I am so grateful to all my friends and family for helping my Bday a great one! 49...OMG! I don't care what age I am, but I was feeling uninspired before I received all the uplifting messages from friends and family that reminded me I AM LOVED, I AM AWESOME, and I AM ACCEPTED as I am! I had another fab BDay thanks to my wonderful friends around the world, and of course, those right here in town! I received so many messages of love and affirmation yesterday morning that my spirits were buoyed and I felt restored and rejuvenated; all the stress was washed away as I was reminded that I am capable, competent, courageous, unique, and valued exactly as I am! Thank you friends, thank you!
I took the day off so I could spend time with Dad and 어머니, talked to several friends via phone, then went out with D and J for a much-anticipated dinner of 삼겹살 청무김밥 막걸리 소주!!! We finally grilled and had an overflowing table of pork, side dishes, and drinks... and laughter! D and J learned all about Korean culture and eating etiquette, which was funny, and I ordered almost everything in Korean! So fun! And we finished the meal with an exquisite Korean sweet potato cake from Tous Les Jours! Yay!
I love you my friends, thank you, thank you, thank you!
Diet, mind, conditions
Hold the possibility of correction."
-"Imbalance", 356 Tao Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao*
I'm grateful to receive lessons of wisdom, always at the exact moment I need to be uplifted or reminded.
"Whenever you feel out of sorts, or cannot sleep, or find it hard to work and think, you are separated from Tao. If you want to get back in touch with it, ask yourself three questions: Am I eating right? Is my mind tamed? Is my world safe?" *Ibid
In other words, separated from my true nature, separated from the knowledge of my own peaceful self, and believing distorted thoughts of the ego-mind. I will copy this and paste it onto my bathroom mirror, as a reminder to check my diet, thoughts, and my reaction to stress. All causing my sleepless nights.
I love reading these passages that remind me there is an answer always, and it is always within me.
I am grateful that I realize that putting something off doesn't change it, doesn't make it any better; it only makes that need sit heavy on mind and heart for a longer period of time. To avoid this only makes the dread grow in intensity, and I also ofeel the pressure in my subconscious. So while I try to fool myself that I am putting something off, I am truly not, but it grows larger behind the scenes.
This procrastination is a pattern I have seen in my life, but it is usually a method to avoid conflict. Most of my life I have always completed tasks early to get them done. I make a list, and relish slashing through each item with a deep line. Many of my lists are online now, so I miss the slash marks; hitting "delete" does not offer the same physical and mental satisfaction as that active recognition of task completion. But with all the other challenges I have faced in recent years, I have fallen into a pit of procrastination and this act has carried over into other areas of my life. This is why it took me a while to realize that putting anything off increases my anxiety, rather than alleviating the stress of the "to-do".
Quite recently, I have realized that putting off an unpleasant task will only increase the misery of an already unpleasant situation, and so I have decided to face it and get it over with. This decision has made me realize I am stronger than I thought I was; knowing I have the resources to deal with it in some fashion, when others cannot. It may bring up other issues, and I may not deal with it as well as I had hoped, but in the end I will figure it out, even if it means I have to keep my thoughts and feelings to myself and keep my own counsel.
I suppose I am most grateful for my courage, and recognizing this within myself. I've been so hard on myself these two years, and although it's a stretch, it is also a relief to actually feel good about myself in some form. While I haven't had a rainbow-lit epiphany that procrastination doesn't work for me, I have recognized a behavior that has become a pattern, and am making an effort to minimize that pattern back to an occasional action. Rather, I would call the acknowledgment of courage within myself more of a major growth factor and rainbow-colored elucidation.
Thus, I am grateful for recognition and acknowledgment and the good feelings that follow these two.
I told myself last night, as I fell asleep, that I would sleep well and long... and I did! I awoke this morning feelin' good and well rested. I decided to start a new habit of writing out visualization for the following day, entitled: "How Do I Want My Day To Go?"
I decided--and wrote-- last night, that I wanted my day to easily and happily; I would arise early enough to do some writing and reading, exercise and meditation, and ride my bike to school. I would have fun with my kiddos and, rather than being stress-free (impossible), I would manage the stress well. I still have loads of anxiety around work, but I'm lucky in that I love my school, our model, our parents, our staff, so that has balanced out the anxiety. All I can do is my best for my students and let everything else go. And have fun!
I am nervous about riding my bike though; I'm out of shape and wondering how my knee will hold up. It feels near 100% healed and I don't want to re-injure it, but I have to get back on my bike and get back to running--my body has become too, too fat and too, too weak.
But I'M GRATEFUL to be FEELIN' GOOD today, thank goddess, it's such a change to wake up and be happy and feel good physically and emotionally. Actually, the change has been waking up and feeling the opposite. Waking up happy and anticipating a great day is my norm. I want my norm back!
I'm also grateful to my friends who love and support me, my family in FTW that does the same, and my wonderful school family.
Plus, I made braised lotus root banchan yesterday for the first time!
I am grateful for friendships; the energy within that attracts new friends, those amazing people that become part of my life, and sharing similar experiences. Friends help me remember that I am not alone in this world and that the emotions I feel and the challenges I experience are not saved solely for me; they let me know "I am not the only one". Everywhere I have been on this globe and in this life, I have met new people who I have been instantly attracted to--in energy and personality. These people are different from me and the same, and we vibe, we match, we collude toward authentically deep friendship and shared positive experience. I'm always astounded by the people I meet.
Aside: how did the meaning of the word "collude" get transformed from its origin, "to play", to a word indicating ill-intent? The root word "ludere" (currently used as "ludic") means "to play"!
...to be continued...
I am grateful that when I am fully present and trying to listen to another with focused attention and the intent of truly listening, I am able to do it. I would like to be able to practice this regularly, in simple day-to-day conversations, but at least when the conversation is intense, I am aware enough to practice it. It feels good to really listen to another person and not focus on what I think about what they are saying or what I'm going to say in response or defending my Self. It takes a very conscious decision to do this and I am grateful I can do it. I am far from skilled or perfect in this type of communication, but I am progressing!
I've known this a long time, but each time I pull it forward into awareness, I am still amazed: my thoughts totally control my mood. In states of anxiety, I find my mood blackening and my anxiety increasing as my wonders to "What if?" and recollects negative experiences of yesterday. Without realizing I am thinking; I have been focuses on a negative event that irritated me from the previous day, al the while brushing my hair or teeth and not even focused on what I'm doing. Then I Wake Up, and change the direction of those thoughts (when I'm able to do that. I've found that I have to be in the right frame of mind to redirect myself out of the Downward Spiral).
This morning, I found my mind Wandering to positive thoughts about people and doing something kind for them. My mood lifted instantly and I found myself "Feeling Good For No Reason"! Oh, but there was reason, of course: I was thinking positive thoughts and thus, my mood followed.
Yes, it all seems simple to you, but some of us have to work toward that positivity, it does not come natural, especially if a parent taught us to think negatively and be critical, or modeled that behavior. I have a friend, whom I admire so much, who's natural course of Thought Flow is to focus on what feels good/what is good, in a negative situation, thereby she is able to remain happy and look for positive outcomes to anything Life throws at her. I truly envy that ability; to me, it's like Magic. For me, if I am not fully aware and Catch My Thoughts, I turn toward worry, fear, and negative thinking automatically. I've had to work hard to train my mind to find positives and Light in The Darkness.
But I can do it. And each time I recognize what my thoughts are doing to my mood, that engages the habit and the Power to change my mood, my day, my Life.
Stress is increasing now that school is once again beginning; constant thoughts of to-do lists and "not enough time" and "can't get it all done" have returned, leaving me sleepless the past three nights. Aargh! Though I type this--in my fatigue-- on Wednesday, Tuesday was a good day for self-care. I am establishing a new, kinder and more achievable routine for health and wellness. Yesterday morn, I completed my round of yoga and prana, listened to a short visualization program which I recently started. At 12 minutes, plus yoga practice of a bit more, I can adhere to this shorter 20 minute routine in the mornings, which I will alternate with exercise on other days. My usual standard is to set too-high standards that I inevitably can't follow through, and end feeling like I have failed. With 3 days of exercise, that will get me back in the habit without having to unbalance and overexert and exhaust myself attempting my normal 5. 3 days of exercise, 3 days of meditation/visualization; this I can achieve with positive results.
I have vowed in the afternoons, immediately following school, to engage in a deep relaxation (yoga nidra), 3 days each week. I'll also take a short walk a few nights each week , to get some fresh (well, traffic, MoPac, and pollution -- so it's not all that fresh) air, as well as alternating that with MBSR (Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction) or visualization/meditation.
So I am grateful for self-care tools and action! I'm finding balance in the changes of how I approach fitness and health; allowing instead of struggling, acting on that which I am capable of doing rahter than trying to force myself to perform at previous levels. It's okay. It's all good.
Now, If I could just get some damn sleep!
...is practicing gratitude every day for 365 days. Began on April 22, 2016, let's see how life changes over the course of this next year!