I’m Baaaaack!! :)

keep-calm-the-hiatus-is-over-2

It has been a rocky few weeks, and even though we didn’t attend a Sunday service at the new church we were considering trying,  I did manage to attend church 3 out of the 4 weeks of September.  🙂

My regular spiritual routine has not been as regular or as full as what I established in August, however, I have continued to spend time in prayer.  My prayer life was greatly influenced by the book ‘Practice of the Presence of God’ by Brother Lawrence, and have since developed a closer relationship with my Lord and Savior.  I will continue to seek to find rest in Him and live my life in a constant state of prayer and thanksgiving.  I’d also like to get back into more of a regular routine with my bible reading and meditation.

Mentally and emotionally the past few weeks have been very difficult, however with the increase in my medication, and consistent support through twice weekly counselling sessions, as well as the changes in my spiritual life and attempts to stay present with God, I have slowly become more functional.  I am still rather low functioning most days, however today was a wonderful day, and I am thrilled to be starting out the new month on a high note.  It’s the perfect time to get back to writing at this blog, and decide which of my 13 goals to focus on this month.

I’m really not sure which of my goals to take and run with this month, but I think that ‘Stop feeling guilty when I practice self-love‘ is probably a good pick.  I guess that mostly I think that this would be a good pick because I have been really trying to carve out space for me in my life and my attempts at taking more time for myself have been met with some resistance from my family.  fortunately as the weeks have worn on my family seems to have become more understanding and accepting of this.  I do still feel guilty however.  Knowing that I only have so much time and energy, and not being able to function the way I used to as a result of the emotional and mental crisis I have been experiencing, I have often felt guilty about not being able to meet my families needs in the way I want too, and in the way I once did.  In fact, just last night it was a huge source of guilt for me that I was unable to manage my sons bedtime routine.  This triggered all sorts of uncomfortable and rapidly changing feelings.  I am so blessed that I was able to turn to my husband and counselor for support.  And I was even more blessed to have my counselor point me back to God and the support I can find in Him.

Later on this month I am able to get away for a week on my own, for a week of rest and relaxation and hopefully of renewal.  This week is supposed to be all about me, and it will be a great opportunity for me to practice some intense Self Love.  If you’re wondering what I mean when I say self-love, this quote from an interview with Christine Arylo in Aspire Magazine gives you a pretty good idea:

“Self-love is the unconditional love and respect you have for yourself that is so deep, so solid, so unwavering that you choose only situations and relationships – including the one you have with yourself – that reflect that same unconditional love and respect.

In our culture, there are a lot of words other than self-love that people are much more comfortable using – self-esteem, self-awareness, self-care, self-worth, self-compassion – words that many people mistakenly believe are the same as self-love. While all the ideas expressed by these words are components of self-love, none alone is a synonym for self-love. Love is a specific, un-paralleled, and all-powerful vibration, and none of these aspects of self-love has that power on their own – but put them together and WOW! You’ve got a tree of self-love!”

~Christine Arylo in Inspire Magazine~

During this month, I intend to learn more about Self-Love by reading Christine Arylo’s book ‘Madly in Love with ME: The Daring Adventure of becoming your own best friend.’  Really ‘Learn about and practice Self Love’ would be a proper goal for me on its own, since pretty much I am lacking in all components of self-love listed above, with the exception maybe of ‘self-awareness’.  Regardless, the goal I listed was to ‘Stop feeling guilty when I practice Self-Love’, so I will keep it as it is, and I guess that will kick what I’m working on this month up a notch even further.

Till then…

I did go to church last Sunday.  And I have been continuing to practice my spiritual routine.  But that’s not what I’m choosing to write about today.

 

I’m depressed.  I upped my Ciprolex to 20mg on Sunday.

I’m entering a state of quiet social withdrawal. I’ve been cancelling all my plans with my friends.

I’m in survival mode. I’m not functioning well enough to do what needs doing.

I don’t have energy or drive to maintain this blog right now.

I’m going to take a hiatus for now.

hiatus

Stepping Up.

Yesterday afternoon was brutal.  I spent about 4 hours in the bathtub avoiding life.  I was anxious and heading into a different state.  A state of quiet Social withdrawal.  I was supposed to attend a planning meeting for an organization that I volunteer with.  I was so anxious that I decided not to attend.  However, when Shifu found out, he drew me out by encouraging me to come help him.  I trust Shifu, and I feel safe with him seeing me in these states of emotional disarray when I don’t have it together.  To get together with only him seemed so much less intimidating, so I went.  Once I was there I felt up to attending the planning meeting, and from their my social persona kicked in and carried me through.  The high has carried forward into today, and though I still have an underlying current of anxiety running through me, I am happy to be in a much more positive emotional state.

Last night I finally shared my list of12 13 Things I Wish I Did For Myself’ with Shifu, and we talked about the concern of leaving physical activity and healthy eating so long before working on improving them.  Wanting to make healthy steps toward physical health, yet still feeling utterly overwhelmed, Shifu and I decided that for the next 2 weeks I will get up at 7am and eat breakfast right away as a step towards developing self-efficacy.  In 2 weeks, we will discuss where to go from there.  This I can handle.  Not thinking about everything, but just focusing on this one tiny change.  I`m so thankful for Shifu`s willingness to meet me where I`m at, and guide and support me in this.

I said yesterday that when I come back I need to write a bit about my feelings surrounding my intention to begin attending church this Sunday.  Yesterday my state of anxiety and social withdrawal were a cause of my nerves and excuses to avoid church.  However, if I can maintain this positive energized social persona until Sunday, then I will be fine.  Somewhere in the back of my mind is the consideration that if this is the persona that people meet, although it will attract friends, it will also give a one-sided or perhaps false representation of who I really am.  Which I believe can be and has been detrimental to me maintaining friendships in the past.  I can`t think too much on it for right now.  For the most part, I think it is what it is and whatever state I`m in for tomorrow and Sunday, will have to suffice, and I will have to trust God to work out the friendships and relationships as they develop later.

So today I had my third counselling session with Dr.B.  It went well.  I swear I`m all over the map and we discuss so much it`s hard in the end for me to remember what to take away from the session into my week.  I think I need to start taking notes at my counselling sessions to help me retain the wisdom.  The most impacting moment of todays session, for me, was Dr.B telling me of his conscious intent to not abandon me.  I don`t expect this to make any sense to anyone else.

It is my intent to begin some work on Distress Tolerance this weekend and to finish reading `The Practice of the Presence of God` …in addition to the many things I need to do to prepare for the school year.  Regardless of what is accomplished this weekend the priority is to attend church.  I can already anticipate the biggest roadblock being our excuse that DS is sick and we should keep him home.  My plan of action to combat that, is that, if that occurs, I will attempt to attend a service alone Sunday that is closer to our home.

closer than I was

 


 

Todays Spiritual Routine Progress:

  • Listen to a Podcast from Laudate.
  • Pray ✔
  • Send thoughts of loving kindness and pray a blessing for 3 people.
  • Read 2 chapters from the Holy Bible.
  • Meditate (currently 10 min.)

 

Today’s Mood out of 10 with 1 being low:  6

Today’s Something New: 

  • Trying a chocolate raspberry croissant for the first time.

Today’s Social Connection:

  • brief msg. with JF
  • Phone call with CZ

Today’s Lessons to Remember:

  • I need to start taking notes during my counselling sessions.
  • Rest. Rest. Rest.  …Rest in the Lord.

Today’s Joy Notes: 

  • Lovely warm sunshiny day.
  • Dr.B sharing his conscious intent not to abandon me.
  • BI`s generosity with his time.
  • Friendly chatty receptionists
  • My children getting along.
  • A long over due chat with CZ.

Starting the Day Out Right

Todays Spiritual Routine Progress:

  • Listen to a Podcast from Laudate. ✔
  • Pray ✔
  • Send thoughts of loving kindness and pray a blessing for 3 people. ✔
  • Read 2 chapters from the Holy Bible. ✔ 1 Corinthians 5 & 6
  • Meditate (currently 10 min.) ✔

Today I was disciplined and did my entire spiritual routine in the morning, with intention.  The particular podcast that I listen to from Laudate is the Benedictus Moments: daily meditations by Pope Benedict XVI .  I don’t know how to keep it linked to todays meditation, however, if you wish you can find it by going to that link and typing in Sep 4, 2014.  It was lovely, it was  ‘I, but no longer I’ , and was about becoming one with Christ and the body of believers.  I found great comfort in it, and the idea that I am not as alone or isolated as I sometimes feel.  Last night I read half way through ‘Practicing the Presence of God’ and it was lovely and inspiring, and profound.  It called me to a different space of prayer than I have experienced in quite some time, many years in fact.  And I found I was able to pray once again in the same way with a renewed sense of closeness to Christ.  What a blessing and a privilege to feel that closeness again… to have a spiritual reawakening to the presence of God.  I tried to take what I have been learning from the book into my prayers this morning, and found that though not perfect, it was better.  My prayers felt more natural and less rehearsed, and with a heart after God’s desires rather than my own.  I struggled in prayer today with some body issues, partially prompted by pain and mobility challenges and an attempt to draw closer to God in and through them.  I suppose I should not have been surprised then in my bible reading to find God speaking to me through his word though I take this truth out of context.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

‘Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?  You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with you bodies.’

I realize that what exactly this means to me in the context of what I was praying about is likely entirely lost on anyone beside myself without greater detail.  But as this blog is for me and I am writing for myself, this is sufficient for me.

That aside, I struggled with todays bible reading.  I find Paul’s writing to be so judgmental and full of rules at times.  It is hard for me to see Christ in some of his words in these chapters.  Someone whom I greatly respect, recently told me however, that the book must be read in its entirety to be fully understood and put in perspective as it is a letter intended to be read in one sitting.  They tell me that Paul brackets these harsh judgments with messages of Grace and Love, and without those words for perspective, the intention is a bit lost.  Also, they informed me that Paul was a pharisee which I suppose should provide some insight into where he is coming from.  Still I found some of Paul’s instructions here harsh in my heart of love and compassion.  I was happy to hear God speaking to me through his word even as I took it out of context.  Happy to be able to take something of value away.

It had been a long time since I meditated last, and so I felt that todays meditation time went fairly well all things considered.  I went into meditation today with the intention of resting in God’s presence while keeping my mind from all racing thought.  I continued to focus on the colours behind my closed eyes.  Beautiful Sunny yellow with some orange and red today.  It seems to me that the colours change depending on how strong or weak my focus is, as well as with mood and of course the type of light around me.  I felt aware, yet was able to maintain a mental state clear from thought.

I may write more in a bit, however I have not eaten yet today, and I am SO hungry now that I must go eat.  I am afraid I’m still not so good at time management when it comes to taking care of my own needs.

When I come back I need to write a bit about my feelings surrounding my intention to begin attending church this Sunday.  The old excuses are starting to resurface already.  I hate that I feel like I have to have it all together and be on top of my game in order to go and start off on the right foot.

 


Today’s Mood out of 10 with 1 being low:  2 – 5  so far 😉

Today’s Something New: 

  • Coming Soon

Today’s Social Connection:

  • brief msg. with JF

Today’s Lessons to Remember:

  • Coming Soon

Today’s Joy Notes: 

  • Coming Soon

When I Can See Both Sides, But Can’t Find the Truth.

Today my soul is quiet.  My nature is calmer.  The intensity seems to have passed for the time being.

This coming Tuesday I have an appointment with my MD and I am supposed to tell her what my goals are.  What I want to be working toward, and where I want to be in 5 years (I think that’s what she said.)  I still have no clue.  I haven’t devoted much thought to it really I guess.  …at least not productive conscious thought.  That is part of the reason I went to counselling a week ago and then again this week.  But we never seem to get to it.  I think that Dr.B having not pushed me to a decision or tried to influence any decisions is probably a sign of a great therapist.  However, I still feel lost, and the fact that I feel a need to make some changes but don’t know what changes, can be incredibly frustrating and cause the intensity to really build.  I would like to avoid this appointment all together with my MD, to be honest, but unfortunately I can’t, ’cause I really need that blasted refill on my meds.

Last Friday when I was lamenting once again to Shifu that I just didn’t know what I wanted out of life and didn’t have any goals, he made a comment that really stuck with me.  He told me that he knows what he wants, and that he has never met anyone who didn’t want something specific more than what they currently have.  He suggested that maybe I don’t want anything because I am satisfied with my life.  Maybe I already have what I want in life.  Maybe I am living my purpose already.  This is a valuable angle to consider.  If I am living the life I want, then I don’t want to pursue change, because that’s completely pointless and counter productive.  So change for the sake of change is foolish.  I need to figure out what I want out of life, so I know if this is what I want, and if not, so I know where to go from here.

This makes no sense in my head in a way.  It’s that old problem again of being able to see both sides but not knowing which is the truth.   It makes me think of that old saying that ‘there are two sides to every story – and then there is the truth’.  Something is not right.  I don’t want to continue living this way.  But what is ‘this way’?  Is the problem with me?  Is the problem my life circumstances?  Is the problem my family?  My environment?  Today I feel like I am not the problem.  Today I feel fine.  But sometimes I am really, really Not fine.  And I don’t ever know when that will be.  And even then….  what has caused me to be not fine?  It is external?  situational?  Today I feel certain that it is.  That it is certainly not me.  But even still I feel that nigley feeling inside that I am telling myself a lie, yet on the other hand I fell so totally certain that someone else has caused this doubt in myself, and that the source of the problem is not me.  I feel like I’m in a thought loop.  And these are the thoughts that make me feel like I’m going crazy.  Like someone else has driven me crazy.

life-quotes-41


Todays Spiritual Routine Progress:

  • Listen to a Podcast from Laudate.
  • Pray ✔
  • Send thoughts of loving kindness and pray a blessing for 3 people.
  • Read 2 chapters from the Holy Bible.
  • Meditate (currently 10 min.)

Today’s Mood out of 10 with 1 being low:  5

Today’s Something New: 

  • Coming Soon

Today’s Social Connection:

  • messaging with Josh
  • Email from BI
  • phone conversation with mom
  • brief texts with RD

Today’s Lessons to Remember:

  • Coming Soon

Today’s Joy Notes: 

  • Sneaking out for a Chai Latte and a browse through the book store.
  • New books for me and DD
  • Mom’s ‘early retirement’ unexpectedly and officially starting today.
  • Encouraging words from BI and a kind and generous offer.
  • Being able to stay home and home school my kids.
  • Being able to still be in Summer holiday mode while I drag my heels prepping for the new school year.

 

God is in This; Showing the Way.

Todays Spiritual Routine Progress:

  • Listen to a Podcast from Laudate.
  • Pray ✔
  • Send thoughts of loving kindness and pray a blessing for 3 people.
  • Read 2 chapters from the Holy Bible.
  • Meditate (currently 10 min.)

My husband and I made a decision over the weekend about which church to try.  We will begin attending church again this Sunday.  On Saturday we will attend that churches fall fair/kick off.  I also plan on signing up for the churches ‘Ladies Retreat’.  I guess I feel good about our decision.  It will be good to get involved in a new Christian community and spend time in fellowship together with others.  I am a bit nervous, but also looking forward to hopefully developing some positive friendships; particularly with other women.  One of the great things about attending a smaller church is that there is lots of opportunity to get involved and serve.  This is one of the reasons I wanted to attend a smaller church.  However, I can tell already that service is a huge expectation here, and I will have to be careful to make sure that I continue on this path of taking care of myself, and setting appropriate boundaries while still finding a place to find joy in service.

Today was interesting.  I remember very little from todays counselling session.  Feels like I spent a large part of the day zoning out.  Something amazing happened however.  Dr.B asked if I had ever heard of a book called ‘Practicing the Presence of God’.  I couldn’t believe my ears, I had just began reading that book on Sunday, and in fact, it was in my shoulder bag sitting beside me at that very moment!  What a surprising moment.  It certainly made me feel like I was on the right track, and that God is in this.  Which is very very good.  Some other stuff was discussed, and I spent a large part of the afternoon looking into it on Google.

I decided this evening to be brave and share a bit about what’s going on at counselling with my DH.  He is not often receptive to hearing about this kind of stuff.  I made sure to give the ultra lite brief account, but I am glad to have shared even just that little bit.  It’s important for me to get DH on board with what I’m doing ’cause he can be rather forceful when it comes to cutting expenses where I am concerned.  I made him promise to not encourage me to stop going to counselling even when I’ve had it and want to pull the plug.  Instead, I’ve instructed him to encourage me to go at least one more time to talk to Dr.B about it, when that happens, and then if I still want to quit, we can let it go.  I don’t want to quit right now. and this time, in fact, things are going splendidly.  However, today I was reminded of my tendency to sometimes make a rash decision over perceived hurts.  And looking at my track record with therapists, I think it is safe to say that no matter how great a fit this seems to be right now, at some point I’m gonna wanna throw in the towel.  I think I need to stick it out this time.

A big emphasis has been made on the importance for me to continue meditation training either formally or informally, so I will continue to list my Spiritual Routine Progress, and try to make more of an effort to practice the meditation component.

I-know-youre-tired-but

 

 


Today’s Mood out of 10 with 1 being low:  2-3

Today’s Something New: 

  • Eating Garden Fresh Lettuce and hot sauce on my hamburger helper.

Today’s Social Connection:

  • brief texts with RD
  • messaging with Josh
  • Email from BI
  • messaging with KS
  • Visit with mom

Today’s Lessons to Remember:

  • When a time does come that I want to stop going to counselling I need to go one more time to talk it through instead of making a snap decision.
  • There is intensity, but I am not the intensity.

Today’s Joy Notes: 

  • DD being able to babysit her brother for me while I went to an important appointment.
  • Dr.B fixing me tea when my hands were too shaky to do it myself.
  • Mom brought me 2 pots of flowering mums.
  • Gifts from Mom.
  • DH being receptive to the things I needed to talk to him about.
  • Encouraging email from BI.
  • Setting boundaries for a volunteer commitment and being specific with the organization about what they are.
  • A hot bath.
  • DMac and MMac giving birth to their healthy new baby girl.
  • Money to buy groceries and put gas in the car.
  • The sound of the rain.

Complacent or Content?

Todays Spiritual Routine Progress:

  • Listen to a Podcast from Laudate.  ✔
  • Pray
  • Send thoughts of loving kindness and pray a blessing for 3 people.
  • Read 2 chapters from the Holy Bible.  ✔ 1 Corinthians 5 & 6
  • Meditate (currently 10 min.)

 

Today I am somewhat content, though also confused.

The Podcast was over my head, but I really enjoyed 1 Corinthians 5.  I still need to spend time in prayer and mediation.

Today I also  plan on watching  Grahme Cooke: ‘Living Your Truest Identity.’ again.

Yesterday evening I was intense, and frustrated with my life.  I thought if one more person told me to change myself I might hit them.  I wanted to change my life, or just leave my life.  But I couldn’t figure out what I wanted in life.  I had no goal, no destination.

Today I am content for the most part.  I love my life, and I am satisfied with most of it.  I wonder where has this urge and drive for change gone?  It worries me a little, bringing back those concerns that I will remain unchanged.  … but today is peaceful.  No striving.  Is this what it means to rest in the Lord?  To abide in Him?  Is this life wasted?  Or is it the life I was made for?

How can I make changes when I don’t know what I want?  What am I supposed to want?

Today I suspect that the problem lies not in me and not in my life, but in certain relationships.  But I don’t know if that’s really being honest with myself.  But I do know that my marrital relationship causes me frustration and can trigger me to extreme mood drops and intensly negitive thoughts.  I think I’m getting closer to convincing DH to do some marriage counselling with me.  But I still have lots to work on myself.

Today as I look at my list of ‘13 Things I Wish I Did For Myself’ I feel overwhelmed.  Maybe it’s best to go with the easy things first as Josh originally suggested.  I doubt my ability to make a decent affirmation statement at this time, as I still am sorting out who I am and who I want to be.  I think that next month maybe I should work on my goal to ‘Attend Church’ instead.  Perhaps that would be easier.  And September is always a good time of year to start being involved somewhere new.

 

Later today I plan on doing the Enneagram test

 


Today’s Mood out of 10 with 1 being low:  4

Today’s Something New:  Coming soon

Today’s Social Connection:

  • brief txts with FV
  • messaging with Josh

Today’s Lessons to Remember:  Coming soon

Today’s Joy Notes: 

  • DH taking the kids out so I can have a quiet hour to myself
  • Free bookshelves from FV