Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself

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Tapping Solution Video from World Summit 2013

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Tapping Video with Louise Hay and Nick Ortner

 


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Changes

Discouraged. That pretty much sums up how I have been feeling lately. I think I am overwhelmed because I have been going through my possessions trying to become more minimalist; but in the process I have felt a mixture of emotions. Most recently, I parted with a garbage bag full of treasured books destined for charity and in doing so I wanted to pull some out and ‘save’ them…but I resisted. It feels like a loss to me because I love books and they’ve been my ‘significant other’ since I have never let real people close to me. So in parting with so many books I felt attachment to I went through a series of grief related feelings. Maybe not all of the grief related feelings/stages but definitely some anyway.

When you use books to satisfy your need for relationships giving away a large quantity of them feels horrendous. It’s not like I hoard books but I definitely value my books more than a person ought to. They aren’t historic relics suited to an archives department either so I don’t have any objective reason to view them so fondly. Perhaps it’s the fact I parted with books that had served as valuable references and comfort when I needed them; now I’m forced to either let go of anything I can’t remember or trust I will be able to call upon my brain to give me the knowledge when I need it. That’s scary given I dissociated for so much of my life to avoid pain. What if I can’t remember everything I read in the books I gave away?! Now I must trust myself to survive and have greater acceptance of my innate fallibility which also makes me face the fact I am imperfect. You see all these things connect to my sense of lovability and self-worth and that is terrifying territory. There’s little comfort in what I’m experiencing.

I want to crawl under my bed covers and not have to face the world. Maybe I am depressed but more than likely I am afraid of the fact I have nothing solid to stand on. All of my worldly identifiers are gone and I’m struggling to not concoct a new identity for myself knowing such a thing would be a production of my ego anyway. Part of the reason I fear social interaction is I’m afraid someone will ask me about myself and I don’t have any tidy, pat answers on tap to reduce my discomfort and the other person’s. The other reason for my social anxiety is I simply have trouble easily relating to everyone. Maybe most people don’t easily relate to others either and just hide it better than I do. Or maybe it’s a problem of ‘how’ I relate. I can relate at a human level but not at the social/surface level. After all, I don’t have a paid job, sports don’t interest me and I don’t have a husband or kids. So right there I am starting off from a disadvantaged position. Then again maybe I just overthink these things and should try to ‘relax’ more! Ha, if it were that easy I’d have done it by now. In some ways I have learned to relax about it a little bit but other times I get triggered by things like giving away some of my precious books. Who knew parting with a garbage bag full of my books would trigger me? Certainly, if I’d known it, I might have chosen to part with fewer books to ease the discomfort. The way I have done it feels like I just had a Band-Aid ripped from a tender sore spot. I suppose I shall have to go easy on myself. Trying to bulldoze my way through the pain won’t help me any if past experiences are anything to go on.

On a more positive note I did manage to dust my computer desk and tidy up my messy cords from my electronic devices. Well that’s it for now. Tomorrow I see my counsellor.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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Paring Down To Go Minimalist

Not quite this minimalist yet but maybe one day…

Lately I have been trying to go minimalist to simplify my life. It’s been something of a challenge as I have loads of things I don’t need yet feel some level of attachment to still. So I am culling the easiest items first beginning with anything I’ve not used or thought about in years or never liked anyway. In fact I got rid of two and a half garbage bags so far of things for charity. Much of what I have culled is perfectly usable or in decent/superb shape and what isn’t I threw out for the garbage or recycling. I feel really proud of myself for tackling my excess clutter. It makes me feel lighter emotionally once I’ve managed to clear out a few things that I never actually used. Fortunately, I haven’t got a compulsive hoarding problem or my job would be far more monumental!

A good reason for going toward minimalist living is it’s easier to clean if you don’t have loads of things in your way to move in order to clean. Presently, I have to move lots of items if I want to dust a surface or wipe it clean. It makes the task a lot harder than it needs to be. In the last month or two I have felt myself desiring less material items and more space so that means a bit of effort now for less later. It feels nice not having so many knick knacks and objects that were for all intensive purposes clutter. I highly recommend minimalism to you if you’re seeking a simpler existence and find yourself regarding material items less favourably than you once did. The only caveat is you will need to have your mind in line with the lifestyle or it won’t feel appropriate for you. Also, if you are a compulsive hoarder or pack rat minimalism likely isn’t for you!

I have a ways to go before I can call myself a minimalist but I’m going in the right direction anyway.

©Natalya, 2014. Reflections On Life Thus Far®


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B4 Peace Monthly Challenge

Let’s visualize what a peaceful world will look like. For this month’s peace challenge, I challenge you to publish what your dream of peace looks like. Here are a few prompts. Feel free to use one or create your own.

  • With as much detail as possible, describe a day in a world full of peace.
  • What would the radio, internet, television sound/look like in a peaceful world?
  • Pick a spot in the world today that has conflict and re-vision this area as peaceful.
  • What would all the people who are in active duty to conflict do if we had world peace? How would we alter our spending, resources, and brain power if we didn’t have to worry about war?
  • Describe the world you want your children to live in. How would they feel? What would they be doing and with whom?
  • Pretend you are the only one living who remembers a world without peace. How would you describe how grateful you are to be living in a peaceful world?

Don’t forget to link to at least one other B4Peace post and add your post to the Linkz collection. 

 

I realize I haven’t done a B4 Peace monthly challenge in a while; yes, I feel guilty for that so when I checked October’s challenge and saw what it was I had to do it. What would a world look like at peace? Now there’s a challenge I can attempt!

In my view a peaceful world would entail one where we are all self aware and able to meditate on a regular basis. We would

meditation

meditation (Photo credit: HaPe_Gera)

all have a reasonable grasp on ethics and possess a moral and ethical compass inside us that never failed us. Our minds would not be full of a million meaningless things but mindfully aware of the moment we’re alive in. Distractions would be unnecessary because we would have no emotional scars repressed or suppressed in our subconscious and unconscious mind; thus we would not have pain to seek escape from through distraction. Our hearts would be filled with loving kindness and endless compassion for ourselves and others.

Arbitrary concepts that oppress people would be eliminated because we would be beyond the need to control others through oppression. Our enlightened minds would embrace everyone’s differences knowing we are all in this world together wishing to love and be loved. Through that awareness we would not even consider rejecting people based on concepts that separate us. Each individual would have their needs met easily since not wanting to oppress anyone we would live without poverty; thus our attention could be placed on cultivating our enlightenment. No one would even think about war because in our self awareness we would recognize the only problem is inside our mind and anger is a reflection of who we are not anyone else. People could still disagree and have differences of opinion but they would not culminate in anything more than a healthy debate.

The compassion and love inside each and every individual would effectively prevent wars from taking place; furthermore, our self awareness would also aid in mediating any conflicts that might arise leading us to make smart decisions, such as walking away or taking a few deep breaths if necessary. If anyone got to a critical state where there was anger the parties involved would be evolved enough to take time out to meditate on the folly of their ways. After sufficient meditation the anger would be gone or reduced to a reasonable degree and tensions would evaporate or diminish substantially. Denial and any other type of defence mechanism would also be unnecessary since these tend to arise when we feel afraid or uncomfortable facing a situation or truth. Similarly, honesty would be our default mode and lying would be seen as an ethical lapse requiring us to inquire within why we felt lying was permissible.

A peaceful world requires us to develop compassion for ourselves and others. Greed is a leading cause in wars so this is something everyone would have to consciously monitor themselves for. Being filled with compassion and love for everyone we would not wish to take more than we need however, thus mitigating the risk for malignant greed developing. In order to maintain our peaceful world we would all have to be evolved enough to the stage where we possess awareness of who we are; thus not blaming others for our own errors.

I think world peace is a long way off for us but it is not impossible. It begins with you and me though. If each one of us looked within ourselves and found inner peace we would radiate that to the outside world. Through our inner peace we would “infect” others with our positive vibrations leading to more people seeking their own inner peace. We cannot find peace OUTSIDE of us. Peace is found INSIDE ourselves. This is where we need to look if we wish to have world peace someday. To get there is as easy as sitting on a meditation cushion/bench or chair for 5 to 10 minutes if new to the practice and longer for more seasoned practitioners.

©Natalya, 2012-2013.


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A Bit Disappointed

My counselling appointment got cancelled for tomorrow as my counsellor is ill. At first I was okay about it but then my dad had to go phone my aunt to check on his mother in-law who’s in a nursing home near my aunt. Well, she couldn’t talk tonight so is calling back tomorrow and I am stressed because I hate talking to family. It’s always the same awkward conversations interspersed with small talk. I hate it and would have benefitted from a pep talk from my counsellor tomorrow but she’s unwell. My appointment got rescheduled but not ’til Tuesday which won’t help me with tomorrow’s phone call. The thing is I just don’t enjoy talking on the phone period. Doesn’t matter who it is I just don’t like it unless I am in the right mood which is not very often. I tend to worry about what to say and how to answer uncomfortable questions-of which there tends to be a few with my family.

So I am not feeling relaxed now in spite of the knowledge worry never does anyone any good. It was only an hour ago I found all this out about my aunt phoning tomorrow so I haven’t had much time to settle myself. You’d think by now I’d be better at handling family conversations but I always end up anxious to some degree. Even if I am reasonably relaxed there is always a tiny amount of anxiety lurking when family is involved. This means I’m not staying present and am thinking too much about the future that hasn’t happened yet. Mindfulness is helpful because then I know whether or not I am staying in the moment or mentally checked out thinking about the future. It helps if I can take a few deep breaths to re-oxygenate my brain after I have gone into anxiety/future mode so I can return to my surroundings.

The other thing about my anxiety is it means I am attaching value to someone else’s opinion of me. If I was totally okay with myself I would not be somewhat worried what my aunt might think when she finds out I am still unemployed and am not doing anything productive. Yes, I am usually helping my dad as well as doing the housekeeping; I even have several online shops I make designs for that I could potentially earn some money from (not much though). But these are things I have not yet accepted myself as being 100% valid so I fret about what my family will think of me. I so hate worrying about what my family thinks.

This is a challenging time of year too because students have returned to classes and I am not in any academic programmes currently. So I struggle with feeling like I am okay the way I am. If I am busy all the time doing housework I sometimes feel like that makes up for my unemployed status and not being enrolled in anything. But I don’t have the same motivation to houseclean all the time like I did in the Spring because there isn’t as much junk to clean like there was then.

Ultimately, I know the answer to my anxiety is staying in the moment and trying to become more accepting of myself regardless of what I’m doing. But it isn’t easy so I need to write what’s on my mind at times like this. It sort of helps me get a bit of perspective like I get in my counselling sessions. I’ll be alright.

©Natalya, 2013.


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Meditation Friend

Yesterday, I got lucky-not that kind of lucky but lucky to find a great meditation cushion

English: A zafu, the pouffe-shaped traditional...

English: A zafu, the pouffe-shaped traditional seat cushion used in zazen (sitting meditation). This one is – as the horizontal name tag reveals – of western make. Deutsch: Ein Zafu, das puffförmige traditionelle Sitzkissen im Zazen (Sitzmeditation). Dieses Exemplar stammt – am waagerechten Namensschild erkennbar – aus westlicher Fertigung. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

at Winners (a store). It’s purple and filled with buckwheat shells which makes it heavy but very good to sit on. Deepak Chopra made the cushion; okay, likely he designed it and someone else made it but you know what I mean hopefully. It has the seven major chakras embroidered on the top and I am just very pleased I came across it when I did because I’ve been wanting a meditation cushion for awhile now. They can be a bit expensive though so I hadn’t managed to get one but this one was only $20 because Winners is a department store that sells stuff with either slight flaws, minor defects, seconds from a manufacturer/designer and that sort of thing. Long story short, I have a pretty purple meditation cushion (zafu pillow) and am quite enthused about it.

Now I can resume my meditation practice I stopped back in February after my inflatable, portable meditation cushion had a leak and wouldn’t retain air for long. I like the one I got yesterday a lot better anyway so I am not missing my old cushion. Now, I know I could have meditated without a cushion but I just didn’t feel inspired without a proper pillow to sit on. I need to feel like I am creating an atmosphere when I meditate and I didn’t feel it when sitting on my bed’s pillows or on a flat mat. Rolled up towels also left me uninspired. Wow, I am rambling so will quit here.

In other news, I started to put the hardware up for the new drape rod and decided not to continue until I can get a drill because attempting to screw a screw into a stud in the wall with a regular old screwdriver is torture. It took me over an hour to manually get a screw into a stud in the wall about 80% of the way. Yes, I am lacking in muscle in my arms but it shouldn’t be so darn hard to get  a screw in the wall just because it’s in a stud. I might try to finish the window I started but the other window will have to wait ’til I get a drill because my arms hurt!

I hope you’re all having a great Friday and enjoy your weekend.

©Natalya, 2013.


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Speaking vs. Silence

Does anyone else find it utterly annoying to have someone constantly talking about stuff

Listen to the Silence

Listen to the Silence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

that isn’t all that important or interesting? I get how it’s an effort to reach out and connect with someone but it doesn’t achieve the purpose at all with me. My dad talks all the time about things I consider not worth mentioning or talking about. Yes, I am a bit of an anomaly as a woman I suppose in not enjoying chatter for its own sake. More and more I find myself wanting to have silence. It’s like I’m too comfortable with my own thoughts and having nothing to listen to but the whir of a table fan. Sometimes that gets annoying too though and I end up turning it off to enjoy the silence more.

What is it that makes me disdain listening to someone talk on and on about basically nothing? Is this something anyone else can relate to or am I simply on my own here? Of course I sound totally unfriendly telling you all this but I am happy to converse or listen to stimulating conversation. Heck, even something unstimulating but new is better than hearing the same thing all the time. If my dad has something to say I haven’t had to listen to already before that’s better than his usual conversation; which is, in my opinion, a way to fill the silence with anything he can think of.

Just so you have an idea of what I’m talking about concerning meaningless conversation I’ll give you a few examples. One would be bringing up what to have for a meal (he eats meat and I don’t so I typically can’t offer suggestions he likes). This is not interesting for me and I usually feel irritation when he asks me about meal choices since I can barely cook anything! Another example would be talking about something he is interested in intensely and not considering that I am not interested in the least. He’ll converse about these interests frequently and often not noticing my complete lack of interest. Specifically, he talks a lot about cars. I have zero interest in the mechanics of cars and anything else about them-except for perhaps their fuel economy because that impacts the environment.

Why am I telling you all this anyway you may wonder? Well I want to know if I am being antisocial somehow or unfair. Is it unfair to want a bit of silence? My dad and me are both introverts but me more so. Am I not being sociable enough? To my mind, it is unnecessary to speak if there is nothing of importance to say. I realize that likely makes me sound like a bit of a crank or something but it’s how it is. This also extends to social media but I can tune out what I don’t like there. Real life is not so simple.

Okay, I’m done with my ranting. If you survived this long I thank you for persevering.

©Natalya, 2012-2013.