Reflections on Life Thus Far

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


Happy New Year (2017)!

It’s a new year so I just thought I’d say “Happy New Year!”. My New Year’s eve and day 8f7583da32895b7d2f518cc75398b72cwere totally uneventful. I stayed in and simply cleared out clutter and cleaned. No parties for me. Not my style. At least I finally got around to some of the clutter I had around that needed tossing (I donate it because although it is clutter to me it is still good stuff and usable). Some might try to make a dollar or two clearing their clutter and I see value in that but I appreciate the immediate gratification of moving the items directly after finishing. It satisfies me more to know I have both accomplished something and done a small bit of good in donating my things I no longer enjoy but someone else may.

This year I have decided to try my best to be totally honest with the people I meet. Thatmask-1503440 doesn’t mean I vomit my secrets on everyone I see but I want to avoid trying to be anyone besides who I really am. Online here is the only exception. But the exception is only with respect to my name, everything else is true. In my ‘real life’ I wish to be open with people in an authentic manner and be just myself. For too long I have tried to be what others (family, people I know, the larger culture around me, etc.) have wanted but it didn’t make me happy. So I decided to make an effort to change that. If people don’t like me then it’s not the end of the world. But it is better than pretending to be someone I am not and feeling like my true self is unworthy. The important thing is I like who I am. That hasn’t always been easy so it’s a big step for me to attempt showing my true self. It means I have to really accept myself completely or else I will always be tempted to present the side of me I think others want/expect.


As far as I’m concerned one need not be unkind when honest so I will do my best to honour that knowledge. Although it may be hard to hear the truth, as long as it is delivered with the intent to be kind or authentic then I believe it’s okay. Simply giving one’s opinion is not truth though so it’s important to remind one’s self of that if it seems like the same thing (one’s opinion ≠ truth). Some family members of mine, I believe, would probably state their opinions like the truth and think of them as fact; still, that doesn’t make them that.


Well, that’s more than I’ve written in awhile so I feel pleased with myself.

©Natalya Lyubov, 2017.




End Of January Check-In

At the beginning of January I decided I was going to set a few goals for myself to improve

Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dala...

Joan Halifax with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, at the XIVth Mind and Life Institute conference, 2007, Dharamsala (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Haven’t quite made it to their level yet!!!

my daily life. So far so good! I won’t go through the things I’d planned for myself but I can tell you I have been keeping to them with little slip-up. Here and there I lose track and I will confess my intent to meditate at the same time everyday has not worked out. In fact I have slacked on it and feel guilty because I know it’s good for me; also I feel better when I do the meditation regularly. Unfortunately, I ended up keeping to every second day for about 2 weeks then fell off that routine and only managed about twice a week sittings. So I am sort of ashamed of myself for this but am aware of it so will make an effort to change it.

Otherwise, I have been keeping a routine more or less that suits me. I did have a few overly ambitious goals I scaled back on and they’ve worked fine. The one goal I set for myself that I’m apprehensive about is going out twice a week in February, up from once a week for January. Once a week has been manageable and I have kept to this schedule. However, twice a week seems like a lot still. I know that sounds nuts but I’m something of a social recluse and find going out in public to be challenging. The fact the weather has been so terrible lately also hasn’t helped.

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions I picked a ‘word of the year‘ to focus on. My word I chose is ‘action’. A good choice for me since I spent the last couple of years not doing a lot. Well for me it felt like it was more than enough but I know to anyone else it would look like I was lazy. Unfortunately, emotional work does not show to others the same way working a job for pay or cleaning your house does. You can’t really show someone how many hours or units of energy you’ve poured into ‘bettering’ yourself emotionally and psychologically. Yet that’s what I do to myself. I look back on my past few years and think surely I did something measurable? But no, nothing besides some appointments and workshops here and there. The thing is I don’t look particularly abnormal and even at my sickest the only thing someone might have noticed was my emaciated body, not my fractured heart (I know, sounds melodramatic but it’s how I felt).

So these days I feel a pressure from within myself to actually be doing more. I have to

Compassion is Consciousness...

Compassion is Consciousness… (Photo credit: ConnectIrmeli)

fulfill my word of the year! Action is perfect as a word for me. It’s both terrifying and necessary. If I want to get beyond staying incapacitated by my past I need to push myself to do things. At the same time I feel like retreating into a cave where no one can impose upon me any demands. Why is it so hard for me to just act? Why do I keep isolating myself to avoid people? Am I really so devastated by potential criticism or possible failure?

The irony of all this is if I don’t do anything I’m still failing and experiencing criticism, just

Self-compassion is your greatest source of str...

Self-compassion is your greatest source of strength (Photo credit: wildphotons)

not from others so much as from myself. Although I have made great strides in overcoming self deprecation and harsh internal criticism, I still find myself short on self-compassion. There’s no doubt in my mind I have compassion for myself it’s just not always available ‘on tap’ when I need it! So what to do about it? How does one go about enlarging their self compassion ‘muscle’? Surely, there are activities I can do. Perhaps I just need to keep practicing. I am a heck of a lot better now than a few years ago regarding showing myself compassion.

You know I think I know what I have to do. I have to stop giving so much weight to what others think of me. Of course I’ve reached this conclusion before and obviously it hasn’t eradicated the problem. F***! Anyone have any advice on how to stop caring what others think of you? It’s not like I need approval for everything I do or reassurance that I’m making the right choices every time I do something. It’s just that there are some areas left where I do pay too much attention to how others will perceive me. I don’t want to stand out as ‘odd’ or ‘unusual’. But I’m quickly realizing if I want to be happy I may have to accept that I am not ever going to ‘fit in’.

Don’t feel sorry for me. It’s alright really. I never fit in a day in my life so why would I suddenly think there was hope for me now? The best thing I can do for myself is accept myself without comparison to others. Comparing myself to others is probably the last thing I ought to be doing if I want to be content. Let this be a cautionary reminder to you that comparing yourself to others never does anything except make you feel worse about yourself! Unless, you’re watching reality television to feel ‘superior’ to the likes of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”. But I don’t think watching people we deem to be less sophisticated than us is at all praise worthy. However, I do confess to having watched Jerry Springer back when I was in high school to feel a certain sense of superiority-even though I did not acknowledge it as such at the time.

What is our purpose in life if not to be who we truly are? As the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vught, the Netherlands, 2006

Thich Nhat Hanh in Vught, the Netherlands, 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You need to accept yourself.” Or as Maya Angelou says, “success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

How has your January gone? Did you set resolutions or goals and manage to stick to them?

©Natalya, 2013.


2013 Is Around The Corner But All We Have is Now

Happy New Year to all Friends !

Happy New Year to all Friends ! (Photo credit: Viola & Cats =^..^= HAPPY HOLIDAY !)

Okay, so maybe not my most pithy of titles but I was thinking about how tomorrow (for the Western world) it will be 2013. A new month and a new year where lots of us attempt to do things better than we did last year. But why? Why wait until it’s a new year to change? How many of us are able to say we will be around next year with 100% certainty? None! We HOPE we will be around (unless we’re suicidal) but we don’t KNOW we will be. Therefore, why not be better RIGHT NOW? Whenever you think about how you could be better or do things differently, why wait for an arbitrary time? All we have is this exact moment in which we are existing. I say, what better time than now to make changes? If you wish to embark on a healthier diet or exercise more, quit smoking, be kinder, whatever, then do so as the desire enters your mind. You may not have infinite tomorrows (in this lifetime).

Of course I am a terrible hypocrite because I do nothing but dream and think about what I will do tomorrow! That is the

Artist unknown

Artist unknown

nature of my mind. It provides me with tonnes of insights and wisdom but I’m as foolish as ever because I don’t follow through with what I know. But this year(2013) I have decided to be different. I have decided I am going to ACT on my insights and use my wisdom. There are lots of things I know but have great difficulty putting into practice. Many things enter my mind and I question their validity or accuracy. How can I know something simply because of a thought I’ve had? It is enough to make me question my sanity regularly. What sort of person throws their rational mind aside in favour of their intuitions? This is such a struggle for me. I have a thought in my head from who knows where and I’m supposed to not doubt it? My whole life I had this but awareness of it didn’t really strike until my adult years. Now at 30 I am beginning to trust my instincts are superior to my rational mind. But it makes me feel fear too b/c I know this isn’t how most people operate.

Artist: Nom Kinnear King.

Artist: Nom Kinnear King.

Just to be perfectly clear, I don’t consider myself psychic but I am highly intuitive and experience odd occurrences. The trick is to figure out what is fanciful thinking on my part and what is actually valuable knowledge? How do I remain sane and not totally question everything I “know”? The worst part is I have learned through my formal education that it’s important to investigate things, find out more about it, and so on. Yet, when I have intuitive knowledge I can’t ask someone to clarify b/c it’s inside my head! By now I feel I must sound bonkers to a lot of you. This is likely why my confidence has been poor in the past. I’ve trusted my intuition but have been unable to always verbalize it (comprehensively) so I sound like I haven’t lost my sanity.

Anyway, back to my original point-sort of. I am going to try worrying less over what

Artist: Nom Kinnear King

Artist: Nom Kinnear King

people think about me and if I sound nuts or not. I’m going to take more action so I am not merely filled with possibilities but actual results. It’s not about achieving anything spectacular. Those aspirations have left but I still want to follow my bliss wherever it may lead me. If I were in a different time and place I might like to be a wandering ascetic but, this being Canada in 2013, somehow I doubt that would work!

Where do your insights come from? Do you think the only trustworthy knowledge is from a book, authority, or even experience? Or are you like me and believe the only trustworthy knowledge comes from inside you?

©Natalya & Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.