Caroline Myss will help you discover who you were born to be.
From Forbes Magazine-- short article for figuring out what you want to be when you grow up regardless of what age you are now.
If you thought no one was doing good, think again.
Worth hearing if you haven't and worth remembering if you forgot.
The sounds of nature from around the world.
September was resilience month. More information on how to help your child be and become more resilient, especially in a learning situation. Good information for adults who want to reteach their inner child.
"People who are resilient draw on strengths in themselves, their relationships, and their communities to help them overcome adversity. Resilient people often find meaning even in times of trouble and gain confidence from overcoming adversity. In this way, resilience can contribute to a deeply satisfying life."
Powerful Ideas, Practical Actions. An entire magazine devoted to spreading good news every month.
A community of people who give a damn.
Alternative television with an explicitly positve message.
October 9, 2013
Communities for Resilience Toolkit
There are some days that I just don't want to do it. I can't think of running, walking, biking, lifting weights and Jillian is a little too enthusiastic and needs to just calm down. I hate to admit it, but too many times I cave and don't follow through. The older I get, the easier it is to talk myself into "resting" just this one day. Unfortunately, the older I get, the more important it is to exercise at least every other day and to do something physical every day. That usually isn't difficult because of gardening. Still, the days can add up. That's when I know I need a little encouragement. Some people have these great support systems, people who call them to go exercise or drop by their houses and force them out. I've never had that. I think people might be a little intimidated by my frown at any attempt to get me to do something I'm not willing to do. That means I have to depend on myself. I have to encourage myself. Not always easy so I've come up with ways that help me help myself. Music is mandatory. Pull together a song list that rocks. Sleep is a necessity. No one feels like working out when they're tired. Low & no sugar are better choices. The ups and downs of sugar make it more difficult. Finally, mantras that pull strength from the bottom of your feet right to the top of your head. To get me up-- just do it. To keep me going with weights-- pain is fear leaving your body. To keep me going in miles-- one more step is going to get me there. One step. One step. One step.
Since I taught for over 20 years, I understand how difficult it can be to learn something new as you get older. It seems like the brain just has too many places already filled and there isn't room for more. That's almost correct. Actually, the brain has all these connections and it takes a little longer to get something connected that may not have any place yet. The brain has no limit and I fully believe this. When something is difficult to learn or understand, I know from personal experience and from teaching that it means I need to break it down into smaller, simpler steps and/or bites of knowledge. I've recently been reading everything I could get my hands on about climate change and chemical sensitivity. Most of the material is written by experts and while they may think they are making it easy to understand, I know they are wrapped up in their own jargon. This isn't a criticism of scientists or medical doctors, climatologists or even journalists. This just is and quite honestly, it isn't their responsibility to make it easy for me to understand. It's my responsibility to figure out how to take what they've said, look up what I don't understand, find a source to break it down, and keep drilling down, drilling down, drilling down until I get it and connect it and can use it. There are some things I'm just not interested in remembering-- charts and graphs for example. There are things that are vitally important-- the co2 level and what it means, the impact it will have on my life and my grandchildren. So, I make it my job to get the information, to keep looking until I find someone who can explain it to me simply, clearly, and in laymen's words. Then I can use it. And it's easy to give up, pretend it doesn't matter, go watch television. That's easy and I'm not one to back down from a fight that's worth fighting. So my mantras for learning something new? If I don't do it, who will? No one is coming so it's up to you to know how to do this. Slow down, take breath, try again, break it down. You can understand this so find another resource. Too many people think scientific data and anything a little complicated is just too hard for them. Today, that's an excuse that is inexcusable. I saw people waiting on bridges after Hurricane Katrina. I learned that day that no one is coming and I better understand what's happening so I can be prepared.
Strength is the key to doing all the things I have to do around the house and garden. Lifting, toting, carrying, pushing, pulling, bending, and walking, running, jumping-- yes, jumping like away from snakes and wasps or off porches and over fences. Strength-training only takes about 30 minutes per day, but I'm thankful I took that time. Cardio for my heart. Stretching so I can move as I age. Everything else is extra. Diet goes along in taking care of myself physically, but I'm more concerned with nutrition than eating less, and that would come under food. Do I exercise every day? Nope. Do I exercise every day in my head? Yep. Unfortunately, it only counts when I do it for real. I try to stay within a few pounds of 135, but sometimes I go over and rarely do I come under. What no one talks about is how chemicals in the air and what you eat can make you gain weight. Even some medications will cause you to fluff up. Been there. Have the oversized t-shirts to prove it. Doesn't matter. Just do it. Move. Regardless of your body weight, strength will make all the difference in the world in the quality of your life. Currently I'm doing the Jillian Michael's DVD's. It's working for me-- I can find 30 minutes in a day. The results are worth it.
Well, I'm about to step in it now. Spiritual well-being is different for everyone. For me, it is not about how I connect to the Divine, but that I make an effort to connect every day. I start where I am: tired, grumpy, joyous, calm. I stretch to open my heart. I seek to find what's true for me that day. I was raised in a Christian fundamentalist denomination, which means there was a lot of fear & shame. After studying different religions and my own for umpteen jillion years and then doing my doctoral dissertation on my childhood denomination, I can safely say that if your religion is focused on fear, shame, and creating feelings that make you feel badly about yourself or others, then you're going to have a very difficult time connecting to the Divine or even wanting to. A good rule of thumb for whether something is going to promote your spiritual wellbeing is if you feel lighter, better, happier, holier, awakened, clear headed and inclusive. Behaviors I can definitely say bring about these feelings are honesty, transparency, truthfulness, forgiveness, unconditional love, honor, integrity, justice. These behaviors create self-esteem, self-respect, and self-dignity. If someone tries to take those away from you, run. Run far. Run fast. Don't look back. Confusion, shame, blame, secrets, emotional pain are not part of connecting with the Divine. They just aren't. Step out of the shadow of fear and shame. Connecting to the Divine ensures your overall wellbeing. I keep anything by Melody Beattie handy for when I need help remembering this. She's more than current. She's on-going.
Each day I try to do a little learning check. Are you learning things? Are you curious? Are you listening to news sources & getting angry or anxious? Are you thinking-- for yourself? Do you look at as many sides of an issue as you can? Do you care that there is another side and sometimes 45 to any particular problem? I'm old. I get set in my ways. I think the fire drill we learned in elementary school is a good strategy for mental well-being: stop, drop, and roll. Stop thinking in the negative & like everyone else around me. Drop the pretense that I know all there is to know and no one else knows anything. Roll with it. Look for the truth, not just something to support my opinion. Recently, I read an article that blew my opinion of a certain politician right out of the water. Now that may not be surprising to some who believe all politicians are evil, but I tend to think there is good in everyone & there are politicians who are trying to do good for others. That aside, I had to stop thinking of this person in the same way. I had to drop my previous assessment and rework how I thought about him considering my strong values for pure food and a pure earth. I'm rolling with it. Time to find another person to support. Currently, I'm facing the challenge of truth and the seduction of deceit. It sucks sometimes, but it keeps me seeing things with fresh eyes. And hopeful. Dark Optimism is a good start and one of my current support sites.
Emotional strength isn't the key to doing all the things I have to do with others. Emotional resilience is. As is probably true with you, there are more times than I can count when I've been called on to lift, tote, carry, push, pull someone who is hurting and was forced by circumstances beyond my control to bend, walk away & to, run against & toward, and jump back, forward, then up & down with joy. That's emotional strength. Coming back to who I am after being called on by others is emotional resilience. I didn't learn that in school. I learned that from watching good role models and when I didn't have good role models, from hard life experience. Sometimes I'm not as resilient as I would like. I've discovered late in life that there are strategies for becoming and being emotionally resilient. I'm not ever going to suggest it is strength because that translates into unbreakable. Believe me, sometimes I break and when I do it can be a good thing. It's in the cracks that the light shines through my hard hearted places. Resilience is learning how to repair when I crack too widely open. The foundation of resilience is forgiveness. Ouch. Start there. Currently, I'm reading Brene' Brown's Daring Greatly, which is all about becoming resilient.
It's probably more important to encourage yourself emotionally than physically although for me, they go hand in hand. I find that I'm emotionally stronger and more resilient when I've been working out, especially if I've been able to be outside. The difficulty is when I feel "emotional" about something, I'm usually not in the mood for encouragement either from myself or others. To keep from having too many of those moments, I've started filling my well every morning. I get up and have my quiet time, my little devotional/meditation and I spend time encouraging myself. My kids will tell you that I'm the original "suck it up" Mama. When they would come in and tell me something wasn't fair, my response was, "Well, no one said life was going to be fair. Suck it up." Not your most nurturing, but it was pretty much what I told myself and still do. There's a lot of pity partying going on and I've been known not only to go to them, but hold them for days and years. Now I realize what a waste of time it was. When I first hear that little whimper, I stop it-- shush shush shush. Then ask myself exactly, precisely what's going on. More often than not, I'm just opening the party favors for the pity. Before it ever gets started, I close the door. Then I open my (you guessed it) favorite mantras and/or my favorite go-to books and quotes. I keep well-stocked on those so Little Miss Pity doesn't even get a toe in. My favorites are really simple, but effective: I can do this. I am worthy. I am valuable. I am strong. I am enough. I also visualize myself being strong and victorious, kind of like Rocky at the top of the stairs doing the little victory hop. It sounds too simple to work, but giving yourself encouragement every day really does make life easier to handle and the day go much, much better.