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Ceasing the Knee-Jerk and Making Mental Room to Move On To

We get very comfortable with the way we manage our lives. We think, “This is how things are and this is what I do.” And this can go on way beyond the life management effectiveness expiration date. Wayyyyy beyond. Like that time I was unhappily married and stayed married. Or those jobs that I kept even though I was miserable. But even our day-to-day functioning can be outdated and we’d have no clue.

We are what we do everyday. And for a very long time, I did things based on fear. I did what I did because I was afraid of running out or being without. I kept on doing because I truly didn’t think there was another way, much less a better way. And I kept on thinking the same sad thoughts about what little I deserved so I never updated my expectations and thus my life’s actions.

Until, I began to truly listen to the dishonor and disruption of my thoughts. I can’t always hear exactly what they are specifically but I can hear what they infer. That if I step out or make waves, I will be squashed like a social bug. That being old and overweight is detestable. That I should have already figured all of this out. Ceasing the knee jerk and making mental room to move on Shalavee.com

All the “can’t” thoughts that make me feel oogy lapping up onto the shore of my psyche like toxic waste. Until I refused to acknowledge them as valid. And then I told myself to stop the cycle. I sat and held my breath and refused to play. And eventually, after this weird space of stubborn almost quiet, it was quiet.

I had stopped my crazy train. I then began to refute, one by one, all my little cants and impossibilities I could. I solved the “there’s nowhere for me to go to create” by making my craft-room cool with a portable air conditioner. I got a babysitter to buy time alone. I read my stuff to see how good I was, and listened to my heart to hear that I was worth the fight to find my happiness. And the waves became calmer and sweeter.Ceasing the knee jerk and making mental room to move on Shalavee.com

I began to create a space beyond where I’d been. A space for possibilities. A space for irony and paradox. A further space for others to be with me and think what they think which doesn’t affect me. There is a trust zone where I am safe being me pursuing what makes me happy which isn’t being barraged by judgements and negativity. I am regularly checking if I need to flood it with compassion for humanity or usher any unwanted ideologies out.

I’ve created a zone for possibilities. I’ve begun to see that with a little planning and proactivity, my life is so much easier than the knee jerk response pattern of my past. And I am my friend now. And this has become my Easy zone I will fiercely protect.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Generations of Chaos

My chaotic roots realization hit me the other day in the way that matter of fact becomes outrageous in a moment of consideration. Chaos has always been a way of life for both my husband’s and my family because they knew it well. Our Great-Grandfathers, grandfathers, and fathers were alcoholics. It just was the way it was. Some of them recovered and some did not.

What you get as a result of not knowing when the alcoholic will be drunk and rage and disturb the family’s peace, is a perpetual state of panic and chaos. You get to expecting it and when that’s what you know, you eventually create that. I created that state of living for a long time. I wrote about it here in Chaos Junkies Beware : Anxiety While Life is Good.Generations of chaos on Shalavee.com

You can be the most intelligent upper-crusty well-to-do person and still continue to create the chaos of your roots. Anxiety is presently is the number one psychological affliction of our society. Did you also know that depression is the flip-side of anxiety? So there’s a lot of that too and it is blind to class or gender distinctions.

If like myself for most of my life, you haven’t even recognized this state of anxiety is your set point, you will continue to feel like life is always “against” you. You won’t feel safe with your choices or the other people’s choices around you . And you will constantly be awaiting the other shoe to drop.

I still have an auto-loop in my head that will envision the inevitable horrible outcome. And the whisper of dread of what will happen if I don’t do A or B or C is threatens my disastrous outcome. But these are the lies I’ve come to understand have been feeding my anxiety. There is not one outcome to anything. I can do my best to hedge toward a hopeful one but I have to be ready for life to turn on me and give me a new perspective.

The other trick I needed to learn is to have all the future time and support I need to be certain I will have my needs met. When I was a first time mother, I felt constant panic at the thought that I was not going to get a break from my relentless task of mothering. It was founded in the fact that my husband is/was freelance and he’s never know when he’s have to say yes to a job. And then with my daughter, she cried so much he was terrified of being alone with her.

I need alone time to think and write. And not getting it is like death. So I have found more and more ways to meet this need meeting. For instance, I do housework when the kids are in the house thereby never wasting precious alone time on that. I have a babysitter again. And it’s my kid’s job to go to daycare to prepare for school. Also, if I book time to do something, I’m more likely to do it. As opposed for waiting around for the “right” time. The right time may not look like the right time. Generations of chaos on Shalavee.com

It’s been massive quantities of pro-activity and creativity and mindfulness that have moved me on to a place where I am no longer besieged by my anxiety. Where I am not falling into pits of self-doubting darkness with no chance of standing. I notice the phantom pangs where anxiety would have been. I chuckle to myself and I move on. I have been my advocate and I have turned my anxiety around. It is very very possible.

Anyone else have a tale of a turnaround from chaos to peace?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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Catching Up and Telling the Truth

What a slippery perspective buster “truth” is. The truth is that this first month and a half of Summer has been rough. Not in the hard ways my Summers used to start , but in very personal ways. Ways I was not even telling myself about.

Today’s truth is that I am still awaiting the steroid injections I received two days ago in my ouchy SI joints to take effect. I’m still holding my breath for the positive outcome. I’ve fought my way here and still there’s truly no change. And continued pain messes with your mind a little as it drains your good will, your hope, and your ease.

Truth is I cancelled my second round of Weight Watchers, because after three months, I didn’t lose a single pound. And I just felt like a watched pot. I refused to boil. catching up and telling the truth on Shalavee.com

 

Personally, and professionally, I had set high expectations and goals I had to rise to so I could be the person I have always meant to be Right Now, knowing everything and producing brilliance. The disparity in my actuality vs my intentions made me so disconcerted, I chewed my lip apart for most of June. If it feels like you are living for another’s approval, you probably are.

We are at the half way point of Summer with one more Summer Camp next week and looking forward to one more mini-vacation which I’m hoping will be relaxing. But I have a sinus surgery lined up right afterwards for mid-August. It is radical self-care act for me to do this, long overdue, but it is also impending doom looming in my not too distant future. I’m scared.

For me, getting perspective on all of this means you write it all up and then you let it go. What are your suggestions for not dreading and instead being present?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

How I Started To Say I Can Instead of I Can’t

My thinking brain understands that you conceptually can do anything you put your mind to. I had a Guinness Book of World Records as a kid. I know what the people of the world can get up to when they put their minds to stuff. But what I thought the other day shocked me. I said “I can” to myself and, after a moment to consider the validity of this statement, I found out that I could.

 

Less than a year ago, if you asked if I could do such and such, I’d say I don’t know how. I’d tell you I don’t have the knowledge, the resources, or the confidence to make that happen. I can’t, I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t. So it felt like a miracle when this past week, I suddenly heard myself say “I can”.How I started to say I can instead of I can't on Shalavee.com

 

Three years ago, it took a lot of convincing from the then president of the Eastern Shore Writers Association Mr. Jerry, to get me to say yes to teaching the blogging workshop. I really didn’t have the confidence to say “Yes I can”. But I borrowed his confidence in me and I pulled that workshop off and made cinnamon rolls to boot.

 

A slow and steady intentional program to build my self-esteem has been in place for these three years. I got a therapist who supports me, cheers me on, and understands how I think. I have intentionally taken risks, put myself to online picture and creative challenges, and created relationships and connections with people all over the world. And I’ve continued to write myself through it all.

 How I started to say I can instead of I can't on Shalavee.com

” It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

-The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo –

 

Not only have my anxieties disappeared, but I truly am (mostly) no longer searching for outside acknowledgement and approval. Perhaps because I know I’ll get it from me now. I am (mostly) no longer searching for reasons to doubt, dislike, or invalidate myself. And without all that stuff jumping on my back and dragging me down, I am now feeling like I can.

 

Trust in myself is the number one factor that has allowed me to move from the “I can’t” place to the “I can” place. And that relationship I now have is independent of my perception of other’s opinions of me. It is about what I know I’m capable of and what I may be able to stretch myself to do. I can’t wait to see what I can do next.

 

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

What If What We Fear Really Did Come True?

Sometimes, in my swell American life, there would be moments when I would have my own private terror attacks. A bottomless pit would open below me and I would wait as waves of anxiety would wash over me pulling me down. Panic attack or an anxiety attack are the clinical terms for this but I know they were no fun and left me feeling like there was something in dire need of “fixing” in my brain.

I have spoken a lot here on the blog about how I finally found the book that finally helped me out called Feeling Good the New Mood Therapy to understand what I was doing with my brain to create these moments. I discuss Cognitive Distortions Here citing an easy read article from Psychology Today. and the book that finally helped me our was Feeling Good : The New Mood Therapy by David D Burns. I haven’t had one of those attacks now in a couple of years and I continually have to be mindful of what tricks my mind gets up to. Ironically, I just discovered Dr. Burns also has a book called When Panic Attacks.  But my thought today was, what if the false thoughts actually happened and came true. What if our panic was manifested and we were literally attacked by the imagined foreseen outcome.What If What We Fear Really Did Come True? on Shalavee.com

Basically, our brains do this fear trick when we say to ourselves, if we do such and such, we risk being outcast from our clan. Creatives experience this fear a lot because being creative in and of itself is an act of rebellion. Our protective fear brain says non-conformity and otherness is certain death as it begs for us to be singled out in our village be stoned. McCarthyism is a perfect historical example of how this can work.

But I thought, what is the worst thing that can happen? What would it look like if we truly were outcast from our communities and shunned as our fear brains would have us believe. We’d no longer have access to the groceries or the churches or the post offices. We’d be cast out from our beds and our houses and made to wander the world looking for another place to stay. Oh, we’d be refugees. We’re aware of this first hand through the media.  So why would voting for intolerance be a good idea?

Our middle class lives here in America are so posh, we haven’t the slightest clue of what any of this really means. And yet, that is exactly what our brains tell us will ultimately happen when we get anxious. When and if you can hear yourself foretelling the future of how it will “always be” or it “will never be”, stop and stand and look at your lying brain and gently remind it that while it has pretty smart moments, this is not one of them. While possible that something may happen if you go out on a limb, it probably won’t and your brain needs to calm down already. That the feelings you are feeling are not facts is also a good thing to remember.What If What We Fear Really Did Come True? on Shalavee.com

Anxiety is in fact changeable. And it requires just as much work as you’d put into building a new house. Because essentially, that is what it is. When you challenge all those old auto-thoughts that have kept you ”safe” and install more reasonable reasons why you are choosing to do or not do, you are replacing the structure of your thoughts. And this is the only very doable way to stop them from recurring. Being mindful of what you are thinking and choosing other thoughts will lead to all sorts of other doors being opened. This is the basis for cognitive therapy. And I find the possibility of change kind of exciting. What about you?

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your email box. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest  too. I am always practicing Intentional In-touchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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