The Holidays and Lonely Me

Feeling anxious about Christmas, or whichever December holiday celebrated?  We are not alone.  We think we are.  We worry about the in-laws, parents, money, gifts for our kids, keeping the romance, abandonment, alcohol abuse, anniversary-grief of loved ones lost, and on and on.  I’m thinking now especially of our dear blogger-friend, Lisa, who is spending this first Christmas without her mom.

Lisa, we are standing with you.  We are weeping with you.  You are not alone and we value you.

In this precious sum of days, “the holidays,” going into the space that holds our fear seems almost morally wrong.  (Do we really have the responsibility we perceive we do to be “festive?”)  The smiles and joy appear to occupy any organ-cell(s), from the lowest creature to our neighbor, who doesn’t deserve more than a broken shoe in his stocking.  We think,

How can this be?  Why don’t I feel joy or care?

Even when our mind knows the true answers that we are not chosen to suffer, we are not alone and that we are safe to be in the space of our fears – even then, we don’t perceive it.  In the cold environment of our lonely selves, white breath condenses, freezes and, made heavy in winter-thought, falls to the ground before the “knowing” has a chance to reach the rest of us.

There are no universal-tips to dispense, cups of warm cocoa or four-sided tickets, except this.   Remind any part of us that can hear our friend, that is to say Me:

We weep together.  

We are present with our suffering.  This does not take sincerity away from the things we actually do still enjoy and feel pleasure with.  Inversely, feeling pleasure does not deny the grief or other negative feelings.  

We will make it past this.    

We love ourselves and see our flaws as tools to use towards furthering our efforts in self-care – potential assets.  

We claim our freedom to choose to start over at any time, to choose not to be a victim and to go where our intuitions wrongly advise us not to – our fears and shame.

We take our medication, despite stigma. 

We account to ourselves, despite what has happened in our lives.  

We keep it basic when things complicate.  We return to the home of Me whenever our view  of where we are in time films over.

Keep on my friends.  We are persons of courage and value.

Questions:  What fears complicate your holidays?  How are you friendly to yourself during this time?  Please tell us your story.

Get Your Hunting On – Insight is Empowering

But

Because of

He makes me

Finding insight can often feel like going on a bear hunt. There’s a children’s classic that tells this story about our journey towards self-discovery well with this title. You Tube even has a catalog of animations for it. One of my favorites is by Michael Rosen. This guy has a face made for story-telling.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunthttp://bit.ly/uItL6P YouTube

Sometimes when we venture out on our personal journey, a bit of the spirit of Columbus, a musketeer or a little boy with a stick in his hand. We have courage.

The screenplayer

Image by Darkroom Daze via Flickr

We are made beautiful by the courager; wind in our hair, weapon girded and travel pack filled with trail mix. And then mid-stride, mid-journey or in-process of anything our hand starts to shake. We remember more of our flaws rather than our merits. We remember abuse and encounter more of it. The tall grass becomes tangled around our ankles. We stumble often and start talking about why we cannot. We fear what we find or may find on the great hunt of accountability for our lives.

Words can be part of the tripping power over us. Words that point to all the power outside of us; over us. Words that erase our memories of what we have inside.

I am depressed because I have so much stress at work.

I hit him because he was being so rude.

I’m sorry but I wouldn’t cry all the time if you cared.

All the “reasons why” hover around us like angry weather, darkness or spooky caves.

I’m not forgetting the obvious. Hunting bears is dangerous. It is just a metaphor. Hunting for ourselves is less dangerous and more rewarding. We find that when we find our “bear,” and stay in the space of that fear for long enough over and over, it loses its power over us and our fears dissipate. We are safe and see that we have power.

Self-Care Tip: Get you some bear. You have the power and are not a victim.

Question: What keeps you from insight? How do you get past all the in-between that keeps you from seeing yourself and taking accountability for who you are? Please tell us your story.

Secure Connections Allow Us to Feel Safe When Proximate or When Distant From our Other

Your romantic partner just left on a distant work related job.  Inside, two days later, you feel a growing chill.

You are not alone in this type of response. Physical separation can challenge intimacy. (Save the snarky comments on the positive influence physical distance can also have Carl. 🙂 )20111013-114942.jpg

We want safe connections. What and how do we get those?

Secure interpersonal connections allow us when together or apart, in any place we find ourselves, we find that we are still connected.

In contrast, when you and I, he and she, her and she are doubting our own self and/or each other, in crisis and unpaired spirits, when together or apart, in any place we find ourselves, we find that we are not. We are not connected. Connection isn’t only about proximity of person to person.

This can be one of the healing forces in victims of abuse. In the discussion of our last post, Col said:

I have been trying to figure out how to connect back to a part of me kind of lost behind….

…Time to build some trust bonds.

Likewise, Antonia reminded me of this.  Although she came in with “her eyes rolling in her head” – her words weren’t always entirely connected, Antonia’s courage in life was undiminished.  I learned a lot from this survivor who spoke with a Sevillian accent, (including the theta sounds.)

I am so pleathed to meet you, Doctora!

Her teeth were stained and overlapped each other and the right side of her face and right arm I saw were in a ruin of tumbled scars. Story unfolded that she was molested as a child by her brother for years. Her mother had died young and her father had helped her understand that that was what girls were for. Escaping from Spain to France, she married in hopes to be given a “start-over.” Her husband was violent though and finally when he lit her on fire, she was hospitalized long enough to grow some scars; inside and out. She threw herself into another “start-over,” this time including God and three years later, landed in Temecula.

Throughout the progress of her story I was sounding dismay at her suffering. However, I couldn’t for very long at any time before she’d offer me comfort to me!

No no! That was all before….

…I am thankful for my life!

I hab so much! God is really good to me. He sabed me!…  Her scars were tight around her soft smile and eyes.

I know in my boots that Antonia is not all that she is today because of her medications, psychotherapy and life-saving skin grafts.  She is connected.  She is connected to her Me and to her Other.  She has security that is bigger to her than her insecurities.  (Remember yesterday when Suzicate described the friendliness of that?  Thank you Suzicate.)

This ties us in to one of our premises of what it takes to be our own friend – accountability to Me.  Although we are all victimized, being the victim is our choice and we have the power.

Questions: What has grown your sense of safety in your connections? How does your perception of abuse, victimization and maltreatment relate to this? Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  You have the power to have safe connections to self and others.

Victim to Emotions Versus The Friendliness In Accountability

Thin layer chromatography is used to separate ...

Image via Wikipedia

It’s just hard!

It is hard.  Do you feel like a victim?

Yes I do?  It’s hard when they are making you feel this way and no one gets it unless they are here fighting against both sides like I have to.

Juanita’s self-perception and emotions; suffering is special and specific to Me, I am chosen to suffer, I am alone in my suffering and I am helpless, were carried by the air particles through our room.

In 1910, Russian botanist Mikhail Tsvet used water to do this to plant dyes.   The water in the plant dyes carried the pigment, separating them for his needs.  This is now called chromatography and we use it to determine what makes up a particular flavor or scent, to analyze pollutants, to find traces of drugs in urine, and to separate blood proteins.  You might remember doing this yourself as a child in the simple science experiment with a marker, a couple drops of water and a coffee filter.

Juanita’s son also knew about chromatography, I could tell.  He may not have called it that with words, but he did call it out with his body, his eyes and the muscles around his lips told me as I watched that the emotions had made their way over to him and that he was bringing them inside.

Some people call emotions contagious and others may describe them as spreading.  No one thinks they don’t travel.  No one thinks they remain stationary.  In fact, if we were to reduce everything in the known world, living and nonliving matter, and expand our thoughts into a large large amount of time, we’d agree that nothing is stationary.  Furthermore, everything is changed by the influencers in its universe.

Juanita’s son knew this even if he didn’t cognitively piece it together.  He was taking in his mom’s emotions and they were making their changes on him.

What I asked Juanita was if it mattered in the end.  She’s still left with herself, regardless of where things came from.  We’d like to think others should take care of us, at least not do damage to us, but if they don’t or if they do, in the end, we are left with ourselves.  All these perceived degrees of abuse she suffered – what now?

Saying we are left with ourselves, accountable to ourselves and should take care of ourselves is not making any statement about the condition of our connections with the world around us.  It’s just talking about Me.  Sometimes we perceive how others take care of us, sometimes we don’t.  The same goes with feeling alone and so forth.  But that isn’t about accountability to ourselves.

I would have liked to have said the same thing to Juanita’s son but couldn’t.  I hope he learns it from watching his mother.  If he or mom gain insight into this and can act on that insight, wonderful.  If they cannot do one or the other though, I’d bet there’s something biological going on and need to take care of themselves by looking for medical help.

Question:  How do you perceive accountability to yourself being different from where the problems drift towards you from?  Or from how you have been changed by problems?  Please tell me your story.

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Insight Isn’t Worth Much For Self-Care… Or Is It?

Autumn Red peach.

Image via Wikipedia

Much of self-care is about taking accountability for our choices.  Choices come in deliberately – “Oh my!  I’m old already!  It’s time to have a baby!”  Or not deliberately – “Oh my!   He’s hot!  Whoops!  I’m having a baby!”  Both choices brought a baby.  Both choices accountable by Me.

In interpersonal exchanges this is ever in debate.  From parenting to being parented, from spouses to friendship and all up and down the Mississippi river – the martyrs stake rarely collects dust.

That baby keeps her awake and she can never sleep with her husband any more or else no one gets any sleep.

That’s a lot of responsibility to put on those tiny infant shoulders.  Don’t you think?

Mom just runs my life!  I have things to do but every weekend she expects me to be by her side!

Mom may run your life but you are choosing for her to do it if that is true.

The scenes could continue on our imaginary screen, but our own are enough to keep us busy.  We don’t need others from others to get the point.  But insight only takes us so far.  Sometimes I get all grumpy and say, “Insight isn’t worth much.”  Because, we all know that we don’t choose many of our emotions.  We are learning here at FrientoYourself.com also that we don’t choose many of our behaviors.  Insight sits in us like a stone fruit.  Eat it up or don’t, eventually all we have left is a stone if we don’t have the biology to work with it.

Self-Care Tips in a stone fruit:  To take care of ourselves, to take accountability for our choices, to use our insight for more than a midmorning snack fruit – we must have the working body to turn insight into production.  One stone fruit can germinate and grow.

Question:  What relationship does insight have in your self-care?  What limitations does it have in your self-care?  please tell us your story.

Self-Care Does NOT Always Mean Doing What You Want

The Red Kangaroo is the largest macropod and i...

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #132 – Remember, you are your own friend.

So today up up up like a ghoul that wouldn’t die, came this confusion over self-care v. selfish-care.  Somehow, intuitive, or what, we see that word “self” and throw up our hands.  There always seems to be that guy, or it could be that girl, let’s call her Terri, who acts like a two-year old, who can’t think about anyone but herself and does what she wants.  She is toxic to her family and throws her perceived needs in their face faster than they can turn their heads.  That’s not good for them or for her.  That’s not friendly.

Self-care may or may not be doing what we want, Terri.  If we are fortunate enough to have it be what we want, great.  If not, the end goal is still the same, and still great.  It is friendly to us.  Self-care does just that, cares for us responsibly.  We don’t need a mother or a police officer or the government to strong-arm us to do it, because we WANT to take care of ourselves.

Self-care may or may not be doing what is consistent with our temperament.  Achilles taught us that.  The grazer may never want to get in the barn, but in the end, find herself at the jaws of a wolf.  The barn animal may never want to graze and, well, you get it… fill up the barn with poop and such.  It’s just not good.

Barn

Image via Wikipedia

Let’s use sleep as an example.  Just as a generalization, grazers tend to enjoy the late hours.

I don’t get any time to play if I don’t stay up and that’s not good for me.  If I plan my play, it loses spontaneity and then it’s not play any more.

You don’t have to be a grazer to think this sounds delightful.  But here’s the thing about this.  If we don’t get our deep sleep, our sleep hours, do sleep hygiene, in short – if we don’t sleep well enough and long enough we don’t heal.  We don’t replenish our hormones and neurotransmitters which predisposes us to mental and physical illnesses and decreases our ability to respond to psychotropic medication.

Geochelone gigantea eating

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve seen regular, restorative sleep bring someone from a place of mental decline to no longer needing psychotropic medication.  Everything works better with sleep.

Ah today I drift some.  Point being, doing what we want is not the same as being friendly to ourselves.  It can be a VERY different thing, or not.

Questions:  How have you found that self-care has been what you wanted to do, or what you didn’t want to do?  How did you overcome those barriers to getting friendly with yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Basic but Effective

Keeping things simple is easier said than done. When I’d come home from a lecture, confused about what happened in there, I’d think I was the problem. Then my brother told me that someone really needs to know what they’re talking about to be able to teach it clearly. Those mostly innocent professors suffered this silent abuse from me thereafter. Everyone needs a defense.

We each often find ourselves listening to the instructions of our own internal dialogue. The familiar sarcasm, “Doctor heal thyself” comes to mind.

Ideally, you would find outside input whenever you could. Ideally you would gather counsel, and education. Ideally you would not be alone with your thoughts. However, being alone with our thoughts is often the reality of our non-ideal circumstance and deserves respect. How does one give their own selves good counsel?

Keep it simple. Work with your paradigms you know about and try to tease them apart to clarify where your feelings and thoughts are coming from. Am I sleepy? Am I doing something to my body that isn’t healthy? Is someone doing something to me that must stop? Peel away the reasons why these things are happening. Don’t stumble over them at your most basic level. There will be time later. Keep your counsel on basic needs. Simple. The rest comes naturally, of its own invitation – the layers and complications of life.

To be honest, despite the dangers of taking our own counsel, we do. A friend to yourself does this simply, because that is effective. Like any good teacher, we can.

Self Care Tip #14 – Basic counsel is effective counsel. Be a friend to yourself.