27 July 2013

Meditation update.

I can’t believe I meditated each day this week. It doesn’t feel like I did. I mean, it feels like I did in that I notice subtle changes in my state of being—meaning, I’m less anxious, less uptight, and more able to cope with certain things that would ordinarily overwhelm me and put me in a state of sheer panic and misery. However, whereas before I kept track of the time by setting an alarm, I now just wing it, doing it when the urge strikes, or on weekdays, doing it before work, and I just do it for as long as I can, and that’s it. Therefore, one day I meditated for about twenty minutes while the following day I meditated for maybe five, and another day I meditated for about ten minutes. By not putting restrictions on when, where, and how I meditate, by not trying to do anything, but just allowing myself to meditate when I desire to do so, but at least making somewhat of an effort in making sure I make the time for it, no matter how minimal that time frame is, once per day, I’m making more progress than before and I’m actually finding myself enjoying the process. Just sitting there and allowing my thoughts to settle without focusing on time, and when the alarm is going to sound, has helped. It’s better for me to just do it when possible without restrictions.

15 July 2013

Free write on coffee.

Because I have an hour, actually 20 minutes, remaining prior to The Bachelorette, I thought I'd quickly write a post about my day, so I can reflect on what went down and how I felt. The focus is coffee. I must comment first on the fact that I only had one fourth cup of coffee today, which is a milestone for me, considering I love my coffee and am generally desperate for at least my one cup. Lately, I've been indulging more and more as it's my favorite fix, seriously. When I wake up, it's something I look forward to and crave, above all else. However, the upside to not having it (or having less of it) is that I don't feel as anxious and irritable. This is a definite upside. Yesterday, I had two cups as well as a row and a half of chocolate chip cookies and boy was I on overdrive, and consequently not in the best mood. My body was unappreciative and I felt out of sorts, heart-wise and anxiety wise.

Even though I have been vowing to cut down and eliminate coffee, except as a treat occasionally, it's been 'matter over mind' and I have been unable to convince my mind to get on board with my plan of action. I have gotten into this mode of complacency and have had trouble making any strides on cutting back because I have felt I deserve it and it tastes good and I look forward to it. However, there are truly some noteworthy negatives -- for me anyway -- which are worth considering, which result from my indulging at liberty.

Last night after reflecting on the fact that I don't do well with much caffeine, as I'm super sensitive to the drug, I followed through with my objective today! It feels good to know that I didn't give into temptation, but didn't withhold it either. If it were a trivial reason for which I wanted to cut back on my intake, I would continue onward with my one to two cups on the daily. However, I notice I become extremely hyper and dare say, angry, throughout the day, when I drink even just one cup; two cups and I'm beyond jittery. Honestly, I don't drink coffee for the pick-me-up. I drink it solely for the taste; there's no flavor like it (except for chocolate of course). There are some qualms I have with regard to decaf, which is why I'm not venturing down that path; namely, the chemical process required. Actually, I might check out some Trader Joe's decaf as it's Swiss water processed which is safe.

Anyway, the point is that today my body felt much more in balance and less stressed and anxiety-ridden. Fortunately, I didn't have many withdrawal effects as I only felt/feel a bit tired, which is a good thing in my book. I'd rather be slightly tired that overly wired. Also, it feels like my thoughts are not racing a mile a minute as they have been, and I can think calmly and clearly. Although, it could be that the meditation meetup I attended this weekend may have contributed to my feelings of ease a bit; more on that later. In essence though, I'm proud of myself for not having overdone it in the coffee department today and will continue with my efforts and possibly post how it goes as I move along. It's not about depriving myself of my beloved coffee, but rather allowing myself that which does not detract from my well being. This is the ultimate goal.

11 July 2013

Today was horrific.

Today started out good, really good, actually. It was Thursday. Generally speaking, I like Thursdays as what's there not to like about the second to last day of the week? However, I failed to set my alarm last night, which is a new one, given that I'm super particular about my alarm and often check it at least once or twice to ensure it's set, before I get into bed. Lately, I've been forgetting things. Take last night, for instance. I left the broccoli slaw out on the counter and it was not discovered until several hours later. Earlier this week, I put underwear on... twice. No lie. I was standing in front of my dresser having just gotten out of the shower in the morning. It half made me laugh, half made me wonder what I was thinking, as I removed the second pair. 'Did I really just do that?'

In the last week, I left salad dressing out on the counter and at one point put it in the cupboard instead of returning it to the fridge. I placed something that was supposed to go in the cupboard in the freezer. Having failed to set my alarm and double check it last night before bed is yet another example of my forgetfulness lately, and is out of character for me. I'm not quite sure what is causing this. It's not really worrying me. I will admit I get a good laugh upon realizing my mistakes in instances such as these. However, I'm definitely noticing the recurring pattern. Being the type-A person that I am who double-checks nearly everything, just hitting the pillow last night without a second thought as to whether or not my alarm was set, strikes me as strange. I can only attribute such anomalies to the fact that I was coming down from the stress of the work week and was either so relaxed and carefree in those moments, causing me to inadvertently slip up, or my mind was too busy in analytical overdrive that I failed to heed the demands of the present moment.

Anyway, I got off the beaten trail. The purpose of this post was to focus on how horrific my day was, at work that is. In the afternoon, there was a pressing matter I was attending to, entrenched in analyzing medical records, when my phone started to ring, and ring, and ring. My phone was blowing up basically and I sat there in such dismay, trying to continue forward with the task at hand but when the phone just keeps ringing, I anticipate doom. It annoyed me because whoever was calling thought their matter so urgent that they would call over and over in an effort to greedily solicit a response. This type of behavior unnerves me. If someone doesn't take my call and the matter is urgent, I leave a freaking message and await a return call in a reasonable time frame, say a day or two. I don't call over and over, in essence demanding that the recipient attend to my concerns at my beckon call, totally disregarding their responsibilities. I'm not going to divert my attention from an extremely detailed pursuit that requires focus and analytical thought, consequently scrambling to help someone who isn't dying. If it's a true emergency, call 911. Seriously. Why such calls infuriate me even further is if such an impatient individual calls my boss, he'll inevitably berate me and pressure me to respond immediately. People who lack patience annoy me. Bosses who don't support employees who work hard and are undeservedly pushed by nagging clients to be at their beckon call annoy me more.

07 July 2013

Positive change requires effort; is it not worth it?

The book that I previously referenced by Dr. M. Scott Peck has inspired me to make a change. He points out that sometimes we are the reason for our troubles. If we are in a rut, the way out may require that we turn back to the point where we got off the wrong exit, he indicates. That concept may be daunting if we have already proceeded very far down the wrong roadway. It takes effort and courage to see the error of our ways and turn things around to begin the healing process.

Becoming an observer can deepen one's awareness

I have taken a break from reacting in an intense fashion to external stimuli which often invokes a reaction from within me. Making an effort rather to remain calm and observe the situation, without reacting, has helped to provide me with deeper insight that I may have otherwise overlooked. I'm seeing that I may overreact at times, not truly knowing what's going on. It's much like traveling on a similar path, when taking the same route around the neighborhood, during a nightly stroll, not paying heed the details, missing certain aspects of nature which surround you and therefore becoming locked in a similar thought pattern. Yet when you take a new path on a whim, you suddenly become acutely aware of all of the objects surrounding you. You marvel at the beauty and novelty of it all and uncover bright ideas that arise as you're on this new path. When you're surrounded by the same situation day in and out, it's quite easy for the same thought pattern to recirculate through your mind. You might not recognize the error of your ways when you react in similar fashion to those common issues as you may be so caught up in your typical worries and anxiety to reflect on what's going on around you with a clear perspective.

These past few days, I dare say I have been less agitated and less reactive than usual. I'm letting my intuition guide me and have deepened my awareness as to how some minor annoyances have escalated in my mind because I have been so stuck in a repetitive mindset, unable to realize that some things aren't as bad as they seem. The only way I could have arrived at such an epiphany was to take a step back and become the observer. I have been listening to what's going on and have realized my interpretation of certain situations may have been rather 'off' in the past. It has taken some quiet time, evening walks around the neighborhood (hence the above-mentioned analogy), and focused meditation to contribute to my ability to look at every day stresses with a new set of eyes, and a less reactive and short-fused persona.

06 July 2013

You're like 22 girls in one...

So, I'm obsessed with John Mayer's latest hit, Paper Doll, with the Prancercise lady starring in the video. This song and video combination could not be more metaphoric, which I love. It truly has me sitting here with my mouth agape. I'm in awe. The video immediately struck me as a parody of Taylor Swift. Ms. Prancercise successfully mimics Swift's mannerisms. The fact that the Prancercise lady is oblivious to the connection is even more meaningful. The lines read by the Prancercise lady in the beginning of the video symbolize the fact that she's a naive girl. She's even wearing an outfit suited to Swift's style. There's an innocence conveyed through each of her steps. Her moves are conservative and lady-like, however she gravely errs on the side of silliness. This makes the rest of us scoff and judge the overt ridiculousness of her actions.

It's quite the mockery of how Swift is and how she dances to the tune of life. She dances to a much different tune than reality. The underlying message screams: you are too fairy-tale like, too far up in the clouds in delusion, to understand the meaning of true depth, of true romance and love. You couldn't handle heels. The heels represent Mayer. Flats, on the other hand, define Swift. The song is a rebuttal if you will to Dear John, aimed at Mayer by Swift. I love the line 'you're like 22 girls in one' where he lingers on the last world, 'and none of them know what they're running from,' he continues, lingering yet again, his voice so soft and romantic, his choice of lyric so eloquent. He's saying she's no different than the masses, contrary to her intrinsic belief that she's so special. He equates her mindset to that of 22 girls.

In fact, she doesn't know what she's doing in the game of love. She hasn't a clue. This is what he means by 'Was it just to far to fall?' He was much to heavy for her, and she could not handle someone like him. She is unable to distinguish love between a casual fling. She deemed their relationship more serious than it truly was in reality. She has so many ideas, as far fetched as ever, with regard to relationships in general. The bottom line is that Ms. Swift has about as much depth as a paper doll. Even the melody and the bouncy, giddy beat create a vision of the Paper Doll that is Taylor Swift being carried away in the wind, her fragile self torn apart, unable to withstand even the most natural of elements.

05 July 2013

People of the Lie.

Last night I began reading 'People of the Lie,' by M. Scott Peck, M.D., and immediately became engrossed. I'm halfway through and couldn't relate more to his assessment that evil should be considered a diagnosis, that it's a toxic illness, pervasive throughout our world. He states -- and I agree with him -- that people often question the evil in the world, when evil is inevitable and far more prevalent that good. It is the good that should come more as a surprise. So true is this concept. This explains why the small wonders of the world, like a kind smile and friendly wave, seem so pleasantly out of the ordinary, making such gestures that much more uplifting.

Dr. Peck proves through his writing his keen perception as to the workings of evil in others, as demonstrated by his case examples strewn throughout this book. Right away, he captivates the reader by telling of the case involving a man, an ordinary working man, tortured by his compulsive thoughts, leading him to make a pact with devil so as to achieve the peace of mind for which he so desperately yearns; only that peace of mind is clearly artificial, evil, immoral. Dr. Peck doesn't narrow his focus on the medical science and stick to the status quo psychiatrist approach in response to the situation. He acts on truth, with ethics and integrity. He shows us how religion is very closely intertwined with our way of being. We can succumb to indolence and fear, thereby creating and perpetuating a living hell for ourselves. Ultimately, the aforementioned patient had a choice, to choose evil over good by maintaining his pact with the devil or to work through his demons and come through the other side stronger and more equipped to persevere in life. His innate goodness caused him to feel guilt. Dr. Peck's implementation of moral feedback helped him see the light and walk towards it, his torment subsiding with each effort to acknowledge those issues which were manifesting themselves in his obsessive thinking.

In essence, our suffering makes us human. Our pain, our reservations, our self-criticisms, and worriment are positive attributes, full of truth and honesty. Those who experience such emotions, or are more sensitive by nature, are quite opposite from evil. It is those who put up a front and refuse to acknowledge their feelings, their truth, their defects, who are in need of help, of healing, from the evil which they inevitably suffer and transmit to others, poisoning the earth and its inhabitants in all their ignorant glory.

04 July 2013

Stubborn people.

What makes a person stubborn? They are unwilling to budge by any means. They cannot and will not see the light, despite being supplied with ample evidence to alter their viewpoint. They stand by one perspective and one perspective alone, at all costs.

Better not to judge and let them have their way, rather than try to expand their mind, as the saying is right in that you can 'lead a horse to water but thou cannot make that horse drink.' Nevertheless, it's still unsettling to deal with someone who remains firmly planted in their corner of ill-reasoning when there's adequate evidence available to counter their position. It's as simple as them refusing to see the light.

The worst is when I'm feeling passionate about something. Yes, this includes those files I handle at work. I'm passionate because I care about doing the right thing. It makes me frustrated when someone sets forth unreasonable demands and won't accept the reality that what they are requesting is just that: unreasonable.

When it comes to health and well-being, I also go at it no holds barred. Take a conversation I had today with a family member regarding her husband's stress level being elevated due to his work situation. When I offered that meditation might be of benefit, she rejected the idea outright. Had she not insulted the idea, I would have let it go, but she scoffed at it, which stoked the fire within me and I became a bit defensive and more persistent in my suggestion that it would help, if he tried an alternate method of meditation. Towards the conclusion of this semi-debate, she then indicated he used to be able to relieve his stress by gardening, but was no longer able to engage in such a task since suffering a back injury. It was then that I suggested he try the next best thing, sit in nature. She wasn't having it, I could tell. She then stated they would be following the doctor's orders. Well, do as you wish, I thought, but when I got off the phone, I felt like the conversation was so unresolved. It was as though she couldn't deal with any ideas outside of the realm of medical science, or outside of her own narrow-minded perspective, for that matter. This woman thinks she is an expert in every respect and always counters everything anyone says.