A Mental “Feel Better”

When you’re having a hard time in life, boy does it fucking suck.

It did for me anyways. Big time.

I was looking at unemployment, residential displacement, feeling lonely, and ridiculous amounts of internal conflict over external bullshit. The gears in my mind, lubricated in anxiety, were continuously winding and that’s never any help. I am a thinker, it’s what I do. My overthinking at times is beneficial but most times it hinders my journey towards a more peaceful state of mind. During a depressed phase, over thinking can easily creep in and before you know it you’re caught up in a web of misery and the less you talk about it the greater that misery becomes. You drown in these dark feelings and for just a split second, if you allow it to happen, you give into the drowning, letting yourself sink just a little bit. That was me. For a split second, or more like an entire morning, I allowed myself to sink. I felt myself exhausted and quickly began to question even my very existence.

For may people, reaching this moment is almost like washing up onto the shores of the island of No Return. They lose hope and cling onto the sadness for so long that they only feel comfortable there. But that is only because most people do not know of the tools life has supplied us with in order to survive periods such as these. I am one of the fortunate few to have learned of these internal tools that we were given. I am one of the few who believes in these tools and that is the difference between some of those people and myself.

So how did I snap out of this depression that I was experiencing? I didn’t. One doesn’t just “snap” out of these emotions. You don’t just snap your fingers and wala you’re out of the darkness, nor is it a like a light switch you can just flick on and off. No. It’s a process and for everyone it is a slightly different one considering we are all so unique. Our healing process should be customized to our individual needs as well as to every given situation.

On this particular day my process began with a little rage cleaning. It was early in the morning when I woke up to feces all over my living room floor. My dog had apparently gotten a horrible case of diarrhea during the night and had shitted all over the place. I found the smears within minuets of me waking up and it quickly sent me into a tizzy. I frantically began cleaning like a mad woman (I was a mad woman) swearing under my breath as if releasing the “f” bomb was somehow helping me scrub just that much harder. Before I knew it, the living room, the dining room, and kitchen were pristine and once I was satisfied off I went for a deep cleaning of my own.

My shower is my safe haven. I imagine the water rinsing away my worries even though deep inside I know that it’ll only be for the time being. The steam relaxes my tense muscles and I float away..

It’s only once I’m finished and in the mirror getting ready that I begin to remember all my troubles and at this point is when I actually let myself fall away into the depths of my despair. I wail like a child, sobbing from the center of my soul, cries pouring out of me and invading the silent air. Within my normal life, I hardly ever cry, so as I do now, I stare at myself in the mirror. I stare fiercely into my water eyes. I allow to see myself like this. I allow myself to feel all the emotions that run through me, vibrant and strong like an electrical current and shocking my senses. I’m  allowing myself to feel everything that I had been clearly feeling for quite some time but was always trying to hide.

Instinctively I turn and reach for a notebook and begin writing. I do what is called a “Brain Dump” and write everything that comes to mind. Whether it made sense or not in the notebook it went. All my feelings, thoughts, concerns, everything was written down in the pages of my journal, some of it gibberish, most of it not. I purged everything that I was feeling and by the end of it, five pages later to be exact, my soul was feeling lighter. I wanted to keep this going. I wanted (needed) this mental feel better and so taking advantage of the fact that I was home alone I decided to then get myself into total zen mode.

I lay out my yoga mat strategically in front of my bedroom window so I get some of that natural sunlight hitting my skin. The only electronic device that is powered at this moment is my phone which plays nature meditation music, specifically downloaded for moments such as these. I sit Indian style, facing the sun, eyes closed, and focus deeply on my breathing. I sit there like this for whats seems several mins and then slowly begin to stretch my body. Section by section I stretch and while doing so, I speak to each body part, showing love and gratitude. I connect with this vessel my soul is encapsulated in and not only thank it, but also reiterate to it how it is enough. I begin my affirmations and soon all negative thoughts that once thrived, circling around in my mind, dispersed. They became nothing. In its place stood me and all the good that I had temporarily forgotten.

“I am healthy. I am loved. I am in love with everything around me. Money flows freely into my life which helps promote spiritual growth. I am happy. I radiate positivity. I am enough. I am exactly where I need to be. The universe is conspiring in my favor.”

I recite these and more within in my mind letting it penetrate every cell within my body and it does. I begin to feel strong once again. I begin to feel empowered. Before I knew it I was running on a natural high. No, all of my problems hadn’t just disappeared, but I had the strength and the courage to face them without any self doubt. I had replenished my internal oil lamp and it was radiating so much light, no darkness could invade. Suddenly, there was no problem without a solution.

After my mini mental break down and rebuild, it took me a couple days to really feel 100% me again. I made sure to get good sleep and to actually eat at least somewhat healthier. I also spent a lot of time listening to motivational videos and webinars whenever I could. I would play them as I did my cleaning around the house or as I went for my runs. I’d let them play as background noise, trying to soak it as much as I could and it worked.

To many, this all may seem like a lot of hippy hoopla  but in actuality it takes work to be happy and if happy is what we want to be then effort is what we have to put in. To really feel the pain that you’re going through builds your inner strength. It gives what you’re feeling a voice and it helps you to move on. Merely hiding your issues may get you over it for a second but doesn’t allow for you to get through it permanently. Addressing your inner dialogue is highly important as well. It is true when they say, “You become what you think.” Our minds hold much more power than most of us know and it is imperative to our well being to keep our thoughts positive and motivating. We can be our own worst enemy and it begins with our minds so be mindful of your inner dialogue with yourself and stop being so darn hard on yourself! Meditation can help with this. Silencing your mind for just a couple mins a day can help tremendously and allows for you to regain control of your mind when it does begin to wander off into darker territories.

As I previously stated, everyone is uniquely different and so the process of getting back to feeling like oneself after a moment of gloom will be equally as different. I know that this time, this is what worked for me. In sharing this, I hope to help others who are maybe having a rough day find a way to replenish their internal oil lamp and stop them from being overcome by the darkness that threatens their happiness. Whether it’s meditation, writing, dancing around your apartment like a goober, whatever the method may be, find what works for you. Life is too short to be stranded on the island of No Return for any given amount of time, and remember happiness is a choice.

12543250_162001907501486_48331828_n (2)

Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

Directionless

There was a time where I had this amazing blueprint of how my life would go.

I would move away from home, go to college, and finish with a degree in Forensic Psychology. I wanted to be Clarice from Silence of the Lambs. During this time that I would be making something out of myself, I would casually meet the man of my dreams. We would fall madly in love with one another, get married, and start a life together. Sprinkle a little travel time on top of that and there was my perfect life… and this was all to be done before the age of 26.

This is when I had some direction in life and somewhere along the road I veered off the beaten path I had cleared off for myself. I one day realized that this direction I was headed in was not a true blue print of what I wanted my own life to be. It was starting to seem more like the life that I knew society and its norms needed me to be. I slowly became aware that this was going to be a life that was chosen for me simply because I felt like it was what I had to do to please the world.

I’m not more than halfway through my first year of being in my 30’s. I have no kids, no husband, and never graduated from college. I haven’t decided to settle yet when it comes to the family life. I refuse to settle down with just anyone in order  to please everyone else. After deciding that forensic psychology, although very interesting, would just in the long run ruin my cheery personality, I quit what I was studying, walking away from an institution that I felt no longer was serving me. Removing the goal from the sacrifice and what are you left with? Nothing other than a lot of sacrificing. Not knowing what I truly wanted to do when it came to furthering my education I decided against finishing the last two years I had left to go. I felt that it was pointless to add to a debt for a mere sheet of paper that would do me no good unless it would have been put to use, and it wouldn’t have been.

So here I am, no kids to keep me busy. No husband to keep me grounded. No career to keep me focused. Do I fear where I am in life? Not one bit. The way I see it, the world is my oyster and at this point in time anything is truly possible. I compare my state of being now to what I was back then when I had some direction and the difference is night and day. The stress level is low and happiness is abundant. I am hardly every cranky anymore, and even though I may question more where I may be in three years, it is not a question that scares me, instead it fills me with excitement.

I am happy to be living, and even though life may not be going according to plan, I am totally alright with that. For me, happiness, much like the wind, flows freely into my life, directionless.

Tough Times Are Bridges

People will always let you down. So will places and things. This is exactly why the sooner we realize to not expect anything different, the sooner we can live in extended periods of bliss no matter  what surprises are thrown our way.

As a kid I obviously did not know this key fact to life. Which is exactly why I love getting older because if you’re smart and you learn from life and its lessons, you begin to realize how much power you truly do hold when it comes to handling situations that are out of your control. The power isn’t controlling external situations. By doing that you’re setting yourself up for dooming failure. The power lies in controlling internal ones. So as I grow older I find that it isn’t so  much trying to grab reins of the outside world but more grabbing the reins of my inner self.  I’m learning to focus on the things I can control such as what I choose to focus my thoughts and actions on. I focus on my inner dialogue as well as I try to always keep tabs on how I feel. My instinct is my greatest tool and as I continue to live my life and tune into it more, I feel that it has become so strong that it has become a different sort of power within itself.

For the majority of the time I am a positive and a happy person, even when life hasn’t been so easy. It’s not that I’m being fake but it’s more that I don’t care to give into the emotions of sadness, rage, anger, depression, ect. I could feel it of course for a second…maybe a few minuets or a couple hours depending on the situation, but you will not see me dwell. I move on. I feel that there is no problem that couldn’t be overcome so quickly I try to find solutions. Even a serious illness has a solution. You may not like it but death is nature’s way of solving. Very emo of me to say I know, but hey, unless you are one to believe that when we die our energy just poof! collapses and turns to nothing, death isn’t such a bad solution, am I right? (I’m not talking suicide! Don’t get these thoughts twisted… Remember I mentioned ‘serious illness’)

Troubles are going to always arise and it is how we handle these problems that really defines us as individuals. No, life isn’t perfect and like I said before, there will always be something disrupting a happy streak. The way to begin to take control of these situations is by first looking at these issues or problems for what they really are, bridges. That’s right, a bridge. You are basically going from one island of happiness to another but in order to get onto that next island of happiness you must first walk the bridge to get there. How quickly you make your way over that bridge is totally up to you. You can take a seat and sulk a bit, dwell on all that you may have left behind on happiness island. Or, you can slowly begin to take one foot and place it in front of the other, making your way off of this wobbly bridge and onto the next happiness island of fun and adventure.

Difficult situations and hurtful emotions are very hard to overcome but human beings are made to be resilient and so we must remember that we are here to live,endure, learn, and there is no way for our souls to live, experience, and evolve without the painful, the hurtful, and the ugly.  The past few days for me have not been the easiest. Actually, scratch that, more like the last couple months, but with that said, I have had beautiful moments in between. Little bits of happiness here and there, sprinkles, like multicolored jimmies on plain vanilla ice cream. Just a little over 24hrs ago a decision was made for me that would indeed affect aspects of my life in ways I didn’t see coming. Although I cannot control these external issues, internally I am dealing. So I have stopped for just a second to take a moment to also breath in some fresh air. Yes, what I may be going through is not easy but I can accept it for what it is and can now wholeheartedly move on without regret. I have begun taking the steps to get over this bridge and I find that it’ll be much sooner than later that I will come upon this new island of happiness. I look forward to that moment. I surrender my thoughts to those of only positivity and happiness. Everything else can just fall away, and as the bridge I walk on sways, I use its momentum to propel me far far away from those feelings that could keep me stuck.

 

Caution To the Wind

I put to rest another small and unhappy part of my life today, for I’ve learned from my previous experiences to not let unhappiness hang around for too long.

Today I decided to quit my part-time job.

I won’t lie, walking away from any sort of commitment, whether big or small, personal or professional, it’s always difficult to do. There are always pros and cons, of course. Most times if you’re at the point in which you are weighing out the negatives and the positives of your given situation, the cons will outweigh the pros. But, if you’re anything like me, once you commit, it’s too hard to quit no matter how difficult the situation may be.

Growing up my momma made sure to raise no fool. She instilled in us kids the values and principals of working hard and sticking to what you start, no matter the sacrifice and dedication it took. As kids, there was no such thing as “sick days” unless one was contaminated with something extremely contagious such as the chicken pox. We didn’t take days off of school without an important reason, and once I got older there was no such thing as “calling out” of work either. Think of it like this, in the 30 plus years that my mother has been employed at the casino, she has only called out of work four times, and it was due to snow. You can just imagine the work ethic my mother has and in turn has passed onto us. This is why in today’s time, if I find myself committing to something, be it a job, or project, anything really, I am committed. I am your loyal little work bee until something or someone prevents me from happily doing so.

The key word there was “happily”. I am a HUGE follower of happiness. I believe that happiness is a choice. You either choose to be happy or you choose to not be happy. I believe that while we’re here experiencing this life we chose, we either decide to make this a heaven on Earth, or Hell. Much of what helps us make our decision as to which way we live has to do with listening to ourselves and allowing intuition to direct us. I mean we have feelings for a reason. Feelings help guide us throughout life, and although people listen to some feelings, they don’t seem to consider all feelings. For instance fear is one feeling people tend to not only consider but over indulge in. Yes, fear allows us to avoid many dangerous situations, but at times it also limits people’s ability to experience things outside of their comfort zone.

A follower of happiness cannot simultaneously over indulge in the feelings of fear.  Yes, a follower of happiness can experience fear, but there is no overindulgence because to follow happiness, many times (most times) you must throw caution to the wind and not allow for fear to govern decision making. Happiness is a feeling that not many people take into consideration. Are you happy at work? Do you feel happy in your romantic relationship? Does your friendship bring you happiness? If not, are you willing to go on that pursuit of happiness no matter what it takes, or will you let fear take reign of your life? Many will read this and counter that one cannot be happy in all aspects of life. Those people are Debbie Downers. You CAN be happy in all areas of your life. People do it everyday. It’s a small percentage but there are those individuals that are truly happy in all aspects of their life. You just have to choose to be happy. Sure, it takes time, but if you’ve got the drive and determination, just like with anything else in life, you too can achieve all around happiness.

There is no need for me to say that my part time job wasn’t making me happy. It was no secret. I honestly couldn’t have been more vocal about it, and although I wasn’t there for long, I still feel annoyed with myself that I ended up staying there for as long as I did. There were many days full of anguish and unease that could have been avoided if only I would have left sooner. Yet, I can’t dwell on the past. Or I could, but for what reason? To extend that negative feeling?? Instead I’ll applaud myself for leaving the unhappy situation sooner than I have previously done in the past, merely because I let fear rule over my feeling of intuition.

“You need us as much as we may need you.” My ex-boss said to me as we spoke about our issues. Anyone who is an employee knows these are words that draw a line in the sand. So I either choose to believe that what he spoke is true and stay in a situation that brings me no joy. A situation that I’m in only because I don’t want to let others down. OR  I choose to cross that line and step out and over into the unknown. Where the door to comfort and familiarity closes and the window to new and endless opportunities await.

I chose to cross the line. The minuet I did I felt the greatest weight being lifted off my shoulders and in that instant I knew I did the right thing. Maybe not the right thing in the eyes of others, but for me it was the right decision. Now I’ve got an array of avenues to pursue. I can go this way or that way, while nothing negative is holding me back. In this NOW moment I can say that I am truly happy in all areas of my life and I plan to keep it this way. Yes, there will come a time (many more times) where a feeling of sadness or unrest will try to creep back in, but as a follower of happiness I am committed to myself to always do what makes my soul smile. I choose to pursue that which makes me radiate joy, positivity, and love so I not only continuously live in harmony with the Universe, but so that I can also serve as an example that one can truly achieve and live in overall happiness if one chooses to.

1478541108003 (2)

To The Myself of The Past

I look back on the last ten years of my life and it amazes me how much I have changed. When I turned 20 I felt like I had been through enough to know so much about life. Maybe compared to others my age I did. I felt like an adult and believed I had known all I needed to know in order to be a productive member of society. I worked very hard, 5-6 days a week between two jobs, and eventually had enrolled in school. I knew how to save and budget my money and did so successfully. I kept up with the bills, paying them all early, never skipping a payment. I made sure I stayed on top of everything, micromanaging every aspect of my life to the point that I had begun to try to micromanage everything and everyone at work. I wanted to always make sure I went above and beyond my responsibilities. I wanted to make sure I always said and did the right thing, even if that meant sacrificing my own happiness. Reading my journals from back then, I relive the stress and the unhappiness I was living day to day. There was always something to be done. There was always someone to please. I read and relive the frustrations and as I do I come to a realization. Back then I used to blame the world. I would get angry and upset if someone didn’t acknowledge the hard work I had put into something or if the sacrifices I was making was being over looked. I blamed the world for being so hard on me and not giving me the easy life that I felt so many others had. The funny thing was, most of my hardships and frustrations were purely self inflicted. I would take upon all these responsibilities, I would go above and beyond, and instead of doing all of that because it was something I wanted to do for myself, I was doing it because I wanted to shine in other people’s eyes. I was looking for that reassurance. I was seeking that approval. I was getting mad at everyone else for not being proud of me, for not appreciating the things  I was doing, when all along I should have been my own biggest cheerleader. I should have been proud of myself.

Today I am way more relaxed. Sometimes I giggle because I believe my mom thinks I may be feeling a little too relaxed, haha. Living life is now much more important to me than spending my time micromanaging it. I began going with the Universal flow of life and haven’t stopped since. This new plan of not really having a plan has been truly working for me. I know it because I’m actually happy. Sure, I took a break from school. Once I started to think differently, things within me changed, and what I was once so set on doing with the rest of my life is no longer something I want to pursue, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one. Sure, I may not have a lot of money like I once did. Yet, it isn’t something that I’m upset about. Money comes and it’ll go. I still get to do many of the things I want to do and the things I haven’t been able to do are just things I look forward to one day doing. That one will come. I breath easier. I laugh louder. I enjoy the days of boredom when I have nothing to do. I enjoy the stillness of those quiet times. More often than not I am able to stop and take in all that is around me and give gratitude for it all.

My 20’s was a period of learning. As I slowly creep into my 30’s I will take all that I learned and apply it, while still accepting all that I will learn as I continue to evolve into the woman I will someday become. If I could give the myself of the past some advice, I’d simply tell her this,

“Stop. Take time to look at the vastness of the world around you. Take time for yourself. Learn yourself. Listen to yourself. Feel what it is that makes you happy. Follow that feeling and never let go. Stay true to your good heart, but most importantly stay true to yourself.”

******

 I don’t fear death because of the act of dying. Death is nothing but a rebirth. I fear death because I don’t want to ever stop learning, even if only for a little while. -natal galvan

927201_1483617231863331_1327909495_n