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#12 & 13: reading in a public setting; practicing self-care–massage

not much to say about #13- practicing self-care:massage.  i booked a 90 minute massage at a local place. it was heavenly! soothing music, muscle manipulation, a heated massage table !!! i think i struggle with justifying spending a huge chunk of money on something so fleeting, particularly because it’s sole purpose is to care for myself. $100+ for a tattoo…that’s fine because it literally lasts forever. around $100/month for unlimited yoga classes {which i’m not currently doing….it’s on the list} seems reasonable because you’re building a healthy practice. but $ for massage….i struggle with feeling “i’m worth it.”

on #12, reading in a public setting…i thought it would be an easy challenge. i love reading. i’m never bothered by taking a book to say a park or the beach to read. however, on two different days, my book and i went out into the world for food/coffee and reading time. i’m not sure if i feel awkward or pathetic or what, but both times, at both locations, i could barely stand staying more than 30 minutes after finishing the food or beverage before me. probably due to the fact that i used to work in cafes, and hated when people would sit at tables FOR HOURS knitting or reading or doing school work without ordering more. do i feel i must spend more to be allowed to stay and read? quite possibly….

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#7: exploring chakra meditations

i have a root {muladhara} chakra problem–it’s terribly blocked/out-of-whack-imbalanced.  i know that for some people, chakras and other”non-traditional” ways of explaining how/why things are {ie. traditional Chinese medicine, auras, the enneagram, etc/.} can seem a litte, well woowoo– as my therapist likes to put it. however, i have found uncanny linkages between scientific and spiritual explanations for all the crud in my life.

according to most sources, and under-active or imbalanced root chakra manifests in many of my least favorite “personal issues”:

Under-Active Root Chakra:

If your root chakra is under-active you may feel disconnected from the world around you, including from your body. You will feel disorganized and consequently this will reflect in your world. You will lack focus and discipline and you may even become afraid, anxious or restless in your daily interactions. You will probably experience a lack of stamina, depression or desire to do or to want anything out of life. You will have trouble obtaining financial security and will find yourself with no, or very little boundaries.

Physical symptoms of an Imbalance:

Weight-loss/gain, over or underactive sex drive, poor immune system, anemia, depression, laziness, irratible bowel syndrome are all possible physical symptoms of an imbalance within the root chakra.  { from OneWorldHealing.Net }

other fascinating references on the root chakra can be found at chakra-anatomy and at the chopra center. sonce i’m pretty shitty at meditation in general, i turned to the world wide web for guided meditations…lo and behold, the interwebz is full of them! after much sampling, i found two that didn’t annoy the shit out of me, so i’m sharing them in case they might be of benefit to YOU…and so i can easily find them again!

a very powerful root chakra healing

powerful root chakra activation and balancing

#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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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?

Read the rest of this entry

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.

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.

nuggets of wisdom: “the noonday demon”

this is part one of a new “series” of posts– quotes or passages from books i am reading that i don’t want to forget.

i’m currently reading The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression { by Andrew Solomon }. it is part memoir, part scientific research, part sociological & culturally-anthropological analogy. only 42 pages in and i’m gaining so much insight on myself, and on how humanity deals { or doesn’t deal } with depression.

anyways, here is the passage i wish to share, from page 17:

It is not pleasant to experience decay, to find yourself exposed to the ravages of an almost daily rain, and to know that you are turning into something feeble, that more and more of you will blow off with the first strong wind, making you less and less. Some people accumulate more emotional rust than others. Depression starts out insipid, fogs the days into a dull color, weakens ordinary actions until their clear shapes are obscured by the effort they require, leaves you tired and bored and self-obsessed– but you can get through all that. Not happily, perhaps, but you can get through.

meditations on ashes & dust

i have always loved the liturgical season of lent. a drawing within; deep introspection and solitude in anticipation of easter. i attended an ash wednesday service last night–for the past 3 or 4 years, it is one of the only times i still attend church, the other time being good friday. during the service, a blessing was shared, and i continue to reflect on its words even now:

{ from Circle of Grace, by jan richardson }

Return
Remember.
You were built for this,
the ancient path
inscribed upon your bones,
the persistent pattern
echoing in your heartbeat.

Let this be the season
you turn your face
toward the One who calls to you:

Return, return.

Let this be the day
you open wide your arms
to the wind that knows
how to bear you
home.

i went up to receive the imposition of ashes { when the pastor/minister places a small cross in ash upon the forehead to remember/contemplate both our origin- dust/ash, and our destination- dust/ash } and then returned to my seat. later, as i drove home, i was reminded of other writings which speak to just how marvelous ashes & dust can be, which i will leave below:

  • I would rather be ashes than dust!
    I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
    I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
    The function of man is to live, not to exist.
    I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
    I shall use my time.  { jack london }

 

  • The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff. { carl sagan}

 

  • The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust. { neil degrasse tyson }

 

“guest post”: depression

it’s no secret that many of us battle day-in-day-out with various forms and degrees of depression. i have been thinking a lot, recently, of my own on going battle with the disease that lies { as i prefer to call it }. instead of giving you all the long, drawn out history, i’m going to attempt to condense it all into brief tidbits, and then allow the “guest posts” { aka other bloggers/webcomics  i will gladly give full credit to } to speak their truths in a more enjoyable way.

my mother claims i always battled the “dark and morose” feelings and was an emotional rollercoaster even at the tender age of 4. in my own recollection, the onslaught of the disease that lies began my senior year of high school, and manifested itself as crazy, brutal, epic panic attacks of doom! { registered trademark } that sent me home on a semi-regular basis. i was overwhelmed with the thought of dying–and not in the suicidal way– no no, i was CONVINCED that i was about to die, any second. driving home from school, i would chant mantras of “please let me live until my parents come home so i can tell them i love them” or “please don’t let me die, because then my car will careen out of control and take innocent people with me”….it was horrible, and followed me through several states and into my early college career. the anxiety difused, but never fully went away { every once in a blue moon, i still get an epic attack }, instead turning into a constant monologue of self-deprecation and doubt.

this general “depression” was made worse by a year of non-voluntary, semi-confinement { also known as teaching english in a foreign country } wear my nearest native-english speaking neighbour was a 20 minute drive away, i didn’t have a car for the first 4 months, and said person was a misogynist chode. matters were made worse by the committee of elderly “gentlemen” who were my direct supervisors and made me feel like shit about myself for not being the MALE TEACHER they had requested. so enduring a year of this, on top of recovering from major anxiety, and plagued with all sorts of other demons, has left me more broken than i would be…which is unfortunate in that, besides the suckitude of making me feel isolated and unworthy and alone, that year abroad was actually quite an amazing experience. had i been placed somewhere more central, or with less old-fashioned, misogynist bosses, i’d be way better adapted.

SIGH. which brings me to the “guest” part of this post….because all these amazing people are going through similar feelings that i deal with at least on a weekly basis.

the admirable wil wheaton from his blog/mini-empire wilwheaton.net : an excerpt:   I haven’t ever felt suicidal, but I do have Depression and Anxiety. I suffered for no good reason for decades, until I couldn’t reconcile my awesome life with feeling terrible all the time. Talking therapy wasn’t ever enough for me, and I was very resistant to medication, because I believed (and continue to believe) that we are an over-medicated culture.

another incredible person the bloggess { aka jenny larson } updates often on her struggles, so i’m including not one, but TWO links…this one is about depression greeting cards and brings awareness to national mental health awareness week.  this one is more introspective, and really brings home the message that **depression lies**—When depression sufferers fight, recover and go into remission we seldom even know, simply because so many suffer in the dark…ashamed to admit something they see as a personal weakness…afraid that people will worry, and more afraid that they won’t.  We find ourselves unable to do anything but cling to the couch and force ourselves to breathe.

finally, for those of you who are more visual, i give you “adventures in depression” by the fabulous webcomic artist/site hyberbole and a halfthis is just part one of her journey, which is concluded in her most recent post “depression: part two”, where she so aptly describes what suffering from the disease that lies is really like: At first, I’d try to explain that it’s not really negativity or sadness anymore, it’s more just this detached, meaningless fog where you can’t feel anything about anything — even the things you love, even fun things — and you’re horribly bored and lonely, but since you’ve lost your ability to connect with any of the things that would normally make you feel less bored and lonely, you’re stuck in the boring, lonely, meaningless void without anything to distract you from how boring, lonely, and meaningless it is.

with that, i leave you with this panel from hyperbole and a halfDEPRESSIONTWO8.2