It’s Noisy In Here

The past few days I’ve realized that my mind is noisy. Without a daily venting space like Facebook, I find I am left to the echoing of caverns in my mind – and that’s not necessarily a good thing. 

I want to be able to share my message of love with those who most need to hear it – my friends who are disenfranchised because of their heritage and religious affiliation, and my friends who struggle to see their fellow humans as humans. It makes me very sad. What makes it worse is that even when I share my thoughts and feelings, there are still those who don’t “get it”. 

My mind turns in circles trying to rephrase things or use a different analogy, hoping to somehow create an “aha!” moment that finally breaks through the mental and emotional barrier that this hatred has created. And these thoughts take up a lot of emotional energy in my brain…emotional energy that could be used for helping me focus on a more important task such as cleaning the dishes or finishing my work notes, or planning the structure of my day.

My poor brain is exhausted from thinking and feeling. It’s why I had to step away from Facebook for a while. I have more important things to accomplish in my day than sitting and reading through articles and status posts, processing the emotions, then attempting to respond in an appropriate way. It often involves me spending multiple hours invested in this process.

So, I completed my first Facebook-free week rather successfully. I did sign on for some time on the weekend, responding to relevant interactions and checking out the latest social reports. But, for the most part, I realized that the notifications were just another distraction and the posts I missed sharing could just as easily be shared here on my blog. And here I preserve my sanity by not having any back and forth interactions with people who feel the need to prove their point. I am just as bad as the next person at letting myself get worked up about something in wanting to prove a point. (It’s something I am actively working on and why I step away). 

I do hope, though, that some day we can all recognize that we are being fed a line. A good portion of the North American nation is being duped by the manipulator in the hot seat.  The fear mongering is feeding a hatred that has welled up from the underbelly of society. The only way to stop this is to practice radical love and acceptance. To my fellow Christians especially, I speak a word of caution. Jesus came and lived a life of quiet love. His radical acceptance of those who were different is what set Him apart and drew people toward him. This is not the practice of a good portion of today’s so-called Christians. Let’s change that.

Peace be with you. 

“Enough” is Enough: Know Your Limitations

Along the same vein as my last posts, a key struggle but most significant accomplishment in my life is and has been knowing when enough is enough and becoming “ok” with or accepting my limitations.  Again this week this has been a prevalent topic – something I see as a daily awareness exercise.  The work that goes into this awareness (the “how”) is enough for a post of its own – and truly is a work of independence for each of us.  Today, however, I want to discuss simply the purpose and its benefits (the “why”).

No matter who you are or what you struggle with in life, knowing your limitations and being okay with what that means for yourself will help move you in a positive direction – whether it is resting to preserve enough energy to face your daily circumstances, or striving that extra bit more because you know you have it in you and it will be worth it in the end. Last week we discussed the concept of passive activity, striving for a greater good as we work through the process – by allowing the circumstances/feelings/etc to be what they will be and work on our internal response to it.

I have found a huge part of “working through the process” to be knowing my limitations – emotionally and physically.  And the one will affect the other. This week that has become abundantly clear.  My emotional journey through life takes just as much energy as – sometimes more than – my physical journey.  Having already discussed the management of energy scenario, this makes for some juggling.  But being “ok” with those limitations, allowing them to just “be” (and not define me), while allowing for a sense of flexibility in life to accommodate them, has been a liberating experience.  From this sense of freedom I derive an overall peace and inner strength.

Life is going to just “happen” around us…people will continue to ask for more and push your buttons, circumstances will arise out of the blue and our emotional response to them will either create more stress or empower us to deal with the stress.  But no one will know your boundaries as clearly as you do.  And if we are not “ok” with those boundaries, we will continue to let people push us over the limit, time and time again, feeling like we should/could be doing more.

It’s okay to have a limit!  It’s okay that I have to be in bed by a certain time, that I can only handle a part-time job right now, or that I didn’t get my kitchen clean yesterday.  I will soon get to a place where I have a consistent routine again which will promote a continually healthier lifestyle, more energy, more attention and more overall “success” in life. I am on the right track. And, on my way to accomplishing that end, I am grateful to have come as far as I have, to be in the place that I’m in, and to be moving in the direction I’m headed.  Today I wrote a post on Facebook regarding my gratitude for my current circumstances.  I mentioned that if someone reading was not happy with his or her circumstances that he/she should make a change – in attitude, effort, or position.  That truly is the only answer.

Acknowledging your limitations and accepting/loving what “is” is the key to a sense of gratification and contentment.  Know when enough is enough for you, embrace your limits and celebrate them!  Manifest your inner awareness in your day-to-day decisions to create a life you love.  Surround yourself with positive people and influences to let the sun shine in.  🙂

…this is my life…

Wholeness Through Brokenness: “You’ve Got to Feel It To Heal It”

This week’s topic, though once again not written “on schedule”, is somewhat of a philosophical rant more than a recounting of experiences like my last posts.  It is something that I’ve discovered to be not only a “Brain Injury” concept, but an overall principle for wellness in all realms of being (emotionally, physically, psychologically) – “healing through feeling” and the process that entails.  No matter where we are at in our life’s journey, the ebb and flow of life dictates a state of constant flux.  Given this fact, I have come to appreciate that the best thing we can do to help ourselves along the way is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to have a constant attitude of willingness – an openness to the possibilities.

I’ve heard it said that the moment we think we have “arrived” is the moment we cease to strive. We will never “have it all figured out” but life has led me to believe that there is a distinct possibility for true healing if we are willing to let ourselves work through our experiences and process their influence on our lives.  In doing so, we become more aware, more enlightened, and more “accepting” of what is.  From that place, out of that personal resolve, comes a desire – an innate drive – to work toward the betterment of ourselves and consequently, the betterment of the world around us.  It’s almost paradoxical…passive activity.

I like what Paul has to say about it in the Bible…

Not Yet Arriving, But Still Striving
(philippians 3:12-16)

12 Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: forgetting the things behind and reaching out for the things ahead, 14 with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are “perfect” embrace this point of view. If you think otherwise, God will reveal to you the error of your ways. 16 Nevertheless, let us live up to the standard that we have already attained.

So what has this “forward thinking/forward moving”-mindset meant for me in my world?

Through my struggles, and in supporting family and friends through theirs, I have learned that – as uncomfortable as it may seem at the time – feeling all your feelings, negative AND positive, is the best way to gain closure, or attain “healing”.  On an emotional/psychological level, cognitive behavioural psychology has been my best friend through this learning process.  The skills I gained through this training have been invaluable; but it took me at least two years to gain the confidence in their application.  “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic process….The premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and in behaviour” (Wikipedia). In essence, this approach identifies that your thoughts dictate your actions.  If we can change the way we think, we can literally change the way we interpret our world and, hence, our attitude toward and response to it.

But we first have to acknowledge the feeling: whether it be fear, anxiety, overwhelm, disappointment, joy, contentment, or elation.  From here the trick is to let that feeling be what it will be, observe and acknowledge your response to it and let that be.  Don’t “judge” it – making yourself right or wrong because of it – just be aware of it.  In doing so we detach the experience from our emotional interpretation of it and will slowly find it easier to “deal with” as we are no longer overcome by the sheer perception.

In the realm of physical recovery, I have found the same thing to be true.  Though the injuries and consequential weaknesses in my body have made for a somewhat painful experience at times, I have found that working around the pain – numbing it, or simply relieving the symptom – never actually resolved the issue.  The experience simply becomes more bearable in the moment (much like dismissing an emotion makes life seemingly “easier” to deal with), while the underlying cause is never resolved.

Having recently approached my physical recovery from more of a strength-based perspective (correcting underlying function) rather than a treatment-based one, I have actually experienced more gains which have been longer-lasting.  However, this process required “working through the pain” in many ways.  As I began to acknowledge and respond by correcting the source of the physical pain, rather than simply reacting to the outcome, I noticed that the frequency, duration, and intensity of these experiences lessened.  Interesting! 🙂 My body has learned a new habit.

In summary, it all goes back to a philosophy I learned from the time I spent working in the “chiropractic” world: an ADIO – or above-down, inside-out – perspective.  If we are willing to look inward and deal with the cause, we are more able to handle the outward expression or effect of that internal experience.  In so doing, I truly believe that we can re-acquire – or perhaps acquire for the first time – a sense of wholeness through our brokenness.

…this is my life…