You’ve Come A Long Way

Some days it seems like we only focus on how much farther we have to go. We beat ourselves up with “what if”s and “should”s, which not only clouds the joys of the present, but distorts our thoughts so much that doldrums are all we see. And that spiral will permeate every aspect of our lives. . .

Life as adults comes with so much responsibility… But, it also comes with immeasurable happiness. We get to learn every day, we get to make our own choices, we get to make a real difference by positively impacting the world around us. And…we likely make a lot more progress than we remember to give ourselves credit for.

If only for today…

Instead of looking down a long path ahead (one, by the way, you cannot predict, so why worry?), think about the distance you’ve already travelled.

. . . Remember how many times you battled adversity and came out the other side – victorious!

. . . Remember all the things you have done to be the beautiful person you are today, who contributes so positively to the world…

. . . Remember how much you are loved

. . . Think about how far you have journeyed and revel in the “damn, right, I’m amazing!”

You deserve to be acknowledged…and most importantly by yourself.  

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No Sleep For The Thinking

I keep telling myself that there is NO GOOD REASON that I don’t sleep well. I have done so many types of body work, including Alexander Technique and Somatic, that I “should” (evil word) be able to shut my brain down.

“NOT SO!!!,” says my alter ego (the black kitten below)

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Overthinking

Since this is in-line with my other post…!

Overthinking is a disastrous habit – truly. It seeks and destroys in a fell thought, and generally, we are way off base! I am learning – and trying – to overthink less. When in sports, I always remind students (as much as I do myself!) that thinking too much inhibits movement. Imagine what overthinking does to our brain, body, and soul?!

It’s okay to reflect – I believe that shows our eagerness to learn. But “overthinking” is often a big negative, carrying us down self-imposed, imaginary rabbit holes where things AREN’T actually as they are. 

The best way I know how to “fix” my problem is to begin with awareness. I try to be aware when my thoughts barrel off the tracks at high-speed because, if nothing else, I can *try* to grab at the breaks. Awareness allows us to acknowledge what’s going on…and from there, we can actually do something about it. We can remind ourselves that we are being irrational and unreasonable...and we can replace those “negative” thoughts with positives. Boy, do I need that today!

As with everything else, a lifetime pursuit but…we have to start somewhere! Listen to your thoughts and honestly ask yourself if they are based in reality and / or the here-and-now. If they aren’t, you might need to step back for a moment, slow your thoughts down, and even give yourself a pinch. It doesn’t hurt to make a gratitude journal, or to say some “positives” aloud – such exercises can bring us back to a present, calmer, and more positive state. Happiness actually IS and inside job.

 

Why “Be Positive” Isn’t the Best Advice When You’re Down, By Michael James

This article – Why “Be Positive” Isn’t the Best Advice When You’re Down, By Michael James – came to me via Tiny Buddha and I had to share.

To add a spoiler, I’m not necessarily backing up the article because I think meditation (specifically) is the end-all-be-all necessarily – phenomenal it can be, everyone is different, and meditation is both a highly individual, and incredibly varied practice.  But I DO like a lot of what is said (and do like meditation personally), and I appreciate that Mr. James is willing to say “positivity” isn’t always what’s needed.

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I’m a positive person but that does NOT mean:

  • That I’m peachy 24 / 7
  • That I don’t make judgements
  • That I’m not an inherently flawed human being

Trust me, I am.  I make mistakes ALL the time.  I * try * to see sun and roses, but there’s plenty of rain and storm clouds too.  While I’ve been mistaken as someone who presents only that happy image, I’ve never been anything but honest about the fact that I am as much a tempest as Mother Nature – some days you don’t know what you will get.  I’ve felt badly enough about it in the past to land myself in some very abusive situations, but. . .  While I have a long way to go, I no longer fundamentally think there’s something “wrong with” me because I feel so deeply.  

As an Empath I respect this idea that some days the LAST thing you want to hear is “BE POSITIVE!” (*insert friend with annoyingly feigned smile here*)  While of course I (and anyone who might chime in with the phrase) am *trying* to be helpful, it may not necessarily be the best default. . .

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Sometimes you just don’t damn well feel like it, and that’s MORE than okay.  I’ve had a problem with minimizing, justifying, and avoiding the act of “feeling” in the past – some days it’s more important to sit with the discomfort to get to the root of things. 

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Two of the things stood out most for me from the article: 

“Like Instagram and other forms of social media, this “positive thinking” movement seems to be about living up to an ideal standard of perceived perfection all the time. Not satisfied with looking “perfect,” now you’ve got to think perfectly, too.”

True.  Scary.  Thank you for putting this solidly in verbal terms!

and. . .

“…authentic masters understood that negative thinking is part of the human journey, and that it’s okay to feel less than your best sometimes. And they also knew that it’s a quick route to self-hatred to expect any more of yourself.”

Thank you, again, for reminding that it’s okay to feel whatever emotions we feel.  There is not right, and no wrong.  We are allowed.

So yes. . .I love the designation of “professional cheerer-upper” that some friends and family have given me.  I feel honored and blessed by the compliment – right or wrong, I identify with bringing joy to others.  BUT…  BUT.  I’ve got my sad, grumpy, frustrated, gloomy, and altogether dark days too (article on that, by Madisyn Taylor.)  I’ve had to do a TON of work to recognize that it is not only okay to feel those things…but also to not want to “be positive” for a time.  

If all we ever saw was the sun (or that was all we were TOLD to see) then it wouldn’t be such a glorious thing, would it? There’d be no special positivity associated with its warmth or energy at all – so then what’s the point?  

No….I’ll take some showers along the way, and expose my soul to the rain when I need to.  Sometimes, that’s exactly what it needs – the positivity will find its way, not to worry.

 

Coincidence

I have never believed in coincidence…not even as a little girl.  Instead, events felt more to me as if something grander conspired to have them occur.  As if fate somehow knew one thing would lead to another (with the infinite multitude of permutations already calculated and accounted for.  Naturally!)

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I have always leaned towards optimism, believing that all experiences in Life have some positivity inherent within them – as the saying goes, “sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”  Learning for me is ever and always a positive.

Lest I go too deeply into hypotheticals…  For one, I believe that we meet the people we are meant to meet, and when we are supposed to.  Each person is a piece of a much larger, much more complex puzzle, fusing the ends of one lesson with another, or perhaps leaving another section open for something new to fit in.

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After a long run of abusive and painful relationships I fell into a situation far worse than the others… Without realizing, I spiraled into a state much like being brainwashed, forfeiting my own passions, my own joy, my own Life for someone who couldn’t possibly appreciate it, much less see it. 

It was, without question, the most devastating and painful of all of the traumas I’d been through, sending me into a state of non-function.  But for the first time in my Life, the lights went on – ALL of them.  Born of all that suffering, though, came the most critical lesson of all – the gift of knowing I am worth so much more.  The gift of knowing I deserve love, respect and goodness.

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Praise be the light switch…!

In my mind the prospect of coincidence is too far-fetched.  The idea that there is some meaning, some reason, some benefit in circumstance, however, is one I can embrace more readily.  

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No matter how bleak the landscape became, nor how dark and oppressive, I believed I was on a path which would lead to others, PTSD be damned.  

I believed my end was neither assured, nor imminent.

I had choices.  But so too were those choices given to me, as there was something more elysian at work, guiding me to a reality so much brighter.  

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The moment my thinking changed, my Life was altered…for good…and for the better. That one snowy day at the beginning of Spring, the love of my Life walked through the door.  I knew then.  I knew immediately.

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There was no coincidence in our meeting.  No coincidence in our mutual friend wanting us to get together.  I am wholly and utterly convinced that it was meant to be – divined by the Stars?  A conspiracy of supernal magnitude?  

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Nothing that moment felt new – it was as if I’d known him forever.  It was as if, on a much higher plane, my Spirit breathed a sigh of relief.  

Or perhaps it was that it breathed for the first time in my Life…?

It is easy to say things are uncalculated, sometimes fortuitous, other times not…but then Life seems so much more Magical, mysterious, and purposeful to me…

I’d rather believe, right or wrong, that those diamonds which illuminate the velvet Night sky whisper and conspire…weaving dreams with possibilities, and bringing gifts into our Lives.