Friday, August 30, 2013

Too much choice. Polygamy. Cars. Whatever.

For reasons you would know if you’ve been reading my blog for some time, and there are not many of you that have, I’ve spent time thinking about polygamy. I’ve tossed it around in my mind. I’ve looked at the pros and cons if you like, and I’ve made up my mind and I know what I think of it now.

I think most people who call themselves polygamists are just plain lazy.

Many of them will tell you that they have enough love for more than one person, that it’s impossible to love one person or be sexually attracted to one person for all of your life, that it’s simply not reasonable to love just one person at the time, that we’re really polygamist by nature. If we weren’t polygamist by nature why are most cultures in the world polygamist? Huh? Answer me that! Majority rules, you fools.

It could well be true, I mean who am I to speak, I’m not exactly the poster girl for healthy relationships.

But. Yes. But.

(It’s just a small point to make that most polygamist cultures only allow for men to have several wives and not for women to have several husbands. Just a small point. Patriarchy anyone?)

I have this sneaking suspicion though that a lot of people are using polygamy as an excuse for not being able to bond properly with one special someone else. I also have this sneaking suspicion that we’ve become addicted to the initial feeling of falling in love and that it’s just too hard doing the work to make actual relationships function long term, that when the initial euphoria dies and we’re not being worshipped quite as much by that other special someone we just go look for something new. The art of making a healthy long term relationship may become a lost art. It’s a bit sad really.

I can’t help feeling it’s kind of a consumer kind of attitude to relationships. It’s like when someone at work says about a newly hired guru “He has 43 cars” my first question is “Why?” It’s confusing on so many levels. Choosing must be a bitch. Parking must be a bitch. The garage must be bigger than his house.

I have trouble getting up in the morning figuring out what to wear but this guy has to face choosing from 43 cars to go to work in! Talk about making life harder for yourself. Talk about not knowing what the hell you want. You can only be in one car at the time and if you have so much money you can afford 43 cars surely you have enough money to get just one car that has everything you want. Everything. In. One. Car. Maybe you don’t know what you want but then why not just go test drive some cars for a bit? I don’t know. Maybe I’m being silly. Maybe I’m missing the point.

I just don’t get it but OK, I have two bikes that I ride to work. One is a road bike and the other is a mountain bike. It’s simple. Good weather is road bike weather. Worse weather, wet weather, is mountain bike weather. If one breaks down I use the other one. I can get that. It’s not so much about choosing; it’s about functionality. 43 cars though, there’s just not that much variation in weather to warrant that. Is it about matching clothes with cars. “I think today I will dress Jaguar. Or maybe Hummer. Or should I dress Mercedes? Oh fuck! I dunno!”

From polygamy to too many cars. What can I say? My mind wanders but it’s not really that farfetched. We’re getting spoiled with this idea that we can have it all, that we need to have it all, and that we can’t find satisfaction in one thing. We have to have choice all the time. Choice. Choice. Choice.

We’re thinking that one thing is not going to satisfy. I think the opposite is true. Too much choice is going to make you bloody unhappy. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and order something, and then wonder if you shouldn’t have ordered something else (this apparently happens more often to women than men, by the way). It’s just fucking food! It’s not a life changing decision you’ve just made.

It’s like going to buy a pair of jeans. There used to be one style. That was it. You bought them. It took ages before they became really comfortable. Now you can get precomfied jeans in any fucking style or color you could dream of. You buy a pair, it’s taken you a whole day to try on and choose, and you walk out of the shop and the first thing you wonder is of you shouldn’t have got “the other pair”. Maybe you should have got another pair as well.

Fuck.

Think of your lover as a pair of jeans in the old days. You buy your pair of jeans. You wear them in and eventually you have a bloody good pair of comfy jeans that fit your body perfectly. Take time to wear them in, wear them out and to get comfy in them, and to appreciate them. Maybe that’s how we need to think of relationships. I don’t know, like I said, I’m no expert.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Witty

I want to be witty, no wait!, I need to to be witty, because the last few weeks (months, years, decades) have squeezed the fun out of me.

Ex.

Just saying "ex" denotes that it's something in the past, something forgotten that lies in ruins, quietly waiting for time to erase any sign of it ever having existed. It's not something that calls you to tell you their mummy is being mean, they've lost a lamp or that they've finally figured out there's something wrong with them. No? Really? I think I gave that diagnoses to you straight out a few weeks back but as USUAL YOU FAILED TO LISTEN TO ME!!!!! Could've saved some time there, Sparky!

Ummm.

I tried relaxing.

I tried meditation.

I tried going to the gym on top of riding the bike to and from work.

I attacked the garden as though it was a small English village and I was a small army of vikings fresh off the boat and I got, wait for it, tennis elbow. Or, maybe it's more like tennis arm. Who cares what it is? It hurts! It really hurts.

There's no justice in this world because if there was this is the kind of pain my ex would have in his precious Johnson right now for no other reason than that it would make me happy and perhaps even make me be witty again, and I want to, no I need to, be witty. If I can get witty I can amuse myself and I'll be so amused I won't bother answering the phone.

I'm going to a meditation workshop on Saturday. Maybe that'll be a blast.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday

This past week was a little bit of going off the rails week.

I've not gone to the gym for a week or so because I developed tennis elbow from using my weed whacker when I went berserk at the garden. It had the audacity to have grown in all places rather splendidly while I was untangling my life from the other ("other" as in O).  So, I went at it with far too much determination and my right arm paid the price. The gym had to wait.

I had proudly lost some weight and somehow managed to shave centimeters off my waste size but the whole arm thing brought a sort of swagger attitude towards it all. I bought a cheap bottle of bourbon along the way somewhere, ALDI bourbon, that is supermarket bourbon, and for some reason it wasn't as cheap and nasty as I thought I would be. It may actually be that cheap and nasty but it's been so long since I actually drank anything like it that I no longer know what's good and bad.

Determining quality is a problem I have; it's a theme running through my life if you will.

No, no, I'm not bitter about being my age, single again, and still having that last one contacting me to complaining about his mother. There's nothing wrong with that, is there? That's not a bad thing, is it?

*Sigh*

Anyway, off the rails with a bottle of bourbon. I had more than one last night which was a little lovely. In order to make myself even less intellectual I coupled it with catching up on True Blood. I left True Blood in disgust mid episode four season five and didn't look back until now.

Lowering the bar is sometimes a good thing.

The day had been spent not at work as should have been but doing a road trip with my daughter "Spink" (Spilling Ink) style and that means hopping on a bus to anywhere and discovering new things. It becomes a meditation of sorts because it always makes me realize that Sydney, Australia is not just one big same same city; it has distinct parts. Some are old (old by new country standards - not European standards)  and well cared for. Some are old  and decrepit. Some are new and fun. Some are new and wrong. It's all there and you can spend an hour on a bus to nowhere and see it all.

We ended up in Bondi Junction - not too far from the infamous and always crowded Bondi Beach - and I had the best Turkish kebab I've ever had. The man who made it was a master. I like Turkish food at all times but usually don't count the humble kebab as part of it - it's take away food - but even though this one came from a food court in a shopping center it was divine.

It was the trip from Bondi to the city that made me think though, about how life is so good for some of us while for others it starts out in ways that's going to set them back from word go.

Boo, in her fifteen year old glory, was parked next to me all hooked up to her iPod while in front of us another fifteen year old was working her iPhone. She wore a hospital bracelet, her left arm a testament to her pain with the whole lower arm covered with cuts that were almost like an almanac of pain - some were fresher than others. She was working that phone like she was organizing a charity ball but what she was in fact doing was trying to find a place to stay for the night. She couldn't go home, her mother would put her in hospital again and the child protection officers didn't want her to go back home. There wasn't a refuge that seemed willing to take her, she's too young, but she eventually got a bed for the night in one after the accused one refuge of discriminating based on age. She then kept calling school friends to get them to talk to their mothers to persuade them to let her stay for the night, maybe for the weekend,  just for a little while, OK?

She was a beautiful Asian girl and it scared me witless that she's out on the streets at night on her own because she's safer there than at home with her mother. I wondered why child protection services had not found her a place, were not watching over her, why she was left to her own devices and had to find a place for herself. Why? Why are we wasting people before they've even began to really launch their lives?

My life, such as it is, is good and thankfully so is my daughters, but I can't help think that it's a pretty shitty world when some people are forced to start their lives like that.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Words

It occurred to me the other day that I’m kind of entering the third stage of my life as a woman; I’m about to move into the crone stage. It’s kind of nice when you think about it. I can put all the hustle and bustle behind me. I can stop competing for attention and I can start to wind up that whole career seeking thing and start looking at what I would really enjoy doing with my life. I get to become a wise woman. I’ve experienced life. I can start to settle in for the second half of my life and look at doing things that I really enjoy doing instead of trying to get somewhere to impress others so they can tell me I’m doing well.

I can stop competing, take a deep breath and just be.

I’ve decided that I’ve arrived, I’m finished, and anything that happens now is like gravy I can pour on the potatoes I already have in life.

I have my health.

I have my Self.

I can sit back and form my Self in the exact what I want to and not have to follow what anyone else wants for me. I’m all grown up now. I can be my own wise woman, my own mystic, my own magician and my very own source of eternal Love. I only need me.

I can take time to smell the roses, watch the parrots, look at the sky, scrawl messages on bike paths with chalk in the early morning before sunrise, and I can marvel at accidental pumpkin harvests.

I can rearrange my house the way I want it.

I can sing again, god I’ve missed singing out loud!, and my singing voice is atrocious now but I’m going to sing fucking arias now!, and I can sit down and think about the thing I’ve wanted to do for all of my life: write!

Whether I keep writing here, write a long loving letter to my Self in the form of a journal or whether I actually ever get to write that book I dreamed about writing as a child is irrelevant, I’m just going to write. I’m going to capture words, tame them, play with them and release them in the form of sentences. I’m going to take words and paint a new me with them. I’m going to write lovingly about me and for me, and I’m going to enjoy the labor of it, really enjoy the labor of it.

A new me. Word by word, built up lovingly from ground up. It’s a brand new me.

Edit:
This morning on the way to work I stopped in places that felt relevant and armed with chalk I left messages for myself to read on the way back. I hope others enjoyed reading "I love you :)" too because I don't mind sharing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The importance of knowing who you are

People who dabble with meditation ask themselves.

People who don't dabble with meditation generally don't.

Most of us don't even worry about asking ourselves because there are tens, hundreds, thousands, millions and billions of people who are quite happy to tell us exactly who we are even though most  of them don't even have to meet us.


Media
Media is a place where you gain the majority of your information about the world you live in and how you (should) fit into that world. Media tells you what's happening, it gives you clear outlines as to what you need to do be accepted, loved, respected and included in society. You don't even have to read, all you have to do is to listen and watch, skim through webpages, use search engines so that data can be mined about your habits and you can be served with things "that interest" you. By the time you take a breather to spend a little time with yourself there should be no doubt left in your mind about what you need to do to be who you are and how you should feel, and who should vote for.


Social media
Social media is a place that promises freedom from media because now you're interfacing directly with the grassroots of the tribe - thinking, breathing, living entities - and they can instantly tell you what's what, what's up, what's out, what you should do, what you should be and what you should think. There's no censorship here. Social media is a place that doesn't require thought, compassion, thinking or intelligence, all social media does is ask you to turn up - you don't even have to tune in. It requires only that you are wiling to tell everyone what it is you're doing or thinking at any given moment. (Hey! I'm writing a post on blogger,. Yay! Look at me!)


We consult the oracles of media and social media all the time, several times a day because lord knows we don't want to lose our grip on reality and lose our god given right to know what the rules of engagement are at any given moment.


You
You is the place where all of the information you have gathered throughout the years of your vast experience of living your life on this planet as a conscious being; a being able pick and choose from experiences; a being able to ask questions of anyone or anything, even yourself; a being able to create and change situations, environments, outcomes, paths and goals; a being able to at any given moment in your life choose to play rather than slave away; a being that is the only direct influence on your own destiny and fate.

You is like an attic where you seldom go but where clues to how you became who you are today are plentiful. Every single item in the attic is a clue to why you are"successful" or "unsuccessful" - and what that actually means to you - or why you're able to connect with others or why all you're relationships seem to be fleeting and lack intimacy. It holds clues as to why you're overweight or skinny, happy or depressed, creative or just being herded around like a sheep being nipped at by some border collie. The attic has all the clues as to why you are lost or on course. The attic holds the maps that show how you got where you are today. The attic holds lists and lists of beliefs that color your everyday life and tells you how to feel about experiences, your fears and your likes and loves; it holds all the information that make up you.

You is  place that needs to be visited, consulted like an oracle and sometimes tidied out. You is a place shows you what kind of baggage you have collected on your journey. You is the place that deserves a look in now and then, and a clean out or a sort out.

If you look carefully beyond all the junk in the attic you will see something else, something that's even truer and closer to the real you. If you look past all that stuff you've collected in the attic you will see a small window, and if you look through that window, if you can make it past all that stuff you've collected on your journey that makes up "you", you will see who you truly are and what your truly want and need.

Media and social media doesn't tell you who you are and it doesn't help you determine your place in this life. You is a series of programs that run in your mind that you have accepted along your journey through this life and that may or may not serve you.

If your programs don't serve you, you need to get to the window to find out what it is you need to be truly happy and to feel peace. It requires hard work. It requires compassion for yourself. It requires you to love yourself.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

A post with no name

I didn't sleep well last night. It was 1.30am before my eyes shut and I woke up at 6am. Not nearly enough shut eye but when the mind refuses to shut up there sometimes nothing else to do but to let it do its thing even if that is living in the past and obsessing about the future.

The NOW, its not as filled as guilt as the past and it's not as scary as the future, and therefore not nearly as entertaining for your mind if it's addicted to being negative.

I have a small (he's probably a really short guy, even though the short man syndrome apparently is a load of poppy cock - Napeleon, for example, was of average height for his time but the English reported that he was a short-arse to humiliate him) South American dictator living in my mind and he likes to torture. Like a damsel in the distress, we're allowed to romanticize a bit here for the sake of....something, I'm tied up while he carefully talks about, in excruciating detail, every perceived sin and shameful thing that I am supposedly guilty of. He really likes to dwell on that shit. He's a stickler for detail and loves to point fingers at me.

I also have a not so small woman who looks and sounds a lot like my mother hovering in the background constantly obsessing - out loud - about the future. What will become of me? Will I keep stuffing up my life and lead this sort of mediocre existence or will I actually go and make something out of myself? And I'm not getting any younger you know. Sure I may look OK for my age but it's not going to get any better. Nobody will want the broken unit I am and I'm nothing if I can't find anyone to love me and with anyone I mean a man. Why can't I find a nice man? What's wrong with me? It's probably my temper, my attitude, I'm probably too fat, too needy and too demanding. I'm not nice enough. Why can't I get it right? I'm never going to find anyone to love.

Well fuck 'em both.

Right now, right here I'm boring the crap out of you telling you this crap because I know, even though there's a lot in my head telling me I'm wrong about it, this is not who I am. I'm sitting here right now typing away with my bowl of coffee, it's so big I could take a bath in it if I wanted to, well not quite but almost, and the sun is still rising and golden light is starting to make its way into my room. I have recently decided that golden light is the color of love. Maybe there's a little pink involved but mostly, right now, it's pure golden light.

Right now there's a part of me that's feeling absolutely hopeless and desperately sad but here's the key my dear, dear fellow traveler, this part is not the truth, it's the conditioning and the result of all the bad shit my mind has ever chosen to keep to make up my world view.

Right now there's a part of me that's doing its best to laugh that other part right in the face and it's preparing, albeit slowly, to roundhouse kick it once and for all.

I have come to realize that we really do build our own world view, or we let others and what they tell us build our world view and relinquish the power and responsibility we've been given ourselves because we do not trust ourselves. Or, we can learn, however late in life, that it's really up to us to create our own and learn to trust that it's our God (for want of a better word) given right to do so.

Ask. Create. Play.

I'm not quite sure why these three words have almost become my mantra, maybe I was influenced by Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, but there seems to be something in them.

I have the right to ask for what I want and need.

I have the right to create the life I want and need.

I have the right to play and enjoy my life. (Enjoy)

It's been all too serious up until now.

It's been all too much about pleasing others and trying to fit into their worlds. I have no world of my own. I've been living in other people's worlds and they're foreign to me.

I'm thinking that it's really time to build my own life and allow others to fit into it. My life will be one that's filled with love. It will be smart, thoughtful and generous because I agree with Ashton Kutcher (for once, I'm no fan of his) that smart, thoughtful and generous is sexy. I'm going to be sexy just like that from now on. I'm going to embrace sexy in a way I have never dared to ever in my life previously and I'm going to own it smart, thoughtfully and generously.

I'm going to make a point out of waking up every morning and be happy to see myself there in the mirror.

I'm going to be my own best friend.

I'm going to argue with negative self talk in the same way I do when it comes out of my daughter's mouth. For every single bit of negative shit that my inner South American dictator brings up out of my past I'm going to find a counter argument, an example of when I have been good, true and successful (smart, thoughtful and generous). Every time an anxiety ridden prophecy is told by my angst ridden inner mum I am going to tell a different story, one of opportunities (and opportunities are not luck, opportunities are made), happiness and peace. Every time my poor little mind slips back into bad habits I'm going to correct it, I'm going to thwap it on the nose and make it behave positively. It's mine. It obeys me. Right now it's like a naughty puppy that's not been socialized or trained properly and not only are puppies like that a pain but they're also not happy.

I often say to my daughter when she's done something that's not good for her, like instead of buying sushi for lunch as she promised when I gave her money she went and bought McDonalds, that I don't like how she's treating my daughter. I tell her that I care a lot about my daughter, I love her, and I really need her to take good care of her because she's really important to me. I'm going to apply this same thinking to myself.

Often I don't like how I treat myself, in fact I'm a real bitch to myself. I care a lot about myself, I love myself, and I really need me to take good care of me because I'm really important to me. I need to stop bullying myself because that's exactly what I've been doing. He was right when he said I'm a bully except it wasn't him I was bullying, it was me.

It may seem a little self-indulgent to sit here and love bomb yourself but I think it's no more self-indulgent than doing the opposite. Spending much of your time criticizing and nit picking yourself is a rather selfish past time and if I'm going to be selfish I think I need to be selfish enough to put a much more positive slant on it, for everyone's sake. One more happy person in this world is a good start I think, the world needs more happy people, and I'm going to take responsibility and make me happy. Maybe I'll spread it after that. Maybe it will spread like a virus from me and infect others and slowly but surely my happiness will help make the world a better place.

You can't do this hap hazard though. Your mind will steer you back into old habits of berating yourself. I'm addicted to negative self talk and I need a plan to change that. I need to set goals and I need to make sure I meet them. This is very personal business. This is between me and me. This is something that should have been facilitated in my childhood and never was. Well, I'm facilitating it NOW. I'm going to parent this immature, not yet fully formed part of self into maturity and love.

It's only just begun. It's never too late. It's a brand new day. Golden light and all.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Gamut

It’s possible to journey through the whole gamut of emotions in 45 minutes, I can assure you, because I just did it.

It started with anger building up in tandem with the muscles in my legs warming up, making them move from the relaxed post sleep state they were in as I cut through dark on my bike along the river.

It was anger building up to a simmering fury that morphed into pain and a deep, deep feeling of humiliation which gave birth to enormous and soul destroying pain. I never quite ended up with my old friend shame although it was there waiting in a dark corner. Shame and I have danced so many times and we’re well acquainted. I don’t need to go looking for it. It pretty much knows where I am most of the time and is completely shameless (pardon the pun) in the way it stalks me.

Out of the pain sorrow was born and as I slogged my way up what is kilometres of uphill, some parts of it steeper than others, and I began to sob, audibly.

The good thing about making the journey in the dark is that hardly anyone is out there that time of day, except for the young man I accidently interrupted while he was performing his morning prayers in the tunnel under the railway. When he spotted me he quickly rolled up the jumper that had served as his prayer mat, and he looked like a child caught out doing something bad when he spotted me heading towards him. I smiled at him through the pain which was at that particular stage threatening to cut me right down the middle and pondered the fact that it had never dawned on me that Mecca was “that way”. Say hello to Allah for me. He doesn’t know who I am but anyway.

By the time I reached the top of the hill I was begging the Universe to send me someone to love me NOW.

I felt like an abandoned child for a moment but then out of the not so dark recesses of my soul I felt something warmer and brighter begin to stir. I’m loved, right? It’s not like I have to sit here and wait for it. It’s already here and it’s surrounding me. I love me, I have actually begun to love me and even if my ego doesn’t think it’s good enough (fuck you ego!) it’s the best kind of love I could ask for. It’s the one love I truly need. So there!

But, I wasn’t prepared for the mental image that followed because the person whose face was clearly in my mind next is a person I have known for a long time but who I would never, ever expect to be in that kind of relationship with. It’s an impossible kind of scenario but you know what? Today I will take it, I will take the thought of it and keep the feeling of salvation. I will store it away, the feeling that filled my heart when I clearly heard this person in my mind tell me they love me and I will treasure it like it’s the last treasure on this planet. I will place that little nugget in my heart and allow it to be the seed of something bigger and better, of my own healing.

I need healing. My whole chest feels like it’s wide open at the moment. It’s like the heartbreak tore it right open but instead of there being the burnt out leftover of what was once my heart, that thing I expected to find, there is an opening and out of it shines the most golden, pure, bright light I’ve ever seen. I feel like I’m walking around all open and vulnerable and all I have, in the centre of me, is pure golden light love. My heart chakra is a fucking cupboard with the doors wide open and it’s leaking golden pure light everywhere but it’s open for anything to take up residence in there too. Look out for bats. Mustn’t let the bats in!

The emotions, the feelings - the gamut - are just programs and processes running to restore my operating system to its optimum. It’s like I’m defragging my mind and debugging it at the same time, and this time I hope I don’t stop the process until it’s finished. This time I hope I don’t flick the switch out of fear before the real healing has occurred.

So while I stew over the “fact” that the person who was supposed to be my salvation three years ago, the one who was supposed to drag me out of the quicksand and guide me out of the swamp, turned out to be another poor choice for a guide I’ll think on this:

I knew he wasn’t the one, on some level I knew this. But part of me still chants “Liar! Liar! Your pants are on fire” at him like it’s his fault for being an imposter. Childish I know, but I can’t really muster up maturity at this stage so I choose to bring my inner five year old forward in defence of myself in this particular case. Fingers will have to be pointed and I’ve pointed them at myself for far too long, the five year old demands that they’re pointed at someone else for a while. Let the program run. Just let it run.

But now, the healing I need are for wound dating back mostly to the middle ages, my middle ages that is, my twenties. I can’t recall a time when I when I actually felt OK with me (except for when I was five!) but I can recall times when every single one of my lovers (husbands, boyfriends and the self-proclaimed friend come fuck buddy) changed from being avid supporters of me to becoming critics wanting me to be something I never was or said I would be. My wounds also date back to prehistoric times, before I even have memories, and I’m running the whole history through, I’m running the gamut of emotions that go with it, I’m recapping my life, and I’m preparing to rewrite the story. I’m preparing to walk out of my history and into my new story. The only fear I have is that I’ll somehow opt out.

So for today I will choose to believe in love as being the one and only prevailing thing in my life, my saviour and my life line. Surely good things are still to come for Spilling Ink and her heart. Surely it’s time for redemption.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ask. Create. Play.

One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is spirituality. I went through a period in my life when I tried looking for it in places like Wicca and Shamanism, and although I found things in those areas that resonated with me, I was sometimes awestruck by all the rules and sometimes by how unstructured and fluid it all was. I believe though that it was the regurgitation of supposed old and ancient material that finally made me lose interest.

I was brought up with Christianity. It wasn’t part of my everyday life but it was most certainly part of my life, more so than for a lot of my friends. My mother is still devastated that I never baptised my daughter but I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do since I don’t normally go to church. I also felt that my daughter has the right to choose her own brand of spirituality when she’s ready to do so.

In my twenties I realized that I didn’t believe in God but that I was for some reason a firm believer in the devil. I feared the devil. I actually went through a stage when I thought that may make me a bad person; how can you believe in the devil and not call it some sort of “worship”. It was a twisted kind of argument that I eventually came to realize had a firm root in beliefs I had instilled in me as a child courtesy of being brought up in a Christian environment.

I gave away my spiritual quest to a very large extent when I met O. I was simply distracted by what was a relationship of minds and even though it wasn’t ideal in so many ways, it did entertain my mind enormously. My mind was opened to more art and possibilities than it had ever been, and it enjoyed playing in that landscape, a lot.

Having a nervous breakdown and losing just about all the faith I ever had, and it wasn’t a hell of a lot, meant that I had to start from scratch. I had to believe in science and medication and therapy to get me out of the hell I was in. There was nothing else available to me. I was so disconnected from myself that I suspect that if you had sat me down to meditate I would have just crumbled on the spot. I would have been left with the devil standing on top of the rubble and it’s quite possible that I would have been lost for all time (or that I would have recovered a lot quicker than I was because sometimes ruin is a gift).

I’ve talked about my studies with the Shaman woman. I’ve talked about how I regard her to be somewhat of a charlatan. I would though be a bloody fool if I told you I learned nothing from her when it comes to spirituality. The thing is though, that a lot of what she taught me is stuff that’s regurgitated by just about every modern spiritual teacher and I didn’t need her to tell me any of it. I did though, at the time, need her to tell me that it was OK to learn these things.

I started meditating about a week and half ago. I’ve never been able to meditate before because my stupid mind just wouldn’t shut up. For some reason I’ve managed to tap into the way to meditate now and I absolutely love “getting away” from myself for a while and separating myself from my own ego. It’s like a vacation from a self I’ve created over the years and whose friendship is starting to wear a little thin. It’s like tapping into another source of energy for the purpose of creation. I don’t know anything about this energy, it will not be planned and have goals set for it, it will not be steered, but it lends itself beautifully to curiosity and faith. I kind of like playing with it. It’s very much something an inner child would enjoy.

I’ve had to tune out of my very Western and driven life, and I now have to tune into this other energy that by my own standards seem to be somewhat chaotic and unregulated. It requires a certain amount of faith on my part but it really asks me for nothing. It wants no commitment and it doesn't tell me to come back to it, yet every time I turn towards it and tune into it, there it is patiently waiting to show me something new. It’s a malleable force just waiting for me to ask, create and play.

So that’s what I’m going to do: ask, create and play. What comes out of it is anyone’s guess. What it’s giving me right now is freedom and hope, perhaps even faith.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Creative thoughts and wonderings

What is it about creative ventures that make people nervous and that makes people question your sanity? I get that creative ventures are usually poorly defined, or so it seems to anyone who’s not closely involved in it anyway, and that you’re taking a pretty big risk betting your “all” on creativity. Is it a case of most people not trusting their own creativity enough so that when they see someone else suddenly betting it “all” on a creative venture it just scares the holy bejeezus out of them?

I recall, not so fondly, declaring some time in my youth that I was going to publish a book someday. First question was, of course, “what kind of book?” I didn’t know and I didn’t care but apparently when you open your mouth even as a fledgling teen and say something like that you already have to have the plan and the roadmap and the recipe ready or people are not going to be backing you dreams. At that early stage you can hardly call it a plan; it’s really more of a dream.

And, that’s the key element to me. Dreaming. If you as a fledgling teen, or at any stage in your life, want to dream of and believe that you one day will have a book published why can’t you? Everybody knows that dreams change and maybe, just maybe, that sort of dream will at least motivate you to learn your grammar properly, and to read lots of books. Looks like we’re winning already but that’s just me.

Why is it that we feel such a need to bring “reality” in to it when we’re not really even qualified to determine what the reality is? Sure, it’s not easy to get a book published, it’s not easy to write a best seller, but it’s happened. It happened to JK Rowling, and it happened to her in a big way.

I had no intention of writing something as epic as Harry Potter, and with epic I mean popularity and sales, I kept my dream small and I just wanted to have a book published one day. It’s a bit like when I opened my mouth and said I wanted to study psychology, and was told that apparently one can’t make a decent living doing that. Fucking Dr Phil. Even if I could never become Dr Phil, I will never be bald enough or be able to grow a moustach like his, I would at least be able to cash in on what he’s done to make psychology more mainstream and acceptable.

There’s that whole keeping people, especially young people, safe and saving them from their own dreams that sometimes drives me potty. It leaves your head ringing with ‘Don’t do that!” for decades and stops your dream factory in mid production and leaves you with a mediocre, out of the box life at best. It makes you settle when you want to shine and it makes you chase things that you “should have” like marriage, a career and life in suburbia.

I decided years ago that I won the argument and that I did indeed publish that book I wanted to publish. I’d done it. Big tick in that box. The fact that it wasn’t the literary master piece I’d secretly hoped for is another story but it's hardly the point. I never said it was going to be. Besides, my book has been published all over the world, globally, internationally and in a sort of universal way. It’s all over the place. Like I said, it’s not the kind of book I imagined but somewhere, out there, beneath the sunny skies of wherever, a technician is consulting a service manual I authored and illustrated.

I’m just saying. Mum. Dad. Bro. I’m just saying.

Transformation

When things lie in ruin you only have one choice: Accept the transformation.

It’s not only the destruction that’s part of a complete transformation that’s confusing and scary, the part, the part that’s born out of the destruction can be equally or more scary.

A tsunami swept through my life, my emotional life I mean. It’s self-indulgent to talk about. Most people go through break-ups and survive. Not all are emotionally affected at a deep level, some are. I feel like I’ve just been pulled out of the shadows and I’m standing naked in day light. The light is forcing my eyes shut; I’m blinded by it. I can’t see for shit where it is I’m supposed to be heading and I certainly can’t figure out where it is I’m supposed to be heading. I don’t even know what’s left of me. I’m in ruins.

I’m accepting the transformation. I have no other choice. I’m a control freak and now things are completely out of control. I plan for everything. There’s nothing to plan for now. Every single plan I had went out the window and I spent the whole weekend grieving not the relationship but my own ruined self. My heart is broken, it’s cracked wide open but oddly enough what I would have expected to find when it finally broke wasn’t there.

On the outside lives sadness and despair. On the inside the light is bright and golden.

I can’t speed this up; I have to roll with it. It’s hard. I like to take, and I’m used to taking, control. I like to lay out a course and head in that direction. I have no idea where the hell I’m going this time. One thing seems different this time though; I have faith. Somewhere deep inside there’s a tiny bit of hope stubbornly keeping itself alive and out of that faith is born. Somewhere deep inside there’s a deep knowing that things are OK. No one has died, no one is dying, least of all I.

I feel pain. I have cried an ocean this weekend in between stubbornly attacking the garden like there’s no tomorrow. It all just had to be cut back and trimmed down. It had to look neat. I had to be cared for. It had to be loved. It just had to. My arms are sore. My shoulders ache. I still feel like crying.

And I go all cliché on my own arse. I was a caterpillar and I was “happy” being a caterpillar. When I stepped out into the blinding light I stepped out as a butterfly and I’m just drying my wings is all. I’ll fly soon. For the first time in my life I’ll fly. I just got to have faith, that’s all.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Accidental Harvest

I was cleaning up and weeding the garden - it's looks much like my mind has been - and I found in among all the accidental tomatoes another bounty....


I suspect we will have pumpkin with our grilled salmon tonight and the beetroot will add a little something to my morning smoothie.

Natures provides and gifts the unexpected.

I'm just saying.


Recovery from Depression - more thoughts

Anonymous dogs me a little bit like...depression.

There's no doubt that depression brings you to your knees and cripples you. It takes over you life and it lives in your mind and in every fiber of your body. When depression hits, when you begin to suffer from it, there's nothing left to give you joy and most often you're an empty shell. When you do feel something it's a sadness so deep and so profound that you cannot see a way out of it.

And there, at that particular point there's no way out of it. You're stuck with it. No amount of positive affirmation, talking about your shit and trying to exercise and eat right seems to make a lick of difference. You seriously doubt that you'll ever get out of it and you have no hope left.

But you got to start somewhere.

If you're lucky you have good people around you who you can talk to and who will gently challenge your thoughts and who will continue to gently point out that things are not as bleak as they seem. These people are more helpful and important than you think. They play an important part in your recovery, your healing.

Whether you've been hit with depression or whether you're suffering from it is not all that important. In my own case I think I feel I was hit with it and then I began suffering from it when my depression post nervous breakdown progressed into what's called major depression - depression that lasts longer than six months.

I could see the frustration and anguish on my doctor's face when she made the phone call to get authorization for the doze of Prozac I was on (40mg not particularly high) because she knew that Prozac alone was not going to be the answer. She asked me what else I was doing.

To make myself abundantly clear:

My last post was about a part of my recovery that I regard as essential but it's no more essential than me cramming nutrients into my body for six months straight mostly in the form of juiced vegetable and omega 3.

It's no more essential than removing certain foods from my diet because they affect my mood in a way I don't like and if I eat them I do so with the knowledge that I will wake up in a rather melancholy state the next morning.

It's no more essential than starting to understand that melancholy is OK and natural, it's just in my best interest to make sure it's not a prolonged state.

It's not more essential than making sure I exercise, set goals (even really small ones) and achieve them, that I choose the people around me more carefully and limit my own access to people who are toxic to me in the state I'm in.

It's not more essential than educating myself on my own condition and finding ways that I can facilitate my own recovery.

It's no more essential than being honest with myself about who I am and what I want.

It's no more essential than ensuring I get to relax - which is currently through meditating every day and using self-hypnosis.

It's no more essential than telling myself I'm loved every damned day.

It's no more essential than getting myself out of the house and making sure my interactions with strangers are positive so that the feedback I receive from others is mostly positive therefore helping me realize that I'm a good person.

It's no more essential than taking stock of what I think and using negative thought stopping as a tool to weed out crappy thoughts that don't serve my recovery.

I could go on.....

There are so many things we can do when we suffer from depression. There's not a lot you can do when it's just hit you; that's the time when you really need others like your doctor and therapist because your reserves are so low, and you're so shell shocked that you can't really function without help. These people though, are there to teach you and help you get back on your own two feet and to help you realize who you are and that who you are is not depression.

Depression, prolonged depression, is not a natural state we should linger in. It requires you to fight it. It requires assistance. It doesn't however mean that you while you suffer from it you can't achieve great things or be successful.

Winston Churchill.

Ruby Wax.

What depression means is that the light has been stolen from you and any which way you can find light again is valid (unless you're hurting someone else).

What depression means is that hope is not available to you and any which way you can find any hope again is valid.

What depression means is that faith is not in your heart and any which way you can get any faith back is valid.

So many more things are valid. No one thing is more valid than another except for the fact every person who suffers from or is hit with depression needs the support of others no matter how hard it is to give.

I'm just saying.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Recovery from depression

Recovery from depression is a mind game. You need to start coming to terms with that your own mind has been lying to you about you, and that it doesn’t always say things that are in your best interest. When you’re depressed it does the opposite, and it’s not that it’s out to hurt you, it’s trying to protect you in a very misguided way.

Every moment of our lives we are collecting data be it through what we see, hear or feel, and with feel I mean tactile feeling not feelings.

The information gathered is filtered through the set of beliefs we’re programmed with. We need beliefs, and habits for that matter, because if we weren’t jumping to quick conclusions about most things we encounter we would be stuck trying to figure out what to do every single second of our wake moments.

It would be completely ineffective existence and it would also put us in danger because if there’s a tiger rushing towards us with the intention of making a meal out of us we need to make a quick decision as to how to safe our arse and not spend too much time trying to figure out what it is that’s happening and how it will affect us. This is one of the reasons that we’ve been so successful as a species and of course you can see the same thing happening in a lot of other species. It’s fair to say it’s an essential function.

In today’s world there are not a lot of tigers about to worry about, and our beliefs are a set of structures that are mostly concerned with how we should be or act to fit in. Sometimes we have conflicting beliefs. Mostly our beliefs are beneficial and healthy but in some cases beliefs are destructive and harmful, and they don’t serve us at all.

All data we receive is filtered through this system and we usually have little or no control over what the resulting emotion is. Emotions are energy in motion.

Emotions are born through your own awareness of data received. You notice a reaction in your body – more data. You interpret based on your beliefs (importance, etc.) and as a result you come to some sort of conclusion which results in the emotion.

Emotions are feeling factories. Feelings are awareness of the energy in motion, of the emotions. Especially if events that trigger emotions are repeated we eventually come to some sort of emotional conclusion and feelings are born. Feelings often feed back into emotions and feelings are changed or another feeling is generated.

Basically emotions tell us what we like or dislike, or what’s good or bad. Feeling on the other hand tells us how to live based on our likes and dislikes and separate good and bad out into good and bad actions. Emotions are the initial reaction. Feelings are the longer term attitude.

Out of feelings thoughts are born. Thoughts are more structured and concrete. We reason with ourselves using thoughts. We form new beliefs or change beliefs if we sustain the same thoughts for a prolonged period. Thoughts are not something we have no control over. Many people seem to think thoughts are things that happen to us that they are the truth. The truth is that thoughts are based on that whole process of receiving data, filtering through beliefs, resulting energy in motion and the resulting birth of feelings.

When you’re depressed the whole process is severely compromised. If you’re able to start paying attention to your thoughts and how many of them are negative, and you start to challenge them your result will eventually differ. I’m not saying it’s easy, if it was that easy I would be getting the Noble Peace Prize for what I just typed, but it’s essential to look at the process the thoughts that are produced by your mind are going through. It’s essential that you become more aware of your thoughts so that you can challenge them. It’s essential that you take a look at your beliefs, your filter, and that you clean that filter as much as you can.

One of the things I found most challenging with depression what owing the fact that I have control over what’s goes on in my mind, and that I don’t have to believe every stupid thought my mind conjures. In fact, it was essential that I called my own mind a liar at times and really went about challenging the crap it was dishing up in form of thoughts.

We’re not at the mercy of our emotions, feelings and thoughts to the extent we think. We have much more control that we think; we’re just not taught how to do it. (Imagine if that taught that in school?)

Recovering from depression is bloody hard work; I believe it’s as hard as it is recovering from addiction because depressed people are addicted to negative thought patterns. No matter whether you end up on medication or not you’re eventually going to have to face up to having to work on your mind and weeding out anything in it or around you, in your environment, that affects you negatively. It may mean you have to stop doing certain things, that you have to change habits and behaviors and that you may have to remove yourself from certain people until you’re stronger or for the rest of your life.

I’m no expert. I don’t have a degree in psychology or psychiatry. It’s purely a little something I’ve learned in the past two and a half years since my nervous breakdown, and it’s something I wish I had understood better when I first had my breakdown.

If you’re depressed right now: There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to get rid of some the thoughts that are standing in the way of letting you see it right now. And, you can do that; you can begin your recovery from depression now. The process I have described above is not the only thing that you will need to pay attention to and change; it's one aspect of your recovery.

I’m just saying

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Propelled forward

Anonymous said it best when Anonymous said "Some relationships keep us at a standstill or worse. Some breakups help propel us forward." in a comment a few days ago. It's like that. Anonymous is wise. I'm a fan of Anonymous now and if you think I'm kidding I'm not.

I feel propelled. Several things have dawned on me at once, especially in the last week, and I think the one thought that really amused me the most was the one that for some reason summed up the relationship I just got out of as "Nice experiment. Learned lots. Glad it's finished. Now let's see what's next." May not sound particularly profound to you but it was to me because it got rid of that thought that I had sat here and happily wasted three years of my life. Well, not exactly happily, I think there's enough proof on this blog to show that it wasn't exactly a match made in heaven.

I've come out of this amazingly well. Now, I'm not one to advocate going off medications we're prescribed, and I'm not quite willing to completely poo poo anti-depressants yet, but I really think that they contributed to me staying in this relationship for as long as I did.

Anti-depressants smooth out everything, make high and lows less hi and less low, until it becomes hard to distinguish what's what. They're designed to do that. They're designed to even your moods out enough so you can start talk therapy and get over what ails your mind but I have to say, if you're evened out then talk therapy would be less effective since things are not bothering to the same extent any more.

I don't know.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Yes. Hello. Thank you. I’m awake now. I’m paying attention.

There’s nothing quite like getting a wakeup call first thing in the morning, especially when it’s something you’ve “known” but you’ve kind of hidden from yourself because it’s too bloody complicated or hard to admit, or you just don’t want to even think it out loud to yourself. But ouch, Anonymous (you’re probably here – I hope you are), I actually sat there at 4.45am this morning, sucking down my first cup of coffee getting ready to cycle to work, and the thought that went through my head when I looked at the date of the post you commented on was “Has it really been that long?!”

Holy batshit! Yes, it has. It’s been with me for that long. That original post you commented on was over 2 years old and it was posted a few months after I had my nervous breakdown. Now, circa four and half hours later I’m still struggling with the fact that I let this be in my realm for so long. OK, a nervous breakdown doesn’t exactly afford you a lot of intelligence and logic but there it is: two fucking years.

Have to say though, because I’m not completely crazy and it would never have held together this wrong if it was. It wasn’t all a bad thing but it was a rollercoaster ride. It’s like all these situations and relationships. They’re allowed to persist because we’re unable to take action to stop it because of something else that’s happened or is happening to us, most of all though, it was the wrong thing arriving at a time when I was most definitely vulnerable and then I became even more vulnerable. It’s most definitely part of my MO and it is even more definitely a pattern I’m breaking now.

Me being dumb, it’s not something I can afford to believe I am. I’ve struggled through the aftermath of the breakdown for two years and the funny thing is, and I’m in no way advocating that one doesn’t take anti-depressants – I’m not qualified to do so, I said no to this situation as soon as the anti-depressants were out of my system. I mean I said a proper NO, not a please stop doing this kind of no. There may, or there may not, be a link. Right now I choose think or at least entertain the idea that there is a link because it’s so much more preferable than to think I’m bloody stupid. I feel like since the anti-depressants are out of my system I’m beginning to feel like my old self again.

I think the best thing of all is that I’m doing OK. At the end of all this I’m doing better than I have in a very long time and it’s important. Things are happening at a rate that they didn’t before.

I’ve enrolled at a gym and am currently having to stop myself from going because I’m enjoying it a little too much. My body loves to work and it’s getting its jollies off in ways it hasn’t in years. Feeling the muscles grow stronger and ache from a good work out is unreal. Maybe it’s the endorphins, I don’t know, who cares, whatever is coursing through my body is making it feel lovely.

I enrolled in an online Social Psychology course this morning. A work colleague felt a sudden urge to ask if I knew about Coursera and as we talked I had a look and that course just jumped out at me. It’s ready to start. I’m ready to start. I’ve wanted to do this for eons, the studying thing. It scares me a bit after two years of unstructured thinking but here goes – nothing to lose, right?

I tend to sit somewhere between Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra in my belief system so there’s a part of me who believes that Anonymous commenting on that old post (what are you doing reading through all that old shit but thanks for doing it so it can be pointed out – and in answer to your question: Yes, he did) is a kind of serendipitous event.

Yes. Hello. Thank you. I’m awake now. I’m paying attention. Trust me. I’m paying attention.

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