Tag Archives: rambling

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.

 

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If You’re Feeling Bad, Don’t Panic!

Well, yesterday was a miserable Monday. I wasn’t feeling very well physically which didn’t help my mental state. I didn’t feel up to tackling any of the tasks that I really needed to in order to get the week off to a flying start. (I.e. those things that have been lurking around on my to-do list so long that they have now converted themselves into the things that I think about when I wake up at 2a.m.)

Anxiety reigned. Which further paralyzed me. Eventually I was forced to give in to it. I took to my bed with a book and had a snooze. Monday was a write-off in terms of productivity but at least after indulging myself I cheered up considerably and even managed to do a few minor positive tasks later in the evening.

And today I woke up feeling much better. Physically and mentally. Now I am cracking through some tasks. That’s not to say I’m not still skirting around the particularly challenging ones but I am getting there. I am feeling fit enough to employ some useful techniques like getting out for a walk in order to clear my head. There’s nothing like getting the blood pumping from physical exercise to override jittery anxiety and get you set for doing.

So, yeah. If you’re feeling bad, don’t panic. It won’t last forever. Nothing ever does. Ride it through the best you can, be gentle with yourself. Tomorrow is another day.

The Field

Less than a week ago I was on the verge of giving up on gardening. Let me put this in perspective for you. My ‘garden’ is actually a 1,700m2 ex cow field. Having moved from a city where I had a postage stamp sized back yard to the rolling countryside of northern Spain nearly 8 years ago I decided I wasn’t going to do things by halves. This was my first mistake.

My second, and biggest, mistake was really a corollary of the first. Continuing with the theme of biting off more than I can chew not doing things by halves, that first Spring I got a local farmer in to plough pretty much all of the field so that I could plant vegetables. Of course, I didn’t plant it to capacity. And I certainly didn’t weed it enough. Turned out all I did was create a wonderful space for weeds to invade. Bye bye meadow, hello brambles and thistles. Schoolgirl error.

So, I had taken a large and difficult project and in one fell swoop had multiplied the difficulty level by a factor of 5. And then I got depressed about it and decided to ignore it. You can probably guess how that worked out.

Intermittently over the last few years I have wrestled with my field, trying to tame it into some semblance of cultivation. Over the course of that time I’ve also had a few fairly valid excuses for not getting much done out there – the best part of a year spent with my right arm in a cast, a pregnancy, followed by a small, demanding child. There never seems to have been enough time to really devote to it.

Now my son is 4 and I feel this should be the time. It’s been in my mind that this would be the year when it would all come together. Then last month winter kicked in surprisingly early and viciously. It rained and raged for a full fortnight. I locked myself indoors and sulkily glowered at my sodden field, taunting all my inadequacies through its very visible existence.

I got to the point where I decided that the best course of action (in order to save my sanity) would be to just admit defeat. Focus my efforts elsewhere, on projects that I am better suited to. Work, writing, climbing. Forget the sodding field.

Just as I was right there, on the point of giving up, the sun came out. The sky turned blue and stayed that way. The ‘garden’ beckoned again. Right. I decided that I would focus on one small part of it. The flower borders around the small lawn to the top of the field. I wouldn’t even look at the rest. I was not taking on the challenge of the whole field again. I had already accepted defeat.

So it was that with lowly ambitions I took my son to hang out in (a small portion of) the field. We pottered around in the sunshine and I slowly began to remember how much I actually enjoy it. This being outdoors, this digging in the earth, this clearing of weeds to reveal neglected fruits and flowers.

After a few hours my back is aching but my heart is lightened. I take a moment to lean on my hoe and I dare to raise my eyes from the flower bed beneath my nose to take in the wider vista of the field. It looks different somehow. I can see how I might break it down into manageable chunks of work. Now I can see how much I can achieve in just a few hours of steady, solid labour concentrated on one small section my brain is calculating possibilities differently.

That was 5 days ago. The weather has held fair and we have spent all day every day of a 4 day weekend in the garden. My son has helped me with planting and taking cuttings and run around happily with his friend from next door. At night he has collapsed into bed and fallen asleep in seconds. I have enjoyed watching him reveling in nature and playing happily in the outdoors. This in itself would be enough. Add to it that I have continued to chip away at the gargantuan gardening task that lies before me and I am almost in nirvana.

Yet again I realize that the darkest point is right before the dawn. Being on the verge of giving up can force you to re-evaluate your perspective and re-draw your goals. Great joy can follow from near despair.

Breaking the Deadlock

We’ve all been there. Stuck. Wheels spinning. Mind full of ideas and plans that never get past the thinking stage. To do lists that only get longer.

Right now I have a backlog of blog posts accumulating in my head and in my drafts folder that threatens to engulf me. Yet somehow I can’t quite get around to finishing any one of them and pressing publish.

I have a ton of jobs to do – personal, professional and parental – and I can’t seem to pick any one to get started on. So instead I try and start several, all at once and fail to complete any successfully.

The answer: pick one thing and do it. Be it ever so small or ever so insignificant. Do one thing and see it through to completion. The subsequent buzz of gratification will carry you through the next thing. Then slowly but surely the tide will turn and the to do list will decrease.

Oh, and also. Turn off Facebook, Twitter and all other net-based distractions while you’re doing it.

Simples. *Presses publish*

Back to Blogging

I haven’t blogged on here in a while. Life’s been busy, I’ve been away some and my internet connection has been on the blink. A bad combination for the would-be blogger. But enough excuses. Time to get on.
I’ve been feeling a little stuck lately. Lots of plans, projects, ideas and dreams revolving in my head but what I lack is the energy, momentum and application to convert them into reality. The step-by-step eludes me.
Ordinarily I would use exercise and movement as a great tool for freeing up my stuck mental energy and getting me going again but I have been suffering with a cough for the last number of weeks and the smallest bit of exercise makes me feel breathless and rubbish, so that fall-back trick is out of action.
But I need to do something to give me a push forwards and stop me spinning my wheels. For that I am going to choose blogging. I’m going to use this little space of mine to splurge out some stuff of a morning and leave the way clear for getting on and doing.
At least that’s the plan. Join me and see if it works out.
What about you? Do you have any tips for getting motivated and moving? How do you ensure that your dreams are delivered out of your head and into reality? Any hints and tips gratefully received!

Self-Actualized?

It’s been a while. You could be forgiven for imagining that perhaps I had self-actualized and ascended on to some higher plane in a flurry of new year resolution fever. Sadly this is not the case. I’m still here, with the same old feet of clay.

Having said that, January 2013 has been a good month. A positive start to the year. My one simple resolution has been serving me well. Despite my sneaking suspicion that perhaps my deliberately singular and undeniably vague resolution might just be a clever avoidance tactic on my part, it has in fact worked very well.

Despite making no specific resolutions regarding the old faithfuls of exercise, diet and alcohol consumption, I have been behaving impeccably in all of these arenas. Well, I say impeccably. What I mean is pretty good. Certainly better than usual. Which is good enough for me.

Exercise-wise I have been rock climbing regularly, at least 3 times a week and, best of all, thoroughly enjoying it. My head has been in a good place, in terms of both putting effort in training and enjoying the actual climbing – not letting my head get in the way, being scared or psyching myself out. Result.

I’ve also started running regularly, 2 to 3 times a week. Not particularly far but far enough and hilly enough to feel it. I’ve buddied up with a friend of mine who lives near by and who until recently was more of an acquaintance than a friend, if I’m honest. It’s nice to spend some time and develop a closer bond. Friendships are always a good thing. As is fitness. My energy levels certainly feel the benefit, as does my mood. I am now more keenly aware than ever of how grumpy and ‘stuck’ I feel if I don’t at least get some exercise every day.

Diet-wise there has not been much change. I have a fairly healthy diet anyway – mostly home-cooked meals at regular times, with lots of fruit and vegetables and a good fluid intake. I toyed with the idea of intermittent fasting (the latest thing in dieting) – it appeals because of the health benefits attributed rather than weight loss per se. But in the end I decided against it as I really don’t need to lose any weight and, given that, I believe it could be psychologically unhealthy to embark on a diet and to start to potentially obsess over food.

Funnily enough, I have actually gained a kilo or two since New Year’s, which is unusual for me. I am normally very constant in my weight. This is going to sound like self-delusion but I am actually pretty convinced that it’s through muscle gain. I have been training more than ever and focusing on power in climbing and very much on my core. I even thought for a fleeting moment that I might have caught sight of the very beginnings of a six-pack but then it disappeared into the mists like a deer startled in the woods.

While I made no plans to give up alcohol in January, my consumption of it has definitely decreased. Training and being more active is a great incentive to drink less. Exercising with the dregs of last night’s alcohol in your system is never going to get you the best results. Equally hooking up with friends to train in the evening leaves less time for boozing.

So, yes. All good. Still room for improvement, obviously, but wouldn’t life be boring if it were otherwise?

Continental Drift

I was so excited about today that I almost couldn’t sleep last night. I lay awake visualizing exactly how my day of climbing with friends would be and how I would achieve incredible feats. I lived and breathed the routes that I would climb, right up to and including a successful final clip. I felt sure that this positive visualization coupled with my new taoist approach would help me to stay calm and focused when on the rock. I felt sure that today would be the day when I would tick some long outstanding projects.

I woke to a poorly toddler. I wasn’t going anywhere and no projects would be ticked. The perfect crisp, sunny winter’s day only served to mock me. Gutted.

Still, applying my simple question-for-any-event methodology I knew that cancelling my day out was the right thing to do. The only thing that felt right to me. There will be other days for climbing. Today was a day for staying indoors with my son.

I then turned my hopes to my to-do list. If I could bring forward tomorrow’s tasks to today then the day would not have been a total write-off. I could get ahead of myself (for once.) At least that’s what I hoped for the first half hour or so. It soon became apparent that three days into my new year regime my behaviour has not been so radically transformed as to see me cheating the devil that dogs my footsteps and that goes by the name of procrastination.

I fear that my pace of change is akin to the pace at which tectonic plates move. I am drifting into positive behaviours at the speed that continents drift into each other. So not fast then. But at least I’m moving in the right direction.