Geek Wisdom

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I had never read Lord of the Rings before I saw the movie. From the moment it began I was in awe. I sat mesmerized for an hour until my 7 year got sick and I left to do a half fast vom clean up. I made in back in time to see this scene between Gandalf and Frodo.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

His words made me cry for a long time after the movie was over. To me it was Gandalf answering a question that I had long been asking. It was up to me to decide what to do with the time that was given. And I did decide. My decisions were not always the right ones and may have been a little out of control, but nonetheless I did something with my time. And here I am.

Life is good.  Just need to find that happy medium between taking control and going with the flow.

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

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.

Buff Beads Promotion

May 4- 10 is Mental Health Week. So, for the month of May 50 percent of the Leia and It’s Dangerous to Go Alone Buff Bead proceeds will go the Canadian Mental Health Association.

It’s the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) 64th Annual Mental Health Week!  And this year, CMHA is asking Canadians to GET LOUD for mental health!

Building on last year’s innovative campaign that encouraged people to talk more openly and honestly about their mental health, CMHA will again ask Canadians, “Are you fine or phine?” But this year, CMHA is also asking Canadians to GET LOUD for mental health because being phine is not fine.Too often people claim to be feeling fine when they are not. CMHA characterizes this as being “phine.”

CMHA wants Canadians to GET LOUD – to be heard, raise awareness, reduce discrimination and stigma, show support, and ultimately take action to improve mental health programs and services across Canada.

This year, Canadian athletes, celebrities and musicians are participating along with first responders, military families, university and high school students and others who have been affected by mental health issues. This incredible group of Canadians are joining the cause and asking everyone to GET LOUD for mental health.

CMHA’s Mental Health Week website.

Buff Beads are a used as a reminder to be kind and compassionate to ourselves.  Anyone who has ever  suffered with a mental illness knows that the mental beating we give ourselves is very

detrimental to our mental health.  That’s why it’s important to take control of our inner critic and change the words you say to yourself to a much more kind and gentler tone. Buff Beads are also there to remind you to Buff Yourself when you need some words of encouragement.  The words you say to yourself are strong enough to make a difference in stressful circumstances.

“The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.”

Maddy Malhotra

 

Click a picture or here to visit Advice Over Pie on Etsy

Leia's Beads. The style of beads that were given to Carrie Fisher. Available on Etsy

Leia’s Beads. The style of beads that were given to Carrie Fisher. Available on Etsy

It's Dangerous to Go Alone. Take These Buff Beads is a Legend of Zelda inspired themed bead available on Etsy.

It’s Dangerous to Go Alone. Take These Buff Beads is a Legend of Zelda inspired themed bead available on Etsy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Have To Gain?

Courage

 

It’s mind blowing to me how I continuously over complicate my life. I’ve been digging in my psyche for years trying to draw out any piece of evidence that will reveal to me the cure to being afraid of judgement.  I’ve traced through my childhood with a fine tooth comb, read books, meditated and watched video’s searching for something or someone to say it differently than the others so that I could understand. The answer was so simple and I felt so silly. I am constantly being reminded that the best way to find an answer is to quit looking for it.  The resolution always comes from within.

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Looking back, it’s amazing the opportunities I passed up because I was too scared of what people would think. Recently, while psyching myself up to do some networking  I said defiantly, “What do I got to lose?”. I’ve said that to myself numerous times in an attempt to gain courage, but for some reason  this time the question didn’t go away.

What DID I have to lose?

For the most part,  besides rejection, looking overly ambitious or being told my writing is crap, I really had nothing to lose. I allowed my imagination to create liberties and go wild. I came up with many fabulous and not so fabulous opportunities that could arise only if  I put my fear of judgment aside. The painful thought of perhaps missing out on those opportunities greatly outweighed any thought of a briefly bruised ego.

Is it easier for you to gain the loss or to lose the gain?

Generally, the possibility for great things is endless and any fear of loss boils down to being afraid of looking like an ass on the dance floor. Which for many, including me, may be worth the loss that’s why if sometimes the gain doesn’t outweigh the pain of humiliation, that’s okay. Because God knows I still a have a ways to go before you catch me singing karaoke publicly or on stage acting in a play.  As my husband says “Baby steps,  my darling.”, so I will start by writing scary emails and soul bearing blog posts.

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/

 

 

Guest Writer: Make A Habit

This weeks guest writer is my very good friend Vicky Jensen. In one yearr she lost an incredible 100lbs, which she attributes to her hard work and her ability to set and meet her individual goals. You can follow her on twitter @Vickerama

We all know that goal setting is good. We have heard it our whole lives.”Set goals!” “Where do you want to be in 5 years?” “What are your goals in life?” The concept isn’t new and it is definitely not unique. Goals keep you focused, they propel you forward, they hold you accountable. We can all agree – goals are important. Goals get stuff done.

Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.
Tony Robbins

There’s one thing I need to make clear though about goals. Goals aren’t visions. A vision is NOT a goal. A vision by definition is a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination. A vision is the where you want to go, the what you want to see, the what you want to have, the how you want to feel. Your vision is about your destination. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, envisioning is step number two.

2 – Begin with the End in Mind. Envision what you want in the future so that you know concretely what to make a reality.

But, goals are your path. Goals answer the questions – When? How? How much? Goals are the steps we need to take to achieve our vision. It’s the daily goal making and goal achieving that create the path to where we want to end up.

It’s so easy to set goals that look something like this –

I’m going to lose 50 pounds.Goal Setting

I’m going to get a better job.

I’m going to clean my house.

Those actually seem pretty great and quite reasonable. This is the deal though – you can’t wake up the next morning and lose 50 pounds. It’s impossible. Waking up the next morning and thinking “I’m going to get a new job today!” is daunting. A goal needs to be as specific and as simple as possible. Tomorrow I’m going to eat 1500 calories or tomorrow I’m going to drink 8 glasses of water. Tomorrow I’m going to send out 5 resumes. Tomorrow I’m going to clean out the fridge. I actually learned the skill of goal setting quite young. From kindergarten to 7th grade I went to a private school where the work we did was independent and self-directed. At the end of every day we had to “set our goals” for the next day. This basically meant we had to write down how many pages we intended to complete in each of our workbooks so when the next day came around we had our plan for the day. This taught me that:

1. Completing goals feels good. It’s satisfying. Checking off something you accomplished that day feels freaking good no matter how small.

2. You have to set your own goals. A teacher didn’t swoop in to tell me what I needed to do the next day. I decided what I wanted to do. Completing a task because someone else tells you to do it or suggests you should isn’t a goal. That becomes THEIR idea for your life – not yours. Goals are 100% self-directed and self-fulfilled.

3. Goals HAVE to be realistic. When learning to set goals as a kid I would often think oh ya, I will totally do ten pages in a workbook tomorrow only to learn the next day that it just wasn’t going to happen. You probably won’t run forty-five minutes straight your first day running whether or not you set that as your goal. Try two minutes. Baby steps.

4. It has to be a HABIT. Every day when I get to work I decide what I want to get done that day – even if NOTHING else gets done besides that. I do it now without even thinking about it. Some people like to write lists or notes. Do what works for you but do it daily.

I recently lost over one hundred pounds. I’m not “there” yet but I have a vision of who I want to be, how I want to look and more importantly how I want to feel. This vision is great and good and it is exactly what I need but I can’t stop at the vision. My vision needs to inspire me to take action. Looking back at the year it took me to lose the majority of that weight, I realize it was a compilation of goal setting and goal completing that got me there. The times I decided I was going to go for a long walk the next day and I actually went for that long walk the next day. The goal of “I’m going to lose 100 pounds” is too vague. It’s huge and it’s not tangible. But what I could do was go for that walk.

The discipline you learn and character you build from setting and achieving a goal can be more valuable than the achievement of the goal itself. – Bo Bennett

 

Written by Vicky Jensen

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!