Friday, December 30, 2016

How far have I come?

"Instead of focusing on how far you still have to go, take some time today to remind yourself of how far you’ve already come. Yes, you’re still struggling. And yes, you still have some distance to cover, but those things don’t discount the progress you’ve already made. Healing takes time. It’s not a process that can be rushed. Beating yourself up for not being further along doesn’t improve your situation. It makes you feel awful and it keeps you stuck. Your journey may be slow, but it’s not without promise. Despite how difficult this process has been, despite how hopeless you’ve felt, despite all of the people who have told you that you would never make it, you’ve never once given up. You’ve never stopped fighting and pushing forward. So give yourself some credit for that. It wasn’t easy. But you did it, and you deserve to be proud of yourself. Let go of this idea that you should be further ahead, and trust that it’s okay to be where you are. Trust that you won’t be here forever. Trust that you will get to where you need to be. You’re doing the best you can each day to fight the darkness you feel, and that’s all you can ask of yourself. It’s enough." ~Daniell Koepke

Thank you to my internet sister that shared this reminder to rejoice in my progress however small I feel it may be.


Thursday, December 29, 2016

Please Go Now....

The time has come, the time is now, Marvin K. Mooney, will you please Go NOW.  

http://www.seussville.com/books/book_detail.php?isbn=9780394824901

I memorized part of this book reading it over and over to my children.  This is how I feel about this year.  I am done.  I am more than done.  This year was tough on so many levels.  I laughed when I saw the Facebook Meme, "I want to stay up to midnight New Years Eve so I can watch 2016 die."  Yup, I am feeling quite ready for this year to be over.  Done, done, done!!!!!!!!



Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Unctuous

I found it.  This is the word to describe how my mother thanks me for things.


Definition of unctuous

  1. 1 a :  fatty, oily b :  smooth and greasy in texture or appearance
  2. 2 :  plastic <fine unctuous clay>
  3. 3 :  full of unction; especially :  revealing or marked by a smug, ingratiating, and false earnestness or spirituality
This is from www.merriam-webster.com

Definition 3 is the winner.  I always felt ungrateful that I rejected my mother's gratitude.  I was working on a word builder game and this was one of the new words.  The irritating thing for me she has this over the top gushing thank you in front of people but privately she throws away whatever I gave her.  She'll thank me profusely for something small I did or offer to pay me, then tell my Dad she wishes I wouldn't come around.  For years, I tuned out her thank yous, now I have a word to fit why it is a good idea to tune her out. 

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tracking Santa

Merry Christmas Eve....I hope each of you are enjoying your day.  I like to find Christmas stories to share.  This year I found an article posted on Facebook about how it came to be the the US military tracked Christmas.....tissue warning for those that cry over Christmas stories.

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

 http://www.npr.org/2014/12/19/371647099/norads-santa-tracker-began-with-a-typo-and-a-good-sport
Heard on Morning Edition
This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.
Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

 
The Santa Tracker tradition started with this Sears ad, which instructed children to call Santa on what turned out to be a secret military hotline. Kids today can call 1-877 HI-NORAD (1-877-446-6723) to talk to NORAD staff about Santa's exact location.
Courtesy of NORAD
Terri remembers her dad had two phones on his desk, including a red one. "Only a four-star general at the Pentagon and my dad had the number," she says.

"This was the '50s, this was the Cold War, and he would have been the first one to know if there was an attack on the United States," Rick says.

The red phone rang one day in December 1955, and Shoup answered it, Pam says. "And then there was a small voice that just asked, 'Is this Santa Claus?' "

His children remember Shoup as straight-laced and disciplined, and he was annoyed and upset by the call and thought it was a joke — but then, Terri says, the little voice started crying.

"And Dad realized that it wasn't a joke," her sister says. "So he talked to him, ho-ho-ho'd and asked if he had been a good boy and, 'May I talk to your mother?' And the mother got on and said, 'You haven't seen the paper yet? There's a phone number to call Santa. It's in the Sears ad.' Dad looked it up, and there it was, his red phone number. And they had children calling one after another, so he put a couple of airmen on the phones to act like Santa Claus."
 
"It got to be a big joke at the command center. You know, 'The old man's really flipped his lid this time. We're answering Santa calls,' " Terri says.

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD 
 
"The airmen had this big glass board with the United States on it and Canada, and when airplanes would come in they would track them," Pam says.

"And Christmas Eve of 1955, when Dad walked in, there was a drawing of a sleigh with eight reindeer coming over the North Pole," Rick says.

"Dad said, 'What is that?' They say, 'Colonel, we're sorry. We were just making a joke. Do you want us to take that down?' Dad looked at it for a while, and next thing you know, Dad had called the radio station and had said, 'This is the commander at the Combat Alert Center, and we have an unidentified flying object. Why, it looks like a sleigh.' Well, the radio stations would call him like every hour and say, 'Where's Santa now?' " Terri says.



Produced for Morning Edition by Jasmyn Belcher Morris.
StoryCorps is a national nonprofit that gives people the chance to interview friends and loved ones about their lives. These conversations are archived at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, allowing participants to leave a legacy for future generations. Learn more, including how to interview someone in your life, at StoryCorps.org.

Anxiety by Brianna West



The Artelier
1. They don’t hide their anxiety, they hide their symptoms. To have concealed anxiety isn’t to deny having it – only to do everything in your power to ensure other people don’t see you struggle.

2. They have the most anxiety about having anxiety. Because they are not comfortable letting people see them in the throes of an irrational panic, the most anxiety-inducing idea is… whether or not they’ll have anxiety at any given moment in time.

3. They come across as a paradoxical mix of outgoing but introverted, very social but rarely out. It is not that they are anti-social, just that they can only take being around others incrementally (which is mostly normal). Yet, on the surface, this may come across as confusing.

4. They make situations worse by trying to suppress their feelings about them. They are extremely uncomfortable with other people seeing them in pain, and they don’t want to feel pitied or as though they are compromising anyone’s time. Yet, they make things worse for themselves by suppressing, as it actually funnels a ton of energy into making the problem larger and more present than it already was.

5. They are often hyper-aware and highly intuitive. Anxiousness is an evolutionary function that essentially keeps us alive by making us aware of our surroundings and other people’s motives. It’s only uncomfortable when we don’t know how to manage it effectively – the positive side is that it makes you hyper-conscious of what’s going on around you.

6. Their deepest triggers are usually social situations. It’s not that they feel anxious in an airplane, it’s that they feel anxious in an airplane and are stuck around 50 other people. It’s not that they will fail a test, but that they will fail a test and everyone in school will find out and think they are incompetent and their parents will be disappointed. It’s not that they will lose love, but that they will lose love and nobody will ever love them again.

7. It is not always just a “panicked feeling” they have to hide. It can also be a tendency to worry, catastrophizing, etc. The battle is often (always?) between competing thoughts in their minds.

8. They are deep thinkers, and great problem-solvers. One of the benefits of anxiety is that it leads you to considering every worst case scenario, and then subsequently, how to handle or respond to each.

9. They are almost always “self-regulating” their thoughts. They’re talking themselves in, out, around, up or down from something or another very often, and increasingly so in public places.

10. They don’t trust easily, but they will convince you that they do. They want to make the people around them feel loved and accepted as it eases their anxiety in a way.

11. They tend to desire control in other areas of their lives. They’re over-workers or are manically particular about how they dress or can’t really seem to let go of relationships if it wasn’t their idea to end them.

12. They have all-or-nothing personalities, which is what creates the anxiety. Despite being so extreme, they are highly indecisive. They try to “figure out” whether or not something is right before they actually try to do it.

13. They assume they are disliked. While this is often stressful, it often keeps them humble and grounded at the same time.

14. They are very driven (they care about the outcome of things). They are in equal proportions as in control of their lives as they feel out of control of their lives – this is because they so frequently try to compensate for fear of the unknown.

15. They are very smart, but doubt it. A high intelligence is linked to increased anxiety (and being doubtful of one’s mental capacity are linked to both).

By Brianna West




PS. If I find something on Facebook, I assume they want it shared with appropriate credit to who wrote it.  If I need to take this off my page, please let me know...this is not my writing but I felt it described what many people experience as part of PTSD. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What I'm not

I believed for a time that one way to define myself was by understanding what I am not.   I thought it was a good way to start....much like the negative space in a picture defining what the picture was...
Examples of Negative Space defining the subject.
http://www.creativebloq.com/art/art-negative-space-8133765

Recently, watching my mother I realize it is a terrible idea.  My mother has an identical twin sister.  Right now her sister had a stoke, lives in a care center, and barely recognizes her own daughter.  My mother in a desperate bid to NOT be like her sister checked herself out of a care center where she was healing from breaking her hip, is incredibly rude to everyone trying to help her, and behaves like a tyrannical toddler so she can proudly say, "I am NOT like my sister." Do you know what is so sad about this?  In her desperate grab for not being her sister she became the worse version of herself.  The thing about defining by negative space is your only definition is in comparative status.  Without the other, you become nothing. 

How often do I define myself by trying to not be like my mother?  How often am I defining myself by comparison to someone, something or anything but being myself?  Christmas time is a time for reflection for me.  So far this year I have not baked any holiday treats.  I have not put up one decoration.  I look like a Grinch if I define myself by what I am not.  However, what I am is recovering from emergency surgery 2 weeks ago.  I am doing really well.  I sent all the Christmas presents to families that live in other parts of the country.  I am playing Secret Santa with friends.  I am humming Christmas Carols and reading about Christ.  Hmmm...I like what I am and need to worry a lot less about what I am not. 


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Letter to Virginia

My friend shared this on Facebook:

Letter to the Editor of The New York Sun, September 21, 1897.
Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia O'Hanlon
115 West Ninety Fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence.
We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Monday, December 12, 2016

I believe in Angels

Sometimes they walk among us lighting gray days and picking up arms that hang down.  One such miracle is helping our family 6 days a week.  Just knowing she is there helping with my mother takes the internal pressure ingrained in me to take care of my mother.  With our angel there, my mother is taken care of in the kindest safest way possible.  Blessedly our angel doesn't put up with any nonsense.  She sets healthy boundaries and addresses tough subjects. She has experience managing difficult people. I am thankful for the angel in our families life. 

The song from ABBA came to mind when I was writing this blog. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_HupoJ2_oc


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Avoiding Writing

Heavy sigh....I'm avoiding writing lately.  My mind is in a swirl with my own health issues, holidays and my mother coming home from 2 months in rehab care for a broken hip.  After all these years, the rest of the family finally sees what my sister and I lived with all of our lives.  They keep saying it is old age or dementia.  Not to me....this is the mother I have always known demanding, complaining, manipulative....yup a real piece of work.  Finally, they have stopped making excuses for her.  Mother accused my sister of plotting to prove she was incompetent.  I cheered when my sister said that she looked at mother and told her, "You did that yourself."  Nope don't need to do a thing for her to demonstrate how unstable she is.  I feel sad.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stopping emotions

"You cannot selectively numb emotion. You cannot say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment… I don’t want to feel these. You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other emotions. When we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness and then we are miserable and we are looking for purpose and meaning...So then we feel vulnerable. So, let ourselves be seen—deeply seen.. Love with our whole hearts. Practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive. And most important…Believe that we’re enough because when we work from a place that says I’m enough.. We stop screaming and start listening. We’re kinder and gentler to those around us and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves."--Brene Brown.



"We're afraid of taking emotional risks for fear of being hurt, disappointed or even devastated, but the risk of getting hurt is a lot higher, in fact, if we take no emotional risks at all. When we avoid reaching out to other people because we're afraid of rejection; when we have our hearts closed because we don't want to be vulnerable; when we keep our relationships superficial b/c we're terrified of heartbreak, what we end up with instead is a terrible empty loneliness. As bad as it feels to be hurt in love or in friendship, it's infinitely worse to be isolated & alone." -Ruthless Compassion  




 I lived in an emotional wasteland.  I turned off my emotions to perform the tasks of living....unfortunately when I turned off my emotions I stopped existing as a human being and became an automated body moving through life....closest thing to being a zombie without dying.  My brother teased me "Lights are on but nobody is home."  That was the most accurate name I was called.  Many, many of my counseling sessions were teaching me to recognize and connect with my emotions. It was a long difficult task but so worth it.  




 Adding emotions is adding color to my world. 

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Struggling with blessings

I landed in ER on Friday.  Stomach problems have plagued me for over 15 years.  I can't have soda.  I drink lots of water and I noticed over the last six months that swallowing was getting harder.  (I can choke on a banana.)  Last Wednesday I bit off more than I could swallow and it stuck.  On Friday, I finally called the doctor on my way back home from work and explained the situation.  He recommended a trip to the ER.  I beat his call so they treated me like an unreasonable child wasting their time.  Then the call came in and I was whisked away to emergency surgery to scope and pull out the hotdog plugging the top of my stomach.  Sure enough the problem was worse than expected.  I came home delighted to be able to eat.  I realized it was a blessing that the scope was done and hopefully caught the problems early enough to heal the problems without more surgery. Unfortunately,  a few people have an negative reaction to the drug used to relax my esophagus to allow the camera down my throat.  Every time I move, cough, or laugh my muscles cramp.  I did not realize until I tried walking up stairs that all my muscles can cramp and hurt at the same time.  Fuzzy brained and hurting I am struggling with recognizing what a blessing this is.  The medical care was amazing.  My body can really kick my butt, however, they were able to do a biopsy to help them know how big a mess I am in.  Fortunately, the internet provided me with the information as to what was happening with my body post surgery.  Tonight is the first time since Friday that I am starting to see the bright side of this cloud.  December is a rough month and I am struggling with adding this into the mix of all my other churning emotions.  I love the holidays and I hate the unreasonable expectations frenzy.  I'm trying to slow my thinking.  Remind myself that I am not required to do everything.  Now, I can't do anything.  If moving hurts, the likelihood of doing anything greatly reduces.  I hope each of you are finding ways to give yourself a break and let go of situations and events that hurt rather than help this holiday season. 


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Shame and Vulnerability

I am studying these characteristics.  One because I want to feel less of it, the other because that is what thriving is made of. 


Shame https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_listening_to_shame?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=tedspread

Vulnerability  https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability

These are some notes I took from watching the first video...

 Vulnerability is not a weakness, it is emotional risk the stuff courage is made of. 

Vulnerability is the birthplace for innovation, creativity, and change. 

Shame - don't build your home their but daring greatly explore what it is to you. 

Brene believes that Guilt is "I made a mistake."  Shame is "I am a mistake."

Shame needs secrecy, silence and judgement to grow.  

I am studying these because I know that for me to grow and thrive I need to release shame and embrace vulnerability.  Intellectually I get it, implementing it is another story. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Getting to know me

Learn about each other….
 
1. Are you named after someone? Yes. My grandmother.
2. When is the last time you cried? I don’t keep track any more. Crying can be for happy reasons for me. I think yesterday when I watched a video about helping each other.
3. Do you like your handwriting? Sometimes. It changes from time to time.
4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Peanut butter and banana. (This is my friends answer and I happen to agree.)
5. Do you have kids? Yes. 6 amazing people call me Mom. 15 delightful grandkids…that is awesome.
7. Do you use sarcasm? Duh….try to curb it but some situations just beg for a sarcastic answer. Put my hand over my mouth more than once to keep it from popping out.
8. Do you still have your tonsils? No. Long gone.
9. Would bungee jump? Absolutely not. I have enough thrills without any desire to jump off anything.
10. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Hot 6 grain cereal with fruit and peanut butter.
11. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Nope, ruined more than one pair of shoes this way. Prefer sandals as much as possible…no ties.
12. Do you think you are strong? Yes and no. Started karate when I was 56 and getting stronger….then old age does something nasty to me and I’m sitting on the couch barely able to move.
13. What is your favorite ice cream? Plain old Chocolate.
14. What is the first thing you notice about people? Kindness.
15. Football or Baseball? Sewing, crocheting, Happy Acres
16. What is the least favorite thing you like about yourself? I keep messing up the same way….some days I feel like I am running in place.
17. What color pants are you wearing now? blue.
18. What was the last thing you ate? Medication so I can eat later.
19. What are you listening to right now? Quiet….which I hear most of the time, being partially deaf, lots of quiet.
20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Blue, the blue of Arizona sky which is not the sky blue in the crayon box.
21. Favorite Flavor? Chocolate. (Didn’t need to change this answer.)
22. Who’s the last person you spoke to on the phone? Friend but had to hand the phone to my daughter because I couldn’t hear her.
23. Favorite sport to watch? American Ninja. Is that considered a sport yet?
24. Hair color? Real or fake? Mouse brown and occasionally my niece assists in covering the increasing levels of gray.
25. Eye color? Hazel. Changes with emotions or what I wear.
26. Favorite food to eat? Cookies – school makes super yummy ones.
27. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings, I’ve had enough scary in real life to last me the rest of my life.
28. Last movie you watched? A Christmas one on Hallmark channel. We’ve been watching them since Halloween.
 
One of the questions not on this list is how did I function?  For over 40 years I lived with 5 personalities, each one taking control of their part of my life.  Counseling helped me solve the mystery of why I would go to sleep on Monday wake up on Wednesday and wonder what happened to Tuesday?  My husband would tell me to write notes to remind myself.  I would put the note in my pocket, switch and the other personality didn't know there was a note in my pocket.  I washed lots of notes before figuring out I needed to hold it in my hand until I got to where I needed to do the task and hope I knew what the note meant.  I wondered why someone kept hiding my clothes in the back of the closet.  I was confused by Flylady telling me to lay out my clothes for the next morning.  I would look at the clothes in the morning wondering why they were left out or deciding I didn't like those clothes.  Friends would ask me why I was different at school verses how I acted outside of school.  There were so many confusing things in my life.  Ten years of counseling, helped me bring down my inner walls and allowed me to work as one person now.  Some days I miss that ability to compartmentalize  so completely.  Life gets overwhelming I have to back up and find an escape route before I would switch to whoever could handle that type of situation.  I enjoy the continuity and discovering that my memory is actually fairly good.  I am an advocate for integrating but I also understand this is not always possible.  I learned a lot over the years and write my blogs in the hope of encouraging others that life after trauma can be beautiful and amazing.  


Monday, November 21, 2016

Whew

Made it through.  Thanksgiving was lovely, delightful, and wonderful.  I also got a nap that morning.  Plans did not go perfectly.  I shopped on the way to my daughters for dinner because I slept through the time to make the cherry pie.  I did make yummy brownies then relaxed when grandkids ate them without the appreciation they deserved.  No worry.  They were eaten.  Grandkids were happy and appeared to be delighted with everything.  I didn't stress about what I did or didn't do.  I relaxed, visited, and help put in a few pieces to a puzzle.  I didn't need to prove anything to anyone.  It was a wonderful day.  I hope your Thanksgiving was doable. 

I survived Thanksgiving. 

Get your tool box

This is a reprint from 2014 - information still applies: I added to my list

It comes every year, like clock work or calendar work. First, Halloween with hauntings and triggers galore.  Followed by Thanksgiving with demands for the perfect meal and a 'happy family' without resolving old hurts.  Then infamous/famous Christmas with expectations bigger than the National Christmas tree....do we even get a national tree any more? 
Prepare my toolbox of coping skills I've learned....in my box I have:

Acceptance that I am not perfect....I don't need to be.  In fact, I can't be.  That is OK.

Best laid plans can fall apart.  I will survive plans falling apart.  

(NEW) Someone else can plan things and they can do a wonderful job without me being less because I didn't do it.  

Have an exit plan on hand for different situations.  Practice exit phrases...."I loved being here but I am leaving now."  

Or don't go in the first place..... "The evening sounds lovely I am sorry I won't be attending."  I don't need to explain that I am sitting in front of my Christmas tree sipping hot chocolate.

Prioritize activities.  Not all activities are #1.

Skip some traditions.... It doesn't stop being a tradition if I don't do it one year.

Not having some detail completed is not the end of the World. 
   
NO is a complete sentence.

I do not need to explain my choices unless I choose to.


Breathe.....feeling blue breathe.


MMV (learned this from my sister) Mental Mini Vacations.  Emotionally escape to a deserted island where there is no holiday madness. Picture myself on a beach sipping coconut juice. 


Letting go means I don't need to fix it or think about it any more.


Some people will flip out during the Holidays and it is not about me.  NOTHING I do will stop their behavior because it is not about me. 


Remember that emotional black mail is still black mail.  I am not 'mean', 'cruel', or 'going to hell' if I don't meet someone else's expectations.


Crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head is an acceptable activity as needed.


Call a friend or have a text buddy to check in with during stressful events that I choose to attend.


Change all my 'can'ts' and 'have-tos' to I choose to do___________________.  I don't enjoy ___________________but I am choosing to do it anyway because some other need is being met that I may not understand myself.  No one is holding a gun to my head.  It may feel like it but that is probably emotional black mail...refer to emotional black mail above.


Christ is my Savior and as far as historians can figure out He was born in April any way.


Make choices with my happiness in my mind.  I enjoy doing things for others and I am happy doing things for them....that is part of my happiness equation.


(NEW) I am not responsible for other people's happiness.  Happiness is an inside job and I have enough on my plate teaching me to be happy during the holidays. 

(NEW) It is OK to be super excited and dread Christmas at the same time.  I call it being bi-North-Polar. 

I can add to this list at any time.....anyone want to share their coping techniques?





Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gratitude, one of the steps out of hell

I spent 3 years in bed due to not understanding the symptoms of PTSD and doing all the wrong things to cope with it.  I slept on the average of 5 nights out of 7 and then only 3 or 4 hours of the nights I did sleep.  I worked hard to stay awake.  Severe sleep deprivation prevented night terrors but wrecked havoc on my body.  When I prayed, I begged to die.  The Lord told me no.  Fine, how do I get out of this hell?  Over the previous 15 years I had seen several doctors and taken every test they could think of.  Everything according to those tests were normal.  No answers from the 'experts'.  I started studying on my own.  

One of the books I came across was Life's Uncertain, Eat Dessert First.   I learned two things from this book.  In the midst of frustration and hard stuff, take time to have fun.  The other I learned the power of gratitude.  That is right, the POWER of gratitude.  I believe that changing my attitude to one of gratitude helped me start to get out of the mess I was in.  I couldn't control my nightmares, I didn't have means to change my circumstances, however, I have 100% control over my attitude.  I new it was important to be thankful but I didn't grasp the power of feeling grateful.  Gratitude can turn a gray sullen cloud cover sky into a master piece painted just for me.  Challenges became blessings.  Difficulties created diamonds.  I started looking at my world differently.  Same world....new perspective.  Many of my photographs are about hidden treasures in the desert.  Taking time to see the bits of color hidden among the thistles.  When I am feeling overwhelmed and out of sorts, I remind myself that I am in control of my attitude.  How can I reframe the picture of my life. 


 Bloom where you are planted.

Same area as above, I changed my perspective.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

How deep is the wound?

TW - Abuse goes beyond skin deep, beyond bone deep all the way to the cellular level.


More and more research documents the physical damage caused by abuse and trauma. Brain imaging is revealing what scientists suspected...something terrible happens to the body when experiencing all kinds of trauma.  Repairing extensive damage takes times.  In this process, I am still an amazing person, I can help others, I can contribute positively to society and I am still a human being seeking whatever other human being wants, happiness. 



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Twisted and manipulated

TW comments from time to time and often when I need a different perspective.  This is her comment on yesterdays post. http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2016/11/savior-complex.html

Yk Ruth, I wonder if what you're feeling is based more in Servant Complex than Savior Complex. There is a huge difference: A servant is one perceived as having lesser status, a savior is one who is perceived as having a greater, more knowledgeable status. I know I could be very wrong about this because it's just my perception, but you feeling "more than?" An "expert in..?" It's not that you place yourself above, but that you place yourself below. We can't be a doormat and an steeple concurrently.

It seems when you think of your mother in any situation she is somehow "above" or more powerful than subordinate you. In every situation. She whines, wheedles and otherwise emotionally blackmails to get what she wants. But what would she do if you weren't around? Believe me, she'd be fine. There are plenty of adults who are not able for a variety of reasons (not all nefarious!) to assist their aging parents.

You become in your own words that CHILD once again when she demands something. There are no ceremonies, no Rites of Passage in typical western society that indicate to others and introduce individuals to their communities as an adult. Traditional societies have rituals for major milestones and to some extent we do-except for one exceptionally important change in status: "You are now an adult." And as such we are EQUAL in status to every other adult. No DNA exceptions.

Your relationship to your adult children no doubt has changed over the years. There is an evolution from how we engage with our minor children and how we engage with our adult children. Our relationship becomes far more equal, far more one of peers. One of the most challenging and unexamined areas of my own life was recognizing I *was* an adult. (And I had been one for a decade plus before I finally caught on to that reality.) But it reframed how I viewed myself and the rest of the world radically: Equal status, equally powerful, equally deserving. Those were words, concepts for awhile before they became actions. Do you know, I was too embarrassed (and to some extent still am) to tell anyone that my "mother" was still physically abusing me as an adult? Push, shove, pull, grab etc. But that embarrassment I was wearing? That rightfully was HER dress out of HER closet that she stuck on me. I "felt" the shame because she didn't. Why was I hiding that? Why was SHE? I hope you understand how wearing "Servant" Glad Rags is not, nor was it ever the uniform of YOUR choice. You just never questioned it or shoved it back at it's rightful owner or better yet, cremate the thing!

Anyway, I so get the anxiety, the guilt, all the emotional battering we get into when we're just giving into them (because it'll never be enoug/ the right thing etc.) as short term bandaids and the equally excruciating NOT falling back into those old roles. And of course they unleash lightning bolts and thunder over the word or the behavior that says and does "NO." Please remember, that is SUCH AN ACT as you already know-remember her peeking through her fingers to assess the effect of her behavior? She isn't suffering-but you are. You anguish, she's delighted. Can you imagine getting off on hurting/manipulating your own kids? The inherent dishonesty, the moral bankruptcy...ugh.


I needed TW pointing out how my mother is manipulating me yet again.  I checked in with my sister and she reported the differences in how each visitor is treated.  For my Dad, she pours on the helplessness-you-have-to-help-me.  My brother gets all is great and going well.  For me, it is tears and you-are-the-best-thing-that-happened-to-me.  When I asked her about Dad visiting she totally dissed him by saying, "He comes everyday."  She expects his presents. Full stop.  No appreciation or a hint of gratitude.  WOW.  With TW's insight, I am looking at the situation far differently. 

TW pointed out, "We can't be a doormat and an steeple concurrently."  But what my mother does do is set me on a pedastal of "Only-you-can-read-my-mind-and-serve-me."  I feel special and she uses that to manipulate me to do her bidding.  Putting me in the position of steeple to use me as a doormat leaves me reeling and confused.  Now if I reexamine her praise in the form of complimenting to manipulate things are put in a very different perspective.  She creates the illusion that I am the only one that can 'save-her'.  But the reality is she does very well without me.

I also appreciate mulderfan's encouragement.  From her I learned so much about setting healthy boundaries with aging parents.  It is not an easy task at all.  A lot of wear and tear on my soul.  Hours spent soul searching to see if I can handle things differently.  However, one toe in the pot convinces me she will cook my goose if I get any closer.  Thanks mulderfan for teaching me that distance doesn't hurt them.  


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Savior complex

I've been out of sorts.  The weird thing was the answer was staring me in the face and I didn't put the pieces together until Friday.  Then it took two days to wrap my mind around what I am feeling and doing.  I am working on the questions presented by James Ryan to a Harvard graduating class.  I read the caution he tacked onto the question, "How can I help?"  I'm going to quote him because however I rephrase it in my mind it doesn't come across like how he said it. 


“How can I help?” You are at HGSE, I presume, because you are interested in helping others. But you also know, from your time here, to be aware of the savior complex, of the stance where you are the expert or hero who swoops in to save others. We shouldn’t let the real pitfalls of the savior complex extinguish one of the most humane instincts there is — the instinct to lend a hand. But how we help matters as much as that we do help, and if you ask “how” you can help, you are asking, with humility, for direction. And you are recognizing that others are experts in their own lives and that they will likely help you as much as you help them. ~James Ryan  https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/16/05/good-questions

 From the time I was 5 years old, I was expected to take care of my mother.  I was given responsibility way beyond my years and abilities.  Now, with my mother in an assisted living home with a broken hip, I am feeling that same anxiety that I need to swoop in and save the day by helping mother no matter what havoc it causes for myself.  Oh dear.  Talk about text book example of the savior complex gone awry.   (If you are not familiar with this complex, this gives a short explanation: http://www.peopleskillsdecoded.com/savior-complex/) I can't fix my mother's broken hip.  I'm not the only one visiting my mother.  I can't make my mother happy even though she tells me that my visits bring the sunshine into her miserable life, she says that shortly after someone else left from visiting her.  Quitting my job and caring for my mother 24/7 would wear me out but mother would still be living through healing after breaking her hip.  This is not my problem to solve.  I don't need to swoop in and save the day...there is nothing to save.  I believe in service, don't get me wrong.  I am learning the value of the request from Jesus, "Love thy neighbor, as thyself." 



Mark 12:28-31King James Version (KJV)

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.




He didn't say love my neighbor more than myself.  He didn't say love my neighbor and neglect myself.  I am on equal footing as my neighbor, my mother, the teachers I work with, the students or anyone else I choose to help.  Their needs are not more important than mine.  Service is important to me but neglecting my health to serve others, serves no one.  Now what?  Today, I stayed home and rested.  I am fixing dinner for my grown children that live close by and their families because I love doing this.  I am putting myself back on my chart for self care.  I am a work in progress.  Jump in where I'm at, don't play catch up.  Start where I am and move forward. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Forced distance

I am worried about being enmeshed with my mother again.  She is using every emotional trick she taught me.  I watch her performance and remind myself that she is so good at it because of years of practice and she believes it in the moment.  Emotional blackmail works best if there is a grain of truth to the statements.  Every so often I throw out a hard truth and watch how she responds.  She recoils from truth.  Timely reminders for myself to not believe her manipulations.  Some days I feel awful that I distrust her so completely.  The inner child wants to believe.  Then I remind myself about the story of walking down a road and falling in the hole. 

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost... I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don't see it.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn't my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It's a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

Portia Nelson, There's a Hole in My Sidewalk: The Romance of Self-Discovery

I'm not walking down another street yet.  Thanks to my very hectic schedule I am taking several days off from visiting.  I am walking around the deep hole.  I know what I am looking at.  I feel sad.  I am thankful for the forced distance I am placing between me and my mother.  It will be my fault if I allow myself to be sucked in again. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Turmoil

My life gets all sorted out, I am zooming along then WHAM!  On occasion I feel like I have this sign on my back that says 'kick me.'  I resist change.  I want things to remain the same but they don't.  It would be a bit weird if they did stay the same.  Life throws curve balls every day.  If I am awake I am engaged in something to do.  I am enjoying the art therapy class I am doing online.  I am enjoying the mini workshop with my job on how to reach the 'troubled' student.  I am having fun playing Happy Acres on Facebook.   I was up until almost 2 AM too wired to sleep.  My mother broke her hip a couple of weeks ago.  When she was in extreme pain visits were brief and doable.  Now she is getting better.  The complaints with the expectation I could wave a magic wand and make them all go away.   Others are also hearing her complaints.  Their comments tell me more clearly then anything else how differently I was treated.  Their exclamation, "She must have dementia to be acting this way." I don't see a change, she is acting the same to me.  Her flow of criticism is not new to me.  In fact, I believe her only change is everyone else gets to see behind the mask of pleasantry that she always hid.  I thought it was me that brought out the worst in her.  Now, I understand that I was expected to resolve all these complaints and take care of her.  My life feels in turmoil because I feel like I am sliding relentlessly into this designated role that I was molded to perform from the time I was 5 years old.  I remember even then to take care of my mother.  It never occurred to anyone that someone was supposed to take care of the child.  Then sadly I watched the same pattern develop with my children when my health became so bad that I was bed ridden.  I am working at improving my health.  I don't expect my children to do it for me.  I am sorry that my mother was hurt.  But it is not my job to solve her problems.  She has lots of time to think and she is feeling regret for some situations.  She keeps asking me what she can do to fix the damage but the reality is she has no intention of changing herself she wants me to fix things.  So much in my life is really great.  Why am I letting this issue haunt me again?  I am realizing that how I behave is about my choice not her behavior.  Others are expressing their dismay in her change of behavior.  My thought, "What change?  She seems the same to me."  I was her safety valve she always unloaded on me then felt better with me shouldering her problems.  I won't do this any more.  She made poor choices.  I don't need to fix things for her.  She is an adult.  She'll figure it out.  Solutions will come.  I am working at letting things go. 




Friday, October 21, 2016

Good question

Rambling along in life many times I accept what comes whatever it is at the time.  Good, bad or indifferent I've had plenty of each. I was scrolling through Facebook and someone posted a link to this speech.  Something about it intrigued me.  I worked for 15 years with computers support.  I wanted teachers and students to feel comfortable asking me questions.  Computers have an ability to make the brightest person feel really stupid.  I tell people is the only bad question is the one unasked.  I also reminded them that there isn't a stupid question about computers that I haven't already asked.  I believe in asking questions.  This article went on to identify and clarify several things that I believe about questions. 


https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/16/05/good-questions

Some questions are used to intimidate and put down.  Any parent that has ever asked, "You aren't going out dressed like that?"  Knows exactly what I mean.  For those that are not parents there are the questions like "Aren't you a little OLD to be doing that?"  "Have you tried THIS diet?"  I believe you have the idea it is those questions used to 'prove' the speaker is somehow superior to you.  I hate those kind of questions and work very hard not to use them.  However, it is one I have to repent of on a regular basis.  The sarcastic, put down, mean spirited question exists.  It is helpful to recognize it.  It is fun to treat the person asking the question like they are serious.  "You aren't going out dressed like that?" Answer: "Of course I am and I can take you to the store where I got it and we can have matching outfits."  I usually think of these creative answers about 2 days later than the question.  I know some will come around again.  "Have you tried THIS diet?"  answer:  "I agree with Garfield, diet is die with a t at the end."  I also understand if I do this it is a bit like pouring oil on a fire but some days I like to live dangerously and it is probably a bridge I need to burn.  Put down, critical questions need to be recognized a thinly veiled insult.  

The are several other variety of questions.  "Wait, what?" They heard what you said but didn't understand what you meant.  They need more input.  I believe many misunderstandings would be avoided if people used "Wait, what?" a bit more often.  Indicating to the listener you are trying to understand them and requesting more information to improve chances of understanding each other. 

“Wait what” is actually a very effective way of asking for clarification, which is crucial to understanding. It’s the question you should ask before drawing conclusions or before making a decision.  The Dean of Harvard College, Rakesh Khurana, gave a great master class this year, where he emphasized the importance of inquiry before advocacy. It’s important to understand an idea before you advocate for or against it. The wait, which precedes the what, is also a good reminder that it pays to slow down to make sure you truly understand. ~ Ryan

Slowing down my thinking is essential to my understanding many situations.  I tend to excel at the sport of jumping to conclusions.  Wait and think, slow down racing thoughts....I help myself do this with my doodle drawings, pondering, and writing.  Give myself time to process and review my perspective. Asking questions for understanding helps strengthen bridges and build relationships. 

Next question is powerful....be careful how you use it.  "I wonder?"  I used this question after I read an article about adoption of children from 3rd world countries.  The article shared how the children would hide and sneak food when there was plenty available.  I stared around my office and saw the case of water and the case of stew sitting next to my desk.  I wondered why I behaved just like them.  I wonder led me down many paths.  This curiosity was often squashed with "Curiosity killed the cat."  I learned to answer, "Satisfaction brought it back."  I wondered about all sorts of things quilting, cooking, computers, art, and many subjects.  When I became curious about myself, I started down this road to find out why I did what I did.  Some of the answers were astonishing and alarming.  Other answers helped me make sense of my very bizzare world I was raised in.  

There are a couple of more questions that I want to explore but this is getting a little long so to be continued. 












Friday, October 14, 2016

Doodles

I am doing an online art course on Art Therapy.  I spent the morning learning about doodling.  It went over some of the basic mark making associated with doodling.  Of course, being myself, I looked up doodling online.  It was kind of funny that finding information about art doodling was more difficult than I thought it would be.  There is a program named doodle, some apps about doodling and many, many how to draw links so it took a while to narrow down to several useful pages.

The first page I found that I liked talked about what it is and what it isn't.

https://www.craftsy.com/blog/2015/04/doodle-drawing-ideas/

Which led me to this TED talk about doodling:  http://www.ted.com/talks/sunni_brown?language=en

I enjoyed watching it and adding this to my growing information about doodles.

Don't bother looking up "doodling" in the dictionary, because the definition in the Oxford Dictionary is dismal: "to scribble absentmindedly." This is a decidedly dismissive way of describing doodling.
The definition of doodling offered in the aforementioned TED Talk is superior: "To make spontaneous marks to help yourself think." Have you ever felt like you listen better while doodling?

Well, there's a science to it. To retain information, we need to engage at least two of the following four sensory skills: visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic. Doodling engages some, if not all, of these sensory skills, allowing doodlers actually retain significantly more verbal information than non-doodlers. It might take some time for the memo to reach your boss, but basically, it's not a bad thing to be doodling in the board room.

Note: Is doodling a view into the psyche? While some will analyze doodles for meaning and insight to our personal issues or leanings, they don't necessarily have to carry emotional significance. Ideas may come to you randomly while you doodle, or you can make specific decisions about what to doodle.

This I believe is just the tip of the iceberg about the value of doodling.   We spend our lives having more and more information pushed at us.  This is the age of information and we are flooded with it.  Our past experiences get locked up in our minds and present experiences just keep piling more stuff on.  I am suspecting that the main value about doodling is something to keep us busy so we can do nothing.  It is during this nothing time that our subconscious and conscious mind can share information.  Why it is helpful in concentrating on complex problems.  Why it helps in the healing process.  There are few activities that we allow ourselves time to mull things over.  Take time to think consider and keep our hands busy while our whole brain has a think session.  Another beautiful thing about doodles is they don't have to look like anything.  Whatever flows out of the pen is just fine.  Words and letters mix in with squares, circles, squiggles and swirls.  Some doodles may achieve the lofty heights of art but they don't need to.  Squiggles in the margins serve a legitimate purpose as well as those high brow cousins.

I spent the morning reviewing the basic mark making for doodles.  As I continued through the lessons I realized that I was being taught the same basic mark making principles I learned in my art drawing class.  In my drawing class I learned the value of a wide variety of basic mark making vocabulary.  Marks close together reveal density while marks widely space imply open spaces.  A variety of mark making adds interest, volume and details to my drawings. 

Basics needed paper, pen.  I recommend pen rather than pencil to keep myself from erasing everything I put on paper.  The need for perfection can keep me from the joys of putting marks on a paper.  https://magsphelan.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/exercise-mark-making-techniques/


I decided to add doodling to my evening routine.  Hopefully it will help my overly busy mind settle down so sleep doesn't drag its feet to arrive. 




Zendoodling http://www.ishopthrifty.org/2015/02/doodle-beginners-guide-zendoodling/
Ideas for doodling http://www.wikihow.com/Doodle
How to doodle https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6tkw0hf18ak

Monday, October 10, 2016

Over Load

This week had one emotional explosion after another.  I am trying to tread water but feeling a bit like hurricane Matthew is lapping at my shores and I live in a desert.  Go figure.  I am trying to sort through my collage of thoughts.  I am using my newly learned art therapy techniques, breathing, and remembering who's job is it.  I was raised to cater to and take care of others regardless what it does to my own health.  One of my teachers at school ended up in the hospital but was so worried about grades she came back to work to fill out the grades.  I hovered and watched over her until she was safely in her car on her way home.  I felt deep compassion and concern for her. 

Friday, my mother broke her hip during one of her many falls.  She will walk through neighbors yards, clutter of chairs in every room then wonders why she stumbles and falls.  In the last year, I know of her taking about a 5 or 6 falls that caused enough damage to be worrying to me.  My mantra it is not my job to keep her safe.  This time she fell twice and the second time finished herself off with a broken hip.  Rather than call 911 she had my dad get her up and out to the car for a dr. visit.  I find it very disturbing that I feel more concern for the teacher than I do my mother. 

I know that part of counseling helped me grieve for the mother I never really had.  I lived with Jekyll and Hyde.  When I am alone with her, I never know when she will lash out.  In public, she is always super sweetly nice.  Causes gag reaction on my part because I know what is waiting as soon as we are alone.  For several years now, I am under strict instructions from my sensible self to never be alone with her.  I went by to visit her tonight and I see this scrawny old woman in the bed with dark sunglasses on thrashing around frantic because she can't see.  The nurse gently took the glasses off and I hear her, "Oh it is my daughter."  Yup, it's me.  I stayed long enough to get an update.  When the nurse talked about her sky rocketing blood pressure I responded, "Oh like you had happen in August."  The nurse perked right up.  She wasn't aware that the blood pressure was an on going problem.  My mother said that it didn't happen.  Then she chattered on about the other times she watched her blood pressure spike and stayed home monitoring it or ignoring it.  The nurse started asking more question but I had to tell I only knew that much.  It is not my job to keep my mother safe, comfortable or cocooned in her fantasy world she lives in. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Matching Sizes

I get news of conferences for education.  One of them pointed out an issue that children and those with PTSD struggle.

https://www.socialthinking.com/

The Size of the Problem
Problems happen all the time - perhaps you dropped your ice cream cone on the floor or you locked your keys in the car. When a problem happens, is it a small or big problem? How do you know how to react to it? For many students with social learning challenges, they may find it difficult to answer those questions.

problem is something that happens that was not part of the plan AND makes people feel uncomfortable. When problems occur, we may often experience feelings such as sadness, stress, or frustration, and these feelings can impact our reactions - what we show on the outside. It is expected that our reactions match the size of the problem. For example: crying would be expected if one of your grandparents passed away (a big problem), but might not be expected if you spilled juice (a small problem).
Why is it important?

When someone's reaction matches the size of the problem, people are more understanding of the behavior. When someone's reaction is bigger than the size of the problem, people may feel uncomfortable by the behavior. The four key concepts below can help individuals learn to self-regulate as they work through their problems:
  • Problems come in different sizes
  • Your feelings about the problem can come in different sizes
  • Your feelings can impact the size of your reaction
  • It is expected to match the size of the reaction to the size of the problem
A big reaction to a small problem.
It is important to note that we should not tell students what to feel - rather, it is okay to feel what they feel, but they must be aware of their behavior and how it influences others. In order to help others feel comfortable, students must make sure their reactions match the size of the problem.




This becomes an issue in two ways.  There are situations that start out as small events that have massive reactions.  Known as triggers, these events can provoke out of proportion responses.  PTSD also creates another type of response to a problem.  That is under-reacting.  Someone told me about a misbehaving child.  I thought the behaviors weren't all that bad because I had seen much worse.  The other person reacted very strongly about my lack of response.  I also noticed that after cancer, strep throat was no big deal.  Some people think I don't care when it reality, compared to what I experienced I judged the situation to be not that big a problem as the person suffering thought it was.  These two extreme reactions of either over or under reacting can create problems in relationships.  I work at remembering when a person is expressing their distress over some horrible experience, I remind myself that for them it is the worse thing to happen to them.

A way to combat triggers is to excuse myself from a situation and slow down my knee jerk reaction in private.  Grounding is another tool to use when confronted with an overwhelming situation.  For under-reacting, I practice being aware of the other person's point of view.  When possible, I often retreat, give myself time to brace myself for thinking over my reaction.  If that is not an option I actively try to imagine how the other person is feeling by their body language, words, tones, and other visual behaviors that.  Part of the human experience is responding to different forms of trauma to our selves and those we care about.  How we respond to those challenges, that indicates who we are.  I believe that I learn more about another person in times of stress than I ever do when life is going along calmly.

















Monday, October 3, 2016

Art is therapy

I am working on an online Art therapy course.  As I am doing the assignments, I am reminding myself that for me art is therapy.  Doesn't seem to matter what kind I do. I am learning floral design at school.  I'm also painting again and working on Photoshop.  I am finding joy in the action of doing art.  I forgot how amazing I feel when I am doing creative things.  It is also a clear indication that the depressive slump I was in is finally ending.  I'm relieved.  I will still go through more bouts (holiday season brings on the depression) but it nice to take a break from feeling so discouraged, frustrated and sad so much of the time. 


Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Hurrier I go.....

The behinder I get....

Lewis Carol quotes crop up from time to time.  This suits me very well right now.  I am recovering from yet another injury.  This time my foot put me out of commission.  I had to cancel several activities but a flood of other things fills that space.  One of the enjoyable things was a couple of weeks ago our church women's group got together with an artist and painted.  Yup, I produced a picture in about an hour and a half.  I've done three more since then.  I don't need to do one more thing on my list.  I don't need to paint at all.  I am studying an art therapy course online.  Part of what art, such as painting can do for me, is to provide time to meditate. What I decided was that I deny myself the pleasurable things in life as some sort of weird self punishment.  I am choosing to put these activities back into my life.  I am starting one piece at a time.  The art articles are accurate for me.  Painting allows a time for meditation.  It lets my mind focus somewhere else while I keep my hands busy.  I am enjoying the pleasure of producing something pleasing. 




Sunday, September 25, 2016

Warrior for hope

Friday I attended a conference for future educators.  One of the classes discussed the concept that teachers need to be Warriors for hope.  A reminder that a teacher can make a positive difference in a students life.  Often we don't get to see the results.  I started thinking about a warrior for hope.  When I think of a warrior I think of someone actively defending something or someone.  A purposeful pursuit of encouraging others sounds like a positive way to teach students and treat people I encounter.  I wonder what the World would be like if each person woke up thinking, "What can I do to do to make someone's day better?"  My counselor gave me the 5/50 project that changed my perspective of making a difference.  He asked me to do one thing every day as a service for someone else.  The service couldn't take longer than 5 minutes or cost more than 50 cents.  I messed up the project thinking it was teaching me that I wasn't doing enough to help others.  My counselor rolled his eyes and explained again.  He was trying to teach me that I already did these little acts of kindness, I needed to be aware that I am already doing many things everyday, a smile to a clerk that checks me out of the grocery store, a kind word to a student struggling with a difficult assignment, waving hi to a neighbor, or any number of little things that let's someone else know that they matter to me.  It also had an interesting side effect of helping me feel connected with people.  The conference pointed out that not all Superheroes wear capes.  I can be a superhero  or warrior for hope and my superstrength can be kindness, encouragement, and showing others appreciation. 




Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Too complicated

I make things too complicated.  Tonight I had an opportunity to spend an evening painting.  4 colors, 1 1/2 hours of time, and instructions. 

I put off painting because in my mind I made it all complicated.  I enjoyed this evening.  I need to do this again.  I'll let Bob Ross be my instructor:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlucWfTUo1A&list=PLAEQD0ULngi67rwmhrkNjMZKvyCReqDV4

Canoe, Boat, and a Helicopter


I am studying several different webpages.  Each is reminding me of information I already know for survival.  Apparently I am dragging my feet about getting in.  I am working on my motto "All In."  Living and thriving requires being "All In." 



A very religious man was once caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and trusted God to rescue him. A neighbour came by in a canoe and said, “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll paddle to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A short time later the police came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Hop in and we’ll take you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

A little time later a rescue services helicopter hovered overhead, let down a rope ladder and said. “The waters will soon be above your house. Climb the ladder and we’ll fly you to safety.”

“No thanks” replied the religious man. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me”

All this time the floodwaters continued to rise, until soon they reached above the roof and the religious man drowned. When he arrived at heaven he demanded an audience with God. Ushered into God’s throne room he said, “Lord, why am I here in heaven? I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”

“Yes you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a canoe, a boat and a helicopter. But you never got in.”

Source: unknown.