thoughts go to the negative.  The negative has polluted my mind for oodles of years.  It’s time to start living with joy and gladness, right?  I gotta remember to not let the negative junk hijack my happiness.  Just live in the happiness of the here and now.  I need to share my happiness and joy with people.  I think that maybe if I do, I will see more of it.  If that makes sense.  Maybe that will help me find more joy?  or MY JOY?

The other thing Adam expressed to me was that I need to have more compassion for myself.  Whoa…what a concept for me.  I don’t have much.  I think my standards for myself are pretty high.  Compassion is part of my nature.  If K hurts herself by falling down, I help her, kiss it, bandaids, etc.

Recognizing it for myself is hard.  I need to recognize that this is tough, this hurts.  I need to bring that same warmhearted-ness I give to K to myself.  I can center it on my heart most of all.  My heart needs healing.  My heart I have found, hurts a lot.  Not the physical, I’m having a heart attack hurt, but lost or less love hurt.  The love and friendship is missing.  The hope is missing some days.   I crave to have someone love me for me.  Not try to change me.  I crave the closeness.  Not talking about sex here….just closeness.

So what am I lacking?  Joy.  Compassion for myself.

More love, less self condemnation.

Less anxiety, more security and safety

Less frustration, more satisfaction, fulfillment.

Less sadness, more joy, gratitude, love

Less feeling rejected, more attunement, friendships

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life and more

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
― Rumi

Me in the purple is the day of surgery 8.11.11

Me in the red is today 1.18.12

75 pound weight loss thus far

I finally got a picture to compare the beginning of my weight loss journey.  I can’t believe it’s only 5 months out and I have lost 75 pounds.  It’s been rough at times and easier at others.  But I wouldn’t change a thing.  Except maybe the puking part  LOL

Since moving to Woodbury, I have been trying to get things started again.  My diet, exercise, college (possibly), work, therapy, etc etc.  It seems like such a slow process at times.  I have some apps in for work, talked to a dude at Argosy about college work, and started with a new therapist today.  His name is Adam Chase.  He is really a nice man.  He seems very knowledgeable and insightful.  I was able to tell him about the situation with K and some of my history.  He is interested in helping me get K back home.  As I talked to him, I realize that I have been “sick” for nearly 60% of my life.  All I have known seems to be depression and anxiety and “craziness”.  For the past 2 year tho, I have come out of the fog of crap and lived a fairly good life.  I have not been hospitalized for nearly 2 years for anything due to mental health reasons.  Yeah, I have been in therapy, but it has been very helpful and I have learned so much about myself and life and choices and so much more.  My life has been about some horrible choices I have made.  But it’s how I decided to cope with everything around me.  I realize that sometimes it was just a plain ol’ cope out on my part.  But I am LIVING today.  I see things more clearly.  I have chosen to be better.  Do better.  Live better.  There are still some people in my life that see me as “sick Julie”, but I am not sick.  I am not what I used to be.  My thinking is clearer, my decisions are mostly better.  Yeah, I still make some pretty stupid mistakes somedays, but we all do.  Live and learn.

There are many of my friends who talk about setting goals for 2012.  I haven’t thought much about it because I hate setting them for fear of never attaining them.  So, failure is still something I am not comfortable with.  I haven’t decided whether or not I will still set out a few goals for myself this year or not.  I know it’s past the middle of January….where the heck has time gone already?

So….goals.  Hmmmmm.  I don’t want to say they are so much as goals as things I want to do this year.

1. Continue to lose weight to reach my goal of between 150-160 pounds

2. Continue and improve my exercise routine

3.  Keep on working on bettering myself and getting K home with me.

4.  Work on my relationships with my friends and family and make them better and healthier

5.  Be content

6. Continue to work on my faith and spirituality

So there ya go.  A few thoughts anyways.  I hope things continue to go as well as they have.  I don’t want to sound conceited or anything.  I just don’t wanna dive back into the old.  Life is good.

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.”
― Rumi

ramblings

  doing some thinking back……not sure what i want to write tonight, but feel like things are sort of out of control.  Everyone likes to have control of their lives, their destinies, their families, etc etc.  But right now, life is a little crazy and out of control for me.  I don’t really have a direction.  I am not really sure what is next for me.  I know that I am packing up my apartment.  Getting ready for Christmas at mom’s for a few days.  Then coming back here to finish up packing for leaving next Wednesday. I will be moving to Minnesota.  I will be living with my good friend, Robin.  I hope that I will be able to figure out what I want to, where I want to be, and what’s next in my life.  Jim is a part of my life too.  I really am starting to care for this man.  He is/holds the qualities that I admire so much.  He loves kids.  He loves his family.  He loves what he does.  He works hard.  He plays hard.  He is genuine and caring.  It’s just been amazing to meet a man who is so connected.  I hope we can continue to get to know each other and spend time together.

Christmas is about here.  4 days.  Are you ready?  I am, but I am not.  My mind isn’t really in the right mind set this season.  God has been so good to me this year.  Brought me through many things I didn’t know or think that I would make it though.  2 major surgeries this year.  big fights with my friend that I thought was the end of a very long friendship.  lots of anger and unsettled-ness in my family.  K’s difficulties with living with grandma and grandpa.  Her hurts and struggles in school.  Her anger.  Her feelings of not fitting in and not thinking people care.  I want to take away that pain.  But I can’t.

New beginnings again for 2012.  I am thinking of what I want to do this next year.  What kind of goals I want to accomplish.  The list making begins.  I have to remember to be realistic.  I also need to remember that God will be with me and help me through all the things that I need/want to do this next year.  I need to remember that friends and family will continue to be supportive.

He will comfort me in the middle of my trials.  He will be there.