#15: supporting my local bookstore

yesterday, i publicly challenged myself to 30 “days” of change. today i began that journey with a trip to my local bookstore.

img_20160921_203016 it’s been AGES since i’ve purposefully made a trip to a bookstore- sure, i’ve walked through corporate chain stores, but the last time i remember actually going into a store for the purpose of browsing-to-buy… before my nephew was born, and that was january 2015!

i had forgotten how charming and welcoming bookstores can be- the labyrinthine aisles of new and used tomes, the silly last minute cards & presents, the smell of paper and binding glue. i’m fortunate to live in an area that supports MULTIPLE local bookstores- some with more than one location! i stopped at this particular branch because it was on the way home from work and spent about an hour roaming. i will DEFINITIVELY be returning in the near future to scope out YA titles to borrow from the library.

one of the things i love most about independent stores  is the humanity that pervades them. based on the hand-written employee recommendation cards, i left with 3 new books: 2 colour/activity { for future challenges ;) } and the next in a graphic novel series i’m reading. yes, this was an easier challenge, but i’m going to ease myself in- AND CELEBRATE THAT I DID IT!!!! this is all about growth and change…

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turn and face the strange {changes}

an interesting thing came up in my most recent therapy session…and it tumbled down a rabbit hole, leading me to this article existential depression in gifted individuals. in response to recent self-revelations, i’ve decided to post a list.

in a perfect world, this would be a “35 {or whatever} challenges in 35 {or however} days” type list. but i’m realistic. life gets in the way. DEPRESSION and ANXIETY sure as hell get in the way. some of the listed things can only be reported on after through digestion. some are relatively “easy”. some terrify me.

so….having been faced with/accused of “having a resistance to life” {apparently my personal existential crisis} i present to you– for accountability sake–

saying “yes”: i choose to embrace {change in x number of days}:

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little victories

i just got back from a 2-mile walk. i realize that may not sound terribly impressive, but to me, it’s a fairly big deal. in my life, i want to be more active. i want to be fit and healthy. i want to live a long life with my awesome spousal unit. depression gets in the way. A LOT!

in therapy yesterday, we danced around the ideas of: 1. giving myself permission { whether it’s permission to practice self-care OR permission to be as i am, in that moment, without judgement } and 2. to celebrate/revel in/ be proud of little victories { REALLY DIFFICULT CONCEPTS FOR ME}

the universe must really want me to take those lessons to heart, because not only did i share { in solidarity } this with a co-worker, but one of my “regular sites” featured this post on how “tracking positivity” can help with depression.  so here i am, celebrating my little victory with the universe.

an amazing mentor { and friend  AND founder of The Women’s Intelligence Project } shared an enlightening piece Centering Wellness: Reimagining Justice, Care and Change Making Professions. the author, jardana peacock,  is speaking specifically about fields of work when she stares:

“we must see our work as trauma work.

We often experience that trauma as overwhelm, anxiety and stress. Compound that with personal trauma(s) and we are headed toward breakdown and burnout.

Without an emphasis on wellness, folks will continue to suffer exponentially from burnout, anxiety, and spiritual malaise….

The truth is trauma never goes away. Trauma will always exist in our world and in our bodies. Self-care/Community-care, wellness and spiritual practices will, however, provide a container of healing.”

this is what i am attempting to do: practice self-care. i want to heal.

The grange watercolor female profile

nuggets of wisdom: women in praise of the sacred

there are many books i turn to in times when i need uplifting, peace, encouragement, or inspiration.  one of these is Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women { edited by jane hirschfield }. i was raised Christian, and still consider my self so–though very far liberal/left-leaning, and find comfort/ solace/ understanding outside of the “traditional” church setting.

i want to share 2 VERY different poems, the authors separated by over 500 years, from totally differing faith traditions, yet both bring me such a sense of joy and peace.

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mists of mind

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one of the many definitions of GUILT, as defined by the merriam-webster dictionary, reads thus: a :  the state of one who has committed an offense especially consciously b :  feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy 

that secondary part— feelings of culpability especially for imagined offenses or from a sense of inadequacy— i find to be deeply ingrained in me. i find myself “feeling guilt” for absurd reasons, and i’m not sure from which aspect of my life it comes from: being female? being adopted? being raised Lutheran? being working class? all of the above????

i am beyond fortunate enough to have an incredible spouse- among the bazillion of selfless and amazing things he does for me, to celebrate my upcoming birthday { a mid-decade-benchmark } he is taking me back to japan. JAPAN! i should be excited…hell, i **AM** excited, yet i find it hard to talk about. i was even going to keep it secret from my parents!

why do i “feel guilty” about this trip? is it because i don’t think i am deserving?  that i sense i am inadequate of such attentions?

writing prompt:what is true about you that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

welcome to the start of a new series–this one is DIRECTLY inspired by 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose { over on mark manson dot net }. the entire article is incredibly thought provoking and out of the ordinary, usually self-help type questions all end up sounding the same: what do you dream of? if money wasn’t an option, what would you do? etc etc etc. so, i’m starting by answering his question number 2: what is true about you today that would make your 8-year-old self cry?

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power of the subconscious mind

this past monday, i underwent my first ever session of hypnotherapy. over the years of “regular” talk-based therapy, generative somatic therapy, and the like, i keep coming up against figurative brick walls, where no more insight or progress can be made. my current { and totally awesome therapist } likes to describe herself as “a little bit WOO”, as in she is also a trained hypnotherapist, reiki practitioner, and knowledgeable in all sorts of alternative practices { chakras, chinese medicine, etc.}. i finally decided to take the plunge and give hypnotherapy a try, since i fear a deeply rooted self-sabotage is WHY i keep hitting those walls.

i didn’t know what to expect, so i was nervous/anxious/excited all at once. going into a trance state, where the subconscious mind can be accessed, felt a lot like being submerged under water: my ears felt plugged up, i felt heavy & hazy, i was aware of myself but not completely able to control basic movements–nodding my head or signaling that i was rooting something into place took EXTREME effort. the one thing that i take away from this first experience, which was really about setting parameters for future session work, is that i am deeply influenced by madeleine l’engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME. Read the rest of this entry

Hine ma tov. { .הִנֵּה מַה טוֹב וּמַה נָּעִים שֶׁבֶת אָחִים גַּם יַחַד }

behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren { sistren–yes, it’s a word } to dwell in unity.  this song, this psalm, is one of the first i learned in hebrew. how deep, how rich, how resonant the words vibrate in my soul when sung. perhaps it is the gradual lengthening of days, the bursting forth of new life, the whispers of spring that are stirring a desire inside me to connect with others…

a few days ago, as i’m scrolling through my facebook feed, several posts have reminded me of how important it is to have community. whether it’s the outpouring of birthday wishes, the uploaded photos, the individual status updates–i’m reminded that i’ve become a rather isolated individual.  i truly don’t want to be, yet i find myself thousands of miles away from my family; at least 3+ years since i’ve seen either of my longest-friends { hi R & A! } ;  watching as others form bonds of kinship.

sometimes i’m not very good at articulating how i feel, so i have to borrow words. these words, from Paul Rogat Loeb, succinctly summarize what i’m attempting to say: We become human only in the company of other human beings.  And this involves both opening our hearts and giving voice to our deepest convictions. …When we shrink from the world, our souls shrink, too. 

i fear my soul is shrinking.

diving deeper

i know i write a lot about depression. it’s inevitable, given that it is part of my life. and, unfortunately, it happens to be a part of the lives of many of those i love and hold dear.  my last 2 posts were literally just giant passages from the book i’ve been reading { the noonday demon: an atlas of depression by andrew solomon } that i basically wanted to “bookmark” for reference later. this post is more of a reflection on a short passage i encountered a couple of days ago, and have been mulling over ever since.

“Children of depressed mothers may suffer not only depression but also attention deficit disorder, separation anxiety, and conduct disorder. They do badly in social and academic situations, even if they are intelligent and have some attractive qualities of personality. They have unusually high levels of physical complaints- allergies, asthma, frequent colds, severe headaches, stomach aches- and complain of feeling unsafe. They are often paranoid,” {pgs. 181-182}.

this excerpt is not only talking about  the child in their youth, but also within the greater context of becoming a depressed adult. and it describes CHILD ME to a tee: Read the rest of this entry

nuggets of wisdom 2: “the noonday demon”

i had suspected that this book would be full of juicy, thought-provoking wisdom, and so far, i have not been disappointed.

from page 133:

Most people cannot emerge from really serious depression just by fighting; a real serious depression has to be treated, or it had to pass. But while you are being treated or waiting for it to pass, you have to keep up the fighting. To take medication as part of the battle is to battle fiercely, and to refuse it would be as ludicrously self-destructive as entering a modern war on horseback. It is not weak to take medications; it does not mean that you can’t cope with your personal life; it is courageous. { emphasis mine } Nor is it weak to seek help from a wise therapist. Faith in God and any form of faith in yourself are great. You must take your therapies, all kinds, with you into the struggle. You cannot wait to be cured.