Reflections on Life Thus Far

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


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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.

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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.

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

©Natalya Lyubov, 2017.

 

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The Art of Decluttering (MindBodyGreen)

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5188/The-Art-of-Decluttering.html

 

Office Decluttering: Before

Office Decluttering: Before (Photo credit: Sarah Braun)

 


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Feng Shui Your Home

Feng shui Luopan compass

Feng shui Luopan compass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll assume you all know what I mean by Feng Shui but in case you don’t it’s basically setting up your home in a way conducive to positive energy flow. You place your furniture strategically for good energy to enter your home. I’ve had a book on the topic of dealing with clutter in a Feng Shui method for years but have never done much with it. Now I feel like I should make an effort you know to arrange my stuff for maximum potential.

The whole thing is kind of daunting so I’m just going to deal with my computer room that I use most (for blogging) and see how it goes. Anyone Feng Shui their home before? If I had lots of money I’d hire an expert to do it for me but I think I can figure it out for myself. I’m not sure if I should have my desk with computer in the area of creativity and projects or prosperity, abundance and fortunate blessings. Or maybe I should place it in the space for knowledge and wisdom. This is probably covered somewhere in the book but me being the lazy (efficient) person I am, I avoid bogging myself down with unnecessary information. Ah heck, maybe I’ll scan the index or something.

Well I got side tracked and ended up weeding out a pile of books from my larger bookcase (I have two). So that feels good but I never got to anything else because just weeding books is hard for me! I get attached to them but the ones I took out are books I didn’t feel I needed anymore. As a sentimental slob I hang onto things most would chuck in the bin but I struggle with guilt, guilt over tossing something someone gave me; especially when it was well thought out and suited me. Then there are the countless journals and diaries I kept that I know I would be better off without but I hate the thought of throwing them out. What am I supposed to do with them? I’ll be shredding all weekend! Call me paranoid but nobody’s going to be able to read my old journals. Good thing I have a fairly good shredder.

This Feng Shui stuff might take me longer than I thought. Apparently you have to clear your clutter first to help with the proper flow of energy. Crap! I’ll be all year with my things. Well maybe not all year but certainly a few weeks anyway.

What do you think about Feng Shui?

©Natalya, 2013.


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The Importance of Boundaries

One thing dysfunctional families have in common, I find, are a lack of respect for personal boundaries. Growing up in a dysfunctional family setting myself I have first hand experience with this. The concept of privacy and a right to have your own space respected was a foreign entity in my family. If I wanted to have time to myself when I was young I utilized my imagination because my thoughts couldn’t be read-even if my diary could be. It was a very stressful situation to grow up in being an introvert. Had I been extroverted like my sister it might not have bothered me quite as much but since I wasn’t I suffered.

I think, when I reflect back, my sense of boundaries were inherently pretty healthy but my own were never honoured.

Violation of a boundary!

Violation of a boundary!

By that I mean I respected others’ boundaries pretty well for someone who wasn’t shown any healthy examples of them. Of course I learned over time how to behave and I think I respected people’s boundaries well overall. Mine, however, seemed to be open for invasion 24/7  365 days a year! As a child my own room was not off limits from invasion, either from my sister or my mother. My dad was reasonably good at respecting my boundaries but my mother might as well have never known they existed! She basically didn’t understand the concept of healthy boundaries because she’d never known any herself growing up in a highly dysfunctional home. Thus, when she became a mother she didn’t know it was inappropriate to do all the things she did. Plus she had a Narcissistic personality and couldn’t tolerate not knowing what was going on 24/7 even if that meant not being shown respect for my right to certain things. It just did not register for her that I had rights so I suppose in her mind there wasn’t a problem!

If you’re anything like I was 3 years ago you’ll not have a very good idea of what personal boundaries are. I’m not talking about physical walls or buildings/gates/lines on a map, but rather those invisible sort that give one a sense of their own space so to speak. For example, it’s inappropriate to walk in on someone using the toilet. There’s even an obvious physical boundary there to let you know not to enter-a closed door! That’s a pretty clear one most of us would agree on I think. Something with less of an obvious boundary reminder would be using someone else’s things before requesting their permission (assuming you are not best buddies who share everything). When I was a child my sister would take my clothes and wear them without asking. I was quite attached to my clothes so when my sister asked as often as she did it made me say no a lot. But then she’d just sneak behind my back and take the item anyway! I was called selfish for this and made to feel an ogre.

Although a sensitive person, my sister and mother thought of me as unkind, selfish and uncaring because I didn’t readily

Kitty has a teddy bear. Don't take it, please!

Kitty has a teddy bear. Don’t take it, please!

and willingly turn over all my things to them when they wanted. Perhaps in another culture where the concept of “mine” doesn’t exist their behaviour would have been acceptable. But I am not from one of those cultures without the concept of “mine”! My culture has a mine, your’s and ours but are very separate. The expression “what’s mine is your’s” wasn’t my personal motto but it must have been to my mother and sister and I just never got the memo! So I was extremely tense at home and stressed a lot.

Boundaries can be healthy or unhealthy. There’s rigid boundaries where you never allow anything/anyone in your space; too loose boundaries where you allow everything/everyone in your space and flexible boundaries. Flexible boundaries are healthy because they allow you to be open at the right times and closed at the appropriate times. You can block or let in who and what you like. People with rigid or loose boundaries though are unhealthy because they either have too much control and are unwilling to let anyone in, or they’re too open to people and can’t keep their door closed(figuratively and literally speaking). For a long time I oscillated between too rigid and too open not knowing I had a third option. Of course I ought to mention there’s also another unhealthy boundary called enmeshment where you essentially blend with another person and have a parasitic like relationship. Usually one person is more dominant and makes the decisions, whilst the more submissive person gets their opinions/wishes overridden by the other’s. This is apparent when you meet a couple with one partner doing all the talking and the other being treated like they don’t have a brain of their own.

So how do your boundaries tend to be? Open, closed, enmeshed or flexible? Mine have become a lot more flexible I’m

Artist: Raoul Vitale

Artist: Raoul Vitale

proud to report. It goes without saying that relearning healthy personal boundaries isn’t an easy task. People will test your limits so you have to be prepared to enforce your new healthy boundaries if you want them to become permanent. If you’ve ever heard the expression “you teach people how to treat you” then you know what I mean. If you allow people to use you they will! But if you learn to stand up for yourself and say no sometimes people will learn they can’t take advantage of you. It’s not pleasant thinking we are responsible for how people treat us but it’s the truth. We must begin, if we haven’t already, by letting people know what we feel is right or wrong. If somebody asks you for something you have the right to tell them yes or no depending on what is best for you. It’s not being selfish. We’re merely learning healthy interactions in our everyday relationships.

I now know I have the right to not answer every question I’m asked and that I can keep my personal life as private as I wish to. But I have also learned that being flexible isn’t saying no all the time either. Some of the time I say yes but it’s only when I am able to maintain respect for myself. I feel proud of myself for reaching the stage where I have better personal boundaries in place. I don’t feel taken advantage of and on edge waiting for the next invasive question anymore.  There are some things I share with people and some I keep to myself and that’s my right. Learning healthy boundaries is a lot about learning your rights and to value your own, as well as other people’s.

©Reflectionsonlifethusfar, 2012.


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Clearing Out Clutter

ZX Spectrum+2...sad end

ZX Spectrum+2…sad end (Photo credit: Bill McIntyre)

I have just finished going through my closet and bookshelves and found lots of items to give away to my local charity. It’s so freeing when I manage to go through a lot of my things and manage to come up with two garbage bags full of things I don’t need/want anymore. A lot of excellent books but I don’t need them as much as someone else might. So I figure why hang on to things just for the sake of it? The items were cluttering up my closet, dresser drawers and bookcase shelves. Now I have space again. More importantly, I don’t feel the urge to rush out and fill the space back up! Before now I would have thought to myself “wow, look at all the free space…now I can go buy more stuff!”, instead I just appreciated the ability to make my space look nicer. As far as the clothes go, I wasn’t wearing them and they didn’t feel ‘right’ anymore when I put them on because I’m not the same person( internally) I was when I originally bought them. Someone else can wear them and benefit from them.

A wall closet in a residential house in the Un...

A wall closet in a residential house in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every time I do a space clearing getting rid of clutter I just feel so much better. It’s clearing out all the stagnant energy from items not being used in eons. With the things I have left there is greater appreciation for them because I use them regularly. They aren’t sitting around sad and neglected. If clothes, shoes and books could be sad and neglected mine would have clinical depression! LOL But now they are ready to be brought back to life in someone else’s bookcase or closet, where they’ll be read and worn. I know I am being silly but it’s just to bring home the fact I held on to things unnecessarily. If you have trouble parting with things you don’t use anymore then it may be interesting to ask yourself why. The reason I hold onto clutter is I fear that I won’t be able to replace it if I need it sometime in the future. But this is a negative way to think about one’s life. It suggests that I don’t trust myself to be able to provide for myself what I need. So instead of ‘hoarding’ to avoid anxiety over uncertainty in the future about not having enough, I think about the fact I haven’t used the items in over a year or more and don’t feel any attachment to them sentimentally. Why would I want to keep such things? I trust myself and know that whatever is cleared out is unnecessary for my well-being, thus I can feel confident in my choice to give away the items I am parting with now.

© Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Zen Lady Meditating and Reflections On Life Thus Far with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.