The Doing and Feeling Balance

The Doing and Feeling Balance

Vintage balanceI took a break from everything for a few days over the holidays. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened and it felt awesome! I had to pick up a few dropped pieces afterwards but it was still worth it. Life can get so busy sometimes it’s easy to forget to just be, not do. Sometimes life is so painful we avoid the being so we don’t have to feel; the doing serves as a painkiller of sorts. Some days we need more being and feeling. Some days we need a break from the feeling. Too much feeling can overwhelm us.
Find the balance that works for you of feeling and doing. Everyone is different. Our needs vary. I need a lot of being and feeling. I need time to just sit and ponder. In that space emotion rises to the surface. I identify it, understand it, sit with it, decide what I want to do because of it, then let it go ~ until the next time it shows up. Then I go through the same process. The more I allow myself to intentionally be with my emotions, processing them not just swirling in them haphazardly, the less control my emotions have over me.
Make time to find your balance between doing and feeling.

Fluidity

Fluidity

Change can be beneficial. Really. Just because you have always done things a certain way does not mean it hChristmasas to stay that way. This is true especially around the holidays. Think about the areas in your life where you have stress. Is it possible to change something up that will result in less stress? Usually our first answer is, “No!” But stop and ponder the idea for a bit. What would happen if you did things differently? The obvious answer is things wouldn’t be the same but is “same” always good/best/helpful/beneficial?
A stagnant body of water with no fluidity, no change, no movement of water coming in and moving out is a breeding ground for all manner of parasites and bacteria. When I looked this up the first bit of information said it’s a breeding ground for dengue and malaria. I do not want my life to be like a breeding ground for nasty parasites and bacteria. I want to be open to changing. Whether that is related to how I prepare for and celebrate the holidays or how I function in relationships, take care of myself, approach my work or faith.
How about you? What areas in your life need some fresh, clean water running in and clearing out the old stagnant parasite breeding ground? Let this holiday season and your entire life embrace and thrive with change ūüôā

De-Icing

De-Icing

ice formations in winter streamIt’s that time of year again, the holidays. As with each year since I started blogging I will post holiday-related topics for the next few weeks.¬†Last week was Thanksgiving for those of us here in the States. Generally I have enjoyed my¬†Thanksgiving holiday but¬†not so this year. There were some highlights: gathering together with most of my children and grandchildren, seeing siblings, nieces, nephews, a few cousins, my mother-in-law¬†and my mom. It was a chaotic experience with many people I did not know and¬†that was¬†not enjoyable. Sometimes I am in the mood for conversations with strangers but this year, not so much. This year, I just wanted to be with family. I definitely felt my dad’s absence and that was part of my sadness.
I¬†experienced the¬†strangling of disappointment and anger taking over inside of me. It¬†sucked me down into a ¬†familiar hole. I stayed there for several days. I was less patient with those around me, especially strangers in cars who received eye rolls and shouts of frustration. All of which I’m sure went unnoticed. It felt safer to yell at them. They can’t yell back (or at least I won’t hear them if they do). You know those times when you only want to have one-sided conversations because you are pretty certain a two-way conversation won’t go well? I felt gloomy, eyore-ish, and it’s been hard to get out of it.
I stopped to take stock of the why. My self-care¬†was nearly¬†non-existent while I was away for the week of Thanksgiving. I had been expecting myself to survive on the basics alone and that is not enough for me. On my last day away, I grabbed my husband and our puppy¬†and¬†went on a walk. I griped along the way, getting all¬†that life-sucking¬†poison out. I requested that we leave early (a looming snowstorm sealed that deal for me!) to put an end to this misery. Along the way, we stopped on a pedestrian bridge that¬†overlooked the Roaring Fork River (sounds big but it’s just a stream really, especially in the winter). The clear frigid waters lolly gagged and splashed around huge boulders and scattered tree limbs. Patches of ice formed on the rocks on the¬†downstream side of the bridge while the upstream side,¬†in full sun, remained ice free. Something about that caught my attention. Maybe my heart was like the river. When I am on the downstream side, away from my source for internal warmth, I ice over. It’s harder for me to stay grounded. When I move toward the warmth of my source (in my case, God), the hardness and ice inside of me begin to melt.
But it doesn’t stop there. Ice builds inside of me when I am not getting out on walks, feeling fresh air and sunshine on my skin. I desperately need¬†to soak in nature,¬†do yoga, and spend time in solitude with my thoughts and prayers. Those are my biggies, the most important pieces of my self-care that must be regular ingredients in my life. I had a profound experience of what happens to me when I starve myself. I am working on stabilizing again, turning toward the sun, feeling the ice crystals softening and chunks of ice peeling away from soul. I feel warmth growing again and with it, hope that I will be ok.

Freaked-Out? Sad? Angry?

Freaked-Out? Sad? Angry?

human_mindNot happy about current circumstances and want to navigate well? You don’t have to just wallow in your misery, you can do something productive. First, clearly identify what you are feeling (anger, sadness, fear…) and the thoughts that are dictating the emotions. Emotions don’t just show up all on their own. They are linked to cognitive thought: you have a thought and an emotion will follow. We sometimes notice the emotion and not the dictating thought so it’s super important to get back to, “Where did this feeling come from?” The reason? If the thought isn’t based in reality, it’s not worth entertaining and neither is the accompanying the emotion. We often feel these not-based-in-reality emotions¬†anyway and develop incredibly unhealthy neural pathways that become ingrained in our brain and feel like a reflex when in fact they are an unhealthy learned behavior that we keep feeding.
For instance: “With this new President-elect, our country is going down the tubes, freedom will be lost, this is horrible!” What is true at this moment that you know for sure beyond a shadow of a doubt? We have a new President-elect. That’s it. We don’t actually know what he will do. We know what he said he will do, but nothing has actually been done yet. Breathe. Remind yourself of what you know for sure. Let go of all the places your mind is going with the “what ifs”. They are crazy-making and completely unhelpful. You can mourn the loss of your candidate if you did not vote for Trump. You can celebrate that your candidate¬†won if you voted for Trump. That’s it. Nothing more. Don’t get too puffed up about all that is going to happen or too depressed about all that is going to happen because–none of it has happened yet. Stay with the here and now and breathe deeply and slowly.
Next, after feeling the emotions based in reality, take a deep breath, splash some water on your face and ask yourself, “Where do I have control? Is there anything I can do about the situation that is healthy, legal and wise?” At the very least, we always have the ability to choose how we are going to react, what kind of attitude we are going to have, if we want to smile and find the joy in our life. Always! Viktor Frankl learned this in a Nazi-run concentration camp during World War II. If he learned this concept in the very worst of circumstances then we can surely do this in our circumstances. I know, if you are reading this, you already have way more freedom and more to find joy in than a concentration camp prisoner.
Now, move on. Surely you have something you need to be doing or could be doing that is productive. Maybe it’s time for a good dose of self-care (something you can do that fills you up in a good way–healthy, legal and wise!). Go for a walk, pet your dog/cat, talk to a friend, listen to music, feel the sun/fresh air, read a book, knit, play piano, write…the list could go on and on. Be good to your body and your mind. Fill up and restore so you can reset. You will deal with whatever happens when it happens and until then, you can¬†take care of yourself, anchor to the present and bring joy into this world in your own unique way ūüôā

Keeping It Real!

Keeping It Real!

I am human through and through! I have had time to reflect on my “family altercation” last week and realized¬†that all of it could have been avoided had I not stepped in. It seemed to me that getting involved was the right thing to do, to speak for someone who wasn’t speaking for herself. A classic co-dependent move on my part. Although a decision had been made that was ridiculous in my mind, the best action for me to have taken was no action. The decision didn’t involve a life or death situation, just an uncomfortable one that truly didn’t involve me.
So now my mind has moved¬†to wondering how I could have avoided this? Sometimes I can see situations with such intense clarity I sense I am gifted with invaluable insight. At other times I bumble so horribly I wonder how it is I do anything well at all! Such is the life of a human. We are not robots who are programmed to always make the right decision. We are capable of change and making wise choices but we also always carry with us the capacity to blow it. Remember the neural pathways? The unhealthy routes don’t go away, they just get weeds growing through the pavement. They are still accessible. When I’m tired, hungry, in pain, sick, over-extended or ungrounded, I am far more likely to forgo the wise for the unhealthy.
This could easily be a situation where I turn on myself and beat myself up for blowing it. But I won’t. It’s not worth it. Beating myself up never gave me the energy or motivation to change. I’m also not so sure I wish this hadn’t happened. I kind of like my humanity. It keeps me grounded to myself and others. We are all bumbling our way through life. If I ever got to a place where I believed I had arrived, I would lose my compassion for others. I would expect everyone to get where I have gotten. I don’t ever want to be in that space…ever! So, I am embracing my best pic brick wall copy - Version 2humanity…celebrating it! I love being me, flaws and all ūüôā