Reflecting

I had a number of really unpleasant days recently, and then yesterday morning, I woke up feeling good. The change was literally overnight. What happened? I wish I knew the answer so I could bottle it and sell it.

Here’s what I know.

While I was feeling down, I concentrated on the certainty that it was temporary. I was positive the negative feelings would pass, and they did.

In the middle of that malaise, I continued to use the tools I have to help myself feel better. I got extra help from my therapist. I used the medication I have been prescribed as directed. I continued my daily meditation routine. I ate well. I got as much good sleep as possible. I continued exercising. Basically, I continued doing the things that I know work for me.

I didn’t sugar coat anything. I was hurting, and I didn’t lie to myself pretending I felt good. I allowed the pain to have its space all the while knowing it would pass. The pain was not permanent. I was sure of that. I didn’t lie to my friends either. When asked, I told them the truth. To strangers who asked, I lied. I see no contradiction in that. It’s healthy to maintain boundaries with people. Strangers don’t need to know the details of my life.

It’s quite possible one of the reasons I woke up feeling good was that I did the work to process the memories that made me feel bad. I did that in therapy and by reaching out to a trusted person whom I could share the details with. I let it all come out in therapy, and I told the trusted person the reasons for the pain. I have learned after many decades in therapy that when I share the pain or fear, it loses its power.

That’s it. There’s no magic. I maintained my routine and kept walking through the stuff. I kept walking. One footstep at a time.

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Staying Grounded

I like to dream. I like it a lot. I have dreams about what I want in my life, and sometimes I get carried away with it.

I’m dreaming about something right now, and I’m letting the dreams soar. It’s harmless fun, but I can feel the edge of the dream. It feels a bit much. It borders on mania, which is not where I want to be.

So, I’m concentrating on work. I had a good speed walk this morning. I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to my therapist tomorrow. I was dissatisfied with my last session, and I’m going to tell him. I’ve been in therapy for 30 years, so I have no anxiety about confronting a therapist. He’s very good. We’ll talk and get through it.

I’m using grounding techniques, too. I’m concentrating on exactly what’s going on around me. The sights and sounds keep me in the present and out of my head.

My head. It does me a lot of good. It works well except when it doesn’t. It’s been working pretty well for quite a few years now, but I have to keep it in check. It’s dangerous for me to let it get too low or too high. It’s no fun having to be diligent and on guard.

A Rough Week

I’ve had a rough week. I got some unexpected bad news at work that really threw me for a loop, and it caused my anxiety to skyrocket. I’m extremely lucky that I work at a place with generous understanding of mental health issues, so I took off a day and half to recuperate. I really needed it.

I used the tools I have to get through the difficulty. I took the medicine the doctors gave me to help exactly at times like this. It really worked. It didn’t solve the problem, but it helped.

I also called and got an extra appointment with my psychologist. He had an opening, so I was able to get in. He was not mild with me, and I plan to tell him that I think some of his responses were inappropriate when I see him next week. I feel like I should be allowed to grieve for the problem at work, and he’s not giving me space to do that. He wants an immediate shift into the solution, and I want to grieve first. I know that sounds like I want to wallow in the problem, but dammit, if I want to wallow, it’s my wallowing. I get to own that wallowing. I get to feel it the whole way through. No one gets to tell me to “get over it.” I get to decide that for myself.

I meditated, and that helped. Again, it didn’t solve the problem, but I felt better doing it.

Walking helped, too. It got me out of my house and into the fresh air.

Now, I need a dog. It’s a dream.

Another Point of Gratitude

Today, I am grateful for a quiet place to meditate. I woke up late this morning, so my routine was curtailed a great deal. I only had time for a very short meditation. I could really feel it at work. I was distracted, and I could feel irritation starting to build.

I finished a task at work, and I walked down the street to the cathedral during my break. I sat in the back row and meditated. I sat there and breathed. The New Moon was last night, so I made some wishes, too. I felt so good when I finished. I’m calmer, and I don’t feel any irritation building.

Breathing

I didn’t just walk through the stuff. I breathed through it.

Meditation has worked for me once again. This time I combined a releasing visualization that a good friend walked me through on the phone. The result was astonishing. I felt completely better. I was exhausted after the visualization from releasing all that negativity. I also have a much better view of the end of that relationship.

The visualization is not complicated. Here’s a step-by-step guide, if you want to try it.

  1. Sit comfortably, breathe evenly, and relax.
  2. Ask an angel to be near you.
  3. Imagine you are sitting in a shaft of beautiful blue-green light, and breathe it in over and over.
  4. Imagine a cylinder of white light in front of you.
  5. Imagine all the negativity in you about any particular topic. Ask the angel to help you pull that negativity out. Once it’s out, wad it up into a ball.
  6. Place that ball in the cylinder of light, and ask that it be transformed into something positive. I like asking it to be transformed into the laughter of children or nourishing rain on areas of drought.
  7. Finally, breathe more of the beautiful light you’re sitting in.

That’s it. You did it. The beauty is it can be repeated as often as you want about any topic you want. Don’t be discouraged if the negativity returns. That’s not failure. It may take days, weeks, months, or even years of repeated release for something to leave altogether.

This isn’t a race. My healing took decades. It’s worth it. I feel so good.

Healing One Thing

I faced a mountain of hurt, and it overwhelmed me. I shrank from it and stayed in the pain for a long time.

I know you understand. It just looks so big. The pain is so big. There seems no way through.

I’m here to guarantee that all that’s needed is the decision to heal one small thing. Just one. Take that one small thing that hurts and talk to someone about it. Talk about that one small thing.

I’m here to guarantee healing that one small thing will make you feel a million times better.

When I lived in a lot of pain, my house was a big mess. Someone suggested that I go home, and when I got to my door, I should pause and breathe deeply. Then they suggested I open the door and look inside. Whatever I saw first, wherever my eyes landed first, clean it. Just clean that one thing.

The first time, it was the coffee table. It felt like I had cleaned the Empire State Building when I finished, but it felt wonderful.

Cleaning is healing. I healed one small thing, and it helped me feel better.

Next, I healed one more small thing. Over time, it became a regular thing. Over the years, I healed a lot. I did not heal all at once. I healed one small thing after another. Eventually, I looked back and saw that I’d healed a lot. One small thing after another added up to a lot.

I’m not done. There are more small things to heal, more coffee tables to clean. I’m not fretting about it today. It doesn’t hurt the same way. It’s not overwhelming.

One small thing at a time. That’s all.

Meditation … Again

I’ve written often about how important meditation is to me. You can search for it using the search window on the mobile app, or you can click on the word “meditation” in the column on the right in the desktop version of this blog.

In therapy Tuesday, I talked about work-related stress and how much it was impacting my life. We talked about it, and we talked about how to take away its power. My psychologist knows how important meditation is to me, and he asked if I ever meditated about specific things. I told him yes, so he suggested I meditate about releasing the power stress has over me.

I tired it, and a mantra came to me. I repeat this mantra often now, and it has a very good effect. It is

I have faith. I don’t know what’s going to happen in my work life. I’m not going to pretend that I’m completely fine with not knowing, but I’m willing to sit with the uncertainty and the ambiguity. I’m willing to sit.

It has had an amazing result. I feel lighter. I have slept really well two nights in a row.

Meditation is not as daunting as it sounds. Sit in a chair and concentrate on your breathing. Your thoughts will wander. Try to be gentle with yourself, and don’t get upset with the wandering thoughts. Simply allow the wandering thoughts to have their space, and then gently return your attention to your breath.

When your thoughts wander, you’re not failing. It’s completely normal. Be gentle, and return your attention to your breath. It does not matter how many times you have to return your attention to your breath. You can do it every other breath, if necessary.

Be gentle and breathe.

In order to release negativity, here’s what I do during meditation. I get a feeling for where the negativity is in my body. Sometimes it’s in my stomach, sometimes in my chest, and sometimes in my head. Once I know where it is, I picture its shape. With that shape and location in mind, I then ask an angel to remove it, and I picture it being taken out.

The beauty of this little visualization is that I can repeat it as often as I want. I haven’t failed when the negativity returns. That’s normal. I just release it again.

Be gentle and breathe and release.