Tag Archive | empower

There’s a place…❤

photostudio_1470248321129

“It takes all different kinds of people to run the world. We need everyone.”

I saw this quote (don’t remember where; it was on a photo) and find it so inspiring. 

“‘Cause there’s a place in the sun
Where there’s hope for ev’ryone
Where my poor restless heart’s gotta run
There’s a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun”

Place in the sun – Winjama (reggae version) – mobile

Place in the Sun – Winjama – desktop

There are so many kinds of people in this world and we need us all. 

My dad used to watch the tv show The Sopranos every night a few months ago until all the seasons ended.

There’s a few episodes where a woman who is an FBI agent in the show pretends to be just a girl shopping at a mall I think, to deceive the girlfriend of a member of the Mafia so she can get information the police need.

They have been watching this man and his girlfriend for a while and an FBI agent tricks the girlfriend and they become close “friends.”

The girlfriend tells the agent things about herself and life she never told anyone, not even her boyfriend, because she feels so close to her.

The FBI agent is sweet and warm and very personable. She pretends to be a great friend to this other girl. Then the FBI people decide to tell the girl the truth, that this new friend of hers is no friend at all but actually an agent of the FBI who has been watching her and her man. 

The FBI agent after confessing that’s what she is, all of a sudden is now assertive, no longer warm and sweet. She has a no nonsense way about her now. She’s all stiff and firm.

These are only fictional scenes in a tv show but real detectives and FBI agents for their job sometimes really have to pretend to be someone they aren’t and trick people, maybe even innocent people who get caught up in unpleasant stuff. 

I was imagining myself in the FBI character’s place and think I don’t have the heart to ever deceive an innocent person or even not so innocent person who trusts me into thinking we’re close friends and we’re really not. I wouldn’t have a job where I may have to do that. 

This girl is the lover of a member of the New Jersey Mafia but she’s just an innocent girl. She knows he’s a murderer and all and chooses to stay with him but she herself is just a regular person. She thought she had this new friend she was able to tell things to she felt she couldn’t tell anyone else, like the fact that she had an abortion years ago. 

Imagine finding out your closest friend is a fake? Maybe you don’t have to imagine. It’s a heartbreaking situation. 

When the FBI people approached her, not only was she terrified about the trouble they were in but she was heartbroken over the loss of “friendship” or what she thought was genuine friendship. I think this hurt her even more than the prospect of going to prison. 

I felt a range of emotions when I realized I can never be like that. I felt thankful that I don’t have it in me to be deceptive and trick an innocent person. I also felt a tinge of envy that I don’t have that kind of aggression or backbone, I guess you can say, like some do, to have a job like that, even though I don’t want that kind of job. And I also felt gratitude that there are people like that in this world, those who do have it in them to trick and deceive for work or other necessary situations. I am inspired.

I don’t want to have it in me to do that but I’m so thankful there are people who do. We need them. We need people who have the ability to be aggressive and deceive people because it’s sometimes necessary, like for certain jobs including police jobs.

Police, attorneys, doctors, and other people of certain professions are sometimes criticized for being cold, aggressive, detached, deceptive, immoral….but it’s actually a good thing that we have people who have a place in them where they can summon feelings of aggression, detachment, and other things that may seem unpleasant. 

We need people who can detach and not get worn out having to encounter so much suffering each day at work, like some doctors who have to work with dying people and dead individuals, detectives who have to investigate cases of homicide and other violence and horror….Imagine if they did not have the ability to detach or distance themselves to a certain degree. Many would probably experience burnout or breakdowns of some sort. This isn’t to say they aren’t compassionate or empathetic people ever, just that they have the ability to “turn it off” to a point when necessary. And it’s great to have people in the world who can temporarily put aside their general morals and conscience to do work that may call for it. Not everyone can do that. And for those who cannot, that’s good too.

It’s good if we have compassion and empathy and morals so strong and so constant that we can’t or won’t stop it. This world needs both, extreme empathy and strong sense of morality but also those with the ability to tune out of it in certain situations. 

We need people with extreme empathy for criminals, like forensic psychiatrists/psychologists. By empathy, I’m not referring to compassion here. I’m talking about the sharp ability to be able to “get into their heads” and truly understand them, why, how they do certain things, how/why they feel certain ways, the ways they reason. It doesn’t mean the professional person is justifying any of it or taking pleasure in it. It may seem creepy that someone can understand a murderous criminal mind so well and want to do that kind of work. But it’s so great we have people with that strength and desire. We need them. 

And for those who can’t even begin to understand the mind of a murderer and don’t want to ever understand, that’s great too! It’s great to be sane and good and “normal.”

In courtrooms we need people who have within them a place of aggression, maybe even callousness, people who can tear others to shreds for their jobs. Some jobs call for aggression, cold, clinical, ways. Warmth, softness, sap, sweet words and gestures are beautiful and needed in this world but not in every situation, not for every job, not with every person.  

I always thought if I were in a position to need a lawyer, like a defense attorney, I would prefer a woman because girls can be so vicious! Girls/women of all ages, even generally sweet, warm ones, just can have a kind of aggression or potential for aggression that men don’t have and a job as an attorney requires aggression. How wonderful it is to take that and use it for good or to be productive, helping out our system and helping people instead of using it to drag each other down.

Some jobs call for extreme compassion and not much aggression, like schoolteacher jobs and nurses or doctors or other caretakers, nursing home staff…. and it’s great to have people who are generally very nurturing and mild mannered. 

There are people who are very simple or generally lazy, not very motivated, or just don’t want to work much or not work at challenging jobs so have easy jobs (not everyone with an easy or no job is lazy or lacks motivation) and we need those people. We need professional people with big demanding careers and we need those with cashier jobs and janitorial jobs and desk (jobs which some see as “low” or frivolous)…..

I work at a store as a server and cashier and the job itself is unimportant. But it’s important to my boss to have employees helping with her business. And it’s important to the customers who come. 

Imagine if no one chose to take jobs as a janitor in buildings or a cashier or food server because the jobs are too “low” or boring and imagine if no one chose to be a doctor because it’s too sad or gruesome or demanding. Imagine if there were no lawyers because it’s an “immoral” job.

Imagine if there was no one with the strength and courage to be aggressive, detached, deceptive, bold….

We wouldn’t have anyone to be lawyers, doctors, detectives….all of which we need. 

In a fiction book I read recently (I don’t remember which one but it may be ASBO or Housemates both by Iain Wright {horror novelist}) there are these thug people, physically strong and aggressive and can overpower just about anyone they want. They are some kind of gang members or organized murderers and one of them tells one of their “victims” that he could never be strong or tough enough to do what they do.

And at first I kind of thought of that as a bad thing. Being wimpy and physically weak isn’t good. Just because we’re not gang members and don’t abuse our power over others doesn’t mean we’re weak or wimps but it’s good to be able to have the power and strength to defend ourselves against attacks by others. There’s nothing wrong with being strong and powerful as long as we don’t abuse it. 

But then the character in the book says he is happy he doesn’t have what it takes to be a murderer or gang member, that he would never want to be.

There may be some people who don’t ever want to be in a gang or have a certain job but still wish they had the strength or courage to do that kind of work.

But this character is thankful he doesn’t even have what it takes. 

It’s great to be “tough” and “streetsmart” and physically strong and bold but it’s also good to be innocent and not even have it in us to be like that. We need us all. 

And we don’t just need everyone for the jobs we can do, but just for the beings that we are.

It’s great and ok to have outgoing people, shy people, those who are soft and those who are badass…

Short people and tall people, those with much energy and motivation and those who just want to keep it simple, loud and quiet, and those with a combination of characteristics, religious and non religious, light skin, dark skin, blonde, brunette, orange hair, purple hair, tattooed, pierced, hetero., homo., bi/pan, lgbtqa, healthy, sick, disabled, young, old, introverted and extroverted, financially rich, poor, homeless, jobless, career people and stay at home parents…logical, creative, spiritual, artistic, skeptical, grounded, idealistic, realistic, wild & adventurous, safe & cautious, romantic, dreamers, simple, complex, human, animal, insect……there’s a place for us all. 
We can all teach and learn, all have hopes, fears, needs, desires….all ultimately want to avoid suffering. 

People with less power or resources than us can teach us or remind us of compassion and those with more can inspire us. 

Each situation we experience can teach or remind us something , awaken our wisdom deep within, each person can open a new door for us if we allow it. 

We can see the positive in everyone and the worth of every being no matter the species, size, religion, color, status, nationality, profession…..if we pay attention. 

We all have different weaknesses and strengths. 

We all complement each other and bring balance to the world. There’s always going to be beings and situations that need and call for just what we can provide. Maybe it’s our compassion, our aggression, our softness, our bold personality, our determination, our calmness, our passion, our acceptance, our sarcasm, our soothing energy, our knowledge of  seemingly trivial things, our ability to be deep and serious, our ability to be lighthearted and carefree, our simplicity or our complexity, our “tough-love” or our smothering, warm, sappy love ….that the situation calls for or that someone needs at the moment.

Not all of us can be or provide all of these things and that’s ok. We can all be and provide something when it’s appropriate. We all have gifts and skills that others do not. 

If we or our beautiful qualities are not needed in a certain situation or not desired by a certain someone, it’s not because someone else or some other way is better. It’s just that different people and different situations need different people and things. 😀

There’s always going to be someone who is better for someone or something than someone else. And that’s ok. 

The world needs us all. 👪

We can bask in the beauty of our Oneness but also appreciate diversity and see the beauty in it. 💙

Remember, it takes various kinds of people to run our world. 

We need everyone.  

❤ ❤
<33

Much love & light to you always & forever,

Xoxo Kim 

Advertisements

The power of positive thinking

SECOND BATCH 663 414


“Although extraordinary valor was displayed by the entire corps of Spartans and Thespians, yet bravest of all was declared the Spartan, Dienekes. It is said that on the eve of battle, he was told by a native of Trachis that the Persian archers were so numerous that, their arrows would block out the sun. Dienekes, however, undaunted by this prospect, remarked with a laugh, ‘Good. Then we will fight in the shade.'”

I don’t like wars and other violence but I see much beauty and inspiration in this quote here.

The concept of not giving up when there are obstacles, not to succumb to negative thinking.

There’s almost always a bright side and if not, we can still be positive about it.

Just this strong conviction of mine is liberating and deeply inspiring.

Even when I don’t currently feel it, I always believe it.

We cannot always choose our circumstances or even always choose our emotions at this moment, but we can choose positive thoughts and actions that become a habit or strengthen our already optimistic/positive nature.
We can empower ourself with positivity!

Thank you to anyone who has written me comments recently! I will get to them shortly! I appreciate every single one! I’m at work now working two shifts!

❤ 😀

Much love & light,

xoxo Kim

Every woman has a name <3

IMG_14173056_1

“I grew up realizing that the most precious jewels to behold were people who didn’t care about fitting the average social mold but dared to dance to the calling of their own music.” ~ Bradford Keeney, Ph.D. (Everyday Soul, pp. 45)

I read a novel called Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah about two best friends who were friends for over thirty years since they were teenagers, then they had a vicious falling out over an act of betrayal on the part of one of the girls. 
Their friendship seems destroyed beyond repair. 

(as I always mention about books/movies with rape scenes, this book has one on page 32 and 33 {of the copy I have, I don’t know if it’s the same for every copy} if you want to skip it. Scenes like this can trigger serious distress for someone who has previously experienced trauma whether it was earlier today or decades ago so I always try to remember to caution people I tell about things I read/see that have those scenes)

Interestingly after reading it and preparing this post, I found another book, a personal development book by Dr. Keeney, I felt drawn to and began to read and in the book, he writes that line I quoted above, on page 45, which is very relevant to this topic I’m writing about here! 

Some of my favorite novels & movies are ones about friendship, especially friendship with two girls/women like Beaches, For a Good Time, Call, Brokedown Palace, Snowflower & the Secret Fan, The Last of Her Kind, The Red Scarf

I never had many friends, especially female friends, and most of the ones I have been blessed with, dissolved, either through a falling out or just drifting apart when one of us moved or went to a different school, things like that. I always wished I had more. 

This is a beautiful story and the ending is breathtaking. I love it! ❤

There won't be any really big spoilers here but I'm going to share two lines out of the novel because they are full of so much wisdom.

The one woman, Tully, is a journalist who travels the world and she doesn't have time for a serious romantic relationship or children but she loves her job.

Our society though (US society) places so much pressure on people to have families, get married, have children…and often sees those who, for whatever reason, stay single or do not get married or have kids, as not being fulfilled or not fulfilling life's "ultimate purpose" or not being complete or as "worthy" as those with families of their own.

So the woman in this book at some points feels low about choosing a very demanding career that contributes to making it very difficult to have other commitments. She meets another woman with a similar job who says this:

"'There's a price, that's for sure. For my generation, at least, you couldn't do this job and be married. You could get married-I did; three times-but you couldn't stay married. And forget about kids. When a story broke, I needed to be there, period. It could have been my kid's wedding day and I'd have left. So I've lived by myself.' She looked at Tully. 'And I've loved it. Every damn second. If I end up dying in a nursing home alone, who gives a shit? I was where I wanted to be every second of my life, and I did something that mattered.'
Tully felt as if she were being baptized into the religion she'd always believed in. 'Amen to that.'"
(p. 239)

There is so much truth to this!

It's different if someone chooses this kind of career and also wants a family and feels unfulfilled for not having one, then that may be a problem but if we choose this kind of life and love it and are so passionate about it, we shouldn't have to feel incomplete and not satisfied because of what society or others say or imply.

Like this lady says, who cares if we die alone if we lived the life we truly wanted? Some people can't even imagine living this life with no family and so much work but to others it's a dream come true. 

It's different if we already have a family; it's not a great idea to abandon or neglect them to throw ourselves into our work and then die alone. But for people who choose to live a single life of almost constant work because they love it, good for them! 

Then there's this:

“That’s the funny thing about writing your life story. You start out trying to remember dates and times and names. You think it’s about facts, your life; that what you’ll look back on and remember are the successes and failures, the time line of your youth and middle age, but that isn’t it at all. Love. Family. Laughter. That’s what I remember when it’s all said and done. For so much of my life I thought I didn’t do enough or want enough. I guess I can be forgiven my stupidity. I was young. I want my children to know how proud I am of them, and how proud I am of me. We were everything we needed-you and Daddy and I. I had everything I ever wanted.
Love. 
That’s what we remember.”
(pp. 467)

Beautiful!

The other woman, Katie(who I just quoted), the best friend of, Tully, all her life just really wanted to be a wife and at home mom. It was her passion since she was a little girl, to fall in love, get married, and have children and stay home and care for them and the household. And that’s what she did and loves it. But just like single women with very demanding careers and very little time for true romantic love and children are criticized for their lifestyle, so too are stay at home wives and mothers for not doing or being “enough.”

See, we can’t win either way! We do one thing and we’re criticized and we do the opposite or something else and we’re criticized for that too.

So this woman, while loving her life, her husband, and her kids, frequently feels as if she should be “more,” do more, live more, want more.

These girls live kind of opposite lives, are both successful in different ways, both made choices they love, yet they envy each other and feel like they should be more or different than they are, just because of what society expects and demands. They both have regrets on and off and wonder if they should have made different choices. 

There’s nothing wrong with either of their lives. Like I said, it’s different if we truly want more or different but we don’t have to feel like we’re not enough and especially not feel like we need more because of what others say or do.

“And even when your world was shakin’
Even when your breath was taken
Even when your blue eyes turned to gray
Small town debutantes and queens
Every woman has a name
Cocktail waitresses with dreams
Every woman has a name
And every girl whose love survives
A broken heart to stay alive
You signed your picture in the frame
Every woman has a name”
~ Alice Cooper

If you’re a single career girl with no family of your own, you are enough even if you hope to one day change something and even if you don’t.

If you are an at home wife or mommy, you are enough. 

If you have a big important career and also have children, you are enough, even if your kids had/have babysitters and daycare. It doesn’t mean you aren’t a great mom or were/are selfish. You gave your child life or this life if you adopted your children, and take care of his/her needs and love him/her. 

If you choose not to have kids or can’t have kids, you are enough. 

If you work at a low paying job that isn’t that important, you are enough. 

If you have an impressive career and lots of money and material things or inherited lots of money and don’t work a day, you are enough.

“Housewives cryin’ on the phone
Every woman has a name
Sacred sisters all alone
Every woman has a name
And even on the coldest day
When the kids are gone, moved away
It’s lonely now
There’s no one there to hold your hand
And play
See it written on the grave
Every woman has a name”
~ Alice Cooper 

Some people try to make us feel guilty or low no matter how we live, either we have too much or do too much or not enough, we’re greedy and selfish or pampered for having a lot of money and spending it on ourselves and we are lazy, unmotivated, or inferior if we don’t have much money or material possessions. Mothers who go out to work are called selfish and criticized for leaving their kids but stay at home moms are also criticized for doing “nothing.”
People who want nothing more than to be a family person are criticized but so are those who don’t want children.

Whether we want more or to change or truly want to be right where we are, we are enough just as we are. We’re not less than anyone else or less than we would be if we had more or lived differently than we currently do. And there’s no certain way we “should” feel or live as long as we’re not interfering directly with others. 

How about no matter what our situation is, we vow to continuously look for and celebrate the positive in it while also encouraging others to do the same for themselves…

I absolutely LOVE how this author conveys the message that any life we choose is a good life as long as we’re happy with it and every woman has worth. She portrays the beauty of being a stay at home mom and wife and how they do so, so much work, just as much as those who work paid jobs and even more work than some people with jobs outside the home. But she also captures the beauty of being a busy career woman and how ultimately LOVE is what’s important, all love, friendship love, family love, the love for our work and life itself. And family doesn’t have to be just about being biologically or legally related. These two girls are like sisters even though they aren’t related, because they love one another and show concern and encouragement to each other. They cheer each other on even through moments of jealousy and insecurity and betrayal. We can have love no matter our job or lifestyle. 

❤ ❤ ❤

Every Woman Has a Name – Alice Cooper – mobile

Every Woman Has a Name – desktop

Much love & light to you, always 

Xoxo Kim 

Touch me I’m sick

IMG_14171895_1

“The cure for pain is in the pain” ~Rumi

Lol That’s right, I’m sick as a dog today!

So today I woke up with a terrible sore throat and sinus headache. And sooo dizzy! And physically weak! Yuck! And pain in my kidney. I get kidney stones and what I think are mild kidney infections. It’s nothing new. 

This totally sucks!

I have been working a lot more than usual and not going to sleep early enough and when that happens I tend to get sick. It’s interesting because before I realized I was getting sick, I began craving root beer soda. I never liked root beer but when I’m sick I have an intense craving for it. I have no idea why!

I stayed in bed until the afternoon feeling as if there’s no way I can get up. But when I finally drug myself up, it’s much better.

When we’re sick, it’s important to get rest but also to move around because too much rest can worsen it.

My mom is insisting I drink apple cider vinegar because it helps with infections. It’s good but gives me madd heartburn! It’s so sour! 

IMG_14171892_1

 Yesterday I could tell I was getting a scratchy throat so I bought Halls cough drops.  

I love when I get throat drops with little pep talks on the wrappers! A pep talk in every drop! It’s so uplifting! Just what we need when we’re sick. I love it!

I wasn’t aware that these ones have the little sayings on them til I went to throw one in the trash and saw it! I was so delighted!

IMG_14171896_1

Here are some of the little pep talks:

Conquer today.
Inspire envy.
Dust off and get up.
It’s yours for the taking.
Be resilient.
Go for it.
Get back in there champ!
Put your game face on.
Let’s hear your battle cry.
Bet on yourself.
Get through it. 
Be unstoppable. 
Power through!
Push on!
Buckle down and push forth!
Impress yourself today.
Go get it!
Fire up those engines!
Seize the day.
Nothing you can’t handle.
Take charge and mean it.
Don’t try harder. Do harder!
Don’t give up on yourself.
You’ve survived together.

And a few more I can’t read because they get cut off at the edge of the wrappers. Hopefully some of the wrappers I encounter later will have the full sayings! 

update: I got a wrapper with the full ones!
You got it in you.
Tough is your middle name.
Flex your “can do” muscle.
Don’t wait to get started.

IMG_14171893_1

These cough drops aren’t the tastiest but they have menthol which soothes the sore throat. They also have cough suppressant & oral anesthetic, which the menthol is good for! I don’t have a cough.

They have medicinal cherry syrup in the middle.

I would stay in my pj’s all day but I’m going to get ice cream to soothe my poor throat , cranberry juice for my sweet kidneys, and get pizza fries! Yummy! :-p

I hope your day is going great and that you’re not sick like me! But if you are, I hope those little peps do wonders for you! And even if you’re not sick they may still give you a lil pep! I’m happy I found beauty in the sickness!

“Touch Me I’m Sick”

“I’m diseased, I don’t mind
I’ll make you love me ’till the day you die”
~ Mudhoney lol

Read more: Mudhoney – Touch Me I’m Sick Lyrics | MetroLyrics

mobile:

desktop:

😀 ❤

Much love, 

Xoxo Kim 

Spinning

IMG_14170761_1(1)(1)

“We come spinning out of nothingness, scattering stars like dust.” ~Rumi

I love this quote. My mind conjures up images of something unstoppable. It’s a great reminder that we have the power within to do & be great things no matter what our circumstances are. We can come out of nothingness and unleash that greatness.

Love & light to you….

❤ ❤

xoxo Kim

Befriending our emotions

image

“Life isn’t about learning how to weather the storm. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”~Vivian Greene

I read a novel, which I posted about last week, called “First Do No Evil” by Dr. Carey Baldwin, medical doctor and author, wife, mother, and with quite a few advanced degrees! She writes mystery books. The books are part of a series but can also be read individually. They’re mostly about doctors, usually a thirty something year old woman with a painful past who is now in some sort of trouble, like being stalked or the target of murder/homicide attempt, who meets a man who tries to help her and they begin to fall in love. The books are full of mystery, adventure, and romance. The characters are of substance and the stories are fascinating, page turners. Dr. Baldwin, the author of this book, former clinical psychologist, and now a family medical doctor, is a hopeless romantic and a genius! So her novels include romance along with the thrilling mystery and adventure.  Her books are intended for adults, not appropriate for teenages, as they contain explicit sexual scenes and adult language/content, and physical violence, even murder. Some romance novels are hallow, with no depth, not much of a plot, but these ones are not like that. They are full of beauty and amazing life lessons. 

image

Here is one such lesson: 

“Above the clunking of snow chains, at last, Danny heard his phone. Grabbing it, he checked the display. It was the captain. His breathing grew ragged, and the hairs on the back of his neck lifted. Fear can do funny things to a man. It can paralyze his diaphragm and vocal cords so he can hardly breathe, so he can’t even manage to scream for help; or it can pump his muscles so full of adrenaline he can fend off an army of aliens. Fear can be a man’s worst enemy, or his best friend. Danny knew he had a choice. 
He chose friend.” 

This is a fantastic reminder of how seemingly negative or unpleasant emotions can serve a purpose if we allow them to. 

Guilt – can trigger us to make things right – it can inspire us to say sorry if we wronged someone, tell the truth, and avoid doing things to hurt others and be more mindful of our actions.

Anger – can fuel us or break us. When we get super angry about a certain issue or at a certain person, anger can trigger us to reach out to do something. Reach out not in a destructive way but in a productive way to help or to try to make things better. If we are angry about a political cause, for example, we can reach out in compassion and love to help, not give into the fury and react in a hostile way. Love and compassion can inspire us to act and so can anger and fury when we use it in a constructive way. 

Sadness – When we are sad, we can reach out to help or uplift others in similar situations. Our own sadness can deepen our empathy.  

Grief and loss– grief can help us in a similar way and can inspire us to build our lives into something better, we can become like new, use our grief to push us forward and rebuild ourselves while also reaching out in love and empathy to console others. 

Disappointment/sense of failure/frustration – teach us lessons and motivate us to work even harder. We can acquire/develop more skills along the way and use our experiences to help others. 

Pain of any kind can be our catalyst for positive change in general and can deepen our wisdom and strength and empathy. Pain can bring us to ruin and then we can take that ruin and become even better. Sometimes after experiencing severe pain of any sort, we can change our lives to be better in general than even before that pain. 

image

Jealousy – When we feel jealous that someone has something we don’t, that jealousy can inspire us to work harder for what we want or to work on ourselves to accept how we are instead of wanting what we cannot have. It can also provoke us to look within and see what is going on, to see what we feel is lacking or why we feel that way. Then we can become even better/stronger than before. 

Fear/panic – fear can pump us to act or trigger us to collapse and we can choose which to allow.

Unpleasant seeming emotions can inspire and motivate us to create, to build, to reach out, to survive. 

Depression, anxiety, chronic pain, illness…anything that seems negative or unpleasant can be our friend, our teacher, our motivation. 

image

Think about your unpleasant emotions. How have they helped you? How can they help you now and in the future? How can you use them to your advantage instead of letting them drag you down?  What can they teach you? Tapping into the wisdom of each experience and emotion is a skill that we can develop to be better. 

image

~Let pain make you better, not bitter.~

I’m wishing you much love and light today and always. I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever you are! ❤

Xoxo Kim 😀

GRATITUDE

image

“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. 

image

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.

image

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. 

image

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. 

image

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 ❤