You’re Not The Boss of ME!


pouting

Quotidiandose does not own copyrights to this image. All rights are reserved for gettyimages.

I’m generally a fairly low-key person.  Don’t laugh – it’s true.  I know  I have strong opinions about most everything but I am fairly easygoing and most often easy to get along with.  I  usually mind my own business and don’t judge others for their different views or lifestyles.

Why then is it that certain people feel compelled to  inform me that I am WRONG?  Not just wrong about something, but WRONG.  Wrong in who I am,  what I do, what I think, what I believe, and  how I behave or don’t behave.

Several years ago I was  called out in  the newspaper for a letter to the editor pertaining to an issue that was on the ballots.  I usually don’t say anything, but the  specific topic got my dander up.   NOT the issue so much as the people’s ignorance surrounding  it.  Voting was based on misconceptions,  and wrong thinking –  I mean wrong to the point of this is not scientific fact, they were basing their decision off something someone said with no evidence to back their claims while a little bit of research ( and you all know how much I love to dig into research) I found several sites that listed the  facts easily.

In this article I pleaded with the  people to become  informed of the facts,  and stop voting strictly based on party lines.  Well, of course  there was a rebuttal  – in which I was called a narrow-minded religious zealot.  Huh?  That didn’t even make sense as the issue I was trying to argue was that instead of making your decision based on what was being preached from the pulpit, which was not  Biblical by the way, that the people should read it for themselves and get the facts.  FACTS people, scientific evidence to  dispute the  views being spouted.  I didn’t write a rebuttal to the rebuttal, but the newspaper offered me a column in which I went on to inflame many readers about many topics.  Thank you, it’s a gift!

Fast forward to  today – Where does Mr. Behavioural Fascist get off thinking that he is my personal life police?  Really?  Once again the  fountain of garbage has spewed all over my writer’s desk. Where is the rule book that says that certain people are appointed  as judge over  others?   Where is it?  Did I miss that one somehow?  Where’s my copy?  When do I get to be judge and juror over someone else’s life? 

You all may have missed this before, but I’m not a child –  not by any stretch of the imagination. At the beginning of this year I  hit the big 50. I know, age does not define maturity. Mr. Behavioral Fascist has determined that I am the scourge of the earth by this latest  bout of tongue lashing.  I am a legal adult!  I don’t need morality police telling me that every choice I make is wrong.  I don’t need  to be babysat like a delinquent school girl.

When I make mistakes – and I do, big ones – I own up to them and take full responsibility for them.  But NOOOOOOOOOO, that isn’t good enough. I’m taken to task over every slight offense. Guess what?  I”m not perfect and never claimed to be.  I screw up on a grand scale at times because I am actually doing something.  If you’re not making mistakes then you aren’t living.

I’m not making excuses for my  bad behavior, I’m not saying that my choices are always the best but it’s not anyone else’s place to judge me and inform me that I am the  great evil. If it’s anyone’s business it would be my husband’s and children and they aren’t ready to burn me at the stake.

What was that thing that Jesus said?  Oh yes – “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”  He didn’t say “Let those who have made the same mistakes crucify you after they  have recovered.”

As far as I know we are all human here and all of us fall short of perfection.  I realize that is a hard concept for some to grasp but it’s true.  Until someone can  provide proof that aliens walk among us, or vampires are real, or some other nonhuman entity exists I shall assume that we are all in fact human.

Why is it that people feel the need to express to me  my failings?  This has happened to me on more than one occasion.  In fact,  it has happened to me a number of times.  Is there something about me that screams to  others to inform me of my short comings?  I’d really like to know so I can remove that sign.

And to Mr. Behavioural Fascist –  you’re not the boss of me! 

Write on my friends, regardless of what your critics say.

 

 

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YOGA and the Zen of writing


All copyrights of this photo belong to Jenny Sugar.

All copyrights of this photo belong to Jenny Sugar.

I’ve recently begun to do yoga. I have to admit , I doubted any benefit from it.  I scoffed and laughed at my friends that were convinced  that yoga “cleanses” the soul.  I didn’t come to yoga willingly, I had to be pushed into trying it per my chiropractor. Faced with medical bills or a little preventative measures through a $25 yoga class, my common sense and inner cheap skate said ‘Fine, let’s give it a whirl.”

It looks simple but like figure skating, looks can be deceiving. Starting from a place of having poor balance, out of shape overweight and  emotionally drained, I can see a difference in the past in the past couple of months since beginning yoga.

Certain challenges of the writing life may be  as easy to conquer as rolling out  the yoga mat. Some experts say that just 10 minutes of yoga a day and proper breathing can improve your concentration and creativity.  I was skeptical to say the least.

At a time when I can’t seem to focus, still battle with a brain fog, and  am unable to concentrate due to  back pain – I figured I had nothing to lose  by trying.  Jeff Davis, author  of The Journey From the Center of the Page offers a scientific  explanation for why yoga will improve things: ‘The front cortex reflects your current state of mind via continuously oscillating brain waves. When you’re multitasking, brain waves are at a speedy frequency of about 36 oscillations per second –these are beta waves. Breathing and intentional movement cut that rate by more than half and slow the speed to about 6 to 13 oscillations per second – – creating alpha waves. Yoga also improves communication between analytical frontal cortex and the emotional hindbrain. “When  they communicate, there’s greater facility for generating and understanding metaphor, recognizing imagery, and greater awareness of emotions.”

Interesting – so I put it to the test. While struggling to find my balance in the class,  watching the instructor effortlessly hold a pose I could tell a difference in just a few short weeks.  First, for not doing anything strenuous, I was sore in places that I  didn’t know you could be sore in. Secondly, my balance was improving. Even with modifications  because of  back injury, in one month I had made progress. Thirdly, and this is a big one –  oxygen uptake.  Deliberate breathing, deep cleansing breaths has given me increased oxygen flow.  I have noticed that just left to my own, as most people do, sitting at my desk or wherever we tend to shift to shallow breaths. Yoga class made me consciously aware of deliberate breathing.  I believe this more than anything else has  helped my concentration, my ability to focus, and allowed the creativity to flow. It’s called a cleansing breath for a reason!

The stretching and holding of yoga has improved my flexibility some, I am a work in progress after all. The breathing exercises were – not to be coy or use a really bad pun, but I’m going to do it anyway – a fresh of breath air.  Sometimes the simplest things make the biggest difference in our day-to-day lives.  When I get to a particularly tense part of  a scene or at a place where I am unsure where to take it next I find myself sitting up straight and breathing deeply, taking 3 deep cleansing breaths to clear my mind.  It really does help as well as  release the ever building tension as the day progresses.

My favorite pose is the warrior pose  towards the end of the workout routine.  As the instructor is  reminding us to clear our minds and  focus on the breathing,  I  remind myself  that my body is strong and growing stronger.  I am a warrior in my own world, able to tackle everything that life throws at me.  I am a strong, capable woman!  I can do this! It instills the confidence I need  before writing, and gives me a little boost to tackle the rest of the day whereas if I had stayed home I probably would have surrendered to self-pity and  pain. I no longer scoff at the value of yoga – it’s helping me  tremendously.

How do you find your inner peace?  How do you get your mind back in the game when life is a big distraction?  How do  you get your Zen on?

If you want to check out more about  yoga, or help with poses you can visit www.yogajournal.com/poses.

Write on my warrior friends, may your road rise to meet you and  you find  your peace!

 

 

Discouraged


day-break-through-the-trees

“Permanence, perseverance, and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong from the weak.”

– Thomas Carlyle 

Have you ever reached a point where you were disheartened and discouraged?  Where you just felt like you couldn’t do it,  it was impossible, it would never happen despite your best efforts?

Come on, it happens to all of us at one time or another.

“Discouragement is not the absence of adequacy but the absence of courage.”

– Neal A. Maxwell

“Discouragement is universal, it’s everywhere.” 

– Charles Stanley 

There are 5 truths about discouragement:

  1. It’s everywhere
  2. It’s recurring
  3. It’s contagious
  4. It’s unpredictable
  5. It’s temporary

Everywhere –  it’s  in every culture, some more than others.  It affects every age and if we give in to the discouragement it can lead to depression.

Recurring – It happens numerous times in our lives. Sometimes  it recurs more often in a specific area, one that we struggle with.  If we don’t develop a coping technique to battle against it, it can stop us from going further, and keep us trapped in a pit of despair.

Contagious – Debbie Downer can easily infect those around her with her pessimistic poison, offering up her personal brand of discouragement of why this or that won’t work as well as offer personal life examples from experience.   Don’t be the Debbie Downer- mind your tongue and guard what you are saying lest you discourage yourself as well as others.

Unpredictable – It happens when we least expect it.  After a victory there is usually a let down, don’t let the let down lead to a disappointment. Sometimes you’re sailing along smoothly then  the engine sputters and chokes, then WHAM! Suddenly you’re sidelined and discouraged.

Temporary – This is a key point here, to keep in mind that  it is indeed temporary.  Circumstances are always subject to change. This too shall pass.

“Most folks are as happy as they want to be.”

-Abraham Lincoln

If you’re discouraged, you can’t make things happen. You can’t even help yourself.

Stop wallowing in the mud like a pig!

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the  surest stepping stones to success.” 

– Dale Carnegie

Two ways we deal with  Discouragement:

  1. From the inside out – our minds, our thoughts, naval gazing , self scrutinizing, and feeling inadequate and incapable.
  2. From the outside in – our circumstances.  You know  – you  just got  the car paid for and it gets wrecked.  You get a tax refund and your refrigerator goes out.  You  work really hard doing your very best and don’t get a promotion.

“In spite of everything I shall rise again, I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement – I will go on with my drawing.”              – Vincent Van Gogh

I am a survivor!  I’ve made it through many things.  The things I’ve survived have shaped me into the person I am today. We grow stronger through trials, through the troubles.  We learn through our adversities.

Common causes of discouragement:

  1. self pity:  we feel sorry for ourselves when life isn’t fair, when life mistreats us, when people  aren’t nice to us, or even when we fail ourselves.  Don’t give into the pity party!
  2. things don’t happen on our time table:  we set deadlines, we set absolute points where X has to happen and sometimes they are unrealistic self imposed deadlines that are beyond our control in the first place.  Unreal expectations about something  that is outside our realm of influence is a perfect setup for discouragement.
  3. Unrealistic standards:  I know I am guilty of this.  We set standards on ourselves that are so far above what is  obtainable,  or set goals that are not realistic, or  set our sights on the top prize and ignore all the ladder rungs between here and there.
  4. comparing ourselves to others: I am never going to be a lead singer  like Ann Wilson.  I admire her, her strength, her voice is phenomenal,  she  is one talented woman.  However I am not her – that  is her  path not mine. It is never going to do any of us any good to compare ourselves to others  because we  have to be ourselves and  follow our own individual path.
  5. not getting our way:  you know, sometimes it’s a good thing that we don’t get everything we want. Sometimes,  all our discouragement is  more akin to a temper tantrum from a spoiled child that didn’t’ get their way.
  6. spreading yourself too thin:  too many irons in the fire can indeed wear you down, and make  it impossible to do well in any area because you are simply stretched too thin.
  7.  facing a defeat:  setbacks happen. It is a rare individual that never meets with defeat at some point or other.  Defeat in one battle does not lose the war. Laying down and surrendering  guarantees failure. We often lay down and wave the white flag after a defeat instead of regrouping and getting back in the proverbial saddle and trying again. Sometimes, your best laid plans fall apart — the deal falls through — no one shows up to the event.  How do you react?  As one man said, “Just when I think I can makes ends meet — somebody moves the ends! That’s discouraging!
  8. illness: while ill we are simply incapable of doing what we  normally do.  Injury does the same thing. We have to take time to allow our bodies to heal. The human body is an amazing  creation, when we take care of it.  Quit constantly looking at what you can’t do now while you are ill, injured, or recovering.  Instead focus on what you can do, even if it is a small thing –  embrace that  small thing  and you’ll realize that  you are capable of more  gradually.
  9. self assessment:  when we take inventory of who we are, and what we are we often come to the conclusion that we don’t like the person staring back at us in the mirror.  Instead of  lamenting how horrible you are  focus on the aspects that you can change.  I am currently incapable of physically doing the things I could do a little over a year ago.  I’ve lost muscle tone, strength and the ability  to do normal things without pain.  I’ve been focused on these points of what I couldn’t do for  quite a while and just wallowing in the discouragement.  Recently I  took a fresh look at  it and realized that I am still capable of  some things so I’ve done those things.  This gives me encouragement, and a little encouragement lifts us up out of our pit of despair.
  10. fatigue: When you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, you’re a prime candidate to be infected with discouragement. Your defenses are lowered and things can seem bleaker than they really are. This often occurs when you’re halfway through a major project and you get tired.

Remember also that if you are struggling with this,  seek out a friend or family member to talk to or even a counselor.  Don’t give in to the discouragement, even if you need a hand up – get up and move on. There’s sunshine  after the storm has passed.

Write on my friends, write on and don’t let discouragement keep you down.