13 April 2016

Trust and believe & have faith.... ahhhh.

The above is a lyric from one of my fav songs by Keyshia Cole. She's one of my inspirations in terms of soulfulness and truth. Also, her albums have helped me get by in a time of heart struggles.

This post is about having faith and trusting in the universe and a Higher Power that things happen as they do for a reason, and for the betterment of ourselves. The reason I am writing about this is because this is one of my greatest difficulties, especially when things seem to be heading south in many respects... love-life wise, work-life wise, friend-wise.

What is coincidental is that with regard to Keyshia Cole, last summer, I was coping with some major heartbreak, and I ended up listening to Keyshia Cole on youtube. I've always been a fan, but her songs were really helping me get by in a time of need, and I started looking for the albums on Amazon to purchase them. Anyway, so I ended up going to a flea market and whaddya know but there were two Keyshia Cole cds -- with all of the songs to which I had been listening -- stuffed in a container for sale from a vendor. I mean, if that's not a sign of things being in alignment with my conscious desires, I don't know what is.

This brings me to my point in terms of having faith in general in life. I've been struggling with this concept for the past year or so, comparing myself to others and focusing on some of the negative experiences that I've had and feeling kind of bitter about a lot of things, and not so forgiving or free or willing to go with the flow.

In the past, there have been times where I have made an effort to go with the flow, by releasing my attachment to the past and present and just being in the moment, and appreciating life as it comes. Over the past year and a half, I've instead clung to the past and future for dear life, trying to force things to happen, without regard for the natural process and the powers at be.

Yet, I keep coming back to this concept of going with the flow and having faith, and trusting that things are happening right now as they are meant to happen. It is certainly interesting how at times it feels like an uphill battle, and the climb just seems too much, so you kind of crouch there alongside the mountain with your bag on your back and you're like, 'that's it, I'm done,' and you take a permanent time out, and you don't care what God has in store for you because you've had enough and you can't take it anymore. Yeah, well, then there comes a time where you gather the strength and courage, and you slowly push yourself off the ground and take one step forward, and then another... and before you know it, you're looking up and noticing the natural scenery around you... the blue sky, the deer, the geese. You're starting to feel the relaxation of your breaths and your connection with the earth.

In real life, for me this does have a direct correlation, and that is the fact that I start taking walks outside and appreciating the beauty all around me. I start reading novels. I start listening to music again, even the music that reminds me of the negative. Instead of avoiding, I start to face my feelings. Things start to take shape. My mind starts to lighten and elevate. My body starts to shake off the dust and dirt and one by one, I take the rocks out of my backpack to loosen the load. I look ahead. I call for God's help. I ask him to show me the way, to teach me how it's done. I argue with myself to trust and believe and have faith, rather than stay stuck in the bitterness.

Trusting and having faith in what is, is not easy. It's especially difficult if you're a bit on the OCD/perfectionist side. It's especially difficult if you're sensitive to change and it makes you uneasy. It's especially difficult if it's been a while since you've let go and let things be as they may without trying to exert control over circumstances.

Yet, I truly believe that if you go with the natural energy and flow of things, things come together more easily. The weight of everything doesn't feel so overwhelming. Things become amusing. You laugh again, and you release much of the trapped emotion. This is an important step to healing.

25 March 2016

withdrawal is a nasty thing, but very useful to understand.

Had a terrible bout of withdrawal (from caffeine, etc) last night and this was not a pleasant experience in the least. I was depressed and anxious and very lethargic all day. It all came to a head in the evening, and I was really upset. Took me a while to get to sleep finally, after all was said and done.

This is just a reminder to myself as to why caffeine and I do not mix well. Felt like I went to hell and back, and I'm finally leveling off, and my spirit feels somewhat better today.

It doesn't help that I spent all day yesterday on the computer, save for a walk outside in the late afternoon and a trip to the gym to lift weights in the evening. However, I really had to push myself to do those activities as I felt awful.

Today, I feel a bit more optimistic and less weighted down by that which I felt yesterday. While I do still feel tired, I feel a bit more energetic.

After last night though, I really need to lay off the chocolate, because the day after is just the worst.

21 March 2016

Don't let people get you down, and if they try, get back up and keep kicking.

This is a motivational post for those having a rough go. Sound similar? I know, I posted something like this yesterday. What can I say? I'm feeling Gandi. More like Winston Churchill, or basically anyone who has ever recommended letting go of those who let you go or walk away from you, disappoint you, push you out the door.

Don't let it get you down, any of it. Keep striving for what you hope to achieve in this life.

Sometimes, especially in times like now, I start to question everything and wonder who is this person inside of me? Can I truly do it? Can I accomplish what I always hoped to accomplish? Well, yes. I believe I can, and so should you.

If you will yourself to do anything, it can and will happen. It's all a learning experience.

Sure, this is a bit jumbled since I'm not outright specifying what it is exactly has occurred to me that is causing me to invoke this pep talk. Well, let's just say things in life haven't exactly transpired as planned, or as I envisioned exactly, but I can understand why what has happened has happened. I am learning from the distant and recent past. I'm on a path of realization.

The one main point I hope to convey is if something has happened of what appears to be negative consequence, look closer and you shall find the truth.

There was a wise person who said: ignoring the facts does not change the facts. I apologize for not giving this person due credit in the form of a name and if anyone knows who said this, please tell me and I will properly credit the individual by name. There is another wise individual who said we only find the truth by searching internally.

I believe both of the above quotes to be profoundly enlightening. Such is true and I find time and time again when I go into escapist or avoidance mode, I in essence, stunt my growth and understanding. When I search externally and look to others for guidance and advice in terms of life situations and how to deal, I remain at a distance from the truth.

As I stood in the shower today, I realized that it's possible to look at only one facet of an issue and miss the full picture. So I encourage you to look within and carve out the whole, and you will thereby achieve truth, understand the facts, and experience a sense of understanding and peace. Just try it.

To anyone going through a rough time....

If it feels like there is no end to the pain or if it feels like you just can't take a second more of whatever it is you are going through, just keep going.
This is life and it's part of the journey.
There are no shortcuts to getting to where you need to be.
You are where you need to be right in this moment, and if you feel like you're not, well maybe there are lessons to be learned from this experience.

Chalk it up to a learning experience and keep pursuing your life path.

I may just be writing this because I've been having a bit of a rough time as of late. However, I see specks of hope surfacing from time to time, and I know the only way is forward.. forward is the only way. xx

10 March 2016

things that don't make sense.

So, this post is about some things that I've reflected upon recently, that don't seem to make sense to me; that, and/or they just bother me, for what to me, are obvious reasons.

1. Receipts with a tip line, when tipping is not appropriate. For instance, there is an ice cream store which is not far from where I live. Occasionally, when I get a craving to be bad, I go there and get a vanilla ice cream with colored jimmies. The person goes and scoops ice cream into a cup and puts jimmies on the thing. A tip to me, in such an instance does not seem appropriate. I mean, how much effort does it take to do this?

Then, if I go to this one restaurant to pick up food for lunch, again I am faced with the tip line on the receipt. This is just when picking up food, not sitting at a table. However, now come to think of it, this makes sense, since it's likely just a standard receipt and can't be altered from those given to those seated at tables. Yet, it makes me feel weird when I have to sign, and I wonder, should I be tipping the host who goes to grab my food from the kitchen?

2. People who work until they are dead. People who make others miserable at work. Overly nitpicky people at work. People who don't take a lunch break and/or never take time out from the work day to go outside or just step outside the office.

I can remember as far back to when I worked in high school, and college. Every job I have ever worked, I've always taken my scheduled break. Sure, there have been times where I've had to work through lunch to complete a certain project that had a severe deadline. However, as a general rule, I have always taken my breaks, and I have savored and appreciated them. They allow me to get a fresh perspective on life and how work is not life, but rather a means to allow you to live securely.

It just doesn't make sense to me why, for instance, my boss and another coworker in the office where I work (who is elderly), never take time out during the day to leave their desk, other than to go to the bathroom.

As I was walking in the sun and enjoying the warm weather today and yesterday, as I took a stroll outside during my lunch break (I sadly only get 30 mins), I just felt pity for my boss and this other coworker.

I don't know if it's the fact that I've had cancer, that really makes me appreciate life more, or just my inherent appreciation for life. I think it's a bit of both.

3. The above kind of leads me to my next point, but the third thing that doesn't make sense to me is why others are so bothered by happy people.

I remember this one time in high school, I was sitting behind a friend. She was really an acquaintance, come to think of it, and for whatever reason, I was a bit hyped up and just my typical excitable self. So I forget her exact phrasing, but it was something to the effect of 'don't be like this, it's too early.' It was the way she said it and the wording that she used that really stung me, and I remember feeling bad for having been happy and acting excitable.

It seems this is a common occurrence in the work place setting. I find myself surrounded by people who want to bring me down and/or try to put a damper on my happiness.

What I'm making an effort in doing, is not letting them hamper my spirit and not letting them get to me.

It helps to not stop being nice just because they are rude and overzealous with the criticism.

My mom always told me not to let others change me. I guess that's the thing that is the core essence of how to overcome this challenge of people who try to bring others down.

It is tough sometimes, and it doesn't make sense. I find myself often thinking to myself, 'why does it have to be this way? why can't they just be happy? why can't they have fun at work!!?? life is too short!! we only live once and there is too little time to spend taking ourselves too seriously.'

There are those who are egotistical and asinine in their interactions and just in general. Trying to prove that they know more, that they know better. My response is: stick up for yourself, but don't sacrifice your core. Defend yourself when necessary and don't think of them more than yourself. Don't try to appease them and comfort them when they are looking to drag you down, but don't let them break you down and make you feel less than, because the truth is, you're not. You are strong and you are capable.

Guess this turned into a little bit of a pep talk. I guess the bottom line is to be true to yourself, and that's the main point I'm here to make today.

06 January 2016

new years resolutions. still no coffee.

So it's been a few months since I've stopped drinking coffee. Five months almost, to be exact. I just felt compelled to write a blurb on my thoughts on quitting addictive substances, since it's quite a process. You would think that by the fifth month, you'd be in the clear from all feelings surrounding the matter, but this is actually far from the truth. In reality, from what I've read, and based on my experience, it can take years to go through all of the withdrawal stages and come out of the other side.

Speaking of time lines, over a year ago, I made an effort to quit all caffeine, but primarily coffee. I held strong from May 2014-October 2014 in terms of chocolate, from what I can remember, and then started having decaf coffee in Nov/Dec 2014 with caffeinated on weekends, and before I knew it it became and every day caffeinated-thing and then one in the morning and a Starbucks at night, and chocolate when I felt like it. That was up until August 2015, when I put on the brakes, because I realized my addiction to caffeine was negatively impacting my life in so many ways.

Since August 2015, I have had maybe 3-4 cups of coffee -- actually, make that 3-4 HALF cups of coffee... a few of those were actually quarter cups. I have also had some chocolate...pretty much once a month until December, where I went a little haywire, given the holidays. However, I've since gotten back on track with still no coffee, and no more chocolate. Of note, even having had the 3-4 half/quarter cups of coffee since August and the few relapses on the chocolate end is a tremendous improvement from having caffeine every day and multiple times per day, prior to August 2015.

Having the caffeine free Ginger Ale soda from Trader Joe's has helped, along with gum. Somehow the addiction to caffeine is correlated with a craving for sugar, I've realized, as having sugar helps abate the caffeine craving. However, I don't have much sugar as is. It's just given that having had chocolate not too long ago has caused me to think about coffee, the sugared caffeine free drinks/gum are the least of the two evils, and I'm better off this way.

I noticed when I had the chocolate in December (some Hershey's bars and some Hershey kiss/pb Christmas cookies), the chocolate provided a momentary lift. Esp the Hershey's bars. Apparently, according to something I read, it has something to do with the sugar being released from the liver or something that produces this effect. Pardon me if I'm scientifically incorrect. It has something to do with sugar being released somewhere though, that causes an instant lift.

Anyway, I find that I have been dreaming and feel much more relaxed off caffeine. I do still feel a pull toward it, esp in this cold weather. It would be nice to have some Starbucks. I have some gift cards to Starbucks, which make it all the more easy access. However, rather than give into temptation, I am going to just get the herbal teas when I go. I do enjoy the Oprah Chai tea, which is free from caffeine.

Basically, the point of this post is to describe how coming off of caffeine is no easy process. There is no quick fix. I have had lengthy periods of abstinence in the past, and notice my willpower has weakened with age. I had quit coffee from 2008 to probably 2013 or so. Still, I was regularly consuming chocolate during that period. However, I didn't notice my addiction to it until I started consuming coffee regularly.

It helps to keep in mind that all will be okay, if I stay away from caffeine for a while, if not for longer than a while. It feels like I'm missing out on something awesome, and in a way, I know I am, because nothing compares to the flavor of a nice dark brew of coffee. However, the momentary lift is not worth the hours/days/months of aggravation that ensue whenever I give into temptation. The sleeplessness, high level of irritation, skin issues, short fuse, reduced appetite, lack of rem sleep. I don't miss those negative side effects.

So, cheers to this continuation of a resolution made prior to the new year to keep on this path of no caffeine and/or chocolate.

One more note, there were a few days I had gone to my parents' house around New Year's and I thought to have some coffee if they had any left over, and those few times, the coffee storage thingy had been washed and was on the drying rack. I guess in a way it was symbolic to me. Like the gods trying to assist me with my efforts to abstain.

Having Starbucks gift cards lying around (as given to me as Christmas gifts) is merely another test of strength. It's like 'can she resist when it's in her hands and the Starbucks is right around the corner...?' Sometimes my emotions get the better of me. Like today. I'm in a good mood and it seems a cup of coffee would make it all the better, yet I'm feeling good because I don't have caffeine in my system, so I'm not about to ruin that.

My goal at the start of this (back in August) was to make it to June 2016, so onward we go, even though I feel like my fingers are crossed at this point.

30 December 2015

So today has been a rather good day thus far. I had an interview this morning and it was held by two women, one of whom I knew, which I didn't realize until I entered the room. This woman worked for my family doctor all throughout my childhood. I remembered seeing her there. She handled the front desk administrative duties and worked with her mother. I remember the past few times going to my family doctor, wondering where she went and why she no longer worked there.

As I entered the room, she held my resume up to her face and said, 'Wait, I know you,' and lowered the paper to reveal her face. She looked familiar, and it was then that she mentioned my family doctor's name, and I told her I had wondered where she had gone. It's funny how life comes full circle sometimes and you run into familiar people in the weirdest of places and scenarios.

It reminded me of a few months ago, feeling really guilty for how I had treated this one coworker at my job prior to my most recent job. This guy was a friendly guy, but he got on my nerves at times, and there were times that the stress got to me and I took my frustration out on him. I can think of three or four instances that I really cringe to recall, because I really wasn't the nicest to him. One day, he actually came into the office with a cat calendar, somehow knowing that I'd love it, and I was so thankful, but secretly wondered how he could be nice to such a b----, given how I'd acted toward him those several times. Somehow he always rose above any underlying tension to extend an olive branch through striking up conversation with me.

When I left that company, actually resigning without another job lined up because I was so fed up with the job, I later thought of how I had treated him, and felt very guilty. Interestingly, the office where I had worked shut down only five or six months after I had left, and I ended up finding out through a coworker, whose husband worked for one of the other offices that had closed within the state. I started to think more about this coworker, and at one random time, this wife of the other former coworker told me that she'd run into the guy of whom I'd been thinking, let's call him WM. So she mentioned her husband had some of his coworker friends over and WM was one of the attendees. She mentioned how he struck her as a bit odd and she asked me about this, and I was so surprised that she'd actually mentioned him when I'd been thinking about him and feeling bad about how I had treated him.

I told her he was so nice and I wished I could speak with him. Then... sure enough... so there was a night or two that I prayed to God that I would somehow be able to reach closure with WM.

Well, don't you know it but not long after, I went to NYC with my friend -- last April -- to see Jessie Ware in concert at Terminal 5. On the way home, I raced to catch the train and my friend actually kept the conductor waiting and they had a bit of a back and forth as the conductor wanted the doors closed and my friend kept urging him to wait and called for me as I was racing down the stairs of the escalator. I was able to board, by God's will, and so I'm standing in the aisle, sweating and with my heart beating a mile a minute because of the intensity of having been the cause of the hold up and having everyone on board witness. A few guys up front joked, saying my name, mimicking my friend, who had been calling to me, and said 'geez, like it's the end of the world,' since there had been such a fuss between the conductor and my friend to keep the car waiting for me. I felt so embarrassed and kept my head down, my body shaking with nervousness and sweat pooling on my skin.

A few stops later, the car starts to unload and is not as jam-packed as initially. Anyway, so the third or so stop in, I take a seat, but don't look around, still feeling ashamed that everyone had witnessed me making a fool of myself, given the whole boarding fiasco. Shortly thereafter, the guy next to me gets up, a stop or so later, and I see that it's WM! I'm like 'WM! Omg! I didn't know you were sitting there.' I then asked him for his contact info and he told me his email address. I felt so ecstatic and befuddled that fate literally placed me beside him in the train car, when I'd been wanting to express my apologies for my behavior in the office. Well... I did get my closure to a large degree as we exchanged emails and I said I really felt bad for being rude to him at times, and he said he understood, given the stress of the environment.

I guess I just can't help but think of how things sometimes manifest when you ponder certain things. It's weird how the universe works like that, but I truly do believe sometimes you can manifest your desires through prayer and contemplation...

There is a book I'm reading right now which touches on the topic of making sure to think positively, and you might not see the importance of such a notion, and it's hard to think positive sometimes when you're feeling down or just are in a rut, but I think it is sometimes a good idea to just let go and embrace the present, and see what gifts unfold from there.