Waking Up an MBA and “Just Content”

So, here’s what it feels like, waking up an MBA. It feels, so far, not much different than yesterday. I thought I would feel so much more accomplished and overjoyed; maybe I will later when I am going about the day. Right now there is a sense of accomplishment but it is a small inner feeling of contentment.

Maybe it is just me, but I find that things do not give me that “wow” that I got when I was younger. Now, from my perspective, things are good, there are happy moments but they just aren’t over the top. There isn’t any dancing around with elation and “telling everyone.”

I find myself wondering if it is because we lose that sense of wonder as we get older. Or maybe it is because it is put into context of a life of over 40 years lived with many ups and downs that puts this one thing its place and says, “yes, that is good, but it is one moment in a series of moments.”

I think that I should not be worried about my lack of “over the top” excitement for the thing that I just accomplished yesterday. I find myself thinking that sometimes it is okay just to be content and rest in it. Maybe being happy is not always about bubbling over with excitement and joy.

I find myself thinking in the world of calmness there is a quiet contentment that just feels right and it is okay not to shout with excitement from the rooftops from happiness.

Procrastination and Disappointment

I don’t think anyone can say that procrastination actually makes them calm; not with a straight face anyway. So my question is this, if we all know that procrastination makes us anxious and takes us away from calm, why do we do it?

I sit and think this while I procrastinate moving forward on three papers that I refused to spend time on for the past three days. I sit and think, just how will I finish the work and get it in before our trip this coming week? I sit and think, just why do I do this to myself?

I, like many, am a product of now. Now it feels good to lay in bed and watch a movie with my husband. Now it feels right to clean out that fish tank that I procrastinated last weekend. Now it feels right to search for just the right seasonings to make barbecue sauce that has no sugar for my finicky diet. Now….and so it goes.

And the more I contemplate about putting off what must be done, the more anxious I get and I ask myself why do I never learn? Do I enjoy the rush of trying to get it all done? Do I enjoy the long marathon of writing and stressing? I don’t think so.

I do think that I dread the feeling that whatever I start will not measure up to my idea of my best. I procrastinate in an effort to avoid disappointing myself. But that procrastination does little to bring me calm. And that is where the true disappointment lies when the dust settles.

Independent Thinking – 7/4/15

Here it is, the Fourth of July. While we will all rightly be focusing on American Independence in the U.S. I can’t stop thinking about personal independence.

There’s a lot of feel good quotes and slogans that tell us to that no one can make us feel X or no one can make us do Y but when it all boils down, we are all led by some unseen something. That something tells us what is right and wrong. It tells us what we “should” be doing and what we “should” be thinking, etc.

I believe that unseen something is part of us all. We all have a never ending commentary playing in our heads. I used to think I was unique before I realized that I am not alone in this. Now I just want to learn to quiet the voice and just be calm for a moment or two.

Right now, I’m inclined to believe that the little “something” inside of us is largely a product of our environment, the things we were taught when young and still experiencing things for the first time. It is a product of what the authority figures in our lives taught us about right and wrong, responsibility, morality, etc.

What makes us all different is how we deal with the commentary and that little “something” that tells us what to do or not do. Some will learn early to ignore the internal commentary and make their own way; thinking independently. Others, like myself, will spend years listening to the commentary, feeling a sense of duty for everyone and everything and wishing for the independence and calm.

The question is how does one learn to think independently of this commentary? How does one shift from the sense of duty and responsibility to everyone to duty to self? That’s really the independence I’ve been thinking about today. No offense to this great Nation.

My Little Voice Needs Nutritional Perspective

I’ve been working with a Dr. in relation to an ongoing struggle with my health and my weight. Today, in discussion with my Dr. following six weeks of regimented foods and cleansing she told me what I should be doing in the next phase. Granted, I lost 31 pounds so something must have worked to allow me to get beyond losing and gaining the same three pounds as I have done the past two or three years. What got me, is when the Dr. started telling me how much I should eat and how I am woefully under eating.

Please, I tell her, look at me and tell me how anyone can say I under eat. The funniest part of this is that the foods I eat ARE healthy and yet I am not getting enough “calories” in and she’s worried. Okay, well. Since I don’t get hungry and I haven’t had a good feeling of hungry for YEARS, how am I supposed to eat more? I seriously am never really hungry and have only eaten socially or in a family setting for years because I literally can go ALL day without eating and not blink twice. For me, it’s a matter of I HAVE to eat.

Just to make it worse, in talking, we discover that I have deep seated thoughts about good and bad food and when I say that I don’t like unhealthy foods I really believe I don’t like them. I also think that my brain has been conditioned to think things like “cream soups and dressings are bad” and it affects what foods actually look appetizing to me. I can’t get my mind wrapped around being told to eat organic butter or ghee because I need fats and calories in my diet when butter screams BAD to me.

The whole point of this is that I am anxious about eating, I am anxious about diets, I am anxious about how to tame the weight giant and actually continue losing. But most of all, I am anxious because I KNOW that she, the Dr., is right but I just can’t wrap my head around eating so many calories without real emotional turmoil and feeling sick. Just to make sure you follow me. I am still overweight and have about 75 pounds to lose so I am not anorexic. I am, however, apparently as we discovered today, really messed up in my relationship with food and diet.

My little voice is really messed up when it comes to diet and health. In fact, my little voice has no idea of perspective about food, nutrition and weight loss. My little voice is a monster sometimes.

How can I reach calm when one of the most basic of needs for a human, nutrition, is causing such great anxiety in me? I have promised to try to follow the plan she has given me. How do I find calm in doing this?

Everything I see in the media, in my little corner of the world and in my household tells me that I need to get a handle on this. My little voice, however, keeps telling me that I am not capable of doing it. Everything out there laughs at me for not being able to deal with this calmly when there are so many big issues in the world that deserve more attention. I will agree there are huge causes out there that are begging for our attention. However, I don’t believe that I should even try to pretend to help someone else when my little voice has so much power.

People will be quick to judge and say “get over it” and even more so, label me as insecure. I say to these people that society has created our insecurities when it comes to our personal bodies. That society has created the issue, but it hasn’t readily offered a solution, just judgement. That society spends a majority of time putting people like me down and calling me weak. That society spends a good deal of time telling people like me that we don’t measure up. Why should it matter to me? I tell myself I do not care and most days I do not. It is my little voice inside me that is judging me that I cannot quiet. My little voice needs to gain some perspective on this path to calm.

Music Makes It All Feel Okay, Sometimes

Music can have a lot of power over emotions. Some will be inspired to create great works of art, some will be inspired to push harder and sweat more and others will be inspired to relax. Everyone has that song or that music genre that does it for them.

I have to admit my musical taste depends on the day and my mood; which, I’m sure, is the same for many others. I would like to put myself in a lane and choose a genre but it just isn’t to be. When I am at work and need extra energy, I may jam with something up tempo. When I’m at work and I need to concentrate, it will be blues or jazz, etc.

Most recently, my husband found that “ah-ha” moment of searching and found the music that will help me relax enough to go to sleep most nights in a completely dark room. (I still hang on to some of those nights of insomnia regardless.) What is it? They call it “spa” music. The name alone cracks me up most days. I’ve never been to a spa and frankly I am afraid that should I go it would be an utter waste of my time and money. I picture the spa staff trying to get me to relax and myself lying there analyzing everything with my thoughts going a mile a minute regardless of the music that would be playing there.

See, that’s the struggle for me. I can feel really great listening to certain music but that alone will not make me feel okay. I have to pair that music with some sort of outside world block to be alone with my thoughts and the music. Sometimes it is a closed door, other times a dark room and most often, a set of headphones. It seems only then, for just a little while, the thoughts start to become less important and the emotional soothing will take over and I feel okay.

Short lived that it is, it is a little ray of hope. I can sometimes find a place where I can start to feel calm and when that happens I can feel for a little while the power of letting go. Let’s not over analyze it right now. Let me just relish the small feeling of breakthrough and listen to some music.

The Garden of Calm

There is nothing so calming for me as being in the garden.   I went to my little garden knowing the work that needed to be done and dreading the hot sun and the physicality of the work.  I could only see how much more there was that needed doing today.

There are so many things that I feel I must do all the time; so many things that need doing.  The list is endless and anxiety grows as I think of everything that must be done.  And so I began thinking, how quickly can I get this gardening done?

And then, I dug in the warm earth and felt the coolness below.  I felt the warm sun beating on my head and took in the smell of the rich soil.  And suddenly, the anxiety and the list faded.  This felt right and comfortable and just where I needed to be right then.

I have read often of the need to be “in the moment” and I have wished over and over to learn how to do just that.  Many have recommended meditation but I have always lacked the skills to slow it down and not think.  But this gardening, this being close to the earth, smelling and feeling it; this gave me some amount of calm and for just a little while, I believe I was truly in the moment.  And it felt good there in that garden of calm.

The Deck is Stacked but I’m Going to Shuffle It

So, right about now is when I should be clear about what I’m facing in my search for the quiet and the calm. In order to put the whole journey into perspective, I need to acknowledge the hand I’ve been dealt and search for ways to minimize the limitations and maximize the abilities. I believe all success in life starts with honesty with self.

For many years, I struggled with feeling like I did not belong at home, in school and in my community. I always felt that I was looking at things from the outside in. I had a constant script going on in my head and there was no way to shut off the barrage of thoughts that at times made no sense and to the outside observer had no flow.

Added to this was the varying degrees of pain that I woke up with day after day. Every day, something hurt, something burned or something just didn’t feel right. Those feelings worked at me; limiting what I felt I could physically do each day.

Throughout my life, I have refused to simply accept what I’m told and have always searched for explanations to things that I could not make fit with what I knew or believed. After some time I received those explanations; ADHD and Fibromyalgia seemed like a bad hand to be dealt. But at least I could make a plan.

My plan served me well through muddled relationships, a couple of children and eventually two college degrees. But through it all no matter the solutions I tried, I struggled with the constant barrage of thoughts and shiny things. I just couldn’t turn off. I ended up with chronic insomnia, stress related headaches and various other things that tried to limit me and only added to the physical exhaustion I often felt.

I have decided that where I am is not the end of my journey. I won’t settle for things as they are. I still dream of the power of calm.

Here I am with a deck full of reasons for why I should give up. Each new card I get dealt is just one more thing that could limit me or hold me back from the calm I seek. I could take the easy road and retreat, surrendering to the hand I hold and accepting that the deck is stacked. I say, however, hand me the deck because I’m going to shuffle it.

There is power in calm.

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