Do What Needs Doing, Then Let it Go

Hello friends!

It has been a little while since I’ve posted.  I was away for surgery.  It was an opportunity to use mindfulness practice.  Hospitals, medications, and pain are not places and things that naturally co-exist with peace.  Yet, they are full of wealth in terms of learning peace.

According to Eckhart Tolle, sharp and acute pain can be a moment of pure presence.  The shrieks I involuntary made as the doctor stabbed the needle into my knee cap without warning proved this to be true.  Yet, it is often accompanied by the grinding misery of suffering.  Suffering is the story about our pain.  Sometimes we want to have our story validated.  We want to get a hug, a get well card, or a pill.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But, there are points when we need to quiet the suffering and find the true nature around us.

What might you replace it with?  My most recent experience showed me the power of watching and counting my breath.  It is one of the fundamentals of all other forms of meditation.  What else worked for me?  Metta meditation, which I will write a post about in the future.  In brief, Metta is fixing your attention on total strangers and wishing them, “May you be well; May you be happy; May you be filled with loving kindness.”  It is powerful in opening your heart and directing your intention.  The focus is off the “little me” and on to the rest of the world and our connectedness with it.

As I recover at home it is easy to feel overwhelmed.  I am reminding myself to “Do what needs doing, then let go.”  There can be a lot of things to juggle in recovery.  There are follow-up appointments, calls to receptionists, blood tests, filling prescriptions, a whole lot of social media, my kitchen counters, and so forth.

It is easy to lose mindfulness in facing this laundry list of tasks.  My reminder is that it is only necessary to do what is necessary in this present moment (say making one call about an appointment) and afterward I do that, it is graceful to let it go.  To return to rest and inner quiet after doing “the thing” is a central part of mindful practice.  Recovery asks and how we answer can mean an easier and happier experience!

 

legohospitalrecovery

 

I hope you are well!

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Lost Arts Radio – Sharing!

Today, just a quickie!

 

I have discovered this awesome radio program through YouTube.  It’s called Lost Arts Radio and it’s hosted by a great fellow named Richard Sacks in the United States.

It’s a health program… but health on levels that aren’t superficial.  He has many prominent guests that come on the show.

If you like to be informed on the state of the world.

If you will challenge your fear of red pill reality.

If you will open your mind, but more importantly your heart.

Then, this might be a gold mine for you!  I have been listening to the archives, but the next show is Saturday morning at 11am EST / 8am PST and after that there’s another on Sunday.

So I’m sharing this with you:

 

 www.lostartsradio.com

 

Be well.  Be happy.  Be filled with loving kindness 😀

Pardon My Panic Attack

This past weekend I had an IBD flare.  I don’t deal with being sick well.  You’d think I’d take it in stride considering my illness is CHRONIC.  But, no.  I freak out.  I have a panic attack which snowballs into making things worse.

Anxiety and depression are components of chronic illness and are chronic illnesses themselves.  I tend to ruminate.  I notice every little pain and think the worst is happening inside me.  This past weekend, I thought I was dying.

When you feel so bad that you start to think you are dying, it sucks.  But in a way, it’s also the point where you may or may not be able to laugh.  Life — no one gets out alive!  It’s true!

There is a mindful way and an unmindful way to approach death.  The unmindful way was me freaking out and ushering in the suite of panic:  shallow breathing, dizziness, worsening nausea, restlessness, thoughts of going crazy/imminent death.  I started having some traumatic thoughts of choking on my “final breaths”.  That wasn’t mindful, but I’m not saying this in a judgmental way.

At such a point, what do you do?  My best solution was to reach out to another.  To just let the panic attack happen and blurt out all my feelings and worries to whoever will sit with me and listen.  Sometimes, we all lose it and need others to be mindful for us.

Different people may be or less helpful, appreciate them all.  If you pray, here’s a good time!  If you have a pet, then you are really lucky.  I have a cat.  She curled up with me and comforted me.  There is always someone that can pick up the ball when we can’t be mindful ourselves.  To seek comforting is human.  We don’t always get it the way we want, but we can appreciate the forms the universe takes in meeting our need.

Can you relate?  Who are the helpers when you are in need?  There are always helpers!

Shame, Shame

Did you ever do something really bad?  Is there a moment from the past that you don’t understand and feel sick to your stomach about?shame

I was sitting here and my mind drifted way back.  I was remembering myself as a much younger me.  Most of the time that my mind leads me back there, I see myself, and I don’t know that person.  I am not that person.  If I was that person, I am sorry.  Shame washes over me.  I can feel it warm and burning in my past.  My throat gets a lump.  My eyes fade and do not sparkle.  My stomach twists itself into a pretzel.

I sat here and in the now moment and fully felt the shame.  It amazes me how physically it manifests itself.

I did not run from the emotion or from the memory that triggered it.  What we resist persists — this has been true for me.

I started getting all guru on myself with the whole “the past doesn’t exist” and the whole “forgive yourself” and then I stopped myself.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those statements, but today, I had a new lesson.

As I saw myself, and as I judged myself, I let my compassion guide me toward understanding.  I wanted to know why I was that person in that awful moment.  I thought about it and one of my conclusions was that, the person I was seeing was suffering from a complete lack of love in their life.

I thought about the distance between that me and the me I am now.  I thought about wanting to disown the me of the past.  Those who disown, do you know how violent your disowning is?  And that’s when it hit me.

I wasn’t going to disown that me.  I wasn’t going to beat up on that past me.  I was going to to love that me, because that me needed love.  And that’s what shame taught me today.

Is This That Empath Crap?

What’s an Empath?  Well, my general understanding is that it’s a person who is greatly affected by the energy and emotions of others.  Empaths tend to be somewhat introverted.  Being in crowds can be difficult for an Empath because of all the noisy energy.  Empaths are really super sensitive to the energy vibrating off of others.  From what I’ve read, it’s considered a gift but one that can cause many years of suffering as one needs to learn how to protect themselves from the negative energies that are all around.

I used to believe in this phenomenon.  I used to believe in a lot of new-age type things.  I was introduced to the idea of Empaths and to Twin Flames by a woman I loved very much.  But in the end, she hurt me and abandoned me.  She became the antithesis of all the “love” she preached.  My reaction was that I stopped believing in Empaths and in Soul Mates and in Twin Flames.  How could these sacred phenomenons exist if the one person I knew so intimately seemed to be, in the final analysis, full of BS.

Today, I found myself reading some random person’s blog.  It’s not the first time and won’t be the last time that I found myself developing a little crush on the blogger.  It’s completely irrational because I don’t know them and they don’t know me.  They could be my polar opposite.  I love potatoes and they might love something I hate, like escargot.  I play guitar and they might be a rapper.  I think rainy days are romantic and they might find them depressing.  Truly, why crush on a stranger?

Being a psych nerd I’d point to projection and transference.  I project my desire to be desired and to have the fairytale love of my life.  That could be it.  Or, maybe it’s transference.  I find something similar in them, even something very tiny and insignificant and suddenly I start attributing the qualities of a lover to them unconsciously.  These would be rational explanations of my irrational feelings.  Afterall, how many of you day dream of being with that one person who gets you, who is “home”, who loves you unconditionally?  Am I alone in desiring that?  Probably not.  This world is pretty love sick if I can relate all this to a common chronic illness.

But aside from a psychological interpretation, the thought flashed within my mind, “Is this that Empath crap?”  Truly, facets of projection and transference would be common to the Empath experience.  I can’t say for certain that something like this makes me a believer again, but it does help me become open to the idea of “yes, maybe” once again.

The mindful response within me is simply this:  That I don’t claim to know.  It’s what Zen Buddhism calls “beginner’s mind”.  The mindful response within me is to open my heart and to notice the flutter that accompanies the crushing.  It feels… slightly delicious and yet, slightly sad.  I am just going to sit here and feel it.

 

I am the Cancer

An ego identity is the face we show to the world. It is also a way we define ourselves to ourselves.

 

who-am-i

 

Many people with chronic illnesses choose the illness as an ego identity. There are many reasons for this, but most are psychologically unhealthy. We may claim that we seek community, but relationships built around suffering usually start to create suffering. We might claim that we wish to help others from our experiences, but to truly help another is not to limit them but to share in discovering unlimited potential.

 

Wellness is experienced when we don’t limit our identity. The whole of our lives is greater than individual aspects. Wellness is about opening and acceptance. One dead tree, even if it is the tallest and oldest in the entire forest, does not nullify the grandeur and the many complex systems found in the forest’s entirety.

 

While a person may suffer limitations due to a disability, illness, or circumstance, life can still be as fulfilling as we wish to make it. Not limiting ourselves with a diseased ego identity is a simple way to admit that there are possibilities and passions that we are opening to discover. We refuse to be pigeon-holed into a universe that is mired in pain and suffering. Illnesses can be very painful, but no one can claim that pain is all there is to life.

 

young cheering woman jogger open arms at sunrise seaside,vintage effect
Be Limitless

 

What good things can you identify about yourself that open your heart and realize the potential of your mind / body / soul?

3 Lessons from Carl Rogers

carlrogers

 

A few weeks ago I went on a bender of complaining to my therapist that I needed more appointments, that I was feeling rushed through our sessions, and that I didn’t feel we were talking about the things I needed help with.  My therapist was kind enough not to react to my venting but waited to respond.  She said to me that a lot of the “resistance” I push back with is because I have been in therapy for years.  I am used to the way old school therapy works.  Today, the model that many mental health agencies used is “brief therapy”.  The goal is to sort you out and then get you out.  Personally, I don’t agree with this approach.  Yes, I can hear the arguments about becoming dependent on a therapist, but my curt reply is “look at the other things people become dependent on — and tell me what’s worse!”

I spent some time in school studying therapy and psychology.  And as I’ve mentioned, I’m also a consumer or client or patient (whichever works for you).  I am probably the sickest person I know (being hubristic) but there a few things from my studies which I think everyone can use.  Everything I’m going to tell you, I am pulling from Rogerian therapy, also known as Client Centered Therapy, or Person-Centered Therapy.  It’s a humanistic psychotherapy.  Humanists believe in capabilities of other humans.  I think…

Maybe you’d like to watch a video of Carl Rogers giving “Gloria” therapy.  I find it entertaining, but then again, I’m an oddity.

YouTube – Carl Rogers and Gloria

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Carl Rogers and the therapy model he created.  I feel these things can benefit most people and their relationship with their self and their relationship with others.

LESSON ONE

#1  –  UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD68

Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) is psychobabble that means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation.

How to do it:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others or others to others
  • Forgive yourself / others – you did your best at the time
  • Do something to know yourself – journal, blog, paint, stare into the mirror

 

 

LESSON TWO

#2 – VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPSgrandma-cookies

In a sense, even the most antisocial of us still need people.  Relationships are powerful forces for good and not so good.  Relationships define part of you and facilitate your growth or stagnation.

How to do it:

  • Identify the people in your life – friend, lover, mother, child, nurse, mailman, warden, etc. even Tom Hanks character had Wilson the volleyball on the deserted island
  • Be aware of the time you give others and yourself.  Are there parts of your day that are invested in tripe?  Could you be investing more in yourself or others?
  • Write an email, bake some cookies, don’t screen your calls, crochet a scarf, have a date night, go to a tupperware party, smile at strangers, spend an afternoon in the ‘self help’ section of Chapters

 

 

LESSON THREE

#3 – PRACTICE EMPATHYempathy

Empathy is to put yourself in the shoes of another.  It’s a manner of caring that brings us very close to understanding from another’s perspective.  A lot of people don’t want to be fixed, they want to be heard.

How to do it:

  • Listen, ask questions, seek clarification
  • Be a participant, be vulnerable, be genuine
  • Close your eyes and imagine someone; what do they see, what do they feel, what do they want?  What is their “point of need” where you can fit?

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It feels very basic and limited because well… this is a blog, not a textbook.  And yet, if you practice a few of the things I mentioned, especially in the ‘How To’ sections, you will find a deep experience and some beneficial insights.

 

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