The Meds Don’t Work

I’ve got several friends that are taking medication for anxiety. I’ve always been just a little bit envious that my friends got medication but I didn’t get any. The doctor told me no and so did the psychiatrist. Their reasoning is that my attitude is too positive. I always thought that medication was the fix all for anxiety. Pop a pill and the attack slinks off into a corner and weeps a little, having had its hiney whipped by captain Xanax.

864362d0b90c14b9901b13a0d8ae05c4One of my friends (blessed with medication) told me that they had a major attack even though they had medication. This shook my belief system to the core. All this time I’ve been thinking that medication is the be all end all help to make the anxiety boogie man go away. Imagine my shock when I found out that you can still have attacks while on the meds. All of the sudden I’m not so ready to take a pill to tame anxiety. What’s a girl to do? Is there no escaping the big A? It’s a bit like feeling secure in knowing the emergency exit is near by only to find that it’s been bricked up.

I guess there’s only one thing to do. Keep going on my current path and not rely on medication as an alternative path. Nothing is for sure. You ever notice that medication and meditation are nearly identical words? Change out the ‘c’ for a ‘t’ and there you go. These weeks have been very busy, and frankly, I’m amazed that I’ve been pretty ok. I’ve had some days where breathing has been hard (can’t catch my breath) and my heart was beating in my ears but it was manageable. Lately, whenever i’ve been feeling like life was spinning out of control, I just think to myself, “None of this is real or truly important”. If you read the previous post about the holographic universe, you’ll know why.  In fact, I’ll share the video with you. It’s a five part series but it’s so worth it. You’re welcome.

This week (and the past several weeks) I’ve been doing a lot of building. I’m beginning to think my fingernails will never recover. The goal is to get the building done by the end of April so we’re in full insanity mode. Me and my husband are crazy non-stop building. My job has been tiling lately. Tiling adhesive stuff eats your fingers and your nails. I think when we’re all done, I’ll go have a manicure and pedicure to celebrate. Add a bottle of Champagne to that list. You can bet your ass I’ll be celebrating when I paint that last wall.

This week has been another week of Yoga Nidra. Building is all the exercise I need at the moment. My ass muscles hurt and I can feel every single joint in my body when I wake up in the morning. I think it’s safe to say I’m getting plenty of exercise. I would love to do some yin yoga though. That’s so lovely. I just need to find more time in my day. Generally I come home from work, cook food, go build, come down and put kids to bed maybe, build more and come down when I’m too exhausted to continue and then fall into bed. One benefit of doing Yoga Nidra is that you can do it in the bed under warm blankets. It really makes it easy to fall asleep. Sometimes I even fall alseep during the session. It keeps my head from thinking about all the crap I need to get done and all the crap I didn’t get done.

I just need to keep breathing. I know I’ll get through this phase of my life. In Finland, they have a really nice phrase for the years with young children. They’re called “ruhkavuodet”. That basically translates as busy years. How are people dealing with all the stuff going on? I’m just hanging on for dear life. I guess that’s why we have captain Xanax.

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Zero F*cks Given

I’ve been doing a lot of investigation this week. I have no idea how I’ve managed. I didn’t get to bed last night until after 2am due to construction work (that’s a whole other can of worms right there and subject enough for a 2nd blog) and decided that this weeks Sunday blog post could wait until Monday. Actually, by my clock its 7 minutes after midnight so I’ve fudged by two days BUT what an interesting week!

It’s been an introspective week for me. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly religious in the traditional sense but I do believe that there are greater powers at work. Let’s just leave it at that shall we? I like to investigate things and ask questions. It gives me things to think about and ponder in this otherwise mundane life of mine. Some people have television (I would have TV but I’m last in line for watching TV…again…another story), I have YouTube and questions about the universe, such that it is. I mean seriously…acupuncture, eastern medicine, universal energy, yoga, meditation, ghosts, manifestation, black holes! It’s all so amazingly fascinating!

subtle-art-of-not-giving-a-fuck-540x709Now I’m sure most people have heard of “The Secret”. It’s this idea that if you think positive thoughts, you raise your vibration and manifest the stuff, crap, love, etc that you want in life. I would love this idea to work but I have to say that my generally positive outlook on life has not brought me mass wealth or a half naked cabana boy anywhere into my general vicinity. I see people spend money on seminars on this subject making other folks rich but the same people go back time and time again asking the same questions so that kinda makes me think that this shit is whack. You can imagine my surprise when I came across the book called, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck”. I was intrigued. Here was a book that didn’t appear to give a rats ass about positive thinking or all that feel good stuff that most people are peddling these days. Unfortunately, the book was really pretty empty (lots written without saying a whole lot) but there were a few things I took away from the book.

  1. The harder you try, the worse you do, so stop trying.
  2. You only have so many f*cks to give so choose your f*cks carefully.
  3. Live a happy life by giving f*cks about things that matter to you.

Yup…that about sums up what I got out of the entire book. Point number 1: For example…you ever try bowling and you really want to try hard to get a strike but the harder you try, the worse your throws get? When you stop trying and just kind of go with the flow, things work out better so stop trying to hard. Surrender to the flow!

4db77_orig-look_at_all_the_fucks_i_givePoint number 2: This can be illustrated with a story. I had this happen to me this week at the hardware store. I was standing in line waiting for service at one of the info desks to ask about a faucet and had been patiently waiting there for 15 minutes when some douche bag lady comes up and gets served before me. The info desk guy doesn’t even notice that I was there first and serves her. I give her the longest, dirtiest look…staring her down as she walked past me (she knew what she did…). I wait a while longer and finally one of the info desk guys comes back to the desk, starts clacking on his computer and totally ignores me. After standing there a while longer, blood pressure rising, I clear my throat in a really obvious way. The guy FINALLY gives me eye contact (heaven forbid). I tell him I want some info about a particular faucet. He then proceeds to tell me that he doesn’t know about faucets and that I should walk  to the other info desk an isle away to get help with that particular subject. I wanted to throat punch both the lady and the guy behind the counter but I take a deep breath and walk over to the other counter. Imagine my shock when I see that there’s NO ONE THERE at the other service desk. There’s no sign, no bell, no service phone so I’m pacing back and forth between the “no help” desk I was at before and the currently empty desk that supposedly has sacred info about the faucet in question. After another wait… staff finally shows up and I get the help I needed. By my watch it took me about 40 minutes to get my question answered. You know what my question was? “Is this faucet for a bathtub?”…..reply…”Nope”. When I mentioned my dissatisfaction with the wait time to get my simple question answered, she replied, “We were eating lunch”.  Total. Service. Failure. K-Rauta Palokka customer service failed me that day.

This brings me back to Point number 2. Did I really need to give two f*cks about the poor service that day? Probably not. I should be choosier about what I get riled about. I should be choosier about the f*cks I give because, according to the book….

“…we only have so many f*cks to give….”

Point three: you can live a full and satisfying life by giving a f*ck about the things you love. If you want to chase yeti’s and backpack through the himalayas with nothing but your clothes on your back, that’s whats going to make you happy. In short, when it comes to life you just gotta do you baby!

This brought me to my next great mind f*ck* From there, I got into a five part series on YouTube called, “The Holographic Universe”. If you really want to screw up your views on reality and life, check it out. It will blow your friggin’ mind. There’s a lot to it but to tie things together with the aforementioned book, we don’t control anything. In this thing we call life, we’re not driving the bus. So we might as well check out the scenery and lick the windows. Also, apparently, nothing is real. We’re all holograms in some amazing construct. As far fetched and nutty as that sounds, something in that idea makes it easier to let go of things. Makes it easier to deal with things and difficult people. I found myself, several times today actually, thinking, “damn that person is irritating…but they’re not real so it doesn’t matter…we’re all friggin’ holograms anyway.” Let’s just say it’s adjusted my point of view.

This week’s yogaia sessions were all yoga Nidra again. I feel like I need to justify my session choices. I’ve been helping to build our house so my day looks something like this:

  • wake up and drag my tired ass outta bed
  • Drive hubby to work and kids to school
  • Get to work and work like a crazy person
  • Get out of work to pick up child from school
  • Pick up hubby from work
  • Get home and either I make dinner or go to the store to buy food so I can make dinner
  • I change clothes and go tile bathrooms
  • I might need to come down to tuck kids into bed
  • finish tiling for the evening
  • Do Yoga nidra
  • Pass out and start all over

This doesn’t include days where I run kids to karate, or take kids to the doctor or have Bass lessons, trips to the hardware store for crappy service or any of the household chores I might do. I have to say I pick my battles when it comes to house work though. My house looks destroyed just so you know…and I don’t care. If you come over to my house and complain about the mess…I will gladly hand you a broom. I’m not saying my hubby doesn’t help, he’s really wonderful and helps pick up the kids from karate and laundry and cleans up on occasion. He’s also the driving force to getting the kids moving in the morning. Me and mornings don’t work well together so it’s a beautiful partnership we have. What I am saying is that my days have been super full and, at times, very physical so the last thing I’ve wanted to, during the past few weeks, after having a long day is doing  some intensive vinyasa. Some weekends I’ve spent 12+ hours tiling so my body is often pretty sore.

So now that you’ve got some background on that, I hope that helps to explain my session choices. Do I hope to do some other sessions? Yes, absolutely, but for now, I’m being brutally honest when I say it’s the only thing my mind and body can handle right now. I’m not driving the bus in this life, I’m not in charge and I’m along for the ride in this movie that is my life so I might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. I’ll be the one in the back licking the window.

P.S. I was supposed to think of positive things last week and be amazed by results. This was halted by two things: 1. I found out that I should stop trying because the book said so and 2…I was busy just trying to hold onto my own ass. Damn, it’s 1:30 AM. Yass….life is fun.

The Art of Distraction

I admit I’m a worrier and I’m rather compulsive about it, especially when it comes to my health. You ever get a pain in your body and you think about constantly? You wonder what it is…you look up information and make some horrendous self-diagnosis and think about how many months you have to live because, obviously, you have a tumour. You think about it and think about it and sure enough the pain gets worse. Then it turns out you’re just constipated or something.

monkey20brain

Bad case of monkey brain.

The point is, our brains and the thoughts we dwell on have power. The more you think about something bad the worse it gets. Can you imagine what would happen if we dwelled on awesome stuff? I gotta try that. Seriously….I want to compulsively think about all the awesomeness the world is going to bring me this week. I’ll do that and let you know how it works out in next weeks blog.

As per usual…I’ve been obsessing. This time it’s been about my teeth. I recently had a new filling put in and it’s still pretty sensitive. Of course it’s only been a week and it can take 2-4 weeks for a filling to calm down. Of course my freakishly over brooding brain starts rolling ALL sorts of crazy things. “Maybe the dentist missed something…maybe it’s not filled right..” The list goes on and on. Of course the more I think about it and brood on it…the worse the tooth feels. In my rational thinking, I know it’s just sensitive and the fact that I’m dwelling on it and clenching my jaw (I do that all the time by the way) doesn’t help. So here’s what I noticed….Distraction is awesome!

If you give your brain something else to do, you totally forget about the thing that bothered you in the first place. Give your brain something else to work on. My monkey brain needs things to keep it occupied. I started to notice this after I started bass lessons. During my bass lessons, I totally forget about everything in the outer world. I am so focused on learning new things and making the right notes that my brain has no time to obsess about anything else. Knitting also does that for me. I figure meditation also fits into the category. Could knitting, bass lessons and meditation all be considered the same thing?

The point is, I believe that, in addition to the yogaia.com sessions I’ve been doing each day, keeping my brain occupied with tasks I enjoy has helped. I do bass lessons and knitting because I enjoy them, not because I have to. I always used to shy away from doing extra things but at the time, it was responsibilities I felt I had to do. These included volunteering at my kids school, parent teacher meetings, major chores and grocery shopping (the devils task). After I saw the doctor and psychologist about my stress symptoms, they both encouraged me to cut away as much I could from my schedule, even suggesting I take a 4 day work week if it was at all possible. I dropped all the extra things I could, but still obsessed about chores and who did what. I was very good at the blame game and martyrdom. “If I don’t do it, no one will.” or “S/he will never get it right!”. I also used to (and still do sometimes) keep score.

Keeping score is when you go over your entire day, week, month…lifetime, etc. and start calculating how much you’ve done compared to someone else. There’s no way to win that contest. When you keep score, you’re only egging yourself on to do more of what you didn’t have to do in the first place. The combination of “S/he will never get it right” with keeping score will suck your will to live. Here’s an example…

“Oh goodness. Look at all the laundry! Why isn’t the laundry done? Why doesn’t anyone else do it? They’d just mess it up anyway, I better do it. I wash the laundry, do the dishes, clean the house, run the kids around…yada yada yada. See how much I do!? I’m so stressed out? Why doesn’t anyone else help me? GAH! BAH! People suck!”

It’s a terrible cycle. As soon as I figured out that the world didn’t end if I didn’t do the laundry, etc. my life got easier. There are very few things in life that we HAVE to do. It’s fun to think about. Try it sometime. It’s fun to realise that most things in life are choices and are totally in your power. You don’t have to run the kids to school, or go to work or do the laundry. Of course doing a thing or not doing it has consequences but it’s all choice. It’s kind of trippy when you really think about all the things you think you HAVE to do and realise that you really don’t have to do them. Freaky.

This weeks yogaia.com sessions have all been Yoga Nidra. Every stinking one of them. I’ve even got my daughter doing it now! She’s had problems falling asleep. I put the yoga nidra on for her and she was out in minutes. The power of Yoga Nidra, I’m telling ya’ll, it’s the shiz.

I like distractions, they keep my brain happy. In fact, I’ve been beautifully distracted by this blog and haven’t thought about my tooth. You know what? The pain went away because I was distracted. Get distracted people! Enjoy life and go find a sunset! A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either.

Simplification…

beautiful-sunday-logoIt’s another beautiful Sunday. I’m not even being sarcastic. I’ve just had the whole week off from work.

Usually I write down ideas that come to me during the week…deep thoughts…feelings and general goofiness that I want to share with you. This week, I had no deep thoughts. I was too busy getting things done but as I sat there on the couch sipping a glass of Rosé wine on this fine Sunday evening, it occurred to me what I’d been doing all week and what the overall theme of the week had been. I’ve been decluttering. I’ve been decluttering my mind and my house of extraneous things! I spent some of the week doing some brainless relaxing but a lot of the week was spent cleaning, decluttering and remodelling our house.

On the first day of my holiday I checked my work e-mail. Isn’t that terrible?! After I realised I’d been thinking on work, I made the mindful decision that I would not check work e-mail or give it a second thought until I returned to work on Monday. Whatever e-mail messages I received would be just fine without my attention for the next several days. Making that decision was very liberating. I essentially decluttered my brain. It must have been a catalyst for more decluttering because I began to clean out my house. I started putting things up for sale online. I still have baby clothes from my kids! My oldest is almost 12 and my youngest just turned 9. It is high time to get those baby clothes outta here! I also got rid of other odds and ends that just took up space in my house. I did marathon runs of laundry and ironing. In short, I think unconsciously, I had the drive to simplify my life.

I am of the opinion that we’re a society that thinks we need too much. We feel we need more information, more kitchen gadgets, more clothes…just….more. I don’t know about you but it seems that the more I have, thoughts included, the more stressed out I am. The joy of the purchase is usually short lived. The joy is then usually replaced by stress.

Where am I going to keep this stuff? Why is my house so messy? I don’t have room for all of this!

The same can be said for thoughts. The more I think about and the more I feel I have to accomplish, the more stressful it seems to be. I spent this week doing a hella crazy amount of work, including a trip to the dentist yet again for a filling…thats another story) but I’m happy about it. All the stuff I’ve done didn’t stress me out. Looking back on this past week, I realise that my mind was completely empty! I did the things I did just for the sake of doing them and gave the tasks no real thought or feeling. Usually I’m itemising my thoughts and the things I have to do for the week but this past week, I didn’t. I have to say that it’s a real first. I had no resentment of anyone for not helping or exhaustion from thinking of the things I shoulda, woulda, coulda done because I gave the tasks I did this week absolutely no thought. I did them for the sake of doing them. Perhaps all of this meditation I’m doing is having some effect. I realise I’m doing a lot of this meditation type stuff but I’m not sorry. I feel, at least today, that my brain, body and me are starting to find some kind of common ground. It used to feel as though my brain and body were betraying me and letting me down on the regular but they all seem to have found some kind of balance. Part of me is scared that this is just a truce…you know…like military factions might have during the Christmas holidays. I really hope this truce between mind, body and soul is a lasting peace because man…..I like it here.

  • Sunday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Monday: Pause. Breathe. Meditate. with James Huxley
  • Tuesday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Wednesday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Thursday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Friday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris
  • Saturday: Yoga Nidra with Craig Norris

Empty your minds (empty them….don’t clean them up you dirty minded beauties!). I start to realise that nothing really needs to get done. I’m breathing and that’s enough.