Camp NaNoWriMo

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This month, I’m going to be attempting the April session of Camp NaNoWriMo.  I’m trying, once again, to finish my short chapter book for a little boy I know.  It feels like I’ve been working on this forever (mostly because I have).  But, I really want to get this done and move onto other projects.

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Writing can often be the most difficult thing to do.  There are so many things that sound great in my head, but once I get them down on paper I find that they’re not that great at all.  Also, it’s so easy to be distracted.  Ever since I stopped going to the library to write, my progress has slowed down to – no progress.  I’d like to go back to the library; however, I don’t feel that I should leave my elderly dog on her own.  There would be no one here if she needs help, and of course I just can’t do that to her.  I just have to learn how to not get distracted by things.

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Is anyone else attempting Camp NaNoWriMo?  Let me know how it’s going for you.  Maybe we can  commiserate – or more hopefully, celebrate together.

Stress, What is it Good For?

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We’ve all been told that stress is extremely bad for us, especially long-term stress.  The high blood pressure, the rapid breathing, the clammy hands, the shot of adrenaline that can leave us shaking in its wake.  All these things are really really bad for us, or so we’ve been told.  I recently watched Kelly McGonigal’s Ted Talk, and she made me rethink what I thought I knew about stress.

https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend?language=en#t-123462

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In the studies that McGonigal talks about, subjects were simply informed that stress was actually good for them.  That’s all.  They believed that contrary to what they thought they knew, stress was good for them.  The blood pumping through their veins was so they could think better; the adrenaline was getting them ready to respond to what was going on around them.  Once these subjects really believed this, their bodies reactions to stress changed.  So, if we believe that stress is bad for us, we can die from it.  If we believe that it’s not bad for our health, we don’t die from it.  Our beliefs can change our bodies reactions, making me think of the Buddhist teaching that we are what we think. Our body is a system, so if we can change our thinking about stress, we can change our reactions to it.  This actually gives me a great deal of hope.  I really can control my reactions, and so can you.  Make sure you watch the video, since McGonigal has fantastic things to say, and then work on changing your thinking.  You may just save your own life.

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What the Heck is Mindfulness?

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I keep hearing about mindfulness.  It seems to be all over the place, most especially in regard to the workplace.  According to the definitions I’ve found, mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts, emotions or experiences on a moment by moment basis.  As far as employers are concerned, mindfulness is focusing all your thoughts on the task at hand.  Sounds good, but how easy is it to simply focus on what’s in front of you?  My mind jumps around flitting from one thing to the next like a jackrabbit.

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The reason I practice Yoga is that for that half-hour to an hour during my day, I turn my focus to my breath.  If I force myself to think only “breathe in breathe out”, I can empty my mind of all other thoughts and relax my body.   The only other time I can do that is when I say my affirmations to myself while lying in bed waiting for the sleep fairy to knock me out.

I understand the concept of mindfulness, and when I try it while working, the longest I can manage it is in half-hour increments.  Although, I must admit, those are the most productive half-hours I have during the day.  But the effort to reel in my busy little mind that is usually running off in a hundred different directions can be exhausting.

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Does anyone else try this?  And, if you do, how is it going?  Please let me know in the comments below.

Tears and Yoga

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Okay, I can be funny here and say that Yoga does indeed make me cry.  When I realize that my lack of flexibility has gotten worse, since I stopped doing Yoga, I can cry with anger.  However, I’m talking about that crying that you do when you do a pose.  Something that opens up your flexibility and just suddenly you find yourself with tears running down your face.  That kind of crying.  I was wondering if that was a thing, since it’s happened to me twice this week, so I looked it up and discovered that I really am not insane.  It happens to other people too.  For some reason the hip-opening positions seem to start the tears for some people.

From what I’ve discovered, people tend to store emotions that they haven’t dealt with in their bodies.  Just think of how tense we become in stressful situations, and then we don’t totally relax after the situation has ended.  Later, when we stretch, those muscles relax and the tension is released, sometimes in the form of tears.  Hip openers seem to hit the tear trigger for me.  This is the area of my body where I’m the least flexible, so I assume that my tension resides here as well as my neck and shoulders.  However, it’s really easy to relax your neck and shoulders, since all you need to do is flex them, but the hips are more difficult.

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While I’ve been doing the Sun Salutation for a while now, I realized that wasn’t enough, since I do tend to have flexibility problems. I was able to find my favorite yoga tape on YouTube recently and hence my tears.   I’m so glad that I’ve added to my Yoga routine, and that I’m not insane.  If you don’t do Yoga, you should try it since the benefits just keep adding up.  If you do cry while doing certain poses, just know that you’re not alone.

http://ask.metafilter.com/144861/Why-do-I-get-emotional-during-one-particular-yoga-pose

https://blog.yogaglo.com/2012/10/why-are-students-overcome-with-emotions-after-yoga-class/

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Looking Back on my 2016 Goals

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I wanted to take a look back over 2016 and see how many of my goals I accomplished.  Here is my list, in my own words from last 2016:

I’m planning on following a schedule, which will include:  working out, writing, setting up websites, getting better at cooking vegan, and finishing all my coaching certificates.  Along with:  making curtains, quilts and other crafts; keeping up with my organization skills; and working on meditation for my own peace of mind.

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Okay, this is enough to make me jump into bed and hide under the covers.  Did I achieve any of these goals?  Well, I have been learning new vegan recipes; bills have been paid within two or three days after receiving them, so my organization skills have gotten much better in that aspect.  I can now find all my paperwork in the filing cabinet, filed in the right folder, so whoopee for me!  See, that did get done.  I still haven’t finished my certificates, nor have I been putting my quilts together.  I’ve completed quite a few squares, but not set up the sewing machine to start putting the quilts together.  No curtains, either.   I have been working on my writing, and won NaNoWriMo this year!  Okay, I’ve fallen off my exercise routines lately, but have been walking almost every day for a year.  Both good and bad as far as exercise.  No website yet, nor actual meditation either.  I do repeat affirmations in bed while I’m waiting to fall asleep.  So, I think that’s a type of meditation.

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Okay, so, both bad and good this year.  A lot of room for improvement.  How did you do with your 2016 goals?  I hope that you achieved more of them than I did.  Let me know in the comments below.

 

‘Twas the Day After Christmas

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I don’t know about you, but I seem to simply wear myself out over Christmas.  First of all, I worry mightily over the gifts that I’ve bought.  Will they be “good” enough?  Did I spend fairly?  How will they like them?  Were they the “right” thing?  The list goes on and on.  Can I afford all the gifts that I bought?

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Not only did I have all the gift worries this year, but I also had the most difficult time making the pie.  I always make the pie and the sweet potatoes the day before, since there is all the gift opening, breakfast making and wrapping paper cleaning to do on Christmas, not to mention the three different dinners I had to make this year.  My pie crust rolled out exceedingly dry – I had no idea how it would bake.  However, that worked out well, and it ended up being quite flaky – which is how we all like it.  This of course, just added to my list of worries until we finally ate it last night (in lieu of supper).  It turned out fine, of course.

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So, on to today, the “day after”.  I’m exhausted, emotionally depleted, and in need of a vacation.  Is this how you feel?  I tell you, thank goodness Christmas is only once a year.  I don’t think I’d survive more than one day.  I hope that you had a wonderful day with your loved ones.  All in all, it’s more than worth the emotional aftermath.  Don’t you think so?

Living With Chronic Pain

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As someone who suffers from chronic pain, but chooses not to use pharmaceuticals to deal with it, since I really don’t like the side effects.  Instead I tend to rely on over-the-counter remedies, but usually only when the pain is ridiculously intense.  To tell the truth, I will most likely only use over the counter relief for a headache, but not the chronic pain that I’m in.  In other words, I’ve been in constant pain since I was 39 years old.  Ask me how I like Fibromyalgia.  Please, just ask me.

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How do I deal with the pain?  Well, let’s just say that I’ve gotten really good at my dissociative behavior.  I do use it to the best of my ability.  At night when I can’t sleep due to pain, I imagine that I’m wrapping cotton padding around wherever the pain is.  With each pretend circuit around the pain, it lessens, until I can’t feel any pain at all.  This is something that I’ve been working at for years, and I have to admit that it works.  Of course, I’ve spent countless hours perfecting my technique.  You can try it also, but I don’t know if you’ll have the patience to work at it.  See, dissociative disorder can come in handy at times.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

However, I’ve recently come across some information that leaves me just the tiniest bit concerned for my long-term health.  Untreated chronic pain can lead to many other problems, including less sleep, exhaustion, more stress, relationship and work problems and psychological distress.  I’ve been living with pain for so long, that I can’t even imagine life without it.

At first, I was over-whelmed with the information that I was reading, and went into a tailspin (a usual reaction for me), but then I decided that I had to find some better ways of dealing with the pain.  I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even look for new information to help deal with my Fibromyalgia issues, which is exceedingly remiss on my part.  Of course, there is new information coming out on a fairly regular basis.  I should be checking it out and seeing if there is anything new that can help me.

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What did I find out?  Nothing really new, however there are things that I should be doing that I’ve let slide.  So maybe that could be why my pain has ratcheted up to a new level.  My work-outs haven’t been as consistent as they should be.  Neither have my sleeping patterns.  I’ve been shorting myself on sleep by staying up really late (I blame it all on the books)!  Then there is the fact that I haven’t been doing my Yoga, or meditations.  So, here we go again.  There are all these “things” that I should be doing, and I’m not.  However, one bright light is my affirmations.  Those have been going well, if I do say so myself.

So, what will I be doing?  Bedtime has got to change.  I now plan for hoping into bed by 10 at the very latest, and getting up every day at 5am.  Working out on a consistent basis is another change I plan to make.  And, afternoon Yoga along with a relaxation meditation to go along with it.  Do you suffer from chronic pain, and if so, how do you deal with it?  Let me know in the comments below.

https://www.painmanagement.org.au/2014-09-11-13-35-53/2014-09-11-13-36-47/178-psychological-effects-of-pain.htm