Monday, September 1, 2014

30 day challenge

I decided to try Vic's 30 day challenge.  I was introduced to Vic by Joel's Impossible blog.  Vic is into exercise and paleo diet.  I don't follow the diet but I am very interested by his exercise ideas.
I give you the links if you are interested.  What got me interested in Vic's 30 day challenge was his suggestion that 30 days is a smaller commitment to get a person started.  I decided that exercise was one of the areas I wanted to work on.  Right now I have 3 days of heavy exercise and none on the other days.  I am trying for 30 days at least 15 minutes.  That means I can still do my heavy days but I would do some light exercises on the other days.  Kind of even things out a little bit.  I've come a long way from the couch potato that my daughter gave a zumba class for Christmas.

There was a second part to my self challenge.  The other part is to post on my other blog everyday for 30 days.  I have a chart with information that I want to add but I kept stumbling over my own fear. 
I was feeling intimidated by my own desire to share what I learned.  This summer through me for a loop.  I struggled with the idea of what could I say about PTSD if I am struggling again.  This post I remind myself that the reason PTSD is managed but not always cured is the coming back for multiple rounds.  I compare PTSD to diabetes.  Once contracted they can be managed but not always cured.  There are web pages for those that share their cure for PTSD.  I am thrilled for them.  I realized I don't know anything else.  Trauma started around 5 years old or possible younger.  Nightmares are on going....never long without them.  10 years of counseling taught me a lot.  I want to share what I learned for coping and thriving.  Some how I had it in my head that I had to be doing great to share.  Well, I am happier than I have ever been.  Some how my head decided since I am doing so well it is ready to dump off more stuff that I haven't attempted to process.  I figured it was in the past, let it stay there.  Apparently no such luck.  I am bummed out about the increasing number of nightmares.  I feel discouraged that I am looking for another counselor again.  I've come so far.  Deep breathe.  Yes, I have come so far.  The counselor that will be working with me than what happened with my first counselor.  I am walking in with a fairly clear picture of what those nightmares me.  I won't have 6 months of a guessing game of trying to understand what is happening inside my head.  I may be looking for a counselor again but I am a very different person than when I started 10 years ago.  A 30 day challenge is just enough commitment to get me going. 

If you joined a 30 day challenge, what was you choose?

Beautifully imperfect

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seeking Spiritual Experiences

Sometimes I have spiritual experiences at random.  Seeing a glorious sunrise or sunset, a rainbow reminder of God's promise, a moment in time that I feel truth testified to me in my heart as well as my head are all random moments that my spirit is touched and engaged with living.  Usually, I need to go looking for spiritual experiences.  Everyday living of put your shoulder to the wheel, your nose to the grind stone with my back against the wall is an awkward position to work in with little room for spiritual communion.  Yoga has meditating, Buddhism has chanting, Christianity has prayer all avenues to seek for and experience stirrings of the spirit.  Much of the time I tend to ignore spiritual needs.  Occasionally I get down right cynical about where was God when I was having such and such problem.  I am quick to remind myself that He is right there if I will seek Him.  Sometimes I just need to open my eyes.  Sometimes I need to add fasting to prayer to let God know I am really serious about needing help and not just sloughing off.  I use many poems and saying to help me seek spiritual experiences:

Footprints In The Sand is one of my favorites.

I Sought My Soul

I sought my soul,
But my soul I could not see
I sought my God,
But my god eluded me.
I sought my brother,
And I found all three.

I use scriptures:

Psalm 23

1 (A Psalm of David.) The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I read the New Testament when I was in Junior High.  My first book I bought was a 10 cent Bible.  

But I stopped reading for a long time when people in my life used the scriptures to manipulate me.  I am returning to the sacred text and remind myself that Heavenly Father loves me and sent many examples of life's challenges.  Ester, Ruth, Joseph sold into Egypt, Job, and many others are becoming my heroes.  Life shook them up and threw them down but they sought the Lord.  They felt fear and prayed.  They faced challenges and prevailed.  When I feel a need to seek spiritual experiences, I know where to turn.  

I use photography:  

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anxiety suggestions

 One of the things I encountered in my 10+ years of counseling is the concept of parenting myself.  The inner child is not a another word for a split multiple. It is the center core of ourselves that at some point was neglected, overly chastised, abused, or an other of a variety of traumas.  My daughter posted this link and I wanted to share it hear.
 It shares ideas to help nurture a child.  I found several were very relevant to me.  The very first one grabbed my attention right away because it is so counter intuitive to what I have always done:

1. Stop Reassuring Your Child

What??????  I read this one paragraph several times.  I also watched with children when they are distressed they are so not hearing anything I have to say.  Then they have some great suggestions as to what to do instead:

Try something I call the FEEL method:
Freeze -- pause and take some deep breaths with your child. Deep breathing can help reverse the nervous system response.
Empathize -- anxiety is scary. Your child wants to know that you get it.
Evaluate -- once your child is calm, it's time to figure out possible solutions.
Let Go - Let go of your guilt; you are an amazing parent giving your child the tools to manage their worry.

My inner child is not afraid of what might happen inner child is afraid the nightmare that I lived through before could happen again so simply reassuring just doesn't cut it.  I usually change the Freeze to pause because the connotation that a pause is a considered choice but the acronym PEEL is less appealing.  (Pun intended...I know....awful puns are only slightly amusing.)

I am going to reword this for myself:

Pause and take a couple of cleansing breathes....breathing gets me into the moment.  I can't worry about yesterday or tomorrow when I am focused on breathing.  This works for small children too. 

Acknowledge that I feel what I feel and I have the right to feel what I feel.  Part of my past was steeped in being told I didn't feel how I felt.  Repetive use of the word is focusing that I feel an emotion that I need to acknowledge giving myself permission to feel it.  Let a child feel what they feel even if it doesn't make sense. 

Evaluate the it really what I think is going on?  Is my emotional surge about the moment or are past issues blasting me?  Am I in immediate danger?  Is there something that I can do to change the situation?  Is it something that I need to allow myself to accept?  Look for Who? What? Where? and Why? questions that may unlock the confusion and help me see the situation from another perspective. 

Letting go of that is a biggy.  Letting go of the guilt that I can make life problem free. I am not responsible for everything around me.  Letting go the guilty feeling that I can't fix everything. I just can't.  Let go of the burden of guilt.  Guilt has one purpose only to get the person to change behavior.  If I didn't do anything wrong and I can't fix it, all guilt will do is add a greater burden to me.  Sometimes a situation is NOT about me or something I can do or should do. 

I think I am going to reread this article again.  
More tomorrow.....Enjoy the day.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not nice

The saga continues.  However, now I have an administrator dealing with the district people.  I gave them the information and I am stepping back.  I am relinquishing control.  I am allowing another person step up for me.  This is an amazing feeling.  I listened to someone trying to understand the person that is giving me a rough time.  She told me that this woman is nice person.  The thought came to mind, "If you are out with someone and they are not nice to the waiter then they are not a nice person."  I decided the person does not respect me.  She created a hostile work environment while claiming she was trying to empower me.  First off, if she is trying to empower me, she believes she is the one with the power.  A nice person doesn't say, "Do things my way or you won't have a job."  A nice person would have found ways to encourage instead adding frustration and contention.  I am seeing a big contrast between the two people over me.  Neither one of them know me except my work position. One person I walked away from the meeting feeling respected, heard and my suggestion was part of the solution.  The other person, I felt threatened, unsure, and cried after the meeting.  It became obvious to me that she is not a nice person.   The skills I learned from my other unpleasant boss are coming in handy.  Save all emails.  Don't answer any emails unless I have someone else approve the letter.  Pass all information to the administrator that is treating me with respect.   I can do this.  I can feel confident at work.  I am making a difference.  I love how I feel helping at school.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

So Cool

The meeting was awesome.  The administrator listed the areas that help was needed then asked those working which areas they felt they could help.  We each checked off the areas and they realized that every area was covered by two people.  The people in the meeting were reasonable, treated each other with respect, and I felt heard.  I will now be working in areas of my greatest strength instead of pushing me into areas that I would battle to stay a float.  What....what...what?  Can this be?  Yup, it is so cool to be treated with respect and consideration.  The work will get done and now they have an idea what is needed from the person that they are hiring needs strengths.  It feels good. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Stress is stress

"For every failure, there's an alternative course of action. You just have to find it.  When you come to a roadblock, take a detour."
- Mary Kay Ash 

Bad stress.....bad bad stress.... Every where I read articles about bad stress....don't be stressed it is bad for you.  Always when talking about stress they talk about bad stress and how bad it is.  I've had my fair share of stress.  One of the things that puzzle people is when I react badly to good or even great events.  People tend to forget the big events that we want to happen still cause stress reactions.  Blood pressure goes up, adrenalin pumps into my body, and heart rate accelerates and the body reacts to the Good stress about the same way as the bad stress.  So stress is in my life.  My mother studied Hans Selye, the guy that named stress as it is used today. I listened to her talk about his writing so much, I haven't bothered to read his book myself.   However, I do read articles and other information.  One of the side lights I learned is you can't live without stress.  Some people will purposely create stress if things get too quiet. (You know the ones that create drama where ever they go.)  The world revolves around stress, literally.  The spinning of our planet is in a constant tug of war with the sun's gravitational pull.  Too much and we would be sucked into the sun, not enough we would fly out into space and never have to worry about global warming.  So we hurtle through space revolving around the sun, enjoying different seasons, and blessed with stress because we are still stuck to the planet.  Yup, a certain amount of stress is essential.  Unfortunately, I'm in the unhealthy habit of being determined to do everything I am asked to do to my detriment.  I realize that my present stress at work is being caught between people that I have no control over each asking and expecting me to do something different.  I have a meeting tomorrow with one of the administrators.  I hope to be able to convey that I am willing to do what I can to help the students succeed.  I just don't want to get caught in a turf war between district, school, and grant funding requirements.  I feel the tension and resentment from both sides and my reaction is a desire to crawl under my bed and wait for the storm to blow over.  That option would leave me without a job.  I feel a bit like a kid going in front of the principal because somebody else told them I was being bad when I didn't know the rules.  Triggers galore. 

Goals for tomorrow:
1. Calmly explain my perspective. 
2. Reassert my willingness to help where needed. 
3. Gently remind them it is not my responsibility to solve their turf war. 

I am looking forward to an opportunity to say what I am concerned about.  This is a good stress but I'm still stressed.  Brownies in chocolate pudding is lovely self medication for this type of stress and yes I will be exercising extra.  Please, send prayers and good vibes my way as I tackle the goal to communicate peacefully my desire to be helpful without saying the wrong thing.  (No, I may not refer to a person as a 'dumb ass.')