The Gratitude List

I just read a tweet from a fellow tweeter.  I got the impression she was down in the dumps… she said she felt, “out of sorts.”  I have felt like that many times in my life (I’m sure most people have).   I replied to her tweet and told her to make a gratitude list.

Then I thought, “Darlene!  You’re a genius!  You should make one.”  So I am.  Right here, right now.

I am grateful for:

  • my sobriety
  • my children
  • the ability to use all five of my senses
  • music
  • the gift of writing
  • nature
  • green lights
  • coffee
  • my cats
  • my genes
  • a sunny day
  • a Sunday morning
  • making some one smile
  • a brand new notebook
  • that I was born exactly when I was born
  • Tyler State Park
  • other people’s opinions
  • tolerance….

These are just some of the things I am grateful for.  But, I want to hear from you.  What are you grateful for?  What makes you say thank you.  What helps you through your day?

Advertisements

I Need One Of Those Thingies – Ya Know… That Doo Dad Thingamajig

It has come to my attention (through running around like a mad woman and having twenty-nine pieces of paper in my purse) that I need one of those planner thingies.

I currently have a little notepad, blank index cards, post-it notes and pieces of ripped paper.   This method is not working!

“I know I wrote that down,” I say as I rummage through my larger than necessary purse, filled with lots of stuff I do not need.

These items include:

  • Kindle
  • wallet
  • cup of gum
  • hair band
  • hair spray (I never use it – why is it in there!)
  • notepad
  • 2 tubes of hand lotion
  • keys
  • 27 pieces of paper (I threw 2 away)
  • 3 highlighters
  • 7 multi-colored sharpies (those great pen ones)
  • my other much bigger wallet
  • the wonderful letter my daughter Sarah wrote me when she was about 17 years old
  • 2 tubes of lip gloss
  • change purse
  • bottle of fast release Tylenol
  • hand sanitizer (which I never use – and I rarely get sick)
  • dental floss
  • loose change
  • 4 lighters
  • 11 dollars in cash
  • 3 post-it notes
  • a pack of matches

Ok, I think that is it!  I need one of those little day planner thingies.. but not so much a calendar, but one to write other stuff down.  Maybe it has pockets or something for my little papers.

I also think I need to trade in my large (very pretty) Maize colored purse for a much smaller some other color purse.

What do you carry around with you?

Crazy or Creative?

I’m off from my “real job” today.  You would think this means I am sitting here, pounding feverishly on the keyboard as my WIP comes to breath-taking life.

Simply not true.  So far this morning I have checked my Twitter account 17 times, checked Facebook 8 times and even checked my Tumblr account and my Blogspot blog.

I do not have a desk so I do this awful “hunch over the laptop on the coffee table” thing that is seriously taking a toll on my back.  I think at this point I should probably invest in one of those “lap desks” or whatever the hell they’re called.

So as I write my novel (or attempt to really) I conjured up another creative idea.

A book detailing the thoughts of a crazy person.  Kind of like a journal of sorts.  The thing is, they will be my thoughts transferred from demented mind to paper.  I joke around that I am crazy.  I have morbid thoughts, disturbing thoughts… crazy thoughts.  I suppose most writers/musicians/artists do.  Thank  the gravy that God gave us all a talent to put it to good use instead of taking our thoughts out on the living.

Now, I have never been officially diagnosed as “crazy” per say. But I often feel crazy, like I do not fit in.  Not to mention the exorbitant amount of people who have called me crazy and meant it. Conversations that often go:

“You’re fucking crazy.”

“Ha! Thanks,” I say with a playful smile.

“No. I mean it. You’re a sick fuck.”

“Oh,” I say as the smile fades from my face.

It is lonely at times.  No one gets me.  I am continuously terrified to really be me out in public.  Sometimes I cannot help it and kind of let loose.  This is something that has plagued me all my life.

I have gone for tests, but always knew the right answers and chirped them out with unabated enthusiasm.  Does this make me a psychopath?  I have never killed anyone (seriously).  I don’t even kill bugs.

So what’s the deal?

Fear: A Silent Killer

There is a difference between fear and a phobia.  Fear is to be afraid of something.  Phobia is to be irrationally afraid of something.  That’s pretty simple, right?

The number one fear in America is the fear of spiders. Almost 50 percent of women and 10 percent of men have a fear of spiders.   I personally love spiders.  I am awed by them and rescue them from squashation before my co-workers have a shot.

Fear holds us back from so much.  Phobias hold us back as well, but they are irrational and so, only gross amounts of therapy can help us with that.  And most times that doesn’t even work.

Fear of the unknown kills us.   And in unknown, I don’t mean ghosts or extraterrestrials.  I mean the future.  I mean change.  Change affects the future.  We’re so busy trying to maintain the humdrum present; getting the same thing for breakfast everyday, driving the same way to our thankless job everyday and putting on the same after work clothes everyday.  We don’t even recognize that we’re afraid of change until…

One day someone says, “You want to go get sushi for lunch?”  And the mere thought of this is paralyzing.   Sushi?  But, I eat turkey on whole wheat with mustard every day. I hate mustard, but it’s fat-free. This thought is immediate and uncomfortable.

You say, “Thanks, but I brought my lunch.  You know, turkey.”  You feel like a dweeb as soon as the words start falling from your lips, but it’s too late.  You can’t take them back.

Most of us are so comfortable inside the box as we gaze upon the wonders of “what if” that we do not dare disturb the monotony of our world with sushi.

Have you ever talked to someone who incessantly complained about their life?  You offer ideas and feedback and all you get back is constant rebuttals of “why it simply will not work.”

I’m too old.  It’s too hard.  I don’t have enough money.  I’ll fail.  They’ll laugh at me.  Someone already thought of it. I can’t.

All of these statements say one thing.  I am afraid.

What are you afraid of?

Have you ever done something in spite of fear?  Maybe you stood up to your boss.  Maybe you told your spouse that your marriage wasn’t working out.  Maybe you, like me, decided to say “screw it” and submit one final article to a site that turned you down three previous times.   Doesn’t it feel good when you stand up to fear?  How many times have we said, “that wasn’t so bad.”

Fear kills our spirit.  It robs of us finding out whether or not we should truly be afraid in the first place. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”.   I never really understood what in Hades ol’ FDR meant by that until I decided to leave my husband of seven years.  And it hit me.  Fear should be the only thing I fear.  Fear held me back.  Fear kept  me isolated.  Fear does these same things to you.

Fear kills us for as long as we let it.


Let Bygones Be Bygones

Meditation For Tuesday, February 22, 2011

When we are young we learn about disappointment, hurt and anger.  As we grow most of us learn tools to handle these pains and letdowns.  Those of us who do not learn effective coping tools wind up holding onto resentments that hurt our own well-being.  Holding onto pain from the past hurts our future.

Emotional pain sticks with us longer than physical pain.  If we fall down and skin a knee, we may cry for a moment, but we get up, brush it off and keep on trekking.  However, emotional pain burrows inside of us.  We sit and we dwell and we think of ways to get even or we manifest misdeeds done unto us, letting it damage us continually until we are full of hate.

In the movie American History X, Edward Furlong’s character says, “Hate is baggage.  Life’s too short to be ticked off all the time.”  When I heard that line a light bulb went off in my head. He used a stronger word.. but you get the point.

When we are angry at others, or full of hate, the only ones we hurt are ourselves.  Most of the people we are angry at long forget that we were ever mad at them in the first place.  Others never knew that they had upset us or maybe they did and didn’t care.

So there we sit, in our dimly lit room, or driving our car, stewing over the injustices done to us by careless people.

Get over it.  When you keep your anger, you give away your power.  You are letting the actions or words of others dictate your well-being.  Why would you want to give someone else that kind of control?

If you are so upset that you can’t see straight, write it down, scream at the wall or punch a pillow.  If you feel you really must let the person know how upset you are, write it down first.  It is important that you do this so that you can read it over a few times and let the situation sink in a little.  Often, we realize we are overreacting and wind up tearing the paper up and never saying anything.

If you feel you must say something, it is important that you get it in your head in a way that will be effective in communicating why you are upset.  Calling someone names and rehashing things that have long been talked about can lead to an argument and more resentment.

Meditation for the day:  Letting go of resentment and anger kindles my wellbeing.

Sometimes We Need To Be Lazy

Meditation for Sunday, February 20, 2011

Being lazy has always been frowned upon.  We call unmotivated people lazy, children who do not excel in school lazy and the unemployed lazy for not pounding the pavement 24/7 looking for a job.  It is painful looking for work when jobs are so scarce.

For those of us with plates so full the tasks are spilling out over the sides, being lazy is a great idea once in a while.

When I say, “be lazy”, I do not mean, “do nothing.” I mean, slow down.

When we are overrun with errands, meetings, exercise, and what to make the kids for lunch on a daily basis, tasks start to blur together.   Before we know it, we open our carefully packed lunch to find a pb&j with the crusts cut off.  Your child is sitting in school scratching her head because she knows that you know she hates veggie wraps.

Being lazy helps us to regroup and realize our priorities.

Rome was not created in one day.  Cliché, I know, but it hits the point home (I’m hoping).

Take your time.  There are a lot of things in life that can wait until you get a few spare moments to tackle.

In the morning, quickly go through your day.  You can do this in your head or on paper.  Check off the things that need immediate attention.  Leave the items that can wait unchecked.  Be honest with yourself.   If it is Tuesday and you have a meeting, the kids have violin practice and the dog has to get to the vet, do you really need to vacuum the entire house? The fuzzballs can wait.

Realization for the day: Being lazy once in a while is okay when we focus on the big picture.

Eat Right – Feel Right

Meditation for Friday, February 18, 2011

They say a healthy body equals a healthy mind.  Or was that a healthy mind equals a healthy body?  It goes both ways.  The healthier you eat, the better you feel.

Now, I am not telling you to turn into a rabbit and only eat salads and veggies.  Eating only one of the food groups is not good for you either.  It is important to eat a balance of protein, carbs and fats.  Yes!  Fats!

Not so fast there, speed.  Eating heart healthy fats doesn’t mean hitting your favorite fast food joint and chowing down on the latest burger.

Some foods with healthy fats are: Walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds, fish (not fish sticks), papaya and cantaloupe.

Be sure to get in a serving or two of veggies as well.  Veggies contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients.  You can find any food pyramid on the internet to tell you how much of what to eat in a day. Dark leafy greens, yellow squash and carrots are a few of the great veggies that can help eat healthy.

Yes, it is difficult to get in all of the food groups.  But if you eat a balanced diet of lean protein, vegetables and carbs you’ll be giving your body the nutrients it needs.

As far as snacks go, try to cut back on junk food.  Dried fruit, veggie crisps and frozen whole fruit bars are great healthy snacks.

If you are chocolate freak, try an ounce of dark chocolate here and there to curb your craving or a low fat frozen chocolate treat.  Dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate because it has more cocoa in it and less sugar.  Not to mention the antioxidants it contains.

Drink 100% fruit juice or water instead of soda.  If you aren’t a fan of water, they have little flavor packets in the drink aisle at the grocery store.  Dump one in, shake well and enjoy!

Eating healthy leads to feeling healthy and when we feel healthy we feel happy.

Daily meditation:  I put good things in my body so that I can feel good inside and out.

Gratitude

The days blur by as our to-do lists seem to grow in size like water infested sponges.  Then life happens.  An unexpected illness, a home repair or maybe your car dies when you are on your way home from work.  I can totally relate to this last one because that is what happened to me yesterday.

 As I sat in the driver seat, cursing everything imaginable with my ‘why me’ attitude, I realized that I was being kind of bitchy.  I mean, there are people who are less fortunate.  There are people who are unemployed and wish they were broke down at work.  Yet, there I was sitting in my car (which has fared me well so far) complaining to my girlfriend on the phone about all the injustice of the day while I waited for the tow truck.

 They say when life hands you lemons to make lemonade, which, I find quite corny.  But I get it now.  Make the best of your situation.  Know that whatever life throws at you, you can handle it.  If you feel the need to drop to your knees and scream at the sky, go for it.  After your brief collapse get back up and figure out how to make it work.

 I made a gratitude list last night.  I listed all of the things I was grateful for.  Some of the things on my list were: my career, money in the bank, AAA, friends and coffee.  Make your own list.  You’ll realize that things are going to be okay and you have a lot in your life that you may take for granted sometimes.     

 Meditation for the day:  I am grateful for the little things in life.

Daily Meditation for February 12, 2011

Feel Beautiful On The Inside

These days the world is overrun with plastic surgery, flashy cars, expensive clothes and the list goes on.  We always strive to look beautiful.  But do we feel beautiful?

You can get all the plastic surgery you want to give yourself the ideal image.  But if you still feel empty inside at the end of the day, all of the plastic surgery and fancy clothes is a waste of time and money.  If you always want what someone else has or want to look like someone else, there is something missing inside of you.

Today meditate on who you are, not what you are.  What are your ideals?  Where are your boundaries?  If you strip away everything, is your inner core solid?

Feel beautiful in all of your little imperfections.  Those imperfections are what complete you and make you unique!

Meditation for the day: I am a beautiful human being and love who I am.

Staying On A Cardio Regimen

The beginning week of January is always crammed in the gym.  Resolutions are made to get in shape and be healthy so you run to the gym to sign up for their special membership prices. You might even get that free t-shirt that ends up becoming a cleaning rag.  You leave feeling accomplished!  You did it!  You took the first step!  Hats off to you, my friend.  However, there is a sequence of steps that come after that very first important one that need to be maintained or your dream of looking like the hot chic in apartment 8 will be squashed.

You need an action plan.  If you walk through those doors to the upbeat music and clanking of weights without a plan, you’re going to be all over the place.

So where do you start?

Get out your fave fitness mag or hop on the computer and find a plan that fits you.  Although you are anxious to look like Jessica Simpson a few years back or the brand new Britney, the reality is that they didn’t get their rocking bods overnight and neither will you.

You want to make sure you do not overdo it in the beginning.

The experts say that you need to maintain at least twenty minutes at a certain level to burn fat, but for the moment you need to build endurance.  Start off doing fifteen minutes of light cardio.  You can start this at about 3 times a week.

If you’re at the gym, pick the treadmill and try to do a pace of 2.5 to 3.5 mph.   If you aren’t a big fan of the tread, then hop on the elliptical and go at a steady pace.  The elliptical works your legs a little more so you may want to start off a little lighter.

For some of us the gym can seem like a monotonous display of testosterone and skimpy outfits.  If this isn’t really your thing then getting your cardio routine down at home is a great alternative.

The time of day is not really an issue since calories burn the same at 6 am as they do at 6 pm.  If you are not a morning person, trying to commit to waking at 5:30 a.m. is going to frustrate you and give you reasons to make excuses to bail out.  Start at a brisk walk for 10 – 15 minutes whatever time of day you choose.  Again, you are trying to build endurance.

Where to walk is not an issue either.  Do a search for parks in your area if you like the ambience of trees and babbling brooks.  If being alone amongst nature gives you the creeps, then stick to your neighborhood.  There are sites on-line that you can find a way to map a route in your area.

Please make sure to check with your health care professional before starting any fitness routine.

Example:

Week 1:  15 minutes light cardio 3 x a week

Week 2:  15 minutes light cardio 4 x a week

Week 3:  20 minutes cardio 3 x a week

Week 4: 20 minutes cardio 4 x a week

Week 5: 25 minutes of cardio 3 x a week

Week 6: 25 minutes of cardio 4 x a week

After you’ve built up your endurance after five to six weeks then your body at this point should have adjusted to your new workout.  You can now gradually turn up the speed and the length of your cardio.  If it feels like it is too much, knock it down a notch for a week and then come back up.

Remember to keep hydrated!

%d bloggers like this: