This year I am thankful for . . .

So many thing I could list but for this year I am especially thankful for the release of my long held pain which I thank God for the help in healing, as well as all my wonderful friends and family for being so supportive through my long journey to recovery.  Life can throw us some pretty difficult lessons and I have always believed we could get through them with God’s help, but I wondered when it would happen for me.  I guess I was finally ready to let go of the pain, and I asked God to help me let go of it.  He did.

Though my rage has been uncovered and understood and finally embraced for it’s function, I now look upon it as an ally when I need protection.  I am thankful for everything along the path to this new understanding.  I am thankful for God helping me let go of my hurt and anger toward others who have hurt me in the past.  If I have hurt anyone in the past, I am truly sorry for causing you pain, and I ask your forgiveness.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Basking at the end of the day.

I was so frustrated around 1 o’clock this afternoon because I had no energy! I called my daughter Melanie and talked to her about it and she suggested I might not be consuming enough calories. When I looked, I decided that must be true because for the last few days I had only been eating about 1200 cal a day. So I went to the health food store and bought some gluten-free brownies.  I decided to not worry about my no sugar stars and just get some energy so I can finish this barn!

I ate four brownies and two slices of Munster cheese and drank some Kombucha. This added up to 900 cal.  After that I worked for three straight hours with plenty of energy! 🙂

Then I went in, took a hot bath and went straight to bed! I was so tired I couldn’t eat any more vegetables LOL. Total calories for the day, around 1200 still. My breakfast was only 300.

Naughty, Naughty Negative Self Talk

This morning as I recorded my weight loss in the “My Net Diary” app (which is really cool BTW) it said I had lost 3.8 lbs. since August 25th.

“Well, that doesn’t seem like much,” I heard myself say to myself.

“Excuse me?  That’s not bad considering that is about a week,”  and I checked on my calendar to be sure.

“Maybe so,” the negative talk said, “but still, you’ve got a long way to go.”

“Whatever!” I retorted.  “Get out of here and leave me alone!  I am going to reach my goal no matter how long it takes so you can just stop.”

Those negative voices we hear in our heads . . . are they us or do they come from somewhere else?

That is a huge topic.  Is it our own negative voice?  Is it the “Dot People”?  Is it the devil?  Is it the dark side?

I will not attempt to say.  What is important is that we recognize that we do not have to be influenced if we are aware enough to recognize that that voice is simply the opposition.  When we realize this we are empowered to let it go and ignore that nay-sayer, Mr, Negative.

Reminds me of a cartoon I watched as a kid.  There was this elephant who had these ideas, and there was this lion who always said, “It won’t work . . . crazy elephant!”

I don’t remember any more about the cartoon, but that lion represented the negative people in our lives, the negative recordings we have in our heads, and the negative influences around us.

WE DO NOT HAVE TO LISTEN!

“Tales of Power” a book by Carlos Castenada

When I was a teenager my father and I read the Carlos Castaneda books. Well, he read them all but I read the first few and got turned off by the selfishness of their goals.

After going to Tracker school for a couple years I decided to re-read them from a new perspective. I understood much, much more about Carlos’ experience with Don Juan because Don Juan was a coyote teacher like my teacher Tom Brown Jr. at Tracker school.

“Tales of Power” talks about the necessity of sharing stories that trigger admiration and desire in the listeners. It inspires the listeners to want the skills they are hearing about, the power displayed in the story.

There is a hero’s quest of sorts for the listener or reader of the “Tales of Power”. Hearing of the accomplishments of those who have mastered of the realms of existence opens new doors for the reader, giving them something to strive for; something to seek; a mystery to explore; a possibility to wonder about and be unsure of, which makes the reader all the more fascinated by the possibility of truth in the story.

Tom Brown Junior shared stories of Grandfather Stalking Wolf and other elders from Grandfather’s tribe. We students would listen with rapt attention, hanging on every word. Then Tom would send us out to attempt to do what he had just described. Don Juan did the same with Carlos.

Some people will say the Carlos Castaneda series are fiction. I’ve heard that before. I don’t know whether they are fact or fiction but I do know that I learned a lot from them.

The most important thing I learned by reading the Castaneda series is to stop being offended by other people. We waste a lot of energy taking offense. We waste a lot of energy in self importance. Being caught up in self importance gives others power over us because they can grab that self importance through complements or insults and jerk us around and we waste energy being affected.

It’s the same concept as “act, don’t react”. Often teachers of this sort will poke their students with either compliments or insults to see if they can get a reaction; see if they can grab their student’s self importance or if their student has overcome that trap.

It’s an interesting study to watch yourself and see if you are giving people that power or if you are holding it yourself.

I enjoyed reading “Tales of Power”. It was easy to read, fun, and fascinating. If you like stories that delve into the possibility of other realms and energy, you would probably like this book.

Dealing with Depression

I recently made a comment in another persons website about one of the ways I deal with depression so I thought I would share it here.
I have an approach called Focusing which I learned from my teacher Tom Brown Jr. (which approach I received by going out and going to Wilderness Survival classes at Trackerschool). The concept of focusing is also taught in a basic way in a book called Focusing, but Tom took us further in the exercise.
First, you get yourself in a quiet place away from others, preferably in nature, be quiet for a minute, just enjoying relaxing, then after a few minutes, ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” and surrender to the first feeling that comes up. If the first feeling that comes up is, “Fine, I feel fine.” Say to yourself, “No, really, how are you REALLY feeling?” Then in a VERY LOVING, NON JUDGMENTAL way, you say, “That’s good to know!” Then you ask, “Why am I feeling this way?”, and surrender to the answer that comes to you. Again, no judgement, only love and understanding. Say, “Well, that’s good to know!.”
Next, you set that feeling off to the side and you say to yourself, “Great, now aside from that, How am I feeling?” and surrender to the next feeling that comes up. Once you identify the next feeling, in a very loving, understanding, non judgmental way, say to yourself, “Good, that’s good to know. So why am I feeling this way?” Surrender to the answer and acknowledge that answer with love and understanding.
Next, you set those first feelings aside and say to yourself, “OK, Aside from those, How am I feeling?” Surrender to the answer. Again, in a very loving understanding way say to yourself, “Good, that’s good to know! Now, why am I feeling this way?” Surrender to the answer and acknowledge it with gratitude.
Tom told us to peel back AT LEAST 4 layers of feelings as a minimum, but he also told us, “When you think you have gone as far as you can go, keep going.”
More likely you will find many, many layers of feelings and reasons why.
This is peeling back the layers that make up that confusing mix of feelings which may be making you feel stuck, depressed, or confused. Bringing the individual emotions up and the why’s behind them, is healing because those feelings are being acknowledged in a very understanding way. There are reasons why we feel the way we do.
The first time I did this exercise we were given 45 minutes. I kept being distracted after the first 10 minutes or so. We were each sitting out in nature away from anyone else. It was very difficult to stay on task of peeling back the layers of feelings, but each layer was a revelation to one degree or another. I had no idea each of those individual feelings were carrying on at the same time, contributing to how I was feeling overall. It’s almost funny, looking back, I would uncover a feeling and the way behind it, and get caught up in thoughts about it and completely forget I was doing an exercise! Then I would remember, and almost be startled that I had forgotten that fact! Then I would go to the next layer. Going deeper was difficult for some reason. I couldn’t imagine there could be another layer, but there always was! And the deeper I got, the more surprised I was at what feeling was in that layer (I kept going with dogged determination because I paid a lot of money for that class and I wasn’t about to waste any of my time learning all I could)!!
Then the jewel . . . under all the feelings, I found myself. I had no idea until then who I really was. I can’t describe to you how I felt when I saw myself for who I really am, but I can say it was good, and I couldn’t stop weeping in absolute joy!
When they called us back in to the lecture hall, I couldn’t stop crying. Tom said, “It’s about time you got rid of all that sh#*!” I don’t know if he understood I was crying for joy or not, but the experience was life changing.
Before Tom sent us out to do this exercise, he told us to write down the feelings and the why’s as they came up. Once the exercise was done, he had us go through the list of feelings and circle the one that felt the most important to us. For many the most important feeling was not the first one we felt come up. He had us circle it and write a little #1 by it. Then we went through the list again, looking for the one that felt most important aside from the first feeling that was circled. When we found the next one that felt most important, we circled it and put a #2 by it. We continued circling and numbering the feelings until we felt we had circled all the important ones.
By doing the second half of this exercise, circling the most important feelings to us, we might be surprised which feelings are most important or strongest, and which feelings that have not been circled are clouding or hiding our most important feelings.
Some logistics:
Sometimes the same feeling may come up more than once. Typically because of a different “Why?” That’s fine just write it down.
Sometimes we may hover with a feeling for awhile before wanting or being able to move on to the next one. That’s perfectly all right, that feeling just needs a little more time to be acknowledged before setting it to the side and moving on to the next feeling.
Sometimes you may not have any feeling come up. That has happened to me more than once in the past. What I do is say to myself, “OK, that feeling is not ready to be seen, or I am not ready to see it . . . that’s good to know.” and I set it aside and move to the next one.
The most important thing to remember is to not be judgmental of yourself for your feelings. They are there and they are valid to you because you are feeling them. There will most likely be baggage contributing to some of your feelings, and that is all great and part of the layers you’re peeling back. It is all good. Digging deep, through it all, is a very introspective approach, and therapeutic, and healing.
One of the things that makes this exercise such a jewel to me is that underneath all the feelings, I found the purity of me. I don’t know if others will experience the same thing, but I do believe that under all those emotions and reasons for the feelings, our true selves exist: pure, beautiful, amazing, powerful, undimmed, and beyond description. So peel away, be patient, enjoy the comfort of being able to feel your feelings and love yourself fully and unconditionally no matter what you are feeling. There is a reason you have your feelings, and you can be a comfort to yourself, but your feelings are not you. You are underneath all the feelings, at the core. YOU are truly amazing!
At one time I thought that if I only know who I really was, spiritually, I would be able to handle anything. I have to admit that has not been the case. I still struggle and find myself knocked off balance. I still get depressed at times, always because I fear something. I can say, however, peeling back the feelings and getting the mix separated out, helps me identify what’s really going on. Awareness in an incredible tool.
Thanks for letting me share, and I hope you can try this for yourself!

Distractions vs Vision … Happiness vs Joy

Here is my feeble attempt at explaining what I think I know so far!

This life is full of amazing opportunities for each of us.  Not only is that knowledge freeing and door opening, I find it more and more easy to become distracted from the best to the better.  Or, from my vision in life to a happy distraction.

Distractions come in many forms: decadent indulgences, pretty things; feeling less than others; feeling better than others; from a plethora of good things to a plethora of bad things, none of which are our personal ideal of what we want out of life.

Happiness, as I have been told, is the feeling that comes from things that are temporary but pleasant.  Eating a delicious meal or favorite dessert, buying a beautiful dress or jewelry, winning an award, becoming famous, receiving positive attention, going on a desired outing, or anything that brings happy feelings.

Joy, on the other hand, is lasting.  Joy is a feeling which comes from knowing what is of true value in the long run, and living in a way which puts the things of true value in the foreground of your life and your attention.

The things that make me happy are: making art, selling art, making anything beautiful, building a structure I want to use for something, eating ice cream, eating chocolate, looking in the mirror and being pleased with my image, riding my horse, reading a novel, surfing you tube, doing what I want.  These are a few of the things that make me feel happy or even blissful for a few minutes.  But those moments are not lasting.

The things that bring me joy are: spending time enjoying my family and grandchildren, feeling a connection with a special friend, feeling that I have helped someone, teaching someone something I think will bless their lives, sharing my experiences in hopes my story might benefit someone, learning something, feeling God’s love for me, feeling love for others, realizing things I never understood before, following what I know to be right after I learn about it.

Malcolm Ringwalt, one of my teachers, once asked the students in his class, “What do you value most?”

Going deep inside myself I asked myself, “What do I value most?”  I had been so involved in learning survival skills, and awareness skills, I thought my answer would have something to do with that.  Boy was I in for a shock!  What an eye opening exercise.  I found the things I was hotly pursuing were not what I valued most.

What do I value most?  MY CHILDREN.  Period.  End of sentence.   I value my children before art, before, food, before a career, before going to classes, before everything except my relationship with God.  I also realized I was spending the majority of my time and attention away from what I valued most.  Time to shift gears, change horses in the middle of the stream, make a change!

Each day brings opportunities.  How will I spend my time?

Beading the sweater my daughter will wear to prom was a good time to contemplate how I spend my time.  I realized I was neglecting my housework; I was neglecting my “career” as an artist; and that was just fine because I was doing something infinitely more valuable, for me and for my daughter.  I was doing something out of love and devotion for her.

She would often sit and read to me, as I worked, to keep me company.  Or she would do my horse chores to free me up to work on her sweater.  We experienced a cooperation and a sharing of love and support.  I didn’t make any art to sell, and my house is a disaster (still waiting for me), but I created something infinitely more valuable — a stronger and better relationship with my daughter.