Back in the days when I was working, I would receive a weekly inspirational email. I do not remember the name of the woman who authored these emails. I do however remember one email in particular. It inspired me at the time and it has stuck with me to this day.
This one email focussed on our comfort zone. Basically, the place, places, or situations where we feel comfortable. For any number of people, which I am one of, anything outside of our comfort zone(s) is uncomfortable to the point of being distressing. So, what to do?
We have two options. First off, we can do everything in our power to stay in our comfort zone(s). The problem with this, is that the harder we try to stay within our comfort zone, the smaller it gets. We back ourselves into our yard or our house or our bed, while our life passes us by. 😢
Our second option is to realize that any discomfort or distress we feel in leaving our comfort zone is simply growing pains. If we push through the pain, out comfort zone expands to include more and more of the life we are meant to live.
Over the years, I have been reminded of this email countless times when I have experienced these ‘growing pains’.
One situation it has specifically helped me deal with is my fear of driving. (Terror would be a better word). I have been terrified to the point of suffering full blown anxiety attacks when driving. (Which, trust me, is not good at any time but particularly dangerous when one is driving.) By recognizing the first signs of distress, and accepting them as growing pains, I have been able to get past the discomfort and embrace the challenge of expanding my comfort zone – even when I am driving.
I know that I cannot do this advice the justice of the original author, but if there are places or situations that you find challenging, try it. If it doesn’t work for you, at least you tried. If it does work – you will be amazed!
That is it for today. Take care and have a great day! 💞
It is thirteen weeks since I began my fitness routine! I continue to see improvement and to stay motivated. This week I am impressed with the increased strength and flexibility in my joints that I am noticing. I particularly appreciate the notable difference in my knees and hips. You know those old ladies who crouch down to get something off of a shelf in a store and can’t get up without the assistance of their strong armed husband? Yea, that was me a few weeks ago. Even getting off of my chair at home was problematic. Not any more! 💃
My fitness level is not the only positive result that I am celebrating this week.
It may not seem that impressive to anyone who has a manicured lawn but this is after the first good rain of the season and for the past number of years, we have been pretty much allowed our lawn to devolve into dried weeds and bare patches. Last year we decided that since I was home to give it some TLC, we would work at bringing it back to a semblance of lawn. We spread a couple of containers of hardy grass seed, applied lawn fertilizer a couple of times, I pulled weeds, and I waterer AND watered AND watered! It is a work in progress but I am loving the results so far.
Also, the training of Molly continues and we continue to appreciate the results. No inhouse accidents for two days! And… she will give a paw, touch her nose to a fist (without trying to eat it), and she knows her bed. She is such a quick learner and so anxious to please. 🥰
Here’s a link to another You Tube Zumba class I have been using. I still zig when I am supposed to zag and my leg lifts are a bit awkward. In my defense, it is rather more challenging with a growing pup walking around me and between my legs – especially when she is dragging her toys or blanket. 🙄
Last but not least…. One more result that I was super excited about yesterday.
That is it for today. Take care and have a great day! 💞
Grandson Dom had a long and trying week, waiting for his Mom and new brother to come home from the hospital. After days of shifting between Dad and school and other grandparents, he spent the last twenty-two hours of his ‘days in waiting’ with us. For the most part he did very well, under the circumstances. He did have a moment shortly after I tucked him into bed on Thursday night. He called out to me and when I went into his room he told me that he wanted his Dad to come for him and he burst into tears – which upset him all the more. I sat down beside him and told him it was fine to shed a few tears, and considering the week that he had been through, it was probably a good idea. I convinced him to lay down, have a bit of a cry and to call me when he felt better and I would come back and open his door. He had his little cry, called me when he was done, had a good night sleep and woke ready to have a good day with us until his Dad came to pick him up.
This little episode inspired me to share some “words of wisdom” on crying – for anyone feeling the urge and especially for Dom – who probably has a few more adjustment to work his way through in the coming days.
“Sometimes things get so messed up, crying is the only thing you can do.” – Joe Connelly
“Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
“Tearless grief bleeds inwardly.” – Christian Nevell Bovee
“Crying is never a sign of weakness. From the time we are born, it has always been a sign that we are alive.” Unknown
“Crying is cleansing. There is a reason for tears, happiness or sadness.” – Dionne Warwick
“Laugh til you weep. Weep til there’s nothing left but to laugh at your weeping. In the end, it’s all one.” – Frederick Buechner
“People cry not because they are weak. It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.” – Johnny Dep
“There are people who laugh to show their fine teeth; and there are those who cry to show their good hearts.” – Joseph Roux
That’s it for today, folks. Take care and have a great day!💞
Today’s ‘words of wisdom’ come from Japanese writer Haruka Murakami.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.”
– Haruka Murakami (Kafka on the Shore)
In my mind, that is what all of life’s storms are about – to change us.
My mother used to tell me “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. At the time, I thought she was literally talking about death and I would think ‘Just kill me already’. 🙄 As time went on and I saw my experiences and the experiences of others from a distance, I realized she was talking about becoming a survivor and thriving or giving up and being left broken.
Through my life, I have been through many storms. Inevitably,the storms have helped me to survive and thrive. Sadly, I have seen others who did not fare as well. I don’t know why I was one of the fortunate ones. I do credit the example set by my father, who had amazing strength in overcoming adversity – humor, integrity, perseverance and more. I also credit my mother and her many other favourite phrases, such as “If you want to whine, I’ll give you something to whine about!”. 😧 Failure was never an option in my mother’s family – we were brought into this world to survive the storms and thrive.
I love these words by Haruka Murakami. They ring true for me, especially now. For a couple of years now, we have been caught up in this global pandemic. Worst in my mind, has been the ongoing efforts to ‘protect’ everyone from the stress and mental anguish of this passing storm. It might change us. And it just might change us for the better. It might make us stronger. That is what such storms are all about. (Note: I am not callous or un-compassionate to those who’s lives have been devastated by Covid. My intention is NOT to minimize their pain and grief , loss and sacrifice in any way. 💞)
But for most of us, this storm has been, more than anything, an opportunity for change. For most of us this storm has been an opportunity to become stronger – more patient, more kind, more compassionate, more grateful – as individuals, families, communities and as mankind as a whole.
Once this storm has passed, there will be those who will have survived and thrived and there will be those who gave up and are left broken. Most unfortunate in my mind, are those who will come through oblivious that there was a storm – those who were coddled and carried and sheltered from the storm.
That is my thoughts for the day. As always, feel free to comment below.
Since I have been sharing a ‘piece of my mind’ on various topics this month, I thought this would be a good time to share my thoughts on mental health.
I have always believed that mental health was every bit as important to one’s wellbeing as physical health. I strongly urge anyone, who is struggling with any aspect of their mental health to seek professional help – and I do hope that such help is available to anyone who needs it.
I am not a health professional – physical or mental. My thoughts on this subject are mine and mine alone. For what they are worth, here they are.
1. Let’s talk about it – By all means, if one is having issues with their mental well-being ‘Talk About It‘. Talk to a family member, friend, confidant or professional. Talk to Oprah or Dr. Phil or whoever – but talk about your issues, what you have done to cope, how you struggle to cope, what helps, what doesn’t. What doesn’t help is going on national television or running around anywhere and everywhere, talking about who caused your mental issues, how they caused them, or why they should be publicly flogged.
2. Deal with it! – In this day and age this is frowned upon – especially in regards to mental health but just like physical exercise, mental exercise is not a bad thing. Everyone struggles mentally/emotionally at times. It is okay, and it is okay to work one’s self through these times. The strongest, happiest, most well adjusted people I have known are people who had been through hell and back, mentally and emotionally – over and over! They learned to overcome. The weakest people I have ever known were either coddled through life or simply plodded through life, never trying to overcome their issues. Whether it is seeking out the help and guidance of professionals, reading self help books, physical activity, taking a break, or meditation – just do something. No one should have to live with depression or stress or anxiety or anger issues or any other debilitating mental health issue without at least trying to deal with it.
3. Covid and mental health – First off, not everyone has struggled mentally and/or emotionally through this pandemic. For some people it has been an opportunity to reset their lifestyle, their priorities, and heal from all of the stress and anxiety of their typical day to day life. The media, politicians, and ubiquitous ‘experts’ have beaten this Covid mental health thing like a drum for the past two years. If one is seriously struggling they know by now, if their children are struggling they know by now, if their pets are struggling they know by now. Make literature and resources available to those who need it. But quit with the depressing ‘everyone is struggling mantra’. Quit trying to make anyone feel guilty and miserable for being happy, peaceful, and content. It does not make any of us less caring and compassionate. Maybe the world needs those who are happy, peaceful and content to keep hope alive for those who are struggling.
4. There is no excuse – There are many who suffer from mental/emotional health issues. I believe we all do at different points in our lives. Attention has been given to making it okay to seek help and to speak out about our mental health. That is all well and good, but recently I have seen more and more people who use mental health issues as an excuse for bad behaviour or avoiding responsibility. I am not judging anyone specifically. But I see it a lot and what I particularly dislike is when people use self-diagnosed mental health disorders (like OCD) to bully others. First off, it is totally disrespectful to anyone who actually suffers from such disorders. Secondly, people with OCD do not go around using it to get everything they want, when they want it, done exactly as they want it. If it is not yours, leave it alone. If you do not like how someone else does something, keep quiet or do it yourself. No excuses.
That is it for today and my thoughts on mental health. As always, thank you for listening and feel free to comment.
In North America, the general consensus is that being younger is synonymous with being better. We are conditioned to believe that the young have the advantage of being smarter, stronger, more attractive, and all around more capable and valuable than those who are elderly.
I bought into this theory when I was younger. I felt that I was smarter and sharper than my elders. In some ways, I was. I was quick to learn academically. I could read by the time I was three, absorbing the ability by listening to my older siblings doing their homework at the kitchen table. I memorized letters and numbers, poetry and prayers. I stayed at the top of my class, or close to it, throughout my school years. Once I became a mother, I quickly learned that I could multi-task, which I felt was a good sign of higher intellect and a great survival skill. Throughout my working years, I was capable of easily learning whatever was required to do my job competently. I did learn a lot of my knowledge from my elders, but I felt that my younger, quicker mind helped me to utilize that knowledge more efficiently.
Physically, I used to be stronger than I am now. I had the dexterity to perform tasks that I now struggle with (since when did it become such a struggle to do up the zippers on my winter boots?). I possessed the physical strength to shop for groceries, while carrying an infant, dragging a toddler and herding a pre-schooler. I had my own chainsaw and the ability to operate it. (We had a wood stove up north – the ability petered out when we moved back south. I once almost took out our neighbour with an electric knife. Live and learn – one should not cut a frozen ice cream cake with an electric knife. 😔). Even a year ago, my job included physical aspects such as hauling around heavy cartons of files, moving around product for inventory, and helping to load and unload trucks on the loading dock. Tasks that I would definitely struggle with now.
There is something to be said for youthful physical attraction. My babies were adorable and are still an attractive lot. My grandchildren are gorgeous. I was no slouch in my younger days. I had great legs. Total strangers would comment on my legs – in bizarre situations – it was kind of wierd. The thing is, younger people can tend to be dramatic, demanding, noisy, messy and embody any number of traits that are less than attractive. If it wasn’t for the bright smiles, thick hair and nice legs, a lot of them would be lonely.
As far as being overall capable and valuable – I think as a society, we are misguided. I have not been ‘elderly’ for very long. I am sixty-five and have been retired for a few months. These months, I have been slower and less productive than I have ever been. My priorities have changed – so much for the better and (not to brag.. but) I find that I am becoming wiser than ever. I understand things that I have learned and ‘known’ over the course of my lifetime. Even the things that I understood – I understand on a deeper level.
Since growing older, or possibly growing up, I have realized that…
1) Peace of mind is the most important thing in life. There is absolutely nothing that is worth sacrificing one’s peace of mind for. It is when things are at their worst, that we need our peace of mind the most. We are at our best to deal with life (especially the rocky periods) when we have peace of mind… 2) Infinity can only be found within. We can stare at the skies, we can gaze at the mountains and the oceans and the forests, we can look out over acres of prairie grasses and wildflowers, but we cannot comprehend the vast infiniteness of the universe and beyond until we look within ourselves and experience our subconscious minds and souls. 3) Aging is a gift. As we go through life – we live, we learn, we experience joy and grief, pain and pleasure. As seniors, we continue our physical lives, but we have such a precious opportunity to dig deeper. One of my blogging friends, likes to remind us of Wayne Dyer’s famous quote “You are an infinite spiritual being having a temporary human experience.” I always knew I was body, mind and soul. I think I always knew that of the three, the soul was the foundation of my existence. I was just too busy dealing physically and mentally, to live from my spiritual place. Now I am there and I would never go back, I could never go back, to that place where I stumbled and struggled to live my life as an intelligent physical being.