Anxiety

I have a talent – I have many talents actually but I have one that is honed to perfection.  I can take any setback, no matter how slight, and using it as a starting point build a trail that leads directly to catastrophic destruction.

It’s humorous when it passes.  Right now I can smile at the whole thing.  But in the midst of it a tight sheen of terror settles on my skin and utter despair wraps my bones.  I don’t mean that metaphorically.  My skin gets tight and turns red.  My breathing becomes shallow.  My joints ache and I get so tired I feel like I can’t move.

It usually comes on gradually, growing out of frustration which turns to shame and then morphs to fatalism.

I don’t know why it happens.  It just does.

I have learned though that there is another side.  There is a coming out and in the midst of what feels like an emotional whirlwind a small part of my mind is able to remember the peace that resides in the calm times.

I should also say that it doesn’t occur that frequently.  Maybe once a year or once every couple of years.

Anyway, it happened this weekend.  My frustration at my inability to decipher the chaotic processes at my new job reached a saturation point.  Enough about that.  The point is instead of realizing that the process is unwieldy and confusing I began imagining how my coworkers must think I’m so stupid (which is stupid in itself because every time I asked one of them for clarification their answer was that they didn’t know either!).  I think that can only happen in a mind constructed like mine where any incompetency must reveal some kind of character flaw.

Today I stayed home from work because I was basically incapacitated by thoughts of unemployment leading to homelessness leading to the worst ever situation familial condemnation.  Right now it sounds absurd, even to me.

Someday maybe I will be able to let it all go but for now, and maybe forever, I will just continue to deal with it.

My Apologies

For disappearing.

I had a video to share explaining my absence but it’s not an acceptable file type I guess.  So this little pic will have to do.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 9.36.44 AM

Yes, the farm came true.  The amount of work required just to make it habitable is staggering… and ongoing, so I will probably be absent for a bit longer.

I have to tell you though my friends, despite the manic cloud of frenzied terror I’m operating under I am so happy it’s criminal.  I promise that as soon as we have a second to breathe I will fill you in!

And Beth P. – Thanks so much for the nice comments.  I only saw them today or I would’ve responded sooner.

Stuck

I am stuck and I hope that writing this post will help me unstick.

I’ve posted about being stuck (or some variation thereof) on this blog before but this is different.  This is not that existential stuck-iness that I’ve whined about before.  In fact, I’m happy to report that I don’t seem to feel that “my life is going nowhere blah, blah” feeling anymore.  I’m really happy about that.  This time I’m stuck in an attachment/suffering cycle.

I can name it and it’s not helping… at least not at this point.

I have a dream of owning a small farm.  I’ve had this dream forever it seems.  Periodically I put it away and mark it “not possible.”  It always sneaks back out.  Mostly because I am always looking for property to make it a reality.

We’ve found two properties that fit the bill – both with challenges.  Both more than likely not attainable.  But it’s the possibility, that dratted possibility that is tormenting me.

I’ve abandoned everything – working out, meditating, studying – to research and dream and mostly marinate in the intoxicating misery of possibility.

Ugh.

I feel like a slug.

The sad thing is I realize what I’m doing.  Isn’t that the worst?! when you realize what you’re doing but it’s like you’re a voice stuck in the back of your head yelling at your horror movie self “Don’t go into the woods!” but your zombie body isn’t listening?  :)

I know it’s the attachment driving me.

I also know I can’t will the attachment away.

Blech.  Enough.

Sometimes Things Happen

So I missed posting last Friday.  Worse than that, I missed working out… Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

I have a reason.  I’m not going to share it until later.  Mostly because after the storm had passed I realized that my reaction to it was not the best or healthiest response (except for the frantic call to my friends which made me feel tremendously better and is never a regrettable occurrence).

But missing the workouts is not what I want to talk about.  In the grand scheme of things three missed workouts is not going to derail my journey.  What I want to talk about is the workout I did today.

Because the workout I did today is the only one that matters.

Have you seen that commercial where the people only do one of something and suddenly their life is golden?  I can’t remember what company it represents but when they say “wouldn’t it be nice if…” it’s such truth.  We so often believe that there’s a destination – that we can get fit and quit, that we will find happiness and dwell there, that there’s a plateau to life and if we can just make that singular climb everything will be alright.  I think each of us at some point must change that thinking for ourselves.  Even those people who seem to dwell in constant happiness don’t, they make one decision after another that results in happiness.

I was listening to a podcast today and the speaker shared a quote:

“Happiness is the result of striving to reach our goals.  It is not a goal itself.”

Isn’t that awesome?  It kind of removes some of the pressure and guilt surrounding happiness.

Of course I’m sure that everyone knows that but me :)!

So today before I left work I set the intention that as soon as I got home I would change clothes and go to the gym.  When I got home I did it.  That’s the only thing that matters.  It’s impossible for me to go back in time and redo Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  It’s impossible for me to go forward in time and get tomorrow’s workout out of the way early.

Slowly this realization is seeping into other parts of my life as well.

The workout I did today is the only one that matters.  Yes, it’s a good thing.

Friday

I guess Friday is going to be my update day.

Body

Made it to the gym every day so far this week.  One more to go.  My workout is pretty prosaic – recumbent bike, leg lifts, chest press, treadmill, leg lifts, shoulder press, lat pulldown, recumbent bike.  My trainer designed it to be efficient at fat burning.  That’s on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I do a quick half hour cardio workout.  On every day though, I use two stretching stations that are changing my life.  (That may be a little strong.)  One is a hip/quad stretch that hurts like hell but makes me feel so much better the rest of the day.  The other is a hamstring stretch thing that basically folds you in half.  After only one week I can reach down and touch my toes with very little bend in my leg.  I haven’t been able to do that in I don’t know how many years.  I always feel like I have worked out but not like I’m dying when I leave.  So far so good.

Mind

I’m re-reading a great little book titled A Very Small Farm by William Paul Winchester.  It’s about just what it sounds like.  It reminds me of A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.  I’m contemplating learning a second language as the main exercise of my mind this coming year.  I’ve read that it staves off dementia and helps creativity.  And it just sounds fun.  I can’t decide what language though.  I love French but know that Spanish would probably be more practical.  But then, this is not really about practicality is it.

Spirit

I’ve been putting the breathing theory from Tolle’s book to work and it helps.  Every time I think about it – and I try to remember it often – I check to make sure I’m still breathing.  That’s a funny way to say it isn’t it?  But it’s true.  I get so lost in thought that I forget that I am breathing.  Checking in stops whatever train of thought I’m immersed in and gives me a tiny break.  It’s kind of amazing when I’m able to actually surrender to each moment.

That’s all the news that is fit to print this week.  Thanks for tuning in.

A Quick Update

So when I made the decision to Get Fit at 49 (I should trademark that) part of my personal commitment was to post updates throughout the process.  I hate doing that!  Suddenly I’m accountable.  Blech!  But… since the worst lie is the lie you tell yourself I’m going to do it.

What have I done so far?

If you’ll remember there were three basic categories in the definition of healthy:  Body, mind, and spirit.

Body:

Well for my body you may recall me mentioning stopping at an Anytime Fitness facility in a nearby town.  That facility did not appeal to me at all – loud music, aggressive sales, the lingering psychic odor of desperation hahaha, so I passed.  Well we investigated a wellness center that is within walking distance of our home and it is fabulous.  The gym is attached to and part of a physical therapy practice.  The “trainer” has several certifications the only one of which I can recall right now is nutrition.  He did an actual strength and cardio evaluation and is creating for each of us an exercise plan.  We get a “key” (read USB drive) that connects to all the aerobic equipment and tracks our progress.  It also stores our workout plan and automatically programs the equipment.  We each go back separately this coming Monday to get our plans and go through an hour long session with him to make sure we are doing everything correctly.  We also get an update/progress session with him every 4-6 weeks.  All this for only slightly more than a monthly gym membership… and no long term contracts either.

I am continuing to do yoga at home as often as possible although my frequency has dropped off in the last few weeks because of outside commitments which I will share fully at a later date.

Mind:

I’ve just about finished Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth which has been a tough read but very enlightening.  I guess that could kind of qualify as working on my spirit as well but I think at this point it’s still mind work.  When I become more adept at awareness I think it will be more spiritual.  (I just caught myself there… if you read the book you’ll know what I’m talking about.)

Spirit:

It’s hard anymore for me to differentiate between Mind and Spirit.  I’ve never believed that we have a soul that is separate from our bodies but for awhile I did believe that there was something that lived on and might join with God after death.  As I move closer and closer to realizing that I am one with the universe the need for that immortality diminishes.  Now I’m defining Spirit as creativity that improves emotional health… or some such.

When we say things like “he was following the spirit of the law” we mean that there is a deeper meaning to something.  That’s kind of how I’m defining my spiritual health.  Maybe.  Hahaha.  I’m still working on this one.

Anyway, that’s the update.  Have a warm, safe, and joyful weekend.

Nope

Saying no can make you healthy.

That’s what I’m finding.

Recently I went through a round of jury duty.  The two day process consisted mostly of sitting and listening for my name to be called.  Here in King county you don’t get called for a particular case, you get called to be in a pool for whatever cases happen over a two day period.

On the second morning I arrived a little early, checked in, and sat at a table where I could use my various electronic distractions.  Right behind me a woman who was determined to be unhappy arrived and began carping at one of the bailiffs about the 30 minutes of sleep she missed.  It wasn’t companionable carping either, she was blaming them for her early arrival.  Finally the bailiff calmly but firmly put an end to their conversation and the woman came to sit by me.  She threw her purse on the table and sat down with a huff.  I consciously decided not to be drawn into her drama and moved.  I immediately felt more peace.

Then a few days ago in my quest to get healthy I stopped by a local gym to check it out.  I walked in and loud music battered my ears.  The attendant was car-salesman friendly and I immediately realized this place was not what I was looking for.  Not just this place though, the whole philosophy behind the modern gymnasium is antithetical to what I’m trying to achieve.  I said no thanks and walked out the door.

In previous times I would have spent a great deal of time analyzing my actions and questioning my motives but I’m starting to realize that it’s ok to say no just because you don’t want to say yes.

Saying no when you want, or maybe more correctly not saying yes when you don’t want to reduces cognitive dissonance and reduces stress.  Reducing stress reduces inflammation in the body.  Reducing inflammation reduces disease.

Ipso facto, say no when you don’t want to say yes.  You’ll be healthier.