This body, life has left some marks. These last few weeks I’ve been poked and tested but, it is the only one I have. It’s my living space. I have to treat it in the way that helps it work best. If I overstress it with high expectations or overwhelm it with too many activities, it will start throwing alarm switches until I listen.
This last week my body has started reminding me that while frugality is admirable, stinginess is cruel. Pushing myself again past my limits for my job and staying up too late, this creates pain in my muscles, and a massive headache.
A couple of years ago my washing machine quit so I had been “making do” until I could save enough to buy a new washer. While that sounds admirable, I wasn’t frugal for a purely financial reason. There was a massive chunk of ego that wanted to boast of how worthy I was! Quite a laughable thing once I realized what a tricky thing our psyche is. After taking a step back and looking at the situation, I went to a local home improvement store and financed a washing machine. Yes, I could have waited, but it was stressing me unnecessarily.
Have you ever tried to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel? That’s how it felt. I kept going, kept working because that’s what I do. I keep pushing because I know I can. I’m active and capable, right? But, when I took care of my needs, I realized how tired my enduring had made me. When I stopped trying to push the broken cart down the aisle, I could release the burden I was carrying.
I have unrealistic expectations of myself, and I frequently don’t allow myself to live in the moment.
I choose not to kill my soul with harsh criticism and unrealistic expectations.
I choose to let joy and life flow through me so that when the time comes, I can also bring joy to others.
I choose to be a part of life in the now and not above it. The future is sometimes frightening, and I don’t want to face it, but there is always a way. There is still a simple step. It’s not always the boastful, shiny, impressive way, but there is a solution.
I choose to glean the joys of yesterday, and like seeds in the garden, I will sprinkle them with honor and watch them blossom.
I choose to honor myself, as I am, even all the jiggly parts.
Check out anyone’s Facebook page, even mine, and you’ll see their values. A quick glance at their Instagram and you know what’s important in their life. Beauty? Fitness? Maybe it’s their family.
It seems this life has us spinning like we are whirling around in a tornado and we are flying out of control. This is a year that we need to know who we are. So for the rest of this year, I’m going to go beyond holding on for dear life. I’ve decided it’s time to build a better foundation.
What’s important to you? You don’t need a deathbed experience or a rare disease. The answer will be clear. It can be a person you love so much it hurts or an experience you’ve wanted to try. Maybe it’s something that gives you hope. This is the first step. For me, it’s my family. After them, it would be travel opportunities.
Now, step further. Name your values. Do some research. If it helps you find your purpose, study other people’s values. Where’s your core truth (I never lie) or (I’m a geek) come from?
This is more than a days project. And it’s something you can do over and over. One thing I want to do and you can consider also, once you realize a new value, post it. Here is one of mine – > #finishwhatyoustart Add a picture with it. Make it yours. Follow me in if you want. Find me on Instagram
Here’s an older article with a list of VALUES. What do you think?
Our mind does a funny thing to us. It slips. It edits. If there’s an association you’re missing it will fill it in for you. It has its own filing system. You would think that we would file things in an ordinary way, maybe alphanumeric or some easy way to retrieve this information that seems important, like the name of street you drive down hundreds of times. I was trying to remember the a street name recently. It actually wasn’t one I drive, but it was one block over from my usual street. I could picture it because I was wanting to tell someone the story about the gorgeous girl I saw being photographed downtown in front of the blue door. She was tall, the girl, not the door.
Street names Sheridan vs Cincinnati
The only named street that kept coming to mind was Sheridan and I knew the name was wrong and I’m banging my head trying to think of the right name, doing word associations, knowing my memory has played a trick on me. It’s the one block over trick. Sheridan is one block over from the street where I live. My mind thought it was a good substitute I guess. I wasn’t getting anywhere so I gave up and waited until I could get home and look it up because Google would not fail me!
By now most of us realize our memories aren’t card cataloged and ordered by color coding. My memory reminds me more of a game of charades with hand gestures than any type of organizational system. I got home and looked up the name of the street, Cincinnati. Well Duh. One street over from Detroit. Now I wonder if the door was really blue.
If you feel like geeking out, Steven Kotler sent this out in his email list this week, The Real Neuroscience of Creativity. It’s not about memory storage, but it has some interesting info regarding creativity and how we use our brain.
Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.
I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming? We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.
I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.
I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here: Overeager.
Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.
I’m sure that as this week went by you remembered to get plenty of rest. You took your vitamins and drank enough fluids to stay hydrated. Of course, to me the most important – did you take time for your mind to reset to its normal speed? For myself, I like the analogy of the vinyl, is your speed a 45 or 78? As a sidenote, most of our podcasts are running at 1.5 times their normal speed. So for those that feel life is rushing by a little faster, it might just be.
I hope that you are, because I’m challenged in these areas. I’m handicapped, if you’ll forgive me for misusing the term. I grew up thinking that if you ate your vegetables, you could have your dessert. It’s the reward system. I even believed that if you saved your money, it would still be there waiting for you when you needed it. And of course we believed these things, because even our Grimms’ Fairy Tales had been edited for children’s innocent ears. If I sound a little down, it’s okay, I’ll take a nap and be fine in a bit. Sundays are good for that.
This week I must take care of myself first, as in, put on my own oxygen mask first. Yeah, I have to remember this because it’s important. More important than jobs, money, houses, cars, spouses or even other people.
I’m looking through 18 pages of X-ray films from my MRI on Thursday. I’m to hand deliver them to my doctor, when I have my follow-up. The brain films make no sense to me it all. The one that starts from the back of my head and progresses through to the front of my face is either funny or slightly scary. I look like the angel of death in the last frame. A specter. But I still see nothing that makes sense. I almost didn’t do the MRI. My insurance has a deductible and on top of that is the 30% for diagnostic tests. So hello payments. Saint Francis and I will have a nice arrangement.
Through all of this ordeal, I thought I knew who I was. Some of that is a topic for another blog, like the fact that I’ve denied my chronic pain for years. My health issues have been completely overlooked in my mind. It’s surprising the things we don’t see of ourselves.
I’ve found surprisingly also that I’m more than that person. I’ve taken this in stride better than I expected I would. I haven’t panicked. I’m not afraid of some dire diagnosis. Really I just need a direction. Because I know it wasn’t what I had believed it had been for so long, migraines. Yes, I have migraines. And have had them since I was young. Sometime in my 30’s a different headache started. I felt similar, but different from the migraine, so I had no idea how to explain it. And when it recently didn’t go away, even after treating it for 3 months, I thought I might go psycho.
When I was in the MRI machine, the tech had asked me if I’d been in a wreck and twice he asked me if I had any pain running down my arm. This caught my attention. When I went through the neck scans I had an idea what I was looking for. And I think I’ve found it. I’m no doctor and I haven’t been in to have it confirmed, but the tech highlighted an area. There’s a narrowing in the spinal canal that looks like it’s the source of my problem. So BINGO. On a bad day, a long day, there’s tightness, swelling, and pain. Lots of pain. Make my head pop off, pain. Next step – follow-up with the doctor.
My unofficial self diagnosis is Cervical Spinal Stenosis. Let’s see how close I get. Oh, and one of the symptoms of this is clumsiness. Well anyone that knows me, knows that I stumble over ants. When I tried to put the X-ray’s away they all fell on the floor. They’re crazy to read and slippery to sort. I’m glad they’re numbered or I’d feel I was in a Lucille Ball episode trying to put them in order again. Embarrassing. Hello Nurse.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
There’s construction going on across the street. It sounds a little like the hitting of a heavy bell. It’s just a man hitting metal with a large hammer, but I hear the bell. Bam. Bam. Bam. That type of guest is the easier type to handle. The gentle swishing of traffic that moves like waves against the shore.
Compared to the week before of irritations and unpreventable arguments of everyday life, this is good. But I think Rumi may be talking about accepting and befriending even the irritations and bullies of the everyday, not just the sandy beaches of my barricaded relaxation time. Letting even the bad flow through, as well as the good. Yeah, I lock myself in. I close the door as much as I possibly can, because even the saints must get rid of rodents and bad fruit. Weekends are my cleaning moments. My coming to terms with this crazy world space. It’s me time.
Rumi is good thinking poetry. Let me know what you think in the comments. Here are some of my current interests.
#Beinggrateful – just that. Finding one thing to be thankful for. I’m so glad it’s not raining or whatever…you name it. Post it on twitter today. #Beinggrateful
Today I wanted to share a favorite piece of prose from a french author. English translations vary, and this one is from,Words I Wish I Wrote, by Robert Fulghum. I’ve seen many other translations and mostly they all come to the same conclusion, enjoy yourself, because time is short. I wish for you the same, enjoy your holidays everyone. Time is short. Eat, drink, and be merry. I truly think the French are wiser than we give them credit.
You must always be intoxicated.
That sums it all up: it’s the only question.
In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time
which breaks your back and bends you down to earth,
you must be unremittingly intoxicated.
But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please.
But never be sober.
And if it should chance that sometimes, on the steps of
a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak
solitude of your room, you wake up and your intoxication
has already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind,
the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything
that sings, everything that speaks, ask them what time
it is and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock
will reply: It’s time to be intoxicated!
If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of
Time, never be sober; never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry
or virtue, as you please.
Charles-Pierre Baudelaire The Prose Poems and La Fanfarlo
Here is another version, if you are interested: Intoxication
I started a new medicine this last week. Ugh. The brakes screeched. The emergency brake slammed on also. I went from running to walking to nothing. I felt like death. I’ve had migraines my entire life but, they’ve been worse lately. I thought I’d take a bit of action, and so, I researched. It’s what I do best.
Most medications have trial periods. One week isn’t enough time to know if they are helping, and then there’s a whole soup of chemicals in a human body already that a medication is mixing with. Each person is different. So, I’m giving it time. These last few weeks may have not been the best weeks. I may have picked a better time, maybe. Holidays, appliance deliveries, and work backlogs. I don’t know. But is there ever a good week? I’m not complaining. I’m thankful to have medication to take and time to try and try again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else.
How do you handle new experiences? Trial and error? Try once? Never try?
Just remember kindness this week to those around you. They may be like me, trying something new. Putting a strange concoction in their body, thinking it will cure them or at least help. Maybe you can put a smile on their face today for me. Share something nice with them. Also, be kind to yourself for the same reason.
I was reading in a recent More Magazine about how I can add this vest over an ordinary casual/evening dress and make into a work-appropriate dress. Ideas sprouted, budded, and bloomed in my head. How clever, almost, because I had a similar vest and a somewhat similar dress and there was absolutely no freakin’ way that the dress hanging on my door, waiting to be worn, was going out the doorway, on my body. At least not on Monday morning. The light was too bright and the office is the wrong place.
It’s funny how you can sell an idea in a magazine and it seems glossy, perfect, beautiful. It’s like selling an idea in a fancy restaurant. Or convincing someone of marriage. The ring is beautiful. The diamond sparkles. The jeweler takes it out of the show case and the lights hit the cut stone at fracture the light. The girlfriend gasps and the crowd smiles. Yes, she’ll marry you. Who could say no to that? Until 2 years later? Or 1 year? It’s not that either of you have changed. She’s not a monster and neither are you. Both of you are just as beautiful as before.
If you want the dress, if you want the ring, put it in the right light is all I’m saying. I love a good romance and I can fall for them myself and I have. I’ve said too many times, With this car, I’ll keep it spotless. This time, I will vacuum it every weekend. It won’t go a year without waxing it. Right? We make promises. We dream. And we know it will be exactly like we picture. But it won’t.
Dis-contentment is the space between reality and fantasy. We are standing in our jeans and T-shirt with mud on our boots and hanging on our closet door, gathering the dust of neglect is the little black dress we swore we’d wear. There underneath are the shiny black patent leather heels. They are so pretty. You want to wear them, but when? It’s Monday morning and you’re off to work as a veterinary, helping another horse or cow give birth.
Where are you now? What you are doing, right at this very minute, is important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Do it as if you were walking the red carpet. As if you were the president making a critical speech to the nation. Live today.