My Priority is Peace

I have lived a stressful life.   There have been countless ‘situations’ in my life.  Through good, bad or ugly, especially the ugly, my response has been to stress out. 

I am turning sixty five years old next month.  I cannot handle the stress any longer – not physically, not mentally, and not emotionally.   I am done.  

As so often happens when one decides to give up an unhealthy lifestyle, the universe seems hell bent on dragging me back to the darkside. Currently there a number of potentially stressful events affecting my life and the world in general.

1. Family issues. My daughter got upset with me last August.  Typically, I have been labelled toxic and she has cut me out of her life.  Except she doesn’t cut anyone out of her life. She keeps the anger and the hurt and the hate going.  She cuts her entire family out of the life of anyone she has turned against, hurting them as well as herself and those she has shunned. Presently she has cut out her father and his wife, her ex-husband, her ex-husband’s family, her stepdaughter, her brother and his wife and their five year old son, most of her inlaws, Dan and I, friends too numerous to mention, and a few distant relatives.   As far as her problem with me, the truth is she cannot cut me out of her life – she is a part of me.  She cannot stop me from loving her and her family, she cannot erase the  memories that I have of her and her family – all of the good times we have shared and the difficult times we have survived, she cannot erase all that Dan and I have done for her and her family nor the things that her and her family have done for us.  We are a part of her life and she and her family will always be a part of ours.

2.  Finances. I am recently retired.  The plan is for Dan to work for another four years and retire with his full pension.   Lately the plan isn’t looking good.  Dan works making pipe for the oil industry – at a time when the oil industry is struggling and a time when big companies are working to destroy the unions that protect their employees.   Our finances could potentially be adversely affected.   Dealing with financial problems at this point in our life could be serious.  As tempting as it is to start stressing out over this situation, I realize that will not protect us nor in any way improve the quality of our lives.

3. Global Pandemic.   Everything is at stake.  The global economy, personal finances, health, lives around the globe,  lives of loved ones, the viability of the food chain – the potential fallout is endless and astronomical.   There are countless reasons to stress over this situation but far more reasons to keep a level head and potentially become a part of the recovery.

4.  The murder of Floyd George and subsequent civil uprising. I can’t even.  At first this was shocking. At first the peaceful protests and the support by so many were powerful and moving.  At first there was a glimmer of hope that we could overcome the invasive bigotry that courses through humanity.   Now this movement is slowly being crushed by those who believe violence is the answer and more insideously by those who prefer the status quo – those who feel threatened when others desire the rights and privileges that they have always enjoyed. That is all sad, painful, and potentially stressful and I have no answers.

5. Social Media. I have been on Facebook for years. I joined to share pictures with family, keep up with friends, read the jokes, and play the games. Now it is a source of animosity, ‘alternate facts’, disrespect, insults, and those trying desperately to justify hate and ignorance. Instagram is almost as bad but that is due to its ‘Look at me I am Better’ format. People want to be ‘influencers’ in a race to want more. It is a race all will ultimately lose. There are still good, human, beautiful posts on both Facebook and Instagram, but one has to expose oneself to so much negativity to find them.

I could stress out for countless reasons – but stress is not an option. I have done enough stressing. There is enough stress in our world – it is a violent and destructive force that helps and heals no one. Going forward, peace is my priority. Peace is the healing, constructive power that I need. Peace is what our world needs.

Peace is Possible 💗

Seclusion

When I created my blog, I was focussed on my impending retirement. WordPress had other plans for my blog. “Instead of Retirement 101…”, My blog website became “Seclusion101….”. As strange as that seemed to me, it was actually a perfect fit for me. According to Wikipedia “Seclusion is the act of isolating from society”.

I admire people who can walk into any situation and make it better. Some people enter a room and radiate happiness. Others can be caught in the midst of drama, conflict or fear and radiate peace and calm. I am not one of those people.

I am a sponge for the emotions of those around me. By the standard of current terminology, I am an empath. I get close to anyone who is experiencing extreme emotion and I absorb it by default. I do not even have to be physically close to people I have close ties to – like my husband, sons and daughter. I feel off if there is something seriously wrong with them or the situation they are in.

There are occasions, when this ’empath’ way of being is helpful. I can generally feel when people need comfort or support. I can also generally feel when people are in a state where it is best to just back away and give them space. For the most part, being in the midst of extreme emotion just beats me up – regardless of the type of emotion.

I hate parades. I always have. When the planes fly over or the band strikes up and the crowd unites in excitement and anticipation, I am overwhelmed by the urge to burst into tears. Funerals crush me – even when the deceased was not someone I was personnely close to. The collective grief of family and friends suffocates me. Angry outbursts are the worst. Even if people screaming at each other are across the street, I feel terrified. I know these situation are over reactions, but that is how I am.

I would love to live on an acreage surrounded by nature. In the city, I make do. Regardless of where I have lived, I have always had my special place where I could ‘isolate from society’. Back in the days when I was alone with my teenagers, my ‘place’ was a corner of the kitchen cupboards. I could open a window, sit on the cupboard with my feet in the sink and enjoy a cup of tea and a cigarette. Nobody came near me when I was in my corner – until Dan came into my life. He was allowed in my corner. (He wasn’t allowed to put his feet in my sink.)

Now it is relatively easy to seclude myself. I have indoor and outdoor places that are perfect for isolating. Life has never been better – in retirement and seclusion.

Have a pleasant and peaceful day🌞

Peaceful Progress

Enjoying the beauty of nature🕊️

Every year I choose one aspect of my life to focus special attention on. This year I chose to focus on peace. Every morning, I begin my day by copying ‘peaceful’ positive affirmations in my journal. Throughout the day, when I find myself tensing up for any reason, I stop for a moment to focus on peace. When things go wrong, I try to think “Is this worth losing peace over?” At night, I drift off to sleep focussed on peaceful thoughts.

So far, this year has not been perfect. There have been challenges with my health, family issues, employment issues and general life issues plus the uncertainty that comes from such things as a global pandemic. Regardless, I have felt a profound change in the way I process it all. I find it easier to let go of control or expectations. I find it easier to appreciate the moments in life that are worth cherishing. I find it easier to just ‘be in the moment’. I find it easier to laugh and smile and just feel good. I am finding it easier to create a peaceful vibe around me, like the people I have most admired in my life.

I am not always where I would like to be on my quest for peace. There are anxious moments and stressful days, when I feel less than peaceful. There are people who seem intent on drama and creating chaos. At times, I feel more frustrated and annoyed with them than peaceful. However, overall I feel I am making significant progress. I have another 228 days to focus on peace and I know that I am on a good track for a significantly better life experience.

Life is not always great, sometimes it is not even good – but I honestly believe that we can live it better. It takes work and perseverance and time – but life can be better.


Watching Kat Relaxing💖
Seriously relaxing🤣

Feeling Fine – Really!

I had no idea how detrimental my job had gotten to be to my health. Between the stress and the dust, it just wore me down gradually to the point where I had no idea how miserable I felt.

Due to concerns regarding Covid-19, I took sick leave on March 20th. It has been just a few days over a month. Fortunately, I have dodged the virus while I built up my immunity and my health in general.

The weather has been sunny and warm the last few days. I have spent a lot of time puttering around the yard, walking Kat, and generally relaxing.

I have also spent considerable time catching up on housework. I always did the basics but I just did not have the time or energy to tackle the deep clean projects. So far, I have cleaned all of the kitchen and porch cupboards, defrosted the freezer and fridge, wiped down the livingroom walls, cleaned the ceiling fans and scrubbed the floors.

Today while Dan was at work, I took down the window blinds in our bedroom, washed them in the bathtub, took them outside to dry and wiped down the bedroom walls. When I was done, I scrubbed the bathtub, took Kat for a walk, came home to make her a big batch of food and made our supper. I cannot believe I was able to do all that in one afternoon! A month ago, there is no way I would have had the strength to take the blinds down much less anything else.

Needless to say, I am pumped that I have come this far! It is so great not to have to struggle for every breath. It is so nice not to feel exhausted. I haven’t felt this well for years.😊

Covidiots

Today I had my first outing in over two weeks. My husband is finally on days off . He drove me to our bank and then made a couple of stops where he ran in while I waited in the Jeep.

Our first stop was the bank. There was a guard at the door and people were lined up. Seemed simple enough, so I got into line – well back from the person ahead of me. The guard called down to ask what I needed. I said “access to an ATM”. He waved me to the front of the line and then seemed confused when I walked around vehicles to get to the entrance doors. I explained that this was the only way to keep my distance from the other people in line. He agreed, then as I stepped towards the door, he stepped right up to me to open the door for me. Arghh! I entered the ATM vestibule and there were four bank employees and one other customer in there. There was literally no where to step that would not mean coming within two feet of another person. I was committed at that point. I used the ATM that I was directed to. As I stepped towards the door, the guard stepped up to open it. I could not exit without coming within six inches of him. He was right in my face. Arghh again!

Next we stopped at the LBO. Dan ran in to grab a case of beer and a couple of bottles of wine (maybe a few bottles of wine). I didn’t notice what kind of performance they had going on at the door. I did notice that in a half empty parking lot, the two customers who arrived decided to park on either side of our vehicle. Go over there, or there, or anywhere!

Finally we stopped at the Dollar store. I watched Dan walk up to the doors. The exit door was obviously not in service so there was one door for traffic entering and exiting. In the vestibule, which is about the size of our coffee table, there was an employee directing one person out and one person in. The exchange of bodies was simultaneous and the employee was squeezed between them. 🤦

We live in a large province with a small population. We are one million people wandering around 590,000 square kilometers of land. It shouldn’t be that difficult to stay a few feet apart to control the spread of a potentially fatal virus until there is a credible vaccination and/or cure for it. But this is Saskatchewan! Land of the Living Skies and apparently the home of the covidiots.

Getting Domestic

I have been home for six days, hiding out from Covid-19. I don’t have the lungs to be comfortable taking chances with any contagious respiratory disease – especially one that does not have a cure. I am happy to lay low.

So far it hasn’t been too bad. My husband has been home for the past four days. Tomorrow he goes back for three twelve hour day shifts, followed by two twelve hour night shifts. Normally, I am used to it – but normally I am happy to have some alone time after being at work all week. Normally, I am not worried about my husband picking up a potentially fatal disease, or bringing it home to me, or passing it on to anyone else. Normally I am not the type of person who wants to throttle our premier for putting money and power and steel/pipe plants before people’s lives. Now things are not normal.

Anyway, I have been working on pulling myself together and being productive enough to keep myself from totally losing it. For the last couple of days, I have been working on becoming the domestic diva I plan to be once I retire at the end of July. My laundry (including bedding) is done, folded and put away, my house is somewhat tidy and our finances are in order.

I defrosted the feezer
I cooked some (lots) of bacon and baked an apple pie. Ok, I defrosted an apple pie.
I’ve been brushing my dog – a lot!
I’ve been cleaning my kitchen cupboards and lining my shelves and drawers.
I made chilli for supper

Tomorrow it is supposed to start warming up outside. It will be easier once I can get outside and start cleaning up the yard, the barbecue, and the lawn furniture. It will be fun to start prepping and planning for our garden, flower beds and pond. It will be nice to get out and get some fresh air and SUNSHINE.

Freedom

This year, I have chosen to focus on PEACE. Each morning I write out a number of affirmations relative to peace. Every night, I try to fall asleep with peaceful thoughts and feelings. Throughout the day I try to make peace my priority.

Typically, the harder I try to focus on improving one aspect of my life, the more obstacles life throws in my path. This year has proven no different. There is virtually no area of my life that has been easy and peaceful. Personally, there have been health issues, financial issues, family issues, work issues and of course technical issues. In a broader sense, our city, province, country, and world seem to be going to hell in a handbasket.

It would be easy to give up, but I have endeavoured to keep focussing on peace. On the fiftieth day of 2020, I have finally made a significant breakthrough. By making peace my priority, I have released the overwhelming urge to control everything in and around my life. This alone has brought me the peace I desire.

As humans, we all have the power to choose. The first thing we need to choose is where our priorities lie. Life is dicey and insecure, more so now than ever, in my mind. We are reminded daily that there is little to no security for ourselves and our loved ones. It is easy to become so insecure that we move into survival mode. We try to control everyone and everything around us. We justify becoming aggressive and trying to deprive others of their right to choose. This never ends well for anyone.

The only path to personal peace and growth is to focus on our own priorities, while respecting and allowing others to focus on their’s. There are any number of ways to accomplish this.  Here are a few of my suggestions:

1) If there are issues at work, focus on your task at hand. Ignore the office politics, the gloom and doom of company rumors, employers and co-workers who are being unreasonable or ignorant. You are there to do your job, you are being paid to do your job. Just do it. Focus on doing it well. Regardless of anything else that happens, you will gain confidence from a job well done and it will help you to develop an exit strategy, if leaving your position becomes inevitable.

2) Having health issues can easily become overwhelming. However, they can be made tolerable for yourself and those around you. The first step is to accept and acknowledge your health issues. The second step is to deal with your health issues with professional help you can trust, informing yourself about your condition, and doing everything you can to minimize the effects of your health issues – be it with diet, exercise or lifestyle changes and focussing on any improvement you can make. I am amazed at the accomplishments and legacies of people who have been affected or are affected by overwhelming health issues.

3) Financial issues are another of life’s challenges that can easily become overwhelming. I have been there. I know how difficult it can be. I have sold pop bottles to buy milk for my babies and have worked multiple jobs to provide for my teenagers. I have lived so close to the edge that an unanticipated car repair was virtually catastrophic. I survived – somehow you do, as long as you have faith that you will and you keep working towards financial stability. Once again the first step is to acknowledge and accept your situation. The second is to get  professional help if you need it and make the changes you need to make. Keep working towards increasing your income and cutting your expenses and you will slowly start to get ahead. It isn’t easy, there are times when it seems your efforts are totally futile, but if you keep working at it, it will happen. I have reached a point in my life where major unexpected expenses are frustrating, but I have to keep it in perspective and be grateful that we have the means to cover them.

4) Relationships can be particularly challenging. There are times when one must admit that a relationship is unhealthy, unsafe and the right thing to do is to terminate it. If every relationship starts out great, is great, and ends up in termination and anger, the problem is probably you. The thing with relationships is that they take respect, consideration, compromise, and trust. You cannot always be right. You cannot always be in control, you cannot always be ‘the winner’. No one else can give you the perfect relationship. You have to do your part.

5) No matter how much you love anyone – even your own children, you must allow them to make their own choices and suffer the consequences of poor choices. Inevitably, you will be forced to, so they can learn and grow. You can offer them a hand up if they are legitimately making the good choices – to a point. They are still the ones who need to put in the hard work. To encourage them to make poor choices or to pave every road for them is enabling them, undermining them, keeping them dependent on you, and serves neither of you in the long run. You have to step back and trust that your children will learn, grow, and live the life that they are meant to.

6) Regardless of how passionate you are about any cause or point of view, others are equally passionate about theirs – and have every right to be. In Canada, there is currently and increasingly, a divide between those who are passionate about the environment and those who are passionate about the economy. The two sides become further apart as they fight for control and an overwhelming win. The harder they fight, the less likely it is that anyone will . Regardless of which side we support, we need to be open to compromise, respect and mutual concern for both the economy and the environment. We need to work together to ensure that those who drive the economy, respect the environment. We need to recognize the importance of a strong vibrant economy and recognize the efforts that industries make to operate in an environmentally responsible manner. It works both ways or it does not work at all.

Regardless of what the issues are, or whether they are personal, global, or anywhere in between, the solution is the same. We need to get our priorities in order, focus on what is important to us, release control of what is not, and approach the issues with peaceful hearts and minds. 🕊️