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We know emotions. They’re healthy, normal. A pet is sick or dies, and we are sad. If it is sunny outside, this could be a good day. We become excited. We plan for an adventure. There’s a hike, a few hours at the zoo with our family, or maybe the pool. A little sunburn isn’t bad. Even a tantrum from the three-year-old doesn’t spoil a day. Emotions are flavors added to the stewpot.
I’ve had weeks of crying jags for no apparent reason, and I’m bewildered as to what started them. I can’t recall an emotion. Am I sad? Angry? Sometimes I’ll stare at the wall or want to hide under the covers because life seems too much. It’s the tsunami crashing over my plans to move forward into a good life. I write lists and can’t seem to accomplish the tasks.
The difference in simple terms between an emotion and a flashback is the logic. I can be disappointed in an immediate event or happy about it. If I’m having a flashback, it’s illogical. I may be disappointed about the experience but also accuse others that they did this on purpose. I’ll feel like going into a dark hole for a longer time or rage about someone letting me down. And perhaps they did. The flashback has magnified the pain.
Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions (‘amygdala hijackings’) to the frightening circumstances of childhood. They are typically experienced as intense and confusing episodes of fear and/or despair – or as sorrowful and/or enraged reactions to this fear and despair. Flashback ManagementPete Walker
How can you tell if someone has a flashback?
“Flashbacks sometimes feel as though they come out of nowhere, but there are often early physical or emotional warning signs. These signs could include a change in mood, feeling pressure in your chest, or suddenly sweating. Becoming aware of the early signs of flashbacks may help you manage or prevent them.”RAINN.ORG
There is a time in our childhood before we could name an emotion when we create patterns of feeling. It’s possible our parents were busy and tired. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs. Mom helped when we had a business—three kids and not a lot of money. As the third child, it was a challenge to be noticed. I needed more than they could give. I cried with ear infections, and mom was exhausted. She needed a break. And there wasn’t one in sight anywhere for her. Now, it’s still difficult for me to ask for help.
One tool Richard Grannon teaches in his YouTube videos is for emotions. Many of us are not aware of our feelings. I wrote about this in a previous post, The Jungle of My Emotions. We befriend our emotions, even the ugly ones, and they soon become familiar. Name them as to recognize them. Are you afraid? Or are you feeling betrayed? This method has been helpful for me.
A decent way to do this is to set a timer for three times a day. Mine is 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, and 8:00 PM. When the timer chimes, check-in with yourself. Are you bored, lost, sad, or feeling angry? Being aware of yourself is a start. There is plenty of help if you need it.
I don’t know your life or your family, only you know them. You swim in those emotions deep. It takes a near miracle, as the fish pulled from the water, to realize life can be different. I do have hope for me, and I have hope for you. If you can relate to any of this, follow some of the links. There is help. It can get better.
Rick Hanson Ph.D.-The Foundations of Well Being
Richard Grannon-The Spartan Life Coach
Pete Walker-Flashback Management
We wish for the good old days when times were simple. Snapping green beans on the front porch or eating homemade ice cream. What I desire the most is the idle time to spend daydreaming.
I feel bad about the struggles on the other side of the world, but I’m limited to what I can do. I can listen to Beatles music. Maybe say a few lines of Rumi. It’s not by any means stopping the skirmishes of fighting tribes. I don’t wish for the old days, not really. They had their issues. Days were devoted to food preparation and lives cut short by disease. What I want is simplicity—living with this moment—making the most of what I have now. I don’t want to be always thinking about the fun of tomorrow or worrying about the issues that are not in my control.
This We Have Now
This we have now
is not imagination.
This is not
grief or joy.
Not a judging state,
or an elation,
Those come and go.From Essential Rumi
This is the presence that doesn’t.
by Coleman Barks
The next time you’re watching the news and paying your bills while trying to phone your mom and pet your cat, stop. Do one thing. Only one. Choose your activity wisely and give it your full attention.
Save your sanity and realize your limitations. It’s okay if you can’t fix everything. It’s okay if you can’t save the world. We can put on our tie dyed shirts and chant OM.
Recommendation: The No Impact Man by Colin Beavan
The New Rule by Rumi
It’s the old rule that drunks have to argue and get into fights.
The lover is just as bad. He falls into a hole.
But down in the hole he finds something shining,
worth more than any amount of money or power.
Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street.
I took it as a sign to start singing,
falling up into the bowl of sky.
The bowl breaks. Everywhere is falling everywhere.
Nothing else to do.
Here’s the new rule: break the wineglass, and fall toward the glassblower’s breath.translated by Coleman Barks
This writing is an updated version of a previous post, The Simple Life. Thank you for reading.
Traditions remind me of the monument stones ancient people used to mark borders. We start new traditions when our lives change in a big way. And habits, well they make our life easier.
I don’t think about my tooth care often. I was disciplined as a child, plus I kept those habits of brushing my teeth and seeing my dentist. We often view addictions from the negative. It controls us. I’m addicted to coffee. Truthfully addiction isn’t far from a habit. Only it’s internal—the shadow side. The craving pulls. Pleasure is the fun we wish all life held.
No place is a place until things that have happened in it are remembered in history, ballads, yarns, legends, or monuments. Fictions serve as well as facts.Wallace Stegner
Habits, traditions, addictions, cravings, and pleasures are whispers away from each other. I crave chocolate and coffee, but not always because they are suitable for me. The desire isn’t wrong, and neither is giving in to savor the coffee. These are choices.
Monuments are for the living, not for the dead.Frank Wedekind
I don’t remember how the habit started. It wasn’t a conscious choice like taking up jogging, but it developed as all do—progressively. One act of pleasure bumps into another until it’s a daily delight. A treat. And my oh my. How can something that brings a smile one day and on the next, seem to be wrong? Another one? Isn’t that excessive? No one else is involved. After all, I’ve got this handled.
At times, I stay up too late browsing the internet. I’m not reading a good book or researching my family tree, just browsing random crap. YouTube videos, current news, or shopping for things I’ll never buy. If I were reading, at least it would be beneficial for my brain cells, right? So down the trail and then turn right. Stop!
My one-year-old cat, Dot, is a hunter. He drags his “kills.” He attacks, wrestles, and drags small rugs and blankets around the house. They are gnawed to death. Usually, they are tugged to the food bowl, him growling the entire way. I see it as some instinct he has to bring in a carcass. His version of the gazelle is a brown Mexican blanket that he yanks by its corner. Sometimes he’ll donate his prey to the other cats while they sleep.
Dot has a Q-tip habit. He begs for them, even meowing and waking me at two in the morning when the rest of the world is sleeping. He needs a fix. It is nearly an obsession. Cat games. This cat hunts ear swabs. He hides his skinny, ear swab prey under a rug, then pounces, then discovering it again.
Creatures of nature are instinctive. Humans use instincts but also have developed habits. But we can update old practices. Thankfully we can learn. Whatever it is we want to alter, we can retrain ourselves. It feels odd at first. If it’s essential and we introduce it consistently, we can change. But Dot, the hunter, might forever be addicted to his human ear probes. I might forever be gathering them from odd places, like from my shoes.
The flip side of survival and the fear of failure is thriving. Thriving shouldn’t be difficult. How is it so difficult to win? To succeed? Well, the difficulty is when you have achieved, what’s next? You’ve met your goal. Do you coast or do you keep pedaling?
Keep pedaling. This is why slow growth is better than the lottery winning. If you’ve slowly grown a business you got there and grew into your success. Lucky breaks give you false hope.
We are good at striving. Making changes, adjusting, sacrificing, but actual thriving seems so dull sometimes. Oh, yeah we all have the fantasy of buying an island and not having to work for a living, but how long would it be before we would want more? A month? Six months? A year maybe? Somewhere in that time, you start feeling the itchy feet. The need to contribute is too great. Building something even if it’s only a garden is a rewarding experience.
“I will not give up the flowers in my heart for stones just because the world is a hard place. The world is only hard because it needs more flower-hearted people.”Nikita Gill, Dragonhearts
This is a repost from Thrive from 09/2018.
No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go. Go, gentle Scorpio, go. Your Pisces wishes you every happy return. – From Bullets Over Broadway
It’s time to hunker down, to stay inside, to do the opposite of what Americans do best. We do not do idle. And even when we rest, it’s not a quiet thing. We fidget. We plan. We vacation.
Today was the first weekend after Oklahoma Governor Stitt ordered nonessential businesses closed and people to remain home.
KFOR News – As part of the new restrictions, Stitt said that all non-essential businesses located in the counties affected by COVID-19 are being ordered to close at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25 until April 14.
So what happens when you’re home sheltering in place, and the electricity shuts off? No lights or television or computers. Netflix is unavailable. No binge-watching the latest show. Well, earlier, I swept the floor but couldn’t do the laundry. The WiFi was off, so I wasn’t able to edit, not even from my phone.
We took a walk. Thankfully the electricity was turned on by the time we had made the trek around the neighborhood. I had work to do: writing, laundry, and other busy stuff.
This week I will try to rest. Really.
Find it at Amazon
Do you need some inspiration? How about an easy read?
Being Strong is a collection of my writings from when I began soul searching. I was so miserable. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror anymore.
My life had changed. All of it, including my friends, my beliefs, and even my manner of doing things, had transformed. I was learning what made me strong.
We are learning to fly by intention instead of brute strength.
It’s a new day. We are learning new ways of seeing the world. And we remember long-forgotten ways. If germs make us sick, what about our emotions and the emotions of others around us. I agree that actions count, but activities without a connection are dry and blow away.
Available at Amazon
We know instinctively that some things are precious. Your health, relationships, family, sanity, and mobility must be prized so that you can have a happy life. Your true self is also worth protecting.
Authentic – representing one’s true nature or beliefs; true to oneself or to the person identifiedhttps://www.dictionary.com/browse/authentic
I follow trends. Fashion is a hobby of mine and in my blood. As far back as I can remember, my very reason for getting out of bed was to pick my outfit for the day. The magazines influenced me on the colors I liked and the amount of brightness. It’s subtle. Soon after indulging in the magazines, I’d forget who I was. Do I like lace? Why am I suddenly craving, needing their product? I’ve been swept into a river of marketing.
Do I remember who I am?
There were terrorists on the news. Now, it’s politics. I watch stories of sickness, epidemics, murders, crime, and war. Can I hide at home? I can’t stay this way. I don’t want to be swept into the kinetic frenzy of herd mentality. How do I handle my life?
I remember me.
I have made it through many rough times and difficult trials. Victorious. I know am strong enough to make it through the dark night. There’s light. But in the dark moments I still feel hopeless. I had to find focus on a good thought and remind myself of it over and over again. Sometimes it helped to have a physical token as in the movie Inception. Recently, I started listening to positive podcasts and guided meditations. Brain Software With Mike Mandel: Dealing With Disaster is a good episode. I also like Tracks to relax: I Am Deserving Sleep. I’m trying to laugh and do silly things. I know it’s one day at a time. It will get better.
Sometimes after bad things happen, after the storm, it takes time to find footing. I’m still finding mine. My surgery left me weak. Our nation, this world, we as a whole will need to find our strength again. It will get better. Remember who you are. You are strong. You are funny.
Sleep. It’s the thing I am obsessed with lately. I want more than my share. I’m jealous of your easy rest. Why does something I need seem so elusive?
Sleep. It’s the thing I am obsessed with lately. I want more than my share. I’m jealous of your easy rest. Why does something I need seem so elusive?
I visited France a few years back and was surprised that Europeans are unmistakably more relaxed than Americans. If only I lived in France. My morning would start at 9:00 o’clock instead of 7:00 AM. I would have a long break mid-day when the town I lived in slowed to a crawl. Currently, this is the hours from noonday on when there is little respite.
I could change professions and have a lighter load, maybe. But in the states, the belief is in hard work. We have faith in the busy working day. Cram in more if there is empty space. Our vacations need activities to prove their merit. Worth, badges, honor, and glory are comfy pillows. We fluff them and tidy the trophies as we smooth our souls. So what if we gave up our vacation days. We clawed our way to the top of the ladder. Pats on the back for our commitment was our rest.
Once, I mentioned to my ex-husband that I wanted to spend a summer relaxing on the porch and watch the world go by. I love the breeze. Loitering. Doing nothing in particular. Quiet.
I do believe the thought fried his mind. He is a real go-getter. And when we were married, things were never still. He tried. As did I. Eventually, we had to part ways. No wrongdoing other than our pace didn’t match. As I’ve aged, it seems to be even more important that I pause. There’s time for breezes on the front porch.
Going back to work after my surgery recently was agonizing. It has taken sheer willpower. I hear the voices of people saying, “take as much time as you need,” or “if you hate your job, do something different,” or “get back in there.” Here I am at my desk. There’s a little more light each day. Hope. Friends. Love. Family. I’m not crying as often. That’s positive.
“Don’t rush your healing, don’t pretend to be okay when you’re not and don’t apologize for being broken.”Lizelle Gutierrez
This has been a real struggle for me. I say these things, so others feel understood. Life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. No. I’ve had dark clouds and caves. I crave light. And I need to set my own speed. In the States, in modern times, I am continually working against the expectations of others.
I am learning to take short naps instead of working through lunch. I use my time off days. I’m going to extend my doctor’s appointment and take the day off. It’s approved. Couch time with the cats. And of course, I have prioritized my health. It is far more important than my vanity. If you took a glance at my nails right now, you would know. Sleep is more important than doing my cuticles.
Inside of you and inside of me is where the treasure is held. Nurture it. Guard it. Heal.
In my years of recovery from abuse, I’ve learned that a victim’s coping methods are smart. List making and stocking up on supplies are virtues we admire in others, but we can use them to hide also. It’s like procrastinating until it’s too late. I’m the same way, there are many healthy habits we can develop.
Creating small memories throughout your day is a great way to build a beautiful life. Totems can be made to honor your life. It’s an easy way to remind yourself of your values. You can have unique traditions or days of your own. My two girlfriends and I created our winter holiday in which we exchange socks. The holiday is our day. And it is sacred.
Only you are in charge of your life. Yes, others cause things to happen around you, but you are the ultimate chooser. Be well in your life today.
“Simply asking yourself the question, ‘How am I doing right now?’ is a gentle reminder to take care of yourself,” Hill Kooienga said. – HuffPost
Thanks for your patience while I am recovering from my surgery. Healing is slow but sure.