Day 261 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Memories – There is always something to be grateful for.

An early morning but a productive one. I awoke and checked emails and Fakebook. A few messages were sent and then I checked my CBT app. The quote for the day had something to with appreciating your past. Sadly, I did not write the quote down and the app changes all the time. Instead I moved to my meditation. I began with thoughts of all the experiences I have had as a teacher.

I went in to such an amazing train of thoughts about students I have impacted in a positive way. Memory after memory filled my heart with joy. I had visions from 40 + years ago as a teacher’s aide. Then more wonderful reminiscences of when I taught kindergarten and first grade 38 years ago.  The light bulb moments brought happy tears to my eyes. I remembered specific times and places that students touched m heart. After working for minimum wage in a private school, I knew without a doubt teaching was supposed to be my life’s work.

I remembered the amazing master teachers I had and all I learned from them. I kept their evaluation forever because it was the very first document I had ever received that more than validated the quality of my work.  Many years ago, I cried happy tears when I read the kind words they said. Funny that after all these years I still value their opinion so much. I still appreciate the validation they gave me.

I reviewed in my mind the years I taught elementary school. From my first year teaching in public school and for the next five years I loved the job of teaching. There was nothing like imparting knowledge and seeing kids love learning. The warm thoughts of the kids others might have given up on but I could not kept me going. I had so many amazing role models in my teaching years. I was overwhelmed with all the good feelings. I know some of the wonderful people have left this realm, but they are still in my heart.     

My mind then went to the last 25 years of teaching middle school. So many experiences. So many joys and special moments. The heartaches are very much overshadowed by the rewards. The fact that I was now teaching children of former students made me laugh. The time end energy I put into my career was worth it to me. It made me happy. Flash after flash of good times filled my meditation. It was a replay of the best moments.

I was sitting in a place of joy and gratitude. I did what I loved. I actually overdid what I loved. It was OK because it was right for me at the time. I can look back at my life with such gratitude that my vocation was my avocation. Not many people can say that.

I look forward now to see what the next phase of my life will look like. I am not planning it out with excessive detail at the moment. I am planning on taking leaps, making changes, and flying close to the sun. I am grateful for where I am and where I have been. If the best is yet to be, I will be one lucky lady. 

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DAY 258 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/ MA warning – There is always something to be grateful for.

This morning I again pondered my anxiety and how my life is different now. I was angry at myself for going back to the same space. I even considered quitting the meditation because I did not want a repeat of yesterday. I felt like a little kid saying I was going to take my marbles and leave because I didn’t get what I wanted. Not everyone would get that reference. What the f*%K! Why can’t I control my meditations?

Anyway, I did decide to stay and tried to examine times and ways I attempted to rid myself of anxiety. I must admit I was a slow learner. The first time I was aware of an actual process of being less anxious was when I was 36.  I distinctly remember driving to work one day, post divorce, thinking “Well I’ll never have to worry about dealing with his sorry ass again.” At the time I smiled and felt a huge weight fall off my shoulder. My nerves were so tight, any relief was welcome. The relief was short lived as we still had two teen daughters.

I did realize that I finally grew some balls because I did not take his shit anymore. He would call or come over and demand X, Y, or Z from me and I just politely told him no. When that didn’t work and he started stalking me, sending love letters and cards, and calling me all hours of the night I finally told him I would get a “friend” to beat the crap out of him if he didn’t stop. I laughed until I cried at that memory. It felt good to release it. I gave myself an emotional pat on the back for remembering my standing up for myself for what seemed like the first time. 

I still lived in the land of anxiety and what if? I think I was more aware that I might not, and I do mean might not, need to stay there forever. From: will there be dinner tonight? –  to when is my mother coming home tonight? – to who is she married to now? – to how do I please my teachers? –  to is anyone my friend? –  to what will happen next at home?-  to whatever shit my emotions were dealing with, I was living in the land of anxiety. As the tears flowed I told my inner kid, you are OK , you had reasons.  I was in survival mode most of the time. Who the f*#k wouldn’t be in survival mode?

I distinctly remember wanting to have natural childbirths for my babies. I knew it was better for them as opposed to all the drugs I read about. I also knew I did not want to be out of control at this important time. Being out of control was my kryptonite. I could not let that happen. Flashback to stepdad #1. My mother explained to me, at four, that the reason he was violent was because he could not control himself when under the influence. Holy shit, any connections to my little girl? Well duh.

At different times in my life instead of looking for the catastrophic expectations, I started asking myself, “What is the reasonable outcome?”  What a novel idea. Do people actually do that? LOL I can’t say there was one specific incident that turned my life of anxiety around. I do know that many awful things have happened in this lifetime of mine. I do know many of them sucked. I also know I have been granted a  bounty of good memories. 

I am a prolific reader of self help books. Trying to find answers to the why this and why not that. Each has added a droplet to my golden goblet. I am at a place now where I know there is enough to sustain me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I yearn for more knowledge and more ways to find and accept joy. I have had some things to deal with that I would not wish on worst enemy, and I survived.

I can honestly say that as I start to feel anxious I do my best to look at the anxiety and see where its level should be. I am so much better at analyzing the reality and lowering my stress level. It doesn’t matter how long it took to get here. All that matters is that I have more joyful, more peaceful, and less anxious days ahead.

I guess my meditation went where it needed to go. 

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P.S. After writing my blog I checked my email. This is what was delivered from Daily OM:
No more “supposed to’s,” OK, Lauren
You’re not supposed to work harder, look better, sleep less, sell more, run faster, talk slower, be happier, stay longer, leave earlier, cook, clean, negotiate, settle, start, stop, move, try, win, shake, rattle or roll. 
Other people made all that up. 
I love you the way you are,
   The Universe

Day 257 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Anxiety – There is always something to be grateful for.

My meditation today was a strange continuum of thoughts about anxiety in my life. I don’t doubt that if someone knew what went on in my mind in younger days that I would have been clinically diagnosed with GAD. So glad that I don’t have that label attached to me. My thoughts traveled through all the things that caused me anxiety. 

For as long as I can remember, worry was my middle name. I would worry to excess and saw danger and fear everywhere. My constant battle was to want to be in control at all times. As I reviewed life experiences I could see why I felt the way I did.

My childhood was sure not a safe place. While I felt much safer at school, I still had great anxiety there also. I feared if I did something that made my teachers angry then they would disappear. My anxiety was boundless. I could take a simple thing like an invitation to visit a friend and get so anxious that I would have a mouth full of sores. I didn’t sleep and my nerves were a wreck.

I remember one rare time I once went to a doctor in my youth for this.  The doctor told my mother that instead of ulcers in my stomach my stress and worry were causing mouth ulcers. I was given some ointment and sent on my way. There was no looking for a solution to the root problem.

As a young married woman and mom, my anxiety escalated. I worried over everything as a parent. I worried about doctor appointments for my babies from the minute I made the phone call until after the visit. A vivid memory came up about an outing my spouse and I were supposed to go on with another couple and all our kids. I called every day for two weeks with questions and concerns. Finally the day before we were to go they cancelled. I knew it was because of my excessive fears. 

As my children got older and I returned to college my fears and anxieties escalated to new heights.  I remember once going to the medical clinic on campus with over 20 canker sores. I couldn’t eat or speak without pain. I had many courses of steroids to help with the outbreaks previously. The doctor asked how many units I was taking (21) and what grades I was getting (All A). When I told her my answers she said she would not treat me because if I just got lower grades my canker sores would go away. Not a great response from the medical profession.

While I always connected my worries and anxiety to my physical mouth symptoms I did not understand all the other ways I was being affected. I had all the typical symptoms of anxiety.

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

As I have aged I have become more and more aware of unnecessary anxiety. My last few years teaching I finally realized I did not need to panic or stress about situations when I knew I was in the right.  I learned to laugh at all the years and years I would panic about situations that never happened. As a master of catastrophic expectations I would worry  things that never could happen. 

My brain ruminated on many different personal examples of excessive anxiety. My revelation was that my anxiety was caused by fear, anger, lack of control, lack of confidence, and stress. So next I pondered why did I take it to the nth degree as opposed to other “normal” people.

My final thoughts were that it doesn’t matter. That was my past. Now I try to decide how to look at my anxiety in a different manner. First I try to assess if there is really something to be anxious about. Then I work on a plan to reduce my anxiety. Some anxieties are unique to me. Some are irrational. Some can be dissipated with intent. I am truly grateful for my ability to reduce anxiety in my life. 

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Forest Bathing – Remedy for Stress

 

Day 256 – Part 2 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Happy tears – There is always something to be grateful for.

A short sweet part two is required today. A deep emotional meditation that brought such happy tears to me. My mind did a beeline to all the wonderful women in my life and how they have changed who I am.

Thinking of the amazing women that contributed to who I am brought happy tears to me this morning. Instead of the who and why my intention here is just to send love out in the universe. As I acknowledge their contributions in my heart I feel such love.

Thank you for for all of your kindness dear ladies: Bonnie, Ruby, Lori, Margaret, Eva, Tess, Terrie, Kimberly, Beverly, Denise, Wendy, Addie, Donna, Holly, Nancy, Terri, Blanche, Eleanor, Marsha, Shelly, Judy, Meghan, Kathy, Terry, Mary, Janet, Betty, Deb(s), Donna, Julia, Lynn, Maggie, Lisa, Tanya, and Kim.

I am grateful for the positive impact you have had in my life. 

Courageous-Lady 

Day 250 – LSS Attitude of Gratitude – Blog/Not my holiday

It’s past midnight and sleep is alluding me so why not do my Sunday blog. My meditation has been on a freight train traveling one direction. For days now I have been pondering the effects of the lack of a good male father figure in my life. Saturday morning’s meditation was predominately spent crying for and with the little girl who never had a daddy to love her. This day, Sunday, is not my day. After meditating I tried to come up with something I could do to reclaim the day. I have not come up with a happy plan. Maybe sleeping on it will help.       

After meditating I decided I needed to put away 5 items to help with my clutter cleaning objective. I thought 5 might be too many, but once I started I reached 10 things quickly. In an attempt to make sure I did something  fun for myself I went to a thrift store. I needed one season of a specific series and it was there. I was so excited . I also purchased a bag of broken watches to add to my retirement bowling ball stash. While on my way to leave I came across an outdoor butterfly decoration. I felt it was a divinely inspired morning.     

I went to home depot before returning home. I bought some Bondo. I have never used the product before.  My handyman showed me how it works and I was eager to try my hand with it. The handyman installed a new pillar and I need to repair and repaint the other three. In addition to clutter clearing the next two weeks I am also trying to get some projects done.

In the afternoon I used the Bondo with fairly good success. Some spots were amazingly smooth and some were just OK. I ended up using the entire container as I kept finding more things that needed repairing. Later today I will sand again and get to painting my porch.

I finally attacked the neighbor’s hedge that is intruding on my yard. I filled one trash can and left the rest of the branches in a pile. I will finish after I bring the second can out front. I like the way the hedge looks when it is trimmed neatly. My preference would be for it to disappear but that s not in my control.   

After making a yummy dinner I started to attack the paperwork on my dining room table. I had convinced myself it was an hour job at most. I was soooooo wrong. After filling one inside recycle trash can and one regular trash can I had made huge progress. It was almost midnight and I decided I had accomplished more than I thought was possible.   

While clutter clearing all day I had many clarifying thoughts about male figures in my life. I have had many difficult experiences.  I sought to find something good.

  1. To bio dad- Thank you for giving me life. Thank you for having wonderful parents who I adored. 
  2. To T (My first step-father) – Thank you for giving me fond memories of days at the beach and pizza outings and outdoor movie nights. 
  3. To Mr. B (My 6th grade teacher) Thank you for reading to our class every day. It was the first time I had ever had a man read to me. Thank you for coming to the house with cards from my classmates when I returned from the hospital after two months. Thank you for being there for all your students. Thank you for making sure I did not have to repeat the sixth grade.
  4. To Mr T (My speech and debate teacher) Thank you for seeing something in me I did not see. Thank you for your advice and guidance that allowed me to graduate from school early instead of dropping out. I have long since forgiven you for putting me in competitions that scared the heck out of me. Thank you for that.
  5. To W (Step dad number 7) Thank you for making my mother happy and treating her well. Thank you for being a loving grandpa to my children. Thank you for accepting the craziness that is our family. Thank you for seeing the truth when my mother did not. 
  6. To Dr.E – Thank you for guiding me on the difficult path last year. I would not had made this wonderful growth without your expertise. 

When I awake and the rest of the US is celebrating Father’s Day I once again will not participate. It is not a holiday for me. After completing some of my tasks, perhaps I will reclaim the day for happiness. It is sure worth a try.

Changed from a poem I read

Fathers Day is here… And deep inside I’m sad…For Father’s Day reminds me… I’ve never had a dad.

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