Tag Archives: mindfulness

Unsticking the Stuck

Stuck. That’s where I am. Not in the middle with you. Just stuck.

In fairness, today was a day that invited melancholy. It dawned grey and grisly, with a thorough downpour. And not forgetting it was a Monday. Factor in a house undergoing renovations (read: no roof. I repeat: NO ROOF!) and you are probably getting an idea of how my week kicked off. (Ferrying soggy cardboard boxes around as their bottoms fell open spilling my worldly goods on the ground and generally feeling sorry for myself.)

But actually the weather and the worldly goods spilling on the ground weren’t really the problem, if I’m honest. I was just having one of those stuck days. Those days where the awareness of the length of your to-do list weighs so heavily on your shoulders that you can’t hold your head up straight. But equally you’d rather check in on Facebook just one more time rather than face action-ing just one of those suckers. And let’s face it, it’s not your fault. If you can’t hold your head up high enough to look at your to-do list then you can’t really be expected to tackle it, now can you.

So that’s how my Monday went. Avoiding. Sitting. Hitting ‘like’ on Facebook. Letting my woes mount. And then it struck me. The way to become unstuck.

There is no one item on my to-do list right now that will make me feel immeasurably better through doing. But there is one thing. And that thing is writing. Which is why I’m here. Unsticking the stuck.

Please bear with me. And you? What do you do when you need to shake things up? Have you a cure I need to know?


Anger Management

I can be a *tad* moody sometimes. (Read: I have been known to scream in a Basil Fawlty-esque manner and kick inanimate objects over what might seem minor irritations to more zen-like beings.) Not all the time, but some times. And it’s never nice. Not for me or for those around me.

The problem is that once you find yourself in that wound up state it’s very hard to get yourself out of it. At least that’s my experience. And the truth is that the kicking and screaming doesn’t help. You think it will be a release, and it may be for a micro-second, but then the anger bounces back and winds you even tighter.

Tonight I found myself escalating into one such mood. I caught myself tossing toys into their boxes with increasing force as I tidied up the play room. I was snappy and belligerent with my other half. I made more noise doing the dishes than a jumbo jet on take off.

Luckily for me my other half isn’t one to let me get away with it. He challenged me to explain my mood. I couldn’t at first. I really didn’t know why I was feeling so goddamned grumpy but I was. As he probed further and I got rattier, eventually it sprang to the surface. I was actually feeling hurt and left out by a friend. I blurted out my grievances in a rush, surprising even myself with the source. I cried a little. (Well, quite a lot actually.)

I got it off my chest. And then I felt better.

The key is finding the source. Generally speaking it’s not actually the thing at which we are throwing the shoe and mostly it’s not even the person at whom we are snapping. More often than not it’s some hurt within ourselves. Looking in and asking the question can really take the wind out of the gale of anger that is blowing.

Once my brave other half had helped me to identify the source he went so far as to propose a solution. If I’m feeling left out then I need to make the effort to reach out. Instead of feeling angry with people for not calling me or including me in their plans I need to be the one making the calls and the plans. Taking control of my life and my moods.

Simples eh? Like all the best things in life, it’s magnificent simplicity and profound complexity all rolled into one. Now there’s something to meditate on.


Good Days, Bad Days

Yesterday was a good day. So good it felt like nothing could ever dent my deep-seated contentment. So good it felt like there was a universal truth dangling just millimeters beyond my reach. Like maybe I was on the verge of distilling happiness and bottling it for mass consumption.

Today I woke up tired, after DIY-ing late into the night. My hands were stained black with wood tint, my hair was full of dust and my head too. I had a meeting with clients scheduled for first thing, so when I turned the tap to discover there was no water I was not best pleased. No shower to wake and cleanse me, to soak the stain from my hands, to make me fit for human contact. Grrr.

I stomped and banged about the house as I (drily) prepared myself for work. I had my meeting and it went okay but by the time I made it back home I was in a foul mood.

The dishes were stacked high on every available surface, unwashed and unwashable. Still no water. The day was hot an sweaty and I had still not fully awoken. I was tired and sleepy and couldn’t face tackling the tidying up, let alone the intimidatingly epic to-do list that awaits me in my work agenda.
So I superficially ignored the mess around me and stared at my computer screen awhile. Facebook, Twitter, news sites. Endlessly scanning, my chewing gum of the mind. Letting it all stream across my consciousness, a constant passive input.

Somehow, with a mammoth effort of will, at about six pm I forced myself to do a seven minute workout. I know, seven minutes right? A perfectly undeniably tiny amount of time that even in your busiest or tiredest moments you can squeeze in and grit your teeth through.

And grit my teeth I did. And once that was done I took the dog for a short walk and did a little training at our mini climbing gym in our garage. A minimal training session but a session nonetheless. And by the time I got home I felt better and more energized. There was still no water but at least I managed to stack the dishes neatly, clear some space and cook a healthy dinner.

And now I’m in bed, tapping out this blog on my phone. Already I feel better. Tomorrow I may just edge a little closer to that tantalizing, dangling truth. Here’s hoping. 🙂

Remembering What Makes You Feel Good…..

…..and doing it. A simple recipe for happiness. Note the good things, the good sensations. And repeat. From the small to the big. If a cup of camomile tea makes you feel good then brew it. If taking a walk shifts your mood then do it.

Take your focus off the negative things. What makes you feel bad, what you haven’t yet done. Look at what makes you feel good, the great stuff you have done. And then do more of it.

My thought for the day…… And with that, I’m off for a walk.

Signs…..And More Signs

I asked the Universe for a sign to help me with some major life decisions. And the Universe delivered. And kept on delivering.

After my last, rage-filled post I was in a shaky state of mind. I was ready to pack it all in. But I wasn’t happy about it. (Obviously not. I was totally p*&$%d.) After calming myself down, I continued to look for signs. I guess I was waiting for the right one.

That weekend, after years of looking, we finally found the house that ticked all our boxes. Everything. Price, location, style, potential for expansion. Everything. Just perfect. We went back with an architect, to check we weren’t fooling ourselves. She was blown away by it. That’s got to be a good sign, right?

And there, hanging from a beam in the kitchen of the house we want to buy is a chalk bag. Made by the company my partner works for. He chuckles and points it out to me and the architect. The architect gasps, ‘It’s a sign!’ So it’s not just me.

And there, as we assess the house for its potential to develop a holiday business, my phone starts beeping. Suddenly tons of people are retweeting and favouriting a photo I posted earlier that day. Like, weird. This never happens to me. I scroll through my Twitter and discover that my earlier tweet was picked up on by the regional tourist board and subsequently disseminated by them. Wow.

Two days later and we’re still pondering the financial implications of buying the house. Maybe we should do it through our company. Could that work? I open Tweetdeck. Top of my timeline is a tweet linking to a post that lists the pros and cons of buying a property here through a limited company. Un. Freaking. Believable.

Reading this, you must think I spend all my time on social media. I really don’t. Which is why it makes it even stranger that when I next open Twitter I am immediately faced by a tweet that links to a website dedicated to the tiny village in which ‘our’ house is located.

I asked for signs. I got signs. It may be scary (it is!) but I think there’s little choice left. We’re going to have to go for it!

Wish us luck!!!

A Sign

Is this the sign I asked for, Universe? It certainly feels like a powerful sign, even though it’s not something I would have knowingly requested.

I am so angry right now. Fuming. And as Public Image Limited so rightly sang (yelled?) all those years ago: anger is an energy. And boy do I feel energized right now. And like yelling.

I will have to act on it because my body and mind have united to force me into action. I am literally shaking with adrenalin. Sleep will not come easy tonight, although perhaps more so after typing this out. With each word released on the tiny screen of my smartphone (I’m that desperate to blog that I’m doing it one fingered on my phone!) I can feel my anger drain and my body and mind settle.

But that is not to deny my anger or its validity. It is just to say that by expressing it I am releasing its power.

I have genuinely been wronged, and my partner even more so, by a xenophobic, small minded, lazy, control freak idiot. His actions and attitude I can only describe as unbelievable.

My fear is that they are likely symptomatic of the culture he was born into. The culture I now live in.

As I wrestle with the question of whether I should continue to live here, to raise my son here; for a countryman of this place to behave in this way to me and my partner cannot help but feel like a sign.

Maybe it’s time to go.

Treating Your Self

I’m an acupuncturist by profession. As such I know very well the power of this ancient holistic treatment. And yet I can go months without having any acupuncture treatment myself. This, despite expending a lot of my own energy in treating others and despite my own wise recommendations to patients about the importance of maintaining health and preventing illness and not waiting until symptoms appear before looking after one’s self.

I’m reminded of this because yesterday I felt shocking. I was stressed and anxious and drained and as a result felt unable to tackle any of the tasks that I needed to do and that the doing of would have made me feel better. The classic vicious circle. And so it was that I spent most of the day in a fug of mental wheel spinning.

The good thing about feeling bad is that it can force you to look for ways out. And so it was that at about 3pm yesterday that I remembered that I am an acupuncturist and I can help people who feel stressed and anxious. *Light bulb* I took a half hour out of my busily unproductive day to give myself a treatment. And I eased up on myself a bit, taking it steady for the rest of the day, feeling confident that I would feel better the next day and that then would be the time to get stuff done.

And I was right. Today I feel great and I’ve had a really positive, productive day which in turn has fired me up even more. The classic virtuous circle. Now I’m not telling you this to big up acupuncture (although, really, if you haven’t tried it go get yourself some!) I’m telling you this because it made me think how so many of us are rubbish at treating ourselves. Or, indeed, our selves.

Somehow it can be so much easier to give great advice to a friend than to oneself. To see how someone else can help themselves, to have compassion for another. Sometimes we all need to turn inwards and treat our selves, whether that be with a trip to an acupuncturist, a therapist, a friend or with a drop of auto-compassion.

The real trick is remembering to do it before the need becomes vividly apparent. My promise to myself is to treat my self regularly. It’s going in the diary, in a different coloured ink to the rest of my ever expanding to-do list!

How about you? Are you prepared to commit to treating your self? And how will you do it?