Dear former self

Dear former self,

Sometimes I look at you and feel embarrassed about your thoughts and misguided actions. Most of the time I look down on you or ignore you- I don’t like to think of you at all. I feel I’m the better and wiser, more reliable one. My future self will revere me as the one who made life better.

But now I look at you with thanks and love. Despite your youth, you are a parent to me, always looking out for my best interests, and I take it for granted.

Sometimes I read your journals and want to tear them up; but then close them and put them in in the box next to old photographs. You wrote journals during the hardest times of our lives, yet you laced them with hope and plans to pave a better road for me.

You were the one who worked multiple jobs while going to school and wishing me more wealth than you. I am wealthier. You attended counseling and doctors, suffering medication changes and praying each day, sometimes each minute or moment to make things better. You told me I would have a happier life than you. And I am happier. You read many books and changed your mind and worldview until things started to make more sense. You said I would be wiser than you. I am wiser. You looked around and found yourself in many bad, sometimes hopeless situations, but you found hope and walked forward. You rarely walked backward. You said I would be stronger than you. I am stronger.

Sometimes I take these better times for granted and forget your sacrifices- but today I thank you.

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Suddenly reappears

9:51 PM Thoughts

Hello blog! I am supposed to sleep so I can go to work in the morning. I am on a sleep hygiene kick. (Coming off the cell phone early and having quiet activities, lowering temp/ noise etc) and of course now my mind is free and bursting with things to say. My improved sleep plan backfired. It’s been a long time since I blogged, and I have reasons for that- mostly lack of inspiration. However, I have the urge to write again. I don’t know if anyone can relate to this, but I am one of these people who needs to write everything down. I have a very “wordy” brain. It’s almost obsessive. Throughout the day I write in my planner, then I write on my cell phone planner, then I rewrite. I like to write lists of every single thing I think about and goals. I literally need to externalize all my thoughts on paper, or they just sit there all stale in my brain festering. Putting stuff on paper is like cleaning out my fridge. So I’ve decided to get back on all of it, the journaling, blogging, list writing, etc. It’s a form of prayer and catharsis that I can’t achieve any other way. By the way, it’s almost January- I did this last year in January too. I firmly feel the “new beginning” vibe every new year when this big wave of energy washes over me post-Christmas. For me, Christmas is a drag, which probably warrants a whole other blog or list.

Quick life updates

When restarting a journal or blog, it feels proper to brief on what happened since last update. I believe my last posts were in Spring which was dreary and obstacle-ish. Since then, I’ve settled into my job and feel comfortable there. I’m still in school finishing my BSN online. I’m taking one class at a time and enjoying it for once. I met a new BF on OkCupid- we’ve been together since August. I’ve gotten close to his family and made some acquaintances/ pals here. I don’t plan to move home. I had a sleepy exhausting hot summer in the south but fall and winter have been upbeat, busy, and refreshing. I have lots of trips and events planned for this year. I feel like I’m at home. Things are mostly the same and I’m cruisin’.

Y so random?

This blog is changing from being spiritual/ motivational to just an organized form of whatever is on my mind that moment. Maybe I’ll be obsessed with a list of instapot recipes or have this enraging story. It’s too demotivating to stay on the same topics all the time.

Anniversary Reactions

Spring

The season revisits old pains. Last year near this time, I broke up with my fiance. Now I’m experiencing an anniversary reaction. I realized people respond to trauma this way,  but I didn’t know how it worked. I thought it was psychological, that people mentally keep track of dates. This hit me suddenly and I decided to do some research . I discovered this is a physical reaction. Most of the time our brains filter lots of of details on normal days to focus on the major stuff. During trauma, your brain goes into emergency mode and sends ALL signals directly to emergency centers of the brain, collecting minor information that could be important, like a hyper vigilant detective. This includes the nuances of season and lighting. Next year, when the time of the trauma draws near, your brain enters protective mode, reminding your body of old feelings and sensations. It  warns you about different threats in the environment. “Last time it was April and you were standing in this spot, this happened. Be careful!” This lasts a few weeks leading up to the event. While I thought my mind was in a state of healing, my body told me otherwise. Maybe healing was too painful. My mind covered the wound with a bandage, to revisit later. To revisit now.

Vivid memories

I return to the silent, shaky screams into my pillow on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The confusion, the blur. I listened to the song “Black Velvet Band” (old Irish song) recently which I hear frequently. I am taken  to times when I sang this with his family, and it stings in my heart. I remember my friends- who was there, what they said, and how they tried to comfort me. I remember these very long walks with my dog. Whenever I sat down, I didn’t know how I was going to live any longer.  I am inundated with shock and sadness. I am trying walk through it this time. To pray through every pang of hurt, anger, and guilt. Since I moved, my surroundings aren’t the same. I can process this with some space and distance. I sit on this breezy warm patio, listening to wind chimes and birds. I receive pink petals to my lap. Life is always bearable when I notice pleasant details.

Moving forward

This year has been happy and prosperous in many ways. Yet, often I had a sense of coldness and toughness and lonesomeness which I am  familiar with. Pain surfacing is a welcome change at times. My body is giving me another chance to grow and learn how to make things better in the future. I can re-frame the situation and redefine what I want. I’m a tough, hardworking, and independent girl. Yet, this situation showed me the value in being loving and community focused. To build my future family, I will need to have the qualities of a good wife and mother which I don’t have yet. I have always used bad situations as fuel for my future success. I am positive I can do it again.

My hope flowers

I decided to grow a little patio garden. Cilantro, nasturtiums, and chives. I may also add blackberries, spinach, and/ or wildflowers. Now is a time for long prayers and contemplation and watching these little guys grow. And to be corny, I will grow  along with them. I’m a hopeful Dianium blue eyes. I know God has plans for my future family. He wants me to feel that love and trust which is the foundation of families.

 

I know most of us have gone through terribly dark times. Do my readers have anniversary reactions? How do you handle them?

March

I haven’t posted due to having a busy month. I messed up my schedule and had to work excessively, 12 hour days. They were all intense and energy consuming. My blood sugar crashed a couple of times. I have a big project due for school. Yesterday I asked work if I could please have today off if possible to catch up. They seemed mildly displeased but gave it to me. I felt myself getting triggered. Now thankfully I have a week off , and my mom and step dad are coming.

I’m excited to have 33 people following me after about a month and a half! Thank you for your support.

I have a long list of blog topics. Some are difficult to tackle, some fluffy. I am going to spend more time editing and improving content. I feel called to do this right now.

I plan to devote more time to this once I am done my current class. I can’t wait to be spending time here soon. In the meantime I enjoy reading all your blogs! Keep up the positive work.

Anyone can also feel free to ask for my perspective on anything, the more ideas the better!

7 Tips for Everyday Peace

The last few days I’ve had this sense of peace over me. It is because I am getting settled in to this new life. And I’m on vacation. I have been so peaceful that it was hard to think of a blog post. There aren’t as many thoughts in that state of rest, it’s just being. While I am not always in this state, I can achieve it for long periods of time. I wonder how many others can do this.

Often we look for happiness in future days. Days when we’re getting married, having a baby, getting a new job, having success with our blogs, buying a house, traveling the world, and having everything we want. I know I look forward to those occasional hypomanias where everything feels exciting and new. As I gain more life experience I realize that true happiness comes in the form of peace in the settled days. That life’s exciting experiences are just a small portion of my happiness. It is usually more beneficial to achieve a state of balance. I used to think that balance meant routine and possible boredom. In these routine days I discovered a new version of joy, and that is the unshakable state of peace. It is difficult to achieve but thankfully I arrived here many times.

You’ve heard these tips before, but as with anything important, there are no shortcuts.  

Getting back to the present moment

I’m stating the obvious here. Books beat us over the head with this. It is cliche. It’s not as simple as jumping into the present moment, or else we would all be there. Yet, it is essential for peace. For a while I had a phone alarm that said “stay in the moment” which was supposed to jerk me back into the now. It often worked except it caused increased focus on alarms and my phone. After a while coming back to the present became a habit and I eliminated the alarm. It is hard to stay in the moment when things are fast paced, when the weather is horrible, when you have a flat tire, when someone in your family is sick, or you’re having a bad day at work. Those moments suck. On those terrible days, many of us do laundry and the dishes, make a meal, spend quality time with loved ones,  read, and go to bed under a warm blanket at night. Those are low stimulation times, and they are perfect for debriefing and coming back to the now.

Get rid of your stuff

My new job gave me a relocation bonus. After doing the math, it made more sense to get a smaller relocube to bring my stuff and rebuy furniture when I got here. I could have used a trailer for a 3-4 room house, but I got a trailer for a studio instead. This was one of the best decisions I ever made. I won’t give a lecture on how to decide what to keep, but the book The Secret Magic of Tidying Up was extremely helpful. I know I had an unusual opportunity, but I can’t emphasize how important it is to declutter your space. You do not need your crap. We use too much space in our heads to maintain our stuff, and just to look at our stuff. Our minds and our demons are skilled liars. They will delude you into thinking items will make you happy. None of us can happily manage too much stuff. Some people like antiques and cute things. I like new and updated things. Because I’m a terrible interior decorator, I just went with a color scheme and slowly repopulated my space.

Happy Habits

I used to put a major focus on having unpleasant tasks done. Bills paid, house clean, appointments done, odd stuff done. (Like “go to the town hall” or “get application notarized” for example.) Due to my past, it was important to stay ahead of things and parent myself in case of an emergency. Yet, those endless to do lists are just threatening and unhappy. Those tasks will always be there and it’s almost never urgent. Now I have this happy daily to do list that I look forward to every day. It’s pray, tidy, read, write, spend time with my dog, practice Spanish, and practice  guitar and keyboard. These are areas where I truly want to progress. I find when these are in line, I have energy to do  the other things. The blah tasks are more peaceful. By prioritizing what I love, I align with the holy spirit. On the other hand, everyone has multiple habits they want to do “DAILY!!” work on your abs DAILY!!! Practice your language DAILY!!!!!! Write DAILY!!!!!!!!!!” it can be overwhelming. Sometimes we just gotta chill on this daily stuff and be flexible. And that’s ok too.

Daily silence and prayer

Except for this. Don’t skip this. God’s first language is silence! We will lose all sense of direction if we fill our days with business and routines. We start to do all the wrong things, take on unnecessary obligations, and get totally lost. We lose control of everything. Constant and mental noise is pure hell, it is horrible for our souls and it is the main issue with society. Silence and prayer are absolutely necessary for peace.

True Connection

I struggle with this one at times. I am goal oriented and also reflective and I get lost in my own world and thoughts. I tend to daydream and lose presence with others.  Despite being near awesome people, I become isolated and lonely. Many are more skilled in this arena. We are all faced with true connection practice with people in our lives. God’s other first language is love. Try hard to listen to others and see their point of view. Despite how it feels, we are all truly connected. Others often reveal a part of God that you don’t have yet.

Healthy habits

Exercise, taking medicine, nutrition, etc.

Ask for grace

While I can often achieve peace and balance in my life, it is not by my own efforts.. Everything is 1000 times easier when you sincerely and earnestly seek God’s guidance.

Lent

Lent came barreling up to me this year! One second it’s a normal day and the next second, boom, logging off Facebook.

Facebook is this ongoing issue for me, especially recently. Last year I gave it up with such grace and ease like I was this big Facebook sacrificing angel.

This year God puts me to the test, can I make this sacrifice even though I don’t feel thoroughly invested?

It seems silly to make a big deal over this. Facebook gives me this forum to mindlessly relax while feeling mildly passively connected to everyone I ever knew. I defend this because the problem makes me feel lame.

Im not adding anything this year. I’ve just taken on a whole slew of new good habits this month – the writing, the music, the Spanish , the confession.. my goal will  be to keep it all going.

I have to keep in mind I’m making this sacrifice to be free from a (seemingly benign) chain, so I can have more time for my hobbies.