Tag Archive | anxiety

F.E.A.R

My therapist recently told me that we have a choice for how to handle fear. We can Fuck Everything and Run (lol!) or Face Everything and Recover. He said that both are ok but of course facing & recovering is more healthy and in the end will likely bring us the more desired results.

Recently, I encountered a scary situation. And I remembered my F.E.A.R choices. And I chose to……fuck everything and run. Lol!

The scary situation? Having to go into a building with an elevator.

In case you don’t know, I’m deathly afraid of being closed in small places alone, especially elevators – always have been and don’t know why – sometimes I actually feel like I’m going to die when I just think about it; I actually feel like death is around me, squeezing me, suffocating me. You can read more about my struggles & victories in these posts if you want!

It actually freaking happened

Serendipitous Strength

welcome to rock bottom – the only way is up

My choices? To suck it up and get on the elevator & know I have the courage & strength to handle it (going up I have to get on because the door to stairs is locked but coming back down, I can take the stairs), to take advantage of this opportunity for growth or to take the stairs and avoid that fear and the possibility of getting trapped on one by myself. And yes, I chose the second. :-/

Generally, I’m really good with facing my fear and even staying calm and getting inside the elevators alone. But this is the building where I recently got stuck in one, very briefly but still not pleasant(and I handled it so well, I must say!) and I just felt that I was in no mood for any nonsense that morning. Lol

It’s good for me to get onto elevators alone as much as I can so I can stregthen my courage & inner peace with them. I haven’t suffered any terrible relapse recently. But it’s possible that I can as I have before. Sometimes my heart still races a bit and my hands almost tremble when I get onto elevators alone but sometimes I’m very calm when I do. For a while, my phobic fear was pretty much gone, healed, recoverd. But I suffered a relapse a while ago and began to struggle again. Nowhere near as badly as before but still a bit of a struggle.

The morning I was in that building, I was struggling with the phobic fear and wasn’t up to facing it.

So when the elevator doors opened, I bolted and ran for the stairs.

I won’t make a habit of it. I will still choose to get into elevators alone and know I can handle whatever comes my way. I will remember my strength and progress and accomplishments. But there will also be moments I’ll give into weakness, forget my strength and courage and take the easy way, the way that doesn’t allow as much growth and an opportunity to strengthen my courage & virtue of patience. And that’s ok too!

We don’t always, always have to be strong and brave and inspiring and positive and perfect.

I’m generally very positive and mostly use social media for sharing inspirational and/or happy/positive things. But I also think it’s good to be genuine and share my not so inspiring experiences/choices. Like running away and not facing my fear.

I was disappointed that I couldn’t write a post about how I was brave and strong in the face of my phobic fear and how I handled it like a pro! Lol I was sorry I couldn’t use my own experience to try to inspire others or encourage someone to be brave, feel the fear and do it anyway. I could have written that post but it would be dishonest.

But then I remembered that sharing our weaknesses and less than pleasant aspects and experiences can be just as inspiring and just as encouraging and uplifting to others as sharing our strengths. There are others who run, make mistakes, have setbacks, do things that aren’t the best. And sharing this can help each other see that someone else understands and that it’s actually ok. We have permission to not always be positive and strong and brave. We have permission to falter. To stumble. To fall. We have permission to run once in a while. Just so long as it doesn’t become a habit or way of life, it’s all good! And if it does become an unhealthy habit, that’s ok, we can fix it. Habits can be reversed. Fall and get back up.

Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Or not.

Whatever you choose, I’m here cheering you on!

Virtual Hugs to you! ❤ (virtual hugs are good for all because even if you don’t like actual hugs, you’re not actually being touched. lol)

Xoxo Kim

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Welcome to rock bottom -the only way now is UP

“Face to face, out in the heat

Hanging tough, staying hungry

They stack the odds still we take to the street

For the kill with the skill to survive”🐯

Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

Here is a post I wrote a couple days ago and just edited it a bit.

“Welcome to Rock Bottom

One day, after another routinely dreadful morning, I sat in my car looking at our office and thinking, ‘I DO NOT want to go in there. I hate my job. I can’t stand Frank. I don’t make enough money. I am so underutilized! Should I leave the company? Would I even be missed? What’s the point of all this anyway? Is this really my life? This can’t be my life.’ And there it was. I had finally reached it—I was at rock bottom. As I mentioned, I believe rock bottom is the moment when you finally find the power and the strength you’ve always been lacking to change your today and go on to create a better tomorrow. I knew I couldn’t get any lower, and at that moment, I realized that all of the training, coaching, reading, and inspiring I’d engaged in just a few years earlier had not disappeared completely. I started to sense something deep within. There was still a tiny spark of hope that things could get better. That internal spark was like a smothered flame that just needed a little air, and as soon as I realized the spark was there, it was as if someone poured kerosene on it. I started to think: ‘If my circumstances won’t change, maybe I can change the way I look at my circumstances, and maybe as a result, they actually WILL change.'”

These are wise words by Kevin Clayson, author of Flip the Gratitude Switch. I have experienced “rock bottom” before, just like he mentions here, where it’s like I just can’t get any lower, so desperate, plummeting to the lowest depths of my despair, until I can’t possibly sink any lower. Pulled deeper and deeper and deeper into some dark, seemingly endless abyss when finally I realize there is an end. And I have reached it.

What do we do when our world is crumbling on top of us, when everything shatters, when it’s hard to stand, so difficult just to live & breathe, and we are pulled so low we can’t go any lower?

We rise.

Usually when I have experienced this “rock bottom,” it’s with depression and sometimes when my chronic physical pain disorder is flaring up to what seems like unbearable levels and my body is wracked in physical agony beyond belief. The only way I can get lower when I’m like this, is to be put in the ground. I haven’t experienced these things in a long while. My physical pain disorder has been doing so well. I have been experiencing mild to no pain each & every day. Thanking my lucky stars! And I can’t even remember when I was last depressed! I’m so happy!

But it’s true, this morning I realized I have hit “rock bottom.” A different kind of rock bottom. Not depression of any kind or physical pain. But still I have found my self in a very low place in this life. Two months ago, I think it was, October, I wasn’t depressed or in physical pain but was in Hell everyday for a couple weeks. It ended for a while and now is back!🙊😱

This Hell I speak of is fear. Terror. Not just a bit of anxiety. Fullblown fear. It’s not fear in general but about a specific thing. As I mentioned here, in a post titled Serendipitous Strength, I used to be deathly afraid of being closed in small places that I can’t just get out of the second I want to, especially elevators and especially when I’m alone. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. Why is a mystery. As a child, I had breakdowns going on elevators even with my mom & dad.

I healed myself. It is an incredible accomplishment and awe-inspiring. The fact that I had a relapse doesn’t matter. It doesnt change how incredible it is. I healed this fear once and can and will heal it again.

I never worked on this fear specifically but during my personal development journey, my quest to find healing, working on myself to help heal my depression and cope with tmjd “cluster headaches” without realizing it, I was conquering my fear of being closed in. With my personal development plan I teach myself and train my brain to know I can handle and conquer anything. To know I will always be free no matter what position I’m in in this life. To know life is a gift no matter what. To see positivity and opportunity in any situation no matter how dreadful. I trained my brain with meditation and quotes and music and songs and writing to stay calm and composed for the most part, in any situation no matter what, no matter how painful physically or emotionally. (Out of my post Serendipitous Strength)

The #1 one thing that helps me with my fear is my Buddhist studies, not even just meditation but the writings I read even when I don’t put them into practice as intended. Just the reads are so powerful. All of these other things, quotes, songs, basic mindfulness…, helped me to a great extent, with depression & chronic pain and when I found Kadampa Buddhism, I found deeper healing and healing for this fear.

Somewhat recently, I suffered a relapse and my old fear returned to me with a vengeance. The second the elevator doors close and I’m on there alone, my first thought is “I’m screwed” and a sense of panic arises.

For work, I sometimes have to get on elevators. For about ten months I had to seven days a week, mostly by myself. Thankfully my fear was healed. But in a fraction of a second, while on an elevator, by myself, I suffered a relapse. I made the mistake of watching the numbers go up and waiting for the doors to open and you know when we watch & wait, a second feels like forever. I felt the doors took a second longer than usual to open and that’s all it took to bring that breath-taking fear crashing back into me. Flooded with terror, when the door finally opened, I stumbled into the hallway, trembling inside & out, legs like jelly, dizzy, panicked.

And my fear has been with me since then. I no longer have to be on an elevator every single day anymore and that may be part of the problem. I’m no longer accustomed to it and no longer have that chance to practice being calm on an elevator everyday. Now with those two things, the relapse & being out of touch with elevators, I nearly fall to pieces when I have to get on one by myself. I’m not scared anymore if I’m on an elevator with a dog or a human.

What if the elevator malfunctions while I’m on there myself and I’m trapped inside a box for who knows how long? My worst nightmare. I know I can handle it. My conviction is strong. But I don’t always feel that I can handle it. My conviction never falters. I know anyone can handle anything if we train our brain and adjust our attitude. But sometimes I focus too much on the feeling of not being able to handle it. And i fear if i get trapped, I will become a blubbering wreck and never recover. Two or more weeks away and when I think of it, my head is in turmoil.

(Photo not mine)

I am not someone who curses a lot out loud, in writing, or in my head. It’s not that I think it’s wrong. I love when people curse a lot. Lol It’s just not me. But early, this morning I was walking up a street thinking about how in a few weeks I will be required to get onto an elevator(the doors for staircases in some buildings open to get outside but are locked on the outside to get upstairs so elevators are generally required), most likely alone, and everyday for at least a week, and how I’m going to be living & breathing fear, I’m going to be a total wreck in my head, just like two months ago, and I just thought Fuck this shit. Seriously, fuck it. I am done. Not done with life or with work. I am done being conquered by this fear. So done. And I realized I have hit rock bottom two months ago and am still here now. And I remembered Mr. Clayson’s story about how rock bottom is our opportunity to rise above. I will rise above this fear. I will conquer it.

How? I’m not quite sure but I know I will. I will discipline my brain. And I have a few things in mind. More intensive Dharma practice & gratitude practice, The Work, rhythmic breathing, desensitization…

There is no place for this fear. I don’t want it and I won’t have it. I don’t have to accept it because it can be changed. Two months ago I found it difficult to focus on anything other than this fear. I spilled coffee all over because my hands were trembling, My legs were shaky and I was lightheaded. After getting off an elevator, it took me so long to recover, those mornings & nights. Outside I probably looked a bit shaken up but inside, I was wrecked. (I did face my fear and kept getting on elevators though, {BY MYSELF, ALONE!!!, ME!!! On an elevator ALONE!!! Whhhaaattt?! Holy guacamole!} which is a display of great strength & courage. I did what I had to do while not repressing my fear) I felt that I couldn’t even stand up straight each day.

This is unacceptable and I will change it. Whatever it takes. I will not avoid elevators and will not put up with this terror. And there’s no place for it in my world. It’s not welcome here and I do not have to accept it.

I healed my fear mostly with Buddhist philosophy. And I will again. This is the main thing that brought me so much deep healing and I know without a doubt, it will again. I just have to concentrate.

Recently, I received a Dorje Shugden Empowerment and I am totally counting on it (& my previous Empowerments) helping me cope with & heal this fear.

Om vajra wiki witrana söha.

OM AH RA PA TSA NA DHI

Just like Mr. Clayson shares in the excerpt above, it can feel like all our previous strength, wisdom, personal development is down the drain, but it’s not. Somewhere deep inside, there is strength, wisdom, courage even if it seems to be long gone or seems like we never had any to begin with.

What I am promoting here is not necessarily any specific techniques like gratitude, meditation, conscious breathing or philosophy like Buddhist philosophy, though I do generally promote those. Here, I am just suggesting that we rise above our fear, pain, struggles…and keep going. Keep moving up. Pro-act. Let’s not sink to the bottom and stay there. Do something. Whatever it takes. Whether it’s professional help, meditation, personal development books, exercise, gratitude practice…find something, do something, and just keep going.

(Photo not mine)

It can be done. I did this before and if you are reading this now, so can you. I was able to make the choice to face a fear so powerful that I feel it can drive me insane, like I will lose all sense of language and awareness…, face it & conquer it and completely overcome it. Whatever your issue is, grief, fear, depression, addiction of any sort or something that may seem less serious…you can face it and overcome it. It’s not the problem itself that is actually the problem; it’s how we attach to it, perceive it, view it, react to it…and we have a choice to change that.

“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.”

We can & we will.

I am here cheering you on right along with cheering myself on. I have a lot of work to do and it’s every bit worth it. Keep going.

“When you’re at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on!!”

Much love & light & strength to you,

Xoxo Kim❤

P.s Elevators are the worst invention in the history of ever!!! I have a few choice words for the inventor! Blahhh!!!

Inspiration❤

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This isn’t my photo! Just an inspiring quote I recently discovered! I haven’t been doing much for the last few days except working & meditating (and eating pita bread & hummus! Yum! 😍 ) 

I haven’t even been reading much which is extremely unusual for me! I have been engaging in meditation more instead. My meditations have been deeper and longer and more persistent than they used to be, over an hour for each one. I notice a significant difference each day than when I don’t meditate much. When I don’t meditate for a while, even when I’m very calm and peaceful and not anxious or depressed, I’m not as mindful of my inner peace and it doesn’t feel as deep as when I meditate even just once in the last two days. The feeling of tranquility, inner peace, calm, serenity…, is almost palpable. For me, the effects of meditation last two days. I noticed this because when I meditate just once one day and not again, I still feel the effects two days later, that smoothness, that seemingly indestructible inner calm. Two days later! Imagine the effects of meditating every single day! 😀  I have much experience with meditation but never made it a constant habit. I meditate off and on, stopping for a while then starting up then stopping, then again…which is better than nothing! 😀

I am not someone who experiences much anxiety or sleep problems but after losing my close friend unexpectedly to a heart attack, a year and a half ago, I experience anxiety and a sense of panic (not full blown panic attacks though) in ways I never used to before and I find meditation so very helpful. But we don’t have to have a specific problem or condition for meditation to be helpful. Even if we’re generally, naturally very peaceful and joyful, meditation can still be fantastic.

So I have been on a kind of retreat, not like a trip somewhere but not doing as much as usual (other than working) like reading, social media….

In Buddhism, sometimes we are encouraged to go on a retreat in our minds, even if we have to work. We still go to work and do things we have to but lay off other things for a while, like Internet. It energizes and calms us. This wasn’t my intention now; it just sort of happened that way.

Also, I recently heard on the radio that eating any kind of beans each and every day can add eight years to our life! Hummus is one example the person provided. I love hummus! Lol My mom thinks it sounds like a dirty word. 😂😍

I’ll have to look it up to learn more about that! Very interesting!  Today is the fifth day of my twelve days in a row of work! It’s not so bad. It is a bit busy! ‘Tis the season for ice cream, milkshakes, banana splits….😍

Thank you to everyone who wrote me comments! I will respond soon! I appreciate every comment, like, share…..😍

Much love & light,

Kim ❤

 

 

 

Our Hawaiian Paradise

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(me on the Wildwood beach this Summer)

In Orison Swett Marden’s book, Cheerfulness As a Life Power, you can read it online here,he shares an amazing excerpt I would love to share about being lighthearted, cheerful, and carefree. 

It’s old so there’s no copyright so it’s no cost to read online! I have the Kindle book. It’s not a very long book.  

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Here it is:

“Our Hawaiian Paradise”

“A newspaper correspondent, Annie Laurie, has told us all about the new kind of American girls just added to our country: –

‘They are as straight as an arrow, and walk as queens walk in fairy stories; they have great braids of sleek, black hair, soft brown eyes, and gleaming white teeth; they can swim and ride and sing; and they are brown with a skin that shines like bronze…there isn’t a worried woman in Hawaii. The women there can’t worry. They don’t know how. They eat and sing and laugh, and see the sun and the moon set, and posses their souls in smiling peace. 
If a Hawaiian woman has a good dinner, she laughs and invites her friends to eat it with her; if she hasn’t a good dinner, she laughs and goes to sleep, – and forgets to be hungry. She doesn’t have to worry about what the people in the downstairs flat will think if they don’t see the butcher’s boy arrive on time. If she can earn the money, she buys a nice. new, glorified Mother Hubbard; and, if she can’t get it, she throws the old one into the surf and washes it out, puts a new wreath of fresh flowers in her hair, and starts out to enjoy the morning and the breezes thereof.
They are not earnest workers; they haven’t the slightest idea that they were put upon earth to reform the universe, – they’re just happy. They run across great stretches of clear, white sand, washed with resplendent purple waves, and, when the little brown babies roll in the surf, their brown mothers run after them, laughing and splashing like a lot of children. Or, perhaps we see them in gay cavalcades mounted upon garlanded ponies, adorned by white jasmine wreaths with roses and pinks. And here in this paradise of laughter and light hearts and gentle music, there’s absolutely nothing to do but to care for the children and old people and to swim or ride. You couldn’t start a ‘reform circle’ to save your life; there isn’t a jail in the place, nor a tenement quarter, and there are no outdoor pool. There isn’t a woman’s club in Honolulu, – not a club. There was a culture circle once for a few days; a Boston woman who went there for her health organized it, but it interfered with afternoon nap-time, so nobody came.’
When, hereafter, we talk about worrying women, we must take into account our Hawaiian sisters, if we will average up the amount of worry
per capita,in our nation.”

This is so beautiful and I get vivid images going through my head of these beautiful smiling women and their beautiful babies playing in the sand all day loving & living without a care in the world!

This is a beautiful inspiration to us all and how blessed we are to be able to encounter it!

If we are someone with a serious condition like an anxiety or depressive condition that requires professional or medical help, this most likely will not cure us but it can be a great supplement and reminder to let go of whatever is preventing cheerfulness and positivity in our heads. And if we don’t have a true mental health condition, we still likely experience anxiety or distress once in a while and this excerpt is a fantastic guide to help us cope and let go. 

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I love how the writer writes that these girls, if they don’t have a good dinner, just forget to be hungry. That’s so inspiring! They can complain about not having good food but instead they just go to sleep and wake up happy. And if she can’t get up enough money for what she wants, she just reuses the old and makes it beautiful!

Imagine if we do this often, forget to be hungry when our food sucks, reuse our old things if we can’t buy new ones and if they can’t be reused, just forget to want them until we can get them later! Instead of complaining about the weather, soak up whatever beauty we can in the weather we have. When we’re sick, instead of complaining, use the experience as a good excuse to nurture our selves more. We can seize every situation we are in and practice looking at the bright side, looking for any bit of good that we can!

Let’s remember to laugh in the sun, breathe in the sweet fragrance of the flowers, feel the soft air upon our skin, sing, and splash, and play! There’s no such thing as being “too old” as long as we’re alive. Forget the stress, the problems, the potential problems, the negativity & be happy now!

😀 ❤

Lottsa love to you!!

xoxi Kim ❤

It is the question that drives us

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“I’ve got a song
I’ve got a song
And I carry it with me and I sing it loud
If it gets me nowhere, I’ll go there proud” ~ Jim Croce

Often, many of us think results are most important, getting, receiving, things working out in the end, the end result, succeeding the way we intended….and while those things can be important, I realize more and more that the most important thing is our drive, our intention, will, inspiration, motivation itself, not always just the results.

This is something that I think people who have suffered a serious physical illness/pain or severe depression may be able to understand better than people who have never experienced those things. But I think anyone can come to see my point, whether or not you agree.

When we are severely sick or deeply depressed, we can lose our appetite. Not just for food but for life. It’s like there’s nothing. Just nothingness and emptiness and numbness. For some of us, sometimes we don’t even want to win. Often, we don’t want to live or to die. Even wanting to die takes a kind of passion and energy. If you want to die, there’s a spark in you somewhere. Seize that spark and hang onto it like your life depends on it. It does. 

Take that little sliver of life still left in you and use it for the better. Apply it to something other than wanting to die. Even when it’s hard. Use that little spark to help others, help the environment, do volunteer work, create something, post words of wisdom to uplift or inspire someone else, keep pushing through the numbness and lifelessness and pain and do something, anything, for the better…

“Always have the highest bar for yourself. Wake up everyday and, no matter how crappy you feel, want to change something for the better. Do something that makes someone happy. Create something that inspires someone. Be someone’s light when they are hopeless.” – Dave Grohl

Just the fact that we have passion, interest is an amazing thing even if everything crumbles to seemingly irreparable pieces in the end. But often, people don’t think of this. We are too focused on the end, not the journey itself. 

I thought about this more last week while reading a text about the movie the “Matrix” and philosophy. The “Matrix” movie is deeply philosophical but many people don’t realize or care about that aspect. It’s just a fun, action packed thriller, probably, for the average person. But for those with philosophical minds and especially us philosophy phreaks, we see and love that it runs deeper than that.

In some ways, the story is extremely similar to the story of Socrates, the ancient philosopher who is said to have been put to death for challenging the common beliefs of society, shaking up the status quo. According to the ancient texts, Socrates was constantly nagging people, but with loving intentions, about the nature of things and beliefs that no one else questioned and just accepted as truth.

This led to him being executed, according to the old writings, mostly by Plato.

Check out some of Plato’s writings for free, here if you want:

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13726/13726-h/13726-h.htm

Socrates is often considered to be arrogant, as he questions and questions until the poor person contradicts himself or makes a mistake, but he is completely humble. He backs people into corners and intimidates them. But only because he believes it’s important to think and question and own up to flaws in our reasoning and belief systems. He believes examination of how we live is more crucial than anything, for living a good life. 

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Socrates questions and intimidates and puts people in awkward situations where they contradict themselves, yet he admits that he knows absolutely nothing. That he knows nothing more than anyone else.

“Wisest is she who knows she does not know.”

He does this excessive questioning just for the sake of questioning and exploring. The fact that he believes he knows nothing but still badgers people like this knowing that he can’t possibly judge their answers as correct or incorrect since he doesn’t know himself, reveals that his quest is mostly to shed light on the fact that questioning itself, exploration, examination alone is crucial for a good life. (I wouldn’t recommend his way of going about it though, forcing people to stand there and answer when it’s annoying the piss out of them!)

Here’s an example of Socrates’ exasperating method of questioning:

Socrates: What is holy?

Euthyphro: Holiness is what all the gods love and its opposite is what all the gods hate, unholiness.

Socrates: Is what is holy holy because the gods approve it, or do they approve it because it is holy? 

And on and on. 

What a gadfly Socrates is! Lol But he does have a point, doesn’t he? And the fact that someone loves something is not essential to the thing’s nature. It’s not its nature. It’s accidental. If someone stops loving something, that something still is what it always was. I love Coca Cola, always have, always will but if I stop loving it, it’s still the same substance. Maybe it would be different if I were a goddess as opposed to the mere mortal that I am, and I love it?

In philosophy we have a specific definition for “accidental.” An accidental quality is simply a trait that is part of someone or something but not crucial to its essence or nature. My eye color for example. It doesn’t make me what I am. If it changes or was never what it is but a different color instead, I would still be the me that I now am. (at least I think so) In fact my eyes were always pure blue then when I was a teenager, they turned bright green mixed with blue! (I was freaked out…) But I’m still me. Hair color, size…are other examples of accidental qualities. And think of coffee with a flavor, say, raspberry, the raspberry flavoring is accidental, not essential. Coffee is coffee with or without raspberry flavor. Anyway here I am doing what I do best, getting carried away while writing and going off on a tangent! 
(in Philosophy, we speak/write of philosophers  as if they are alive even if they haven’t been alive in centuries, it’s just what we do! Lol)

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Coincidentally I was thinking about posting this topic on Sunday before the free hugging event and then I experienced something where I was able to apply it!

Sunday, May 3rd, was Global Free Hug Day! I got out of the house and to the park later than I planned and I couldn’t stay long. I decided to try LOVE park first! The famous Philadelphia park with the big LOVE statue that people all around the country or world come to visit and get weddings pics and other pictures and things in front of it! (I get to see it everyday if I want! Lol sorry, just had to brag! ;-D) 

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And it’s there that I experienced the most love out of the parks I visited! No one really stops to read signs often! I was with my mom and sister who did not want to participate so it was just me hugging and no one was really looking at me. Some people quickly glanced at my sign (which I think turned out beautifully even with my dreadful handwriting!) and looked away not really reading! It can be awkward looking at a stranger and reading something that stranger is holding. 

My mom told me i wasn’t  going to get any hugs! 😦 Because no one was walking near me and I couldn’t stay very long! Also, I’m not loud or very bold. So I wasn’t going to yell “free hugs!!!” like some people!! It took enough courage just to stand there with the sign! 😀 But I did! 

It was disappointing but I was reminded that all that matters is that I have the inspiration and motivation and courage to participate in free hug day! 
All we can really do is attempt! 

We can appreciate that we have the will, the desire, the motivation and inspiration, the love, the life in us, to do something.

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So at least I had the will, passion, and desire. That’s not to say people who don’t want to participate in free hug day don’t have passion, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but since I do like things like this, it’s great to have the motivation! And this goes for anything we have motivation to do.  This is just one example. 

As I mentioned in a somewhat recent post, I have been struggling hard with grief. We lost my close friend/coworker, Diane(she was 58 years old), a couple months ago, unexpectedly and I have been grieving since she died and always will but it was really hitting me hard for a while. So hard. The more days that would go by, the more difficult it would get. It’s worse now than when it first happened. For days and days the worst of it wouldn’t let up. It’s not depression, just raw agonizing grief that hurts so much I can hardly stand it.  And anxiety and fear, sometimes close to panic. This is the longest I have gone without seeing Diane, in the almost ten years I have known her. It feels extremely confusing. She was very loving, funny, and beautiful. 

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A couple days before global Free Hug day, I thought I had no strength to do much and while I still wanted to do hug day, I wasn’t sure how I could but I reminded myself it has the potential to help others. And if something can result in even a fraction of good for someone else, it is worth doing no matter how lifeless it feels or in pain I am.  I can keep on pushing through it all whether it’s grief and loss, depression, physical pain..even when it seems I have no strength or courage. 

But I did have the strength and motivation to do hug day and other things I thought I couldn’t do. And I told myself that’s all that matters! 

Anyway, I did get a couple hugs! Yay!! And some beautiful pics of the park! And I will post about Hug Day soon! The pics are on my other memory card and I’m having some problems with my phone and the cards and I want to include the pics! 😀

I am reminded of Nimo Patel’s “Planting Seeds” song about how all

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we can do is try then let go and whatever happens, happens and that’s it. 

Here are some of his lyrics. 

“…but the roots are always growin’ no matter if I’m there or never around…whatever grows will grow, whatever dies will die, whatever works will work, whatever flies will fly, whatever fails will fail, what’s meant to soar will soar, I am planting seeds, nothing more.” 

“It’s like your whole life you’ve been training for this moment 
And when the time comes you just disown it,
Meaning you just surrender don’t control it…”

“But now we’re learning when we let it go, it overflows 
With no credit to take cuz no credit is owned.”

“…but the real gold is joy, when life starts to flow
And when it does, you just smile, cuz now you know!” 

Here’s the video:

Mobile:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhcKIGCE_Pk

Desktop:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&persist_app=1&v=ZhcKIGCE_Pk

I wrote about this topic in my super long “Fear & Hunger” post a while ago.  

Check it out here if you want:

https://inspirationalgem.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/fear-hunger/

And I am also reminded of another beautiful song I listened to for as long as I can remember and it often helped me with my depression when I was young, before I learned to cope well, and is still one of my favorite songs! It’s Jim Croce’s “I Got a Name.”

Here is the desktop video version:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHVBzLGAIbU&app=desktop

Mobile:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hHVBzLGAIbU&app=m&persist_app=1

If you listen closely to the lyrics, you can hear the message. It’s about living and loving and being inspired in general no matter what happens or doesn’t.  It’s about living with a song in our hearts and if it doesn’t work out for us, let’s just be happy we tried. Intention, trying, the will and desire counts for something!

So let’s honor our drive, our motivation, our inspiration and desire. Our will. Let’s cherish it and be mindful of it. It’s good to win and succeed how we planned. But it’s even better to want to win and succeed. Wanting to win is everything, even if we are greatly disappointed in the end. We can still appreciate our desire and will. Let’s find our inner song and embrace it even if it seems to lead us nowhere. Just having a song in us is cause for celebration. 

I’m wishing you much love now & always!!

Xoxo Kim

GRATITUDE

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“Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.”

This post isn’t really about gratitude. It’s about distraction. How deceiving, right?! Lol

But the word “Gratitude” fits into this post well.

In my recent post I mentioned that I recently experienced a few losses, two of my pets (my parakeet and my cat), and my human friend who lost her life to a heart attack at work… all died unexpectedly.

I have been generally very happy even in the midst of my sense of loss and the sorrow for those lost.  I’m usually good at staying positive even in the midst of stress and negativity. 

Some moments the grief is more difficult than others. A few nights ago, it was hard to sleep. I kept waking up with terrible anxiety. Sleep problems and anxiety are not something I am accustomed to experiencing and I wasn’t completely sure what to do. I rarely have trouble sleeping no matter what is going on. And I rarely experience true anxiety even when something very unpleasant or painful occurs.  Anxiety is a “normal” emotion or feeling most everyone feels at some points, whether mild or severe. It’s not necessarily an indication of a disorder. 

But it’s never pleasant. I think it’s one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world, fear, panic, and anxiety. When I do experience anxiety for whatever reason, it’s usually mild and whether or not it’s mild, it usually ends quickly. Most of us don’t have panic attacks or anxiety that is out of control but we can draw on our experiences with “normal” anxiety and fear and deepen our empathy for people who have any sort of anxiety/panic disorder.

Anxiety should not be frequent and interfering too much with life, sleep, health…or it may be or be becoming a disorder that can be treated somehow. 
 
My anxiety wasn’t out of control or a symptom of any condition; it was just a reaction to my recent losses and I have never had a panic attack. It looks so scary to experience and horrible. And I have much compassion for those who experience them. I don’t want to even imagine having to put up with such horror. 

But when I kept waking up my body/mind was just so stiff and trem-bly with anxiety and a kind of fear and it was just so unpleasant I was desperate to end it(just the fear/anxiety, I wasn’t suicidal or depressed). I looked around my room all groggy and tired trying to find anything that may help me allay my fear/anxiety. It would have been easier if I wasn’t so tired. My sleep was restless and fitful. I thought about getting my earphones and trying to meditate but I was too tired. I tried some meditative breathing techniques which really did help. But I felt I also needed something more. 

I kept drifting off to sleep, having weird dreams, then waking all anxious and fearful.

It wasn’t even really anxious thoughts, it was more physical sensations all over my body. 

It sucked.

Then I looked next to me in bed and saw my gratitude journal leaning against the wall. I was so tired and through my blurred vision because I wasn’t fully awake, I saw the word “GRATITUDE” and noticed something I never really noticed before.

The word “gratitude” has the word “tit” in it. 

And I burst out laughing. 

(Yeah I’m kind of on the immature side.) 

I was so amazed for some reason (that state in the middle of wake and sleep tends to put me in strange, often elevated/exaggerated moods and stuff).

I wanted to tell someone. “Hey! Do you know the word ‘gratitude’ has the word ‘tit’ in it?! It does!! That’s so amazing, isn’t it?!”

The first person I thought to tell was my sister. She already thinks I’m a perv(there’s countless occasions throughout the day she says “omg, Kim you’re a pig!” With much emphasis on the word “pig.” lol)  . And she wouldn’t have been too happy. Which would have made it all the more fun to tell her! But she was sleeping. And I was more than half sleeping, in and out of waking and sleeping.

I began to wonder what other words may be in the word “gratitude” and thought probably not many! But I was wrong! Lots of words began jumping out at me! 

A
I
(I laughed at the fact that one letter words are acceptable to me – but why not?! They’re words aren’t they?! Teachers in school wouldn’t let us use one letter words when we played games like this)
AT
Grade
Trade
Age
Eat
Ate
Aid
Rat
Tar
Grate 
Rate
Guard
Art

And so many more….i wanted to write them all down but I was too groggy. 

So I laid there in and out of sleep with words flashing across my mind, most appropriate words for the activity at hand, some I had to correct myself, even in my sleep/dream state. For some reason I kept wanting to put a “C” in it. 

CAGE
CRATE
.
.
.

And I had to open my eyes wide as I looked at my journal to make sure there really isn’t a “C” in “gratitude.”

There’s not. :-/

For a second I even wondered why “gratitude” can’t be “gcratitude” or “cgratitude”  just to make my little game a bit more impressive.  It was disappointing. 

My sleepy brain is a tad off. But it’s all good! 😀

But for the most part, I did well! 

I was quite impressed with my slumbering brain coming up with words as I had my eyes closed sleeping or almost sleeping. I wasn’t actually seeing the word “Gratitude” with my eyes when I would drift off in my state of fitful sleep but I saw it across my mind as I was mostly sleeping.  

And then I remembered how I loved playing that game when I was a little girl. When I was in middle school, my dad and me would choose a long word and sit on the sofa having a competition to see who got the most words out of it. It was so much fun. We sat there for hours playing at night, making lists, coming up with interesting and fun words. Sometimes I would cheat. But I thought it was so funny that I was brilliant and sly enough to cheat (I actually saw it as a slick skill) and cheat without getting caught, that I would open up and spill my dirty little secret and be laughing hysterically as I was telling it. It never got old, the awe over my gall to cheat and my ability to cheat well. 

I had an electronic navy blue word speller that I was able to put just about any word in and it would scramble it for me and tell me all the other words it can make. I used to set my trapperkeeper (some paper holder thing with metal rings and a design with golden lab dogs) up and hide in back of it. My dad wasn’t as impressed as I was. 

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Then I came back to current reality and realized how distracting myself helped me significantly with the fear, anxiety, and grief I was having some trouble coping with. The fun little activity itself not only calmed my whole body and eased my mind but provoked me to reminisce and stirred up sweet childhood memories which further distracted and soothed me, I even remembered my favorite red denim flare pants and white spice girl shoes I loved to wear on Thursdays(i thought I was the hottest little thing prancing around in those clothes with my cool electronic word speller (there was no cell phone, no computer, no Internet that I knew of back then) ), and realized that I do have lots of happy memories of that age(even though I struggled with depression), and I was able to drift off easy and get a few hours of good sleep. I did wake up achy and still a bit anxious but much better than before.

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One thing to keep in mind is that intentionally, consciously, directly trying not to think of something will, without a doubt, make you think about it more. It’s impossible to escape its bondage when you put your mind directly to not thinking about it. It’s like an inherent contradiction. To try not to think about it, you necessarily have to think about it. Even psychological studies suggest it. I learned about it in psychology classes at Temple University many years ago. 

Ironic Process Theory 

(Here is a great link to read about it:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/10/unwanted-thoughts.aspx

With some tips on how to cope with unwanted thoughts and feelings.)

And I experienced this phenomenon myself whenever I would try to directly take my suicidal mind off of being suicidal. It’s one hundred percent futile. 
But what does work is allowing yourself to feel, think, experience whatever it is while gently distracting yourself by doing something you like/love, something soothing, healing, or something like exercising or other physical activity that is safe for the state you’re in.
Focus on a more pleasant thought and the unpleasant one can melt away. I experienced this then I learned about it in classes. 

Eventually your mind may escape the grasp of whatever it is, for a while. You will be so into the fun or healing activity you’re engaged in.

It may be hard to find the strength or motivation to begin an activity of distraction. When we are so depressed or so anxious, it can be hard to even move or believe that it will really work or believe that we are worth it, but it’s worth that initial effort, that first step. And feeling unworthy is just a delusion that depression can put into our heads. And you won’t know until you try if it will work. Rest is good but it’s not good to sit or lay in bed just dwelling on or obsessing over anxious or depressing thoughts or feelings. Acknowledge the depression or anxiety. It’s ok. Even embrace it. Sit with it. Accept it. Then get moving to help yourself cope.

At the mental health clinic I go to for depression, some therapists give us worksheets to help us cope with different problems. 

Here is a link to various worksheets to help people cope with different problems such as anxiety, ptsd, depression, low self esteem, negative thinking….:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/freedownloads2.htm

They are in pdf files and can be saved and printed out. They are meant to be a supplement to professional treatment if someone has a serious disorder. Anyone can benefit by mindfulness activities and these worksheets but for people with a serious problem, it’s important to seek some kind of appropriate professional help as well. The worksheets are very helpful but are not meant to be the sole “treatment.” Self help techniques (like the worksheets) are great but for true disorders or serious distress, they may not be enough. 

One helpful technique is the “Emergency Bag or Box.” One of the worksheets in the link above is about this activity. 

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When we are in serious distress, it can be difficult to think reasonably and see an effective, safe way to help ourselves at that moment and can be tempting to resort to things that can seem helpful then but really aggravate the situation or are detrimental later. One helpful technique is to keep an “Emergency bag” or “Soothe box” somewhere that is easy to access. 

I don’t have a whole box or bag put together yet. I have things that help me cope with or prevent a depressive episode/suicidal thoughts/urges and help me to cope better with cluster-like headaches. 

Here are some of my emergency or soothe things:

Scented candles, especially tropical scented – they don’t have to be lit
Hot tea
Buddhist Mala beads – they remind me to think of positive quotes and affirmations and are very helpful to me with the headaches 
Gratitude journal 
My six dogs 
Art journal/painting
Scented body lotion 
Positive songs 
Photography – I like taking my own pictures and editing them or writing quotes onto the pics. And also looking at inspiring pics that aren’t mine. 
Quote books 
Stress ball – for coping with the headaches 
Comedy movies 
Positive/self help books
Sharing uplifting pictures or quotes to help others 
Philosophy books/texts – sometimes even when I’m severely depressed, when I read complex, abstract texts, it takes my mind off it for a while and even uplifts me. It can be hard to concentrate but it’s ok, just the process of reading challenging material is helpful.
Blogs – uplifting blogs help me when I’m in a low mood or struggling with physical pain.

The idea is when you are experiencing a crisis or just in a low or agitated state of mind, to go to your box or bag or wherever you have your soothing/emergency objects and mindfully study or use them. What do they look like, feel like, smell like(if it’s safe to breathe it in), sound like, taste like (if it’s something you can taste)…?

If you choose to put on body lotion, for example, carefully tune into the experience. Feel the sensation of the lotion on your body. Is it hot, cold, sticky, soft….? What does it feel like on your hands and wherever you’re putting it on? 

Tune into the environment around you. Use all of your senses and notice the information received by each one. Hear the sounds around you, feel the clothes against your body, taste the air on your tongue…

This mindfulness activity can help you with depression, anxiety, grief, physical pain, and any problem you may be experiencing.  

Another idea is to write yourself an uplifting or comforting note or list. Maybe a list of inspiring quotes or note of encouragement. And put it into your box or bag for when you look into it next. Words by others can be very encouraging and inspiring but it can be especially inspiring to see positive words either that you yourself wrote or ones that someone else wrote that you once shared or felt or agreed with. To know you once felt that way and so have it in you to feel it again. 

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These things help in a psychological way and can also affect brain chemistry in a positive way. We don’t just have to consume things like medication, alcohol, food…to affect the chemistry in the body/brain. Physical/mental activities interact with our brains as well. They can be a great supplement to medication or talk(or other kinds) therapy or both. Sometimes a combination of multiple things works best.  

My heart goes out to anyone struggling with grief, depression, anxiety, physical pain/illness, suicidal urges or thoughts,  or anything.

and someone somewhere knows exactly what it’s like to experience whatever you experience. We’re never alone even when it seems that way. ❤

Much love to you,

Xoxo Kim ❤

Be Average. Be Unique. Be YOU!

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“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” ~ Dolly Parton

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“Live to express, not impress”

There’s this fear of being “average” or having an average life. A life that looks just like everyone else’s life. 
One that doesn’t stand out. One that isn’t radically “different” in some significant way. A need to find, list, and ponder ways in which we are very unlike everyone else.
And there’s this fear of being “too different,” of not “fitting in.” An urge to repress parts of the self that may come off as “weird” or “not cool.” An urge to mold parts of ourselves into things that look like everyone else’s things.
There are people who force themselves to do things, wear things, be things…they don’t really like just because it’s the style, trend, the in-thing.
Then there are those who are just the opposite.
They make it a point to resist what is currently popular just to be different and stand out, perhaps for shock value. So when they’re with a group of “clones,” they can say “I don’t have a smartphone” or “I don’t have a social media account ” or “I don’t watch tv” or…..and watch the looks on people’s faces, the “really?!,” “Are you kidding me?!!?” looks. 
They get to be different. Unique. Because they rebel against the masses.
This is great if it’s something they really don’t want because they naturally aren’t attracted to it or they feel it’s somehow detrimental to them but if we avoid things just to be different, we deny our true selves. Which is the same as conforming. Denying what we really want and who we truly are, merely to “fit in.”
Anti-conformity is denying who we really are or what we really want, merely to be or appear to be different.
But underneath you will always just be you.
And that’s ok.
No matter how much you resist conformity, there are ways you are still average, just like the next person.
No matter how much you conform, you are different somehow.
It’s a struggle to find the perfect balance of being “different enough” but “similar enough.”
Conforming but bringing our very own uniqueness to it.
A struggle that is unnecessary. Uncalled for.
We don’t have to be different in significant ways than the average person. We don’t have to be exactly the same, carbon copies of everyone else.
We’re all just average and we’re all very different.
I’m very much the same as everyone else but I also have my own uniqueness.
If I provide you with a description of myself, my personality, it will fit some other girl somewhere, very well. I love old music, stilettos, makeup, photography, chocolate, cake, dark poetry, happy songs, comedy movies, romantic comedies, love songs, vanilla frosting, personal development…
Someone else somewhere can say all this too.
 But we will still be very different than each other.
Just like if I provide you with a physical description of myself, my physical appearance.
It will fit someone else perfectly. Long brown hair, blue eyes, 5 feet, 5 inches, kind of thin….
But we will still look very different.
Because we are different. No matter how similar we will ever be to another, we have something that makes us different. Maybe that something can’t be identified or named. Maybe we can’t put our finger on it but it’s there.
We have our own perspectives, ways of looking at things, ideas, opinions, views, experiences, wisdom, knowledge, a combination of things that are unique and no one else will ever be. Even if we have an identical twin or triplets or anything.
But we are also average. Just like the next person.
We have desires, needs, goals, lives…hearts that pulsate, smiles that convey happiness and warmth, a longing to connect with others, blood that flows….just like everyone else.
The struggle of finding the perfect way to appear next to others and compare with others is not a necessary one. What is important is being our best selves. Living your passions. Basking in the beauty of life. 
Answering your calling. Whether it’s work, hobbies that are just for fun, travel, writing, watching TV, playing with your kids, adopting a child or pet, volunteering, helping people in some way…
Looking within to our authentic selves, honoring that Self, our Truth. Your Truth.
Forget conformity.
Forget anti-conformity.
Remember YOU. 

“So you think you know the answers, oh no
Well the whole world’s got you dancing
That’s right, I’m telling you
It’s time to start believing, oh yes
Believe in who you are, you are a shining star” ~Lionel Richie ❤

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ~Oscar Wilde

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Xoxo Kim

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