Thursday, February 25, 2016

Where I'm at ....

My sister told me the other day that three of her good girlfriends - all in their mid 40's - have recently gone on antidepressants. She seemed a bit taken aback by this and I felt it too. We'd just been having a good honest conversation about how we were feeling right now, and the issues we are dealing with.

Having a tricky brain, getting caught in negative thinking loops, struggling to maintain happy, positive emotions - these things are so very common. Being a human is hard bloody work sometimes.

So many people moving around the world struggling, struggling, struggling within their own heads. It makes my heart ache. I look at people as I drive around in my car and wonder what is going on for them internally. Are they chronically worried about things? Are they fixated on small issues. Are they ruminating over something they have no control over? Are they stuck in the past? Are they fretting about someone else's actions and thoughts? Are they constantly reinforcing negative self-beliefs? Are they stuck? Lost? Is their world flat? Colourless? Miserable?

I've been connected to all of these states at various times. I used to use alcohol as a way to keep myself distracted and 'upbeat' (or so I thought). Now I live sober and never touch alcohol ever - or any other mind altering substance - and so I have been left with a wide open, raw brain.

The elation of early sobriety has waned a little, and although I am still delighted and incredible proud of myself to be living alcohol free, at times I feel glum, low or anxious, I get stuck in negative thinking loops, I get unreasonably angry. At times everything just feels a bit hard work.

But ultimately all of this is a good thing because it has been a real eye opener! I am being forced to really get to know myself. I am being forced to look for other, more effective ways to manage my brain and my emotions. And I have been forced into finding solutions - real, genuine, amazingly effective solutions.

Mindfulness! The wonderful world of spiritual awakening and I'm not even ashamed to use that phrase any more! By listening to so many fantastic teachers and experts in the field of mindfulness and meditation and psychology and spirituality I am managing to stay on top of myself and my busy brain.

I am slowly slowly learning the tools to calm myself down, detach from my thoughts, gain a lovely perspective of the enormity and wonder of this world and my place in it (as opposed to being hooked on a narrow sense of self and a tight grip on my day-in-day-out issues).

It's great!!!! It's bloody great!!! And I so recommend it to everyone.

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

No-brainer...

I'm a bit behind on my Susan Salzberg meditations - just did the Day 10 audio and today is actually the 17th day of February! Whoops! But she is very kind at not shutting off the audio after the day has passed so I've got a backlog in my inbox and I will get to them all eventually.

They are great and I still love her voice..so smooth and low and lovely....

My mental health is so-so at the moment, been a bit stressed and low at times over the past few days - nothing drastic!! - just not the most happy-happy joy-joy version of myself. But that's ok.

Remembering to be mindful throughout the days - sometimes. I'd give myself 60% on that score. Could try better.

Actually just wrote the above paragraphs then went to pick up my boys from school - got there 10 mins early so sat in the car and did a quick meditation. Watching my thoughts float by the sky of my mind. There were a lot of clouds.. very noisy in there and jumping around.. the more I sit and try to watch the quieter it will become I'm sure.

It's a no-brainer, it works.. just wish I was a little more regular in my practice. BUT that's ok. Am NOT going to beat myself up because I know every mindfulness guru will tell me not to.. just onwards with the best intentions and honesty and also forgive myself for sometimes being a bit 'messy' with my moods. I do live raw and sober 100% of the time and would be a robot if I didn't experience highs and lows.

A friend sent me a link to this article on how you don't have to sit still to meditate. It's a good affirmation of my belief that regularly reminding yourself to be mindful during the day - to ground yourself in your body and one the earth while you are moving around your day - can be extremely helpful.

I do however think that doing the formal practice of sitting quietly meditating (watching your thoughts, gently catching yourself when you get caught by a thought and taken away, gently escorting yourself back to your breath and body) is the most useful practice and this I will try to do more of..

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sharon Salzberg...

Ok I am a little bit in love with Sharon Salzberg right now! She is offering the month-long meditation challenge that I am doing .. every day she emails me a short little audio (7-8 mins) and they are just great, instructive, helpful, just very cool. She has such a warm tone and great accent (and is superficial of me to admit that I love that she isn't rail thin like all other wellness gurus seem to be?!). Love her!

In today's audio she said of one breath - "It is the entire universe, it is everything." Like all of these things they often lose something in translation but when you hear them in the moment they totally work to ground you down. Talk about helping you focus deeply on that one breath.

Imagine if that one breath was really the entire universe.. everything. Imagine if everything else was nothing at all for the instant of that breath. How calming is that?

Not sure if I am articulating well how this stuff really helps calm me. Just focusing on the small wonder of my existence (through the breath or my physical body as it sits in the world at any particular instant) makes everything else in my world fade away. All worries, concerns, plans, niggles, realities.. all there is is this one breath. Deeply in.... deeply out...

Anyway... I am a few days behind with this February challenge because I couldn't get to listen for one reason and another over the weekend. But that's ok.. Sharon is not strict on when the audios are available and I can catch up or go at a slower pace than once a day. Right now I'm at the library and am going to listen to one on my headphones.

Back on track with the mindfulness baby and loving it!!!

Love, Mrs D xxx

Friday, February 5, 2016

From a famine to a feast..

Ok I'm lurching crazily in the other direction to try and get some harmony back into my bloody head. Am very emotional right now and not looking after myself and am indulging in bad isolating thinking! Not good, not good at all. So I'm going crazy signing up for things!!!

Lots of lovely people are reaching out via email and in comments on my blogs etc - so many lovely people being kind to me I keep crying when I get their messages, goodness I am emotional right now! Many of them are sending me in the direction of good materials.

So!...

I have registered for this Webinar called 'Radical Wellness: How to Revolutionise your health now'.. you put your email address in and they send you a link that you can click on just before the 'event' goes live - basically an hour of audio they play live for an hour - it's at 6am on Sunday morning NZ time so perfect for me.. I will set the alarm and listen in bed.

I have also signed up to this 'Real Happiness Meditation Challenge' (thank you Lori!). I have just received the confirmation email and it contains links to the first 5 daily meditations (as I'm late to register). After this I will be getting a link sent to me daily with the guided meditation I have to sit and listen to. They are short! Only 6-8 minutes. I'm ALWAYS much better at doing this stuff when I am set a task or challenge or programme of sorts.

I have also signed up for this 3-part free video series featuring Tara Brach and Jack Cornfield (thank you @geea!). Just watched the first video and it was just 6 minutes long and he made me cry and already I am starting to feel a little bit better.

I'm also being honest about what is happening for me to the community at Living Sober and am feeling some lovely community support there.

I've also found a local drop-in meditation class at a Buddhist centre on at lunchtime on a Wednesday in my home town and might be brave and start going along!! I want to do this.

I've also pre-cut a whole lot of spinach and celery and have it in containers in the fridge - so that it is quick and easy for me to make myself green juices. And I plan on re-downloading MyFitnessPal onto my iPhone so I can try to get better at managing my sugar/bread binging by tracking my foods on this App. I used it before and it worked well so will try again.

On the right track....

Love, Mrs D xxx

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Honesty

Bit crap on the mindfulness front right now. Not having those regular reminders to ground myself in the moment. I'm not hopelessly lost in my head in fraught thinking loops ... but am just a bit disconnected from the here and now.

I certainly haven't stuck to my previous pledge of meditating for one minute every day.

I feel like I'm missing my Tara Brach and I'm missing all those amazing people who spoke to me through the Mindfulness Summit and I'm feeling out of touch with that whole wonderful world that was offering me so much.. and as a result my own internal landscape has become a bit bleak.

Am writing this honesty out here in the hopes that it will spur me in to reconnecting with this area of life. I feel spiritually bereft. Sounds kooky but it's the truth.

Love, Mrs D xxx