Happy Happy Joy Joy!

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Being positive and thinking happy thoughts is challenging. Sometimes it feels easier to just say “Eff it!” and wallow in self pity. But, I have spent time on the negative side of life where everything was heavy and I thought the world was against me, and I have to tell ya, it’s better here on the lighter side where sometimes shit happens, but generally life is good. I see challenges and change as the universe moving and shifting me towards my goals and desires. I move with the flow and allow the current to guide me and trust in the goodness and love of the universe.

Well, not all the time. Sometimes I get wrapped up in the drama and I succumb to the worldly thoughts and fears. When I take a moment though to breath and meditate it all comes back to me. I realign with my higher self and I find my peace again. It’s all practice. Constant practice. But that’s what being human is about. Experiencing the world while staying connected to the source.

An Ode to October.

I awake in the pitch dark and it’s there to greet me. I get a tight coolness in my chest and throat that radiates down to warmth into my chest. A heavy rock in my gut. Warmth spreads outwards across my chest and up to my throat and to my tongue. I feel like it takes effort to get oxygen to my brain, but it’s more effort to try and breath deep. The feeling comes before any thoughts. And I instinctively search desperately for a reason. Ah there it is. This morning the anxiety is a reminder of my insolence. I have not been as productive as I wanted this week. Mostly due to the tired haze this feeling has put me in. It becomes heavier. I push away the self-depreciating thought and I continue my mental search for physical reasons to why this happens to me every October.

The beginning of the month is hot. The leaves are changing and we are dancing around happily in tank tops, scarves and boots. Every year we are amazed at how mild it is and wonder if this Halloween will be warmer than the last. Then quickly, within a few days the weather changes. It begins to rain and with the sun behind the clouds it gets cold and then the darkness comes. I’ve caught onto this in the last few years and no longer wonder in awe at the beautiful warmth of the early fall season.

“Enjoy it! It’s going to get dark and start raining and it won’t stop till February.” I prepare others for it. Consciously, making myself aware as well.

I learn from my mistakes and won’t be tricked by October’s luring acrobats of deception. October has notoriously been a shitty month for me. In the past it was money that caused me the most grief. October was when my insurance ran out on my beat up old car. (Which always had problems passing Air Care.) It was the beginning of my three month gift giving season, beginning with my son’s birthday, a week later, Halloween, a week after that my birthday, then my daughters, then my dad’s, then Christmas. Fortunately, as chaotic as the next three months are about to be, the stress of money is not really all that prevalent. So, is the emotional upheaval I experience every year just the anxiety of the past Octobers haunting me now? I do not believe so.

I know I’m not alone in experiencing the physical repercussions of the month. I know there’s others like me who are feeling “off” and “edgy”. What is it about this month that wreaks havoc on us? Is it just us on the west coast? Is it the sudden change in weather? The insistent darkness that Daylight Savings Times is supposed to save us from? Maybe some of us just aren’t meant to live in constant darkness. Our animal instincts are not so supressed. Maybe October is our signal that we are meant to be elsewhere. The same as it is for the geese that scream above my head every morning. Reminding me “Hey! It’s time! We’re going south! Let’s go!” Or maybe I’m meant to just fatten up and sleep throughout the winter. Both options I’m okay with.

Whatever the case may be, trying to figure it all out just makes my October anxiety worse. So, this month I’m just trying to ride it out.

“It’s just a feeling.” I remind myself to get my mind to stop going through my file cabinet of screw ups.

I crave comfort. A soft stroke on the face, an arm around me, an understanding smile. I should just quit beating myself up over eating hot dogs and chocolate milk for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just got to get through this. Whatever brings me peace I should allow. I feel the sensation of the anxiety and where it is in my body. I analyze it like a specimen, making notes of what I do that makes it go away for even seconds. The present moment seems to be the infinite answer for all things and in this case, it brings me relief. But being present constantly is near impossible for me. And it turns into a “Now now now now now” mantra and I have to do something else.

Positive emotions and feelings arise and I’m surprised by them. I don’t know where they are coming from. Images that create them are fleeting and the feelings are faint. They feel ancient and pure. Like a childhood memory unscathed by realistic views.  They are fragile and I cradle them gently afraid that even my breath will scare them off. Everything seems like an effort. Even holding onto ancient positive emotions.

I don’t want to do anything, but I want to do something. As frustration arises, I recognize it and leave the task at hand and find something else for the moment. I’m agonizingly aware of every feeling in my body. Minor irritations are like pin pricks and create a ball of rage in me that is unusually annoying. “OH just stop it, Jessica! ” I attempt to rise above them, to put it all in perspective and to just allow the feelings to wash over me leaving potential victims unscathed.

“What is this monster I’m becoming?”

I have begun to find humor in the dramatics of my inner dialogue. My goodness, the foulness I could spew if I were that person. I applaud myself for my creative use of the English language and curse words. I am now embracing the drama. Allowing it to move my body in a pouting, overtired toddler manner. “Meh!” I whine. And drink my wine. Cross legged on the floor out of a mug.

I gasped in horror at my reflection the other day. Standing there with unwashed hair, hot dog in hand, ketchup dripped on my faded “Buff Yourself” t-shirt. “Dear God, woman! Get yourself together!” I said to myself in disgust and I apply mascara. “There ya go!” And I sit back to down amongst the old tissues and dishes and immerse myself in the self-made drama of The Sims.

Distraction has become my weapon against this foul beast of a month. Distraction and life’s simple pleasures. There is no fighting what is inevitable. The days are going to be dark, the rain is going to fall and my birthday will happen. Until, I can fly away every October with the geese to get away from it all, I am going to spend my early October days wearing my boots and scarf, basking in the sun happily and fully aware that come Halloween I’ll be lying on the floor in front of the fireplace wearing an old t-shirt and sweats, eating hot dogs, drinking chocolate milk and chanting, “November is coming.” Hoping that the placebo will take effect.

October Blues

Wide Open

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Hopelessness and distress cannot live while you remain aware of your Self and connected to your Soul. You are peace.

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How to Control a Crappy Situation

We had a fabulous lesson in tolerance this weekend.

Learning how to control our reaction and emotions in uncontrollable circumstances is not easy. But it does get easier when we practice using the formula Event + Reaction = Outcome. We learn that we have control over how we feel and react to negative situations. Knowing that we have three options helps too.  We can change the situation, leave it or accept it.

Candy Crush Shuffle

Screenshot 2015-05-13 14.55.13My husband and I have gotten into this routine of sitting and watching Ancient Aliens while playing Candy Crush Soda Saga. We sit for the hour scoffing at the theories the experts come up with and create our own. As we do this, I’m mindlessly following the flashing move suggestions on the game, doing the same moves over and over burning through lives. It will take a reload or two before I realize that I’m supposed to be getting the bear across the line not popping bottles.

This is nuts! I can’t believe I’m actually blogging about this. I can’t even take myself serious while I’m talking about bears and aliens. Have you ever read anything that involved both Ancient Aliens and Candy Crush? It’s a ridiculous combo, but nonetheless I have a point.

Every time I catch myself reloading lives like I have an infinite amount I am reminded of how I feel my life was like. I would go through it mindlessly repeating the same situations asking myself “Why does this always happen to me?” I would just assume I was cursed or deserved it and my life would shuffle and I would carry on moving crap around.

I see others doing the same thing. Having the same problems and situations happen repeatedly and just mindlessly accepting the outcome. If every person you date ends up being crazy then perhaps it’s not your date that’s the problem. Have a habit of getting fired? Not every boss can have it out for you. Same arguments arising? Do you not understand why people don’t like you? Are you always losing your phone? Wallet? Kids? Do you repeatedly have accidents in the kitchen?

My dad is a retired drywaller. On the job he often hurt himself and blamed his tools. I remember one time after tripping over a bench he yelled

My (expletive) tools are trying to kill me!  It’s like my own dog biting me.”

Hands up if you think my dad’s inanimate bench was trying to kill him. If you think my dad’s bench was attempting murder then you probably believe that the Nazca lines are giant runways for spaceships. Objects are not serial killers and your dates aren’t crazy. It’s you that’s the problem. YOU are the common denominator of all those things. Ouch right?

NO! Knowing that YOU are the problem means that YOU are in control. And that is fabulous! It means there can be change. So, when you find yourself in an insane loop of misery, let the pain be a cue to focus. Instead of saying “Why does this always happen to me?” say “What can I do to stop this?” Sometime it will take just a wee bit of psychoanalyzing and little adjustments in your life to make a difference. If you can’t figure it out ask someone you trust to candidly tell you why they think you’re experiencing the issues. That honesty within yourself or from others can save your lives and move you onto the next level.
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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

Am I Okay Now?

Monday Mantra by Buddha Doodles

 

This last week due to some rough circumstances, being present was a struggle. So, to keep things in perspective I would say to myself

“Right this very second is everything okay? Yup. Okay. Now is it still okay? Yup. Okay. How about now? Yup. Okay.”

Moment to moment, this self-talk seemed to keep the anxiety at bay.

 

For more Buddha Doodles visit http://www.buddhadoodles.com/

 

 

Weekend Challenge

IMG_7407.PNGAfter writing this week about being mindful, it became aware to me that I came across as some kind of Zen Master. I assure you, I may know a lot about the subject of being mindful, but I am no means a pro. There are certain things that I become very mindful with such as cooking, driving or walking down the stairs with my hands full. It took injuries and accidents for it to become apparent that I had to concentrate while doing these things. I finally got sick of making the same mistakes and created ways to help me focus.

Reminder from my husband after two consecutive weeks of running over trash.

Besides using my senses, one of my techniques is word repetition. An example my family likes to remind me of is when I drove over the garbage two weeks in a row, dragging it three feet before noticing and having to pull it out from under my chassis while the neighbor watched. Now every Thursday morning I have this chant as I’m backing out of the garage. “Garbage garbage garbage garbage.”  I also have my Buff Beads, which I use as a reminder not only to be mindful of my self-talk, but just mindful in general. My strategy I use the most is my”bring it all in” strategy. I use this when I can’t calm my mind, or I’m feeling anxious and just need to center my mind. It requires I use my imagination to get a hold of all my scattered loose thoughts and put them to the side for the moment while I focus on the task at hand. If a thought is really persistent I will acknowledge it and if it is something I can take care of in the moment I do so or I leave it be. Similar to the Leave it, Change it or Accept It technique I spoke of last week.

“Mindfulness isn’t difficult, we just need to remember to do it.”
― Sharon Salzberg

This weekend the challenge is to figure out where you need to be most mindful and work on those areas first. It’s easiest to practice being mindful in areas that you’ve made a habit of doing consistently. Like, losing your phone, kicking the couch or breaking dishes while washing. I’m always looking for new ways to become mindful, if you develop a particular technique that you find quite creative and want to share you can either comment below or email me at coaching@adviceoverpie.com.

3 Signs That You’re Not Being Mindful

mindful pugMindfulness is being completely aware of your surroundings. It’s smelling the air, listening to sounds, feeling the energy in your hands. It’s actively engaging yourself into whatever you are doing in the present moment. It’s not thinking about the future worries or past stresses. It’s completely feeling the now.

There is scientific proof that mindfulness and practicing presence can drastically change your mental and physical well being.

“I’m really excited about the effects of mindfulness. It’s been great to see it move away from being a spiritual thing towards proper science and clinical evidence, as stress is a huge problem and has a huge impact on many people’s health. Being able to take time out and focus our mind is increasingly important.”

Adrienne Taren, University of Pittsburgh.

How mindful are you? How often do you experience the following?

Forgetfulness “Where did I put it?” “What was I doing?” “Why did I come in here?”

Do you often lose your wallet? Do you all of a sudden panic thirty thousand feet in the air wondering if you turned off the coffee pot? Do you walk into a room and then wonder what you were doing? While grocery shopping I will often leave my cart off to the side and wander down the aisle to get what I need. I have on more than one occasion grabbed someone else’s cart and tried to walked away with it. It became very obvious this was becoming an issue when I searched twenty minutes for my cart after leaving it somewhere and taking someone else’s. Twenty minutes a day is about the average amount of time I have wasted being forgetful. That is 101 days of my adult life spent searching and figuring out what I was doing.

Clumsiness “I wasn’t watching where I was going.” “I wasn’t paying attention.”arrow to the knee

Broken dishes, bones, chopped thumbs, burns, bruises. All things that have happened in the last year from my lack of paying attention to what I was doing and where I was going. For the most part they are injuries that have happened in the kitchen while watching reality cooking shows. If I am not focused on the task at hand, I will unconsciously attempt to match the speed of the contestants who are professional chefs and who are all being present.

People have to repeat themselves. “What?” “I’m sorry.” “Can you repeat that?”

I am staring right at him nodding and then his voice goes up at the end and I realize he just asked me a question and I have no idea what he said. I then feel really dumb because he had been talking for a good two or three minutes and by asking him to repeat himself would give away the fact that I was planning what I was going to say next instead of listening.

Wasted time, pain and embarrassment could have all been avoided had I just been mindful and focused on the present. Mindfulness is hard. The present is not an easy place to be. Your mind would rather be off anxious about the past and worrying about the future, so use worry and anxiety as a cue to get your head together. Bring yourself present by using your senses. I call it micro meditating.

Touch: Allow yourself to feel each key on the keyboard as you type. Your socks on your feet. The wind on your face.  

Scent: Take a deep breath. Smell the good and the bad. Burn incense and concentrate on the smell every few minutes for just a second to realign your mind.

Taste: If you love food as much as I do, mindfully eating is fabulous way to practice presence. It really changes how food tastes, prevents over eating and cuts down on after meal bloating.

Listen:  Pay attention to the sounds around you. An annoying stunt plane, a pug snoring, or a baby crying. Some sounds may not be pleasant but the idea is just to get to the now.  

Sight: I have a bouquet of flowers that I have been moving from room to room. The sight of them make me happy and every few minutes I stop and for a second allow their beauty to go through me like a chill. 


It takes a lot of constant practice and awareness, but the benefits of being mindful are very obvious and will happen very quickly. You will feel more alert and awake. You become less irritable and more patient. Ultimately you will be more at peace.  And peace is really what we all want.

Weekend Challenge

Venting feels good and can let off steam, but consistent venting about the same situation over and over is called complaining. Complaining is a waste of our energy and only creates in us more angst and negativity. Your challenge for the weekend is to take control of your life, be mindful of your most common complaints and fix them.

Create a list of your complaints. Refrain from using the word “I can’t.” and go through your list writing resolutions for each one.  If change is not possible and you must accept it, then find something that this situation makes you’re grateful for.

Ask yourself:

Can I walk away from this situation?

If no, how can I change it?

If change is not possible then accept is a must.  What does this situation make me thankful for?

As usual at the end say,

“I am worthy of all good things.”

Complaints

A Sample of my repeat offenders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to hear how doing this impacted your weekend.  Send me an email coaching@adviceoverpie.com

Have a great weekend!

Definition of Insanity

Someone once said “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results” .

Chronic complaining is insane.

Venting feels good and can let off steam, but consistent venting about the same situation over and over is called complaining. Complaining is a waste of our energy and only creates in us more angst and negativity.

Realize that you have control over your life. Most of what you do everyday is by choice.

You go to the job you dislike, because you are choosing to be responsible. You could choose not to, but there would be consequences and that is your choice.

Awaken this morning with the new understanding that you are choosing to get out of bed. You have control. It’s all on you what you do with this new day.

So, rise up with this new found energy and give thanks for being given the choice. You are meant to be happy and fulfilled. You deserve it! Take control of the insanity and change what you don’t like.