Monday, November 25, 2013

When your landline dies and you're left in the communication desert

Last week my phone line started playing up but who cares if there's noise on the line as long as ADSL works, you can connect, there are no drop outs and your download speeds are not compromised.

That's right, folks! NOBODY!

Landlines are so last century.

When, on the other hand your phone line gets so bad you can't connect to the internet anymore you are left incommunicado and alone, and you can't tell what the weather is like because you can't access weatherzone.com.

You realize that you've forgotten the ancient art of scrying the weather by just lifting your head and looking up at the sky.

You start having conversations with random people at the store and you talk a lot more to your cats.

You're incredibly surprised when your teen's life don't seem to change - you really expected it would lead to some sort of breakdown.

(And you forget how to spell and your grammar goes out the window - apparently.)

But I'm back and it took a while to get the Telstra guy out here but it was the same guy that's been fixing my phone line for years - yes, it's not the first time this has happened. Two of his cats have had strokes since we last met, he looks about 105 years old now but he sure knows how to fix a phone line. I've not had download speed like this since, ummmm, forever.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Meditation medicine

It’s the kind of topic that polarizes people, I realize that, but I kind of want to talk about it anyway because it’s part of my healing. My healing. Me. Me. Me.

First I want to say that I’m firmly rooted in science and that I as a person, in general, require scientific proof before I jump on a bandwagon and proclaim myself a believer. I don’t want to tell you who you are and what you think but you’re going to think that it’s not really true because what I’m about to write about shows the contrary.

Since the somewhat spectacular ending of my last relationship a lot of things have happened to me mentally. It’s all good, as we say here in Oz, I can assure you, but it’s nonetheless a hell of a change and I’m being forced to just let go and go along for the ride. I’ve no other choice. If I tried fighting the changes occurring I would probably drown in my own emotional turmoil.

End of August, now nearly three months ago, I attended a meditation workshop that ran for a day in one of the lovelier and leafier suburbs of Sydney. I was in a right state at the time. I was still depressed. I was hurting like a mofo because of the break up and the betrayal(s) that ultimately caused it (and not a day too late). I was anxious, no let’s be honest, I was in a permanent state of anxiety which was only really interrupted by the occasional anxiety attack. My dear darlings, in a nutshell, I was fubared.

But, one is seldom as fubared as one may think. It’s amazing how resistant and resourceful we really are and that’s even when we don’t have any faith or hope to help prop us up.

The meditation workshop shifted something in me. The right people’s paths converged at the right time and Universe colluded to bring me little gifts in the form of messages that allowed me to start shifting my own reality. Fortunately I was aware and open enough pick up these messages and take them on board, and so began the path to…..here, where I am today.

First, I began to meditate daily. It’s not always been the sitting-in-lotus-position kind of meditation but it’s been meditation every damned day. I’ve been doggedly determined to do it for one reason: It kills anxiety dead before it even wakes up in the morning. Meditation is ninja and it’s gone about getting rid of a lot of the more bothersome housemates in my mind. They were the guys who burped at the dinner table, left the bathroom door open when they went to the toilet and never, ever cleaned up after themselves. They were noisy, to say the least, and opinionated and not particularly pleasant to be around. We, the rest of us, don’t miss them.

So, I meditate alone but I’ve also meditated with a few groups.

The first one was the Sahaja people. I found them a little confusing because they do a lot of hand movements and although they claim to not be affiliated with any religion they do have a guru and so my shackles went up a bit.

The second one is a Prana healing mediation held in a backyard shed with a bunch of Indian dudes who get together because they “suffer” from a bad case of wanting to heal Earth and its inhabitants. I like these guys. They were uncomplicated and nice. I will go back when my schedule clears but ramping up to Christmas and what with my darling daughter Bee heading out to Central Australia on a school trip next week they’ll have to heal Earth without me for a while.

The third is a psychic awakenings circle that I basically joined because the guy holding the meditation workshop back in August recommended I seek out spiritual people for a while because as a rule they’re kinder and more accepting, and that’s the kind of people I needed to be around especially to counter the fact that I work in real corporate surroundings.

The psychic peeps have turned out to be lovely and since a lot of the people who go there are healers I’m getting reintroduced to my old friend Reiki. You didn’t know that about me, did you? I’m an attuned Reiki and Seichim master. I’ve not practiced for years and it’s all to do with that scientifically minded thing I’ve got going. Some of the people practicing Reiki are a little too airy fairy for me and there are also a lot of fractions in the field and I loathe politics so I defected.

The thing about the psychic things is that as it turns out I’m good at it. I’ve worked with energies in the past, I’ve studied Shamanism out of curiosity, so it’s not like it’s all new to new to me but what is new to me is that absolute avalanche of energy and clairvoyance coming at me.

So, it’s all BS, right? Yeah, that’s the category I want to place it in but when I do a reading on a person I can’t see and I get shit right about them, I’ve never met them before and I only know their name, I start wondering. When I see the same things that others are seeing during a group meditation, and when someone else tells me they saw something I was doing during the meditation (in my head like) and I’ve not told anyone about it, then I start wondering.

But, it’s all really immaterial because the meditation workshop teacher was right. Being around spiritual people is in itself healing so I will keep going back. Maybe you’re watching a psychic being born. Maybe I’m just going quietly and desperately mad(der).

I’ll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Making the Happy


I’ve decided to make, or rather I have the intention of making, happiness my business. Or, I’m making it my business to make happy. With business I’m not talking the money making kind but rather the nosy, sticky-beak kind.
 
In the past month or so I’ve digested a huge amount of information related to our fight or flight response not only because I’ve spent the past two and a half years in a very intimate relationship with it as you do when you suffer from an anxiety disorder. It’s made me realize that it’s not only highly anxious people that spend a lot of time being intimate with it; we all do. 

Fighting the fight or flight responses is interesting business not only because it can bring calm to the anxious prone but also because when you successfully manage to do it you actually become happy. It’s the unexpected side-effect that we all want to the full-time effect of just living our lives.

So, it’s captured my imagination, it’s taken up residence in my mind and it’s become very dear to my heart and I now suffer from a strong wish to share some of the things I’ve found along the way with you so that you perhaps can be a little happier too. 

We can all make happy. 

Together. 

You and I.

Sounds too simple? Yeah, I know.

The simple truth is that we can’t modify the whole world to our taste but what we can do is to change our mind and if we change our mind we change the way we experience the world and kind of create our own reality. We can change our own perception of the world by concentrating on something different.

So, we want to concentrate on being happy? Not deliriously happy but, you know, being contently kind of happy most of the time.

A selfish happiness can’t be the goal. A constant preoccupation with self and self-happiness is a kind of torment in itself because you’re vulnerable to everything that happens around you. It’s like having a thousand balls bouncing around in a very small space that you’re in. You’re going to get hit by bouncing balls over and over. When you focus on the bigger space, on other people and on the world, the space those balls have to bounce around in is much bigger and you’re not going to get hit by the balls with the same frequency, and it won’t be so much of a bother; the impact is lessened and you’re ability to remain happy increases.

What you want is to develop a state of mind that can withstand those pesky ups and downs of life that are inevitable so that you become less dependent and less vulnerable to your own emotions and feelings as they relate to the ups and downs. The state of mind you want exists independent of your emotions and feelings but it’s already in you. All you have to do is find it, cultivate it and nurture it so it can grow strong.

It’s much easier to be happy when you’re child especially before the age of two when you start developing a sense of self. Children recover from disappointment a lot quicker. They don’t have the same expectations of life that adults do. They don’t sit around and think that life is unfair for not giving them this or that, and they’re able to forgive life for not living up to expectations.

By the time we get to adulthood we’ve been knocked around, we’re a bit dented and scratch, and more importantly we’ve been taught to expect things of life and others. We’ve formed all sorts of expectations and if you look closely you see that the dents and bumps are really those expectations. If you start working on modifying or getting rid of the expectations you have of life or others delivering you this or that so you can be happy you become less dented and scratched, and you’re going to find it easier to be happy.

So, what happens when you are wronged by someone and they’ve hurt you? You’re not expected just to shrug and go “Meh!”, are you?

When you’ve been hurt you have to spend time grieving. You have to give yourself that time. It’s when you allow yourself to keep that grieving process going for prolonged periods and it becomes a grievance you’re holding onto that you’re allowing yourself to suffer needlessly. There’s some trade off in holding onto the thought that someone who’s wronged you is going to die a horrible death as a result of it, and preferably going through hell getting there, but it does nothing for your own happiness. Your own happiness involves you letting go of the hurt and grief, and allowing yourself to move on to think better more nourishing thoughts.

But it’s normal to feel that way you argue? Sure it is! Most of us feel and react that way but the fact that it’s normal doesn’t make it optimal, and wouldn’t you rather have optimal than this mediocre normal state?

You want to be happy, right? Yes? So do I! That’s why I've made it my business to be happy.

Everything is beautiful, or ugly, when you shine a light on it. The kind of light doesn’t matter; it’s where you shine it. Wouldn’t you rather shine a light on your own happiness?

OK, so it’s normal but you want to get to optimal. What do you have to do? What is, simply put, some of the things you have to do start moving towards optimal?

The first thing most of us have to learn is self-soothing. I talked about the fight or flight response. It’s there to protect you but unchecked it will go off and try to protect from things that are no biggie, and they’re no biggie because they’re not a threat to your life, to your ego perhaps but not to your life.

When the fight or flight response, or the nervous system, kicks in you feel it. Your heart rate is alleviated. Your breathing becomes rapid. You tense up. Your mind’s racing. You’re not thinking clearly. You’re ready to wage war at the drop of a hat. 

You don’t need to be in that state, you need to get out of if, and the way to do that is to get the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in. What is the parasympathetic nervous system? It’s the anti-dote to the fight or flight response; it’s calm and it’s being able think clearly.

The easiest way to get the parasympathetic nervous system to kick in, or to self-soothe if you like, is to take deep, slow breaths. It’s the kind of breath that fills your stomach with air and you feel the body responding to it by relaxing almost instantly. The deep, slow breath roundhouse kicks the fight or flight response in the face leaving it in a heap unconscious on the ground and you’re free to think again. That’s what you want, right? The pain of suffering is….not nice. Feeling relaxed and closer to optimal is nice. You’re on your way there now that you have the faculty of clear thinking back and your body is not all tense and wound up.

So, the first skill to master on the path to a more consistent state of being happy is the skill of self-soothing and an easy way to self-soothe is to kick start the arasympathetic nervous system by taking a few deep, slow breath. Try it! Try it when now when you’re not in right in the middle of the fight or flight response so that your mind start getting used to using this technique. It is not going to be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re fight or flight response kicks in unless you practice, right? You want to become your own personal, professional soother and you can do it with this highly portable technique.

What are you still doing here? Go breathe! Deep and slow!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I pick me

Remember when you were a kid in school and you were going play sports or do anything in teams, and how a couple of kids were picked out as “captains” who had to pick team members one by one, and how all the popular kids always got picked first, like you already knew the order before it all started, and there was always those kids that were picked last every damned time? Remember that? Remember how it made you feel? Like, I don’t know if you were one of those who got picked first or, god forbid, last or if you lived in the obscure gray area of middle mediocracy……but I bet you found it at least a little bit uncomfortable, like the experience stayed with you and you never, ever wanted to be picked last ever or ever again!

Well, I remember and I’m going to tell you this:

I pick me.

I pick me first and I’m going to pick me first every time from now this point on.

I pick me to be happy now.

I pick me to love now.

I pick me to feel compassion for me now.

I pick me to forgive now.

I pick me to be kind to now.

I pick me.

I’m not going to wait for life or anyone to pick me; I’m just going to go ahead and pick myself.

I’m just saying.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Floating

It's been so long since I posted. It's been three weeks. I've not died or generally left this reality. I've kind of taken time out. I've walked with me holding my own hand because I really needed to do that.

I sought the antidote to melancholy and I began to find it.

Let's not kid ourselves. Life is a roller coaster but on the whole I actually find it quite fair. It can feel rotten at times. It can feel rotten and it can feel like the whole world, or just one single person, is out to get you and to torment you for eternity but on the whole it's fair. On the whole there are enough life rafts to go around and to get you out of any sinking ship scenario safely.

You've just got to reach for it. Sitting on your arse wondering what's happening and asking "Why?" is not going to get you to safety.

Taking action gets you to safety. Any action. Just take it. Usually when you're desperate you instinctively take the right kind of action because you've stopped stubbornly holding onto how you want things to be, your preferred outcome.

So, I began to play. I did what small children do and I trusted. I took that one step off the cliff and I found that even though I can't fly, yet, I can certainly float and I can keep myself afloat as long as I keep blowing up the balloons.

A little effort brings results and I choose to think that one day my wings, my very own wings, will miraculously unfold, and that when they do they will be splendid.

Balloons? I'm crazy talking using metaphors that make no sense! No, no, I'm just trying to be poetic!

Seriously, I took myself right out of my comfort zone and found that it had become a very small comfort zone, probably by necessity.  Anxiety doesn't leave you much swinging room.

I went to a museum exhibition with total strangers and found friendly faces and kind souls.

I began to take meditation seriously and I began to look for others to meditate with. I found a group of Indian young men who get together and perform Prana healing meditations once a week because they too "suffer" from a pronounced need to heal this world and everything in it. (As luck would have it, it's the time of Diwali and I was treated to the little Indian sweets that are served during the celebrations just as an extra bonus.)

I found a group of psychics, and budding or wannabe psychics, that I joined just because I'm curious to see if there really is such a thing as people who are psychic. Incidentally, I had a tarot reading with the organizer of this group and refused to ask her any specific questions and she pretty much brought up all the questions I have about my life and answered them - am I convinced? No, not really but I had fun. The only man in the group was covered in "totem" tattoos and called himself a "channeler" - he even brought his own disciple and she was young and cute! He talked at great lengths about himself and his experiences while giving away absolutely nothing of substance. At the end of our session he told us how he had sat back and watched everyone's energy and what they were seeing. The only people he targeted with any "specific" details were the two newbies who were unsure of what they would themselves see to be begin with. He calls himself a "channeler". I would be more prone to call him a "charlatan" or "delusional". I know, I'm being a tad judgmental here but I can't help it.

I'm a skeptic at heart.

More important than all that bull was the almost complete shift in diet. I've left wheat and sugar behind almost completely and I've embraced a more wholefood like diet. I've stuck to my juicing (mean green juice filled with kale and with added beetroot and carrot for color) to keep getting nutrients. I've eaten nothing processes unless you count milk and tofu. I've eaten more protein (even though I've a hard time accepting how animals are slaughtered nowadays) and it's shifted my ability to stay on top of depression and anxiety yet again. I must not eat the sugary things or drink the alcoholic things and I'm learning why they both affect me in a similar way. I've created new recipes and I've cooked with coconut flour. I've kept healthy wholefood snacks in my fridge and I've lost weight without even thinking about it.

But most of all, absolutely most of all, I've meditated and worked on mindfulness, not in some attempt to find god or to become more spiritual but to find more of me and to learn to control the thoughts in my brain. It's working. I'm more able to discern and to have faith. I'm learning to trust. For now meditation is my life raft and it will continue to be so or else I fear I will be lost.

I don't want to be lost and hopefully you don't want to lose me either.

I'm saying.

Love and light to you all because that's what "we" are saying - a message from the spirits to you. *GRIN*

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