January 20, 2015

40 Days ~ final days

(40 days is a series of posts that began on November 4th. If you are interested in reading them in order, scroll down - otherwise read on and check out all my other musings...)

The last ten days of my 40 day journey from fear to faith became magical. This isn't to say I didn't continue to have days of faking it or days of not wanting to meditate. However, the desire to continue to move forward, to do what ought to be done, to strive relentlessly toward my best self, won out.

We hear a lot of that phrase "be your best self." What does this mean? Is it a crazy catch phrase that sells magazines? Some woo woo in the stars, incense burning bullshit that if we play along with brings forth a unicorn and a million bucks on our doorstep?  Nope. It's none of this.

January 13, 2015

40 days ~ weakened in week three

(40 days is a series of posts that began on November 4th. If you are interested in reading them in order, scroll down - otherwise read on and check out all my other musings...)

Sidenote to my loyal fans (all four of you :) ~  I finished my 40 days more than a month ago, but took copious notes and wrote draft posts while moving along the journey. Sorry I haven't posted - but here you go ~ if you are interested...frequent posts this week as they are written.

What I'm learning in this third week of my 40 day journey from fear to faith is a simple, yet for me, a difficult concept to grasp: change takes a while. Change takes time, patience (not a virtue I hold,) and a lot of good old compassion with one's self. HA. What a lesson. Not only am I trying to shift my consciousness, but I'm having to actually be patient and compassionate with myself? What. The. Hell?  Clearly, all three are connected. Who knew? I did, sort of.

When you live your life with anxiety, there has to be some sort of negative self talk alive and well inside you. I have always been self deprecating as a way to joke and make light. What I didn't realize was habitual negative talk can take root and latch on to you, causing you to pull further and further away from your true self. The longer you rip on yourself, joking or not, the more your consciousness believes its true. 

November 14, 2014

40 days week two - fear is a jealous fellow

(40 days is a series of posts that began on November 4th. If you are interested in reading them in order, start there, otherwise read on and check out all my other musings...)

I'm two weeks into my journey from fear to faith and let me tell you the highs and lows continue to astound and frustrate me. I had a few challenging days when I felt anxiety to the point of a panic attack and I really wanted to feel like a failure. It's not easy to break years and years of self deprecation - and when we fail, at least, when I fail, discouragement really gets the best of me. At the other end of the spectrum, I've had days so full of faith and security felt so deep in my bones, I felt like I could write a novel in one sitting. Pride bursting through me. Contentment, fulfillment, joy simply flowing.

By failure I mean allowing some trigger behaviors, people, situations get the best of me. By failure I mean allowing some anxious thoughts to spin out of control to the point of almost panic.

November 9, 2014

40 days week one...my oh my

(40 days is a series of posts that began on November 4th. If you are interested in reading them in order, start there, otherwise read on and check out all my other musings...)

It's been an interesting week. Seven plus days into my 40 day journey and I'm kind of impressed with my dedication to the process of this journey I'm calling "From fear to faith." My day began on days one through three like this:
  • Snooze the alarm set for 5:10 and wake groggily at 5:30
  • Get out of bed with my journal, head downstairs, carefully not to trip on the dog
  • Set up in my favorite spot on the sofa, sit straight and begin reading from a book called "The Abundance Plan."
  • Meditate, write down my thoughts.
  • Work on a focus wheel (more on this later.)
  • Shoo my husband when he comes to say good morning.
  • Meditate more
  • Feel really good

Starting this out early in the morning really helped clear my head and start my day from a place of gratitude for my incredibly imperfect life. I felt lighter and noticed more gentle thoughts passing through my littered mind. Gentle. How I love the word gentle.

November 4, 2014

My 40 days

About a month ago, I started to have mild panic attacks when thinking about anything stressful. I have certain triggers that send my anxiety into overload. Over the years, through therapy, reading spiritual texts,  developing a meditation practice and surrounding myself with wonderful, like minded souls, I've learned to manage my anxiety with the end goal being 1. a healthier me and 2. to stop the cycle of anxiety that runs deep in my family history. 

I was really surprised when one day, when staring at a pile of bills with contempt and frustration, my heart started racing and my throat felt like it was about to close. Very strange, very scary and a little wake up call that something just wasn't right. I ignored it for a few weeks - until it happened again. And then again. After seeking help from my esteemed physician, whom I've seen for 17 years and truly adore, I was advised to take anti-anxiety meds and perhaps a blood pressure medicine for the acute moments of panic. Let me state loud and clear: I have NOTHING against medicine. After my second baby, I had postpartum and was on antidepressants for a while. I have taken Ativan and it works WONDERS (does anyone really enjoy flying?) 

However, this season of my life doesn't need medication. I truly believe with a goal and a plan, I can manage my anxiety on my own, without meds. When I sat and looked at my life I realized the last 18 months have been a mindless free fall. I love the following quote:

February 6, 2014

music - the ultimate time machine

I'll never forget the first time I realized I would die. The first time I learned my mom and dad would die. I was seven years old sitting in the back seat of our chocolate brown 1976 Plymouth station wagon riding home from my grandparent's house on a hot summer Sunday. My legs stuck to the leather seats as the first notes of that God-awful song played on the radio. The haunting lyrics and strings and aching voice. Talking about how all we are is dust in the wind. On all that's holy I swear I can NOT hear that song without a shiver creeping up my spine, a fear trickling through my veins and a quick jerk of my hand turning off whatever offensive piece of technology the song blares from. Fear at it's finest.

Songs do this to us. They bring us joy, bring tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. I can name dozens of songs that are linked directly to people, places and moments of my life that sometimes I want to remember and many I'd like to forget.  Music is the ultimate time machine. It is a direct link to any moment in time - Dust in The Wind - death and the station wagon.  Frank Sinatra - my mother dancing in our kitchen on Smith Lane. Rush - first concert, first time I smelled pot. Open Arms - first kiss in my friend's basement. Journey in general - Marijane. Yaz - Kathleen and our 8th grade poms routine. Michael Jackson - Andrea. U2, The Cure, The Call, Joy Division - nights at home listening to Triton College Radio as a teen. Prince - Diane and her awesome teenage bedroom.  That's the Way Love Goes, Marvin Gaye, Counting Crows, The Replacements - my first apartment. Phil Collins - my brother. Asia - my brother. Countless songs remind me of first meeting and dating my hubs - too many to even conjure! Hundreds of songs happily clutter my brain allowing me to relive my life.

Songs are like an outburst of the soul shooting out feelings of love, lust, sadness and redemption. Music elevates us, pumps us up for our run, soothes our hectic days, turns our bad moods into cheerful ones, takes us from happy to somber or just plain gets us in the mood. As I type, Aretha Franklin is crooning Chain of Fools. My shoulders inadvertently move up and down. My son bops in the room and I see a hip shake. Joy in the early evening. I imagine when I hear this song again, years from now, I'll remember typing key strokes and smiling at my handsome boy and his awesome dance moves.

Last Sunday we ate lunch at Potbellies with the kiddos and LA Woman (The Doors) blared overhead. While carrying on our conversation, my hub's head starts bopping infinitesimally to the beat and I know he's thinking of a road trip he took with a childhood friend. I was remembering a college bar, falling for a base player while he strummed the song clumsily with a college cover band. Music takes us back in time and runs us through a plethora of emotion. When we listen to music, we feel alive. It's glorious, yes?

I challenge you - go get in your time machine. Grab a sheet of paper, grab your laptop, grab your phone - write or type 10 songs and their memory counterparts - go back in time and enjoy the ride. Let me know how it goes. Next time you go to turn on the TV, turn on your music instead - whatever floats your boat. Whether it's country, classical, rap or pop or alternative - go for the music. You are what you listen to. Listen well and let the music take you.