Consider Your Inner Monster

IMG_5059

We are each unwittingly our own rendition of Frankenstein. Maybe not physically, as the lumbering beast created with a multitude of mismatched body parts, but more so on the inside. Right from our tender beginnings, we are tailored into following, and adopting a mad scientists dogma and an Igor’s opinion as a guidebook for our lives. If we could only look in a mirror and see our inner selves we would acknowledge we are looking at scraps of philosophies and pieces of beliefs taken from this body and that body until we are nothing but a collection of others. We are without a doubt, a psychological representation of Frankenstein. The question I ask is, how do we redesign ourselves into a happier Frankenstein?

As Frankensteins, our personal patterns for functioning began from the first moment we were sparked to life. The bright light of the new world overwhelmed us, and we cried or howled aloud. Our first thoughts were tailored by our creators, parents, or caregivers. Then in a dreamlike state our friends, school, social media, co-workers, partners and news clips inserted little slivers and snippets of dogma into our internal structure. These soundbites either strengthened or loosened our stitching that bound our core beliefs. We were oblivious. While we were chained down upon our sleeping racks our subconscious wielded filaments of questionable knowledge like threadzilla. Sharp points ripped in and out of our patchwork of understanding inserting abstract information. Suddenly a thunderbolt cracked and our eyes jerked open. We were shocked to learn a positive change in ourselves could only happen when we were awake. Now we can view our  hodgepodge mess clearly chose the pieces we’d like to stitch into our Frankenstein self and those we’d like to tear out. This is our time. This is when we create our monstrously magnificent destiny— Mwah,ha,ha,ha.

The first giant step in a monster overhaul is to cut the crap and figure out what sort of beast we truly are and how it all transpired. We begin searching our past with microscopic detail. We ruminate on the origin of our fragmented parts and dissect the impact they had on our capabilities. The next step is to examine those parts of ourselves containing warning labels. Do not trundle close to other Frankensteins, they might smell your right elbow that’s starting to go off. Do not tryout for the Catch the Sheep team, you arise from a long line of lumbering creatures and your knees are an unmatched set. Or worse yet you may have been told by your parent, “Frankie, your teacher, Mrs. Lightning Bolt informed me that you’ve been playing with the werewolf pack. Is that true? You must stay with your own kind. They are freakin trouble, they are always ripping out other creatures stitches.” Or maybe you were instructed to shove everyone else out of your way on the trek to the voltage meter so you would be the first to arrive.  Or perhaps you were mistakenly told nobody was going to give you an eyeball, so you’d better damn well snatch one for yourself. Seriously monsters— To become the Frankenstein we want to be we must study the raising up we received.

So, who are we? Maybe we feel weighed down by an inappropriate choice of feet even though they came highly recommended. How about we simply use the instruments we have on hand to exchange them? Easy peasy, it’s called active-thinking my Frankenstein friends. And how are we progressing on a social level? Are we playing well with others, like vampires, werewolves and transfrankensteins? Recognizing that we are not responsible for capturing and fixing anyone else will go a long way in maintaining healthy relationships. Changing the way we operate in life won’t be an evening stroll in the moonlight, expect growing pains. The discomfort might even give new meaning to the phrase, it’s no skin off my back. Because in all truthfullness, transforming might require just that. It’s essential to recognize our built-in tendencies, and for us to triumph adjustments will have to be made. Be prepared to snip out a putrid patch of dogma in one place and sew a new plot in its place. Make no mistake, the whole process will be exhausting, possibly even backbreaking. But let’s face it, our backbones can be the most limiting factor in our ability to move through our current circumstances. Leave the fear to the villagers fellow Frankie— cut and sew baby— cut and sew.

After completing the final nips and tucks of our new design, we need to survey our stitching and check our extremities. Do we feel complete? Have we given Igor, and all the mad scientists in our lives their walking papers? Now allwe need is a few cosmic pointers to keep our heads held high in their proper place, well, besides the bolts of course. There are only a few rules to follow. Number one is — a seam ripper is a tool for our fingers only, don’t overindulge in spirits and loosely hand it off to somebody else for a try. We all know sharing is caring but not in this instance. We need to be our own best mad scientist. Rule number two is that our stitching is quality. We don’t need fancy pants sewing, ours does the same job as everyone else’s— stop comparing. And the third rule is, for the Mother of Pete we must attach a smile on our faces, pull our shoulders back and limber up our joints, nobody wants to meet a dark lumbering presence on the walk of life. Have some confidence, remember we are one of a kind. And if is is screaming like a banshee for confirmation on our successful transformation into a joyful Frankenstein all we need to do is observe how others respond to us. Are they moving towards us with a smile?— Or with a pitchfork?

Have Your Best Christmas Ever

fullsizeoutput_8af

How are your Christmas preparations coming along? Between shopping and social obligations, a satisfying Christmas for the introvert can quickly deflate into a limp nob of disappointment during the orgy of holiday festivities. Let me ask you? Are you beginning to feel like you are fishing a dead pond for the energy to ignore the repetitive casting of Christmas consumerism? Are you one breath away from taking a punch at the next person, or advertisement that aggressively tosses you a sales pitch for yet another item you don’t really need? I’ll tell you what? The whole idea of dealing with the Christmas mobs at the mall only puts me in a festive mood for a brawl. Oh wait, a brawl is for the extrovert. The large box in the corner with flaps still on the top so I can hide in darkness is much more to my liking, toss in a cinnamon tea, and a book with a reading lamp, and I’m jimjam jolly. A word to the wise— If you’re an introvert, support your inner tendencies by shopping on-line.

The Christmas frivolities are a whole different story. Social gatherings with people I hardly know is a dead man walking way to shoot my introverted inclinations into overdrive. Why are there so many social gatherings throughout the holiday season? Can’t we spread them out over the year? Attending gatherings with no curtains to hide behind, and no empty boxes to jump into is a clearcut trail to exceeding my alcohol limit. From then on things are certain to go badly. It generally results in dancing like no one is watching— never pretty. Or it creates an opportunity for a bonding episode with the bosses wife, becoming in my mind at least #besties forever. Both regrettable actions promptly concluded with a bile driving night sleeping on a merry-go-round bed. This year I’m thinking of trying that multipurpose medical shrub with the buds instead of alcohol. What do they call it? Oh yeah, Lucifer’s lettuce, anxiety relief for some, salvation for introverts forced to socialize in large crowds. What do you want for Christmas? A bag of Cheech n Chong weed please and thanks, enough to get me through the holidays including New Years.

Seriously though, why are you celebrating Christmas this year? Are you religious? Or are you like myself and has it become more of a tradition? I know, horrors! I shouldn’t practice Christmas if I am not religious. Right? Wrong, thankfully I live in a free country and I can practice what I like as long as it doesn’t involve keeping anyone captive. Except for my audience— I have a deep dark desire to keep you.

So although I may not put a baby in the manger, I do enthusiastically admit to believing in good will toward mankind, peace on Earth, and condoms for all who need them. I also wish everyone the open heartedness to appreciate both the wondrous people, and not so wondrous people in their lives, because I believe everyone has value. (Sorry Trudeau. I may have given you the impression in the past that I wish you ill, but I don’t I just wish you would attempt another line of work.) I am on my knees hopeful that everyone finds gratitude for our Earth this year. It is the soul reason we have a body; we would not exist without the nutrients and air our Earth provides for our very existence.

This holiday season I wish all of you, the bliss of brisk walks along glistening winter trails, magical snowfalls, and rosy cheeks. I hope you can marvel at the sound of children’s giggles, and are in the vicinity to adore their sparkling eyes of wonder as they sit under the glowing Christmas tree. And may you all, even us introverts, delight in the comfort of companionship, as well as quiet reflective moments to appreciate all we are, and all we have been blessed with throughout the year.

Dealing With Depression

September 2009 to March 2010-18

The heaviness is daunting; your body weighs more than it should, even if you’re the size of a twig. The effort to accomplish anything in your day is like wading through chest deep water to get it done. You pretend to be fine but your emotions range from sad to numb. Hope is far from your heart, you think it is a magical feeling at the end of someone else’s rainbow. You wonder why you can’t rise up out of this dark funk. There must be something seriously wrong with you. Some fatal flaw, and if anyone sees it— they will walk away, and you will be even more alone than you already feel.

I’ve been there, on the edge of actually living, in the deep depths of personal anguish. It’s not something easily shared. It can be hidden from everyone who loves you. It’s both frightening and amazing that even as you toy with the idea of ending it all— no one knows.

Addiction and mental illness runs strongly through my bloodlines on both sides. So I am a well-bred pony for running the distance with alcoholism, depression, and bi-polar. I experienced depression on and off in my life. Thankfully I am well now and throughout my years of struggle with this very private affliction I discovered essential practices that hastened my healing dramatically.

Step one is to seek professional help. If you are reluctant to do so because you fear the stigma or other reasons, then try the steps I have listed below, they can be effective for mild depression. However, if you commit to the following steps and they do not help please, please, seek professional guidance.

Step two is by far the most important self-help step; this is like making sure you put on a seatbelt before you go on a roller coaster ride. Practice appreciation; find the time to feel reverence for life each and everyday. I understand the walls you have built up inside yourself might not allow the feeling of appreciation to get through at first, so practice on small things. Maybe a dazzling butterfly that landed in your garden? Or the sunlight shining down through the grey clouds? Maybe observe the perfection of the tiny fingernails on a baby’s hand? Or become mesmerized by the soft curved eyelashes on a sleeping toddlers face? The point here, is to try and find love and appreciation for something that opens your heart. If you begin to feel the positive flow of love and appreciation extend it to yourself. Then expand it to include other people, moments, and things. It can be a two-minute practice a few times a day. Or a longer practice once a day. The trick is to get your mind moving out of the negative thought patterns that inundate you when you are depressed. I came across a video on you tube quite a few years ago and if you are having troubles opening your heart to appreciation it may bring aid. You might need a Kleenex box beside you when you watch it, A good day with Brother David Steindl-Rast. (click on A good day and Shazam you’re at the video)

Step three is to withdraw from the news, and any sort of TV shows encouraging judgement of others. When we are depressed all we hear is our own negative judgement on ourselves and on our lives. Hearing judgement of others and seeing it on TV just reinforces our dark side if you will.

Step four is to engage in some type of exercise. Again, I realize this isn’t an easy task because the last thing you feel like doing when you are walking through water chest deep everyday is to exercise. Trust me and do it anyway, maybe go swimming; you’re in the water anyway. It will help. I promise. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. Start slowly— ten minutes a day, five minutes? Whatever? Just do something and then increase the time you do it every few days.

Step five is to buy a herbal cleanse, of course check with your health care provider to ensure it is compatible with anything else you might be taking. They might pooh pooh the whole idea but poop, pooping can be very good for you. Think about it this way, our intestines are like long lines of curved pipes, over our life they accumulate sludge and chemicals from the food we eat. Just like the pipes in the house, depending on what you put in them, the sludge will build up to the point of affecting the septic system. It’s the same with your body. A cleanse will loosen up the sludge and clear it out. The chemicals in the sludge could be contributing to the way you feel. I have one word of caution for you if you begin a cleanse— toilet. Stay close to a toilet during the first few days.

Step six is to watch your diet. I know– now you’re thinking this blog sucks, not only does she want me to exercise, quit watching TV and destroy my bathroom with a ridiculous amounts of pooping, now she wants me to diet! What a bitch! Yes, I can accept that. I actually want you to call me every rotten stinking name you have stored away in your hostile little heart. Get it all out. You can even call me the C word, and I hate that word more than Donald Trump himself. I just want you to feel better. I want you to find that spark inside your heart and tend to it until you have a roaring blaze of life inside you. So back to diet, it’s pretty basic, eat vegetables, fruit, protein, whole grains, healthy oils and fats like avocado oil, olive oil, grape seed oil and butter, limit your sugars, use NON-GMO when possible, and go ahead and cheat occasionally. However, when you cheat be prepared for the addictive nature of sugar, once you have the chocolate bar your going to want more, same with salty snacks. Being forewarned is forearmed against food craving attacks.

Step seven is to limit your contact with people who push you into the spiralling dark hole of hopelessness. If you are in a close relationship with them they will notice your absence. That means you might have to take a couple puffs of a big gagger and give it to them straight. If you can do it without the puffs, all the better, but it doesn’t mean you get to be nasty and accusatory. Just be firm, this is your life. Tell them like it is, you are working on getting well and you need some distance. Anyone who truly cares for you will support your decision.

Step eight is to keep a journal and write whatever you want in it, and then burn the pages when you are done. It is an emotionally purifying exercise where you can vent and then release the emotions by turning them to ash.

Step nine is to meditate, or practice Reiki, or Qui Gong, these practices allow for a positive frame of mind. They all aid in letting go of damaging beliefs. Research each and see which one appeals to you. I practice Reiki myself because I can easily access love and acceptance for myself within the practice. Meditation and Qui Gong are excellent as well, and there are many free practices to be found on YouTube.

Step ten is to unplug from technology period. No social media, no checking status or messages. Who’s more important to your survival? Other people or you? Go for a walk without your phone, listen to music, have an epsom salt bath, whatever, just please, find out how good it feels to unplug. It’ll be difficult at first but I know you can do this. People had no technology for hundreds of years and they were much happier for it. An hour a day away from electronics will not kill you. That’s my mama talking.

So go ahead and kick depressions butt, it doesn’t have to rule your world. You can change your outcome. You can find joy again. The only thing you have control of in this entire world is you. So get hopeful, and practice the steps which make you strong. You’ve got this lovely person.

Swing Through

DSC_7088

Our Gramps made us a tire swing in the heart space between several old trees. The ancient poplars towered over us with white trunks and wrinkled limbs. They were a steadfast audience observing of our joy,  and the leaves applauded our play. These deeply rooted towers of living wood shadowed our eyes from the larger world. They enabled swings of limited height keeping us humble in our own right.

The trees, the swing, and our time within them brought us into the realms of peaceful delight. We held no worries other than the roughness of the rope causing calluses on our fingers and palms, and the odd bruises on our limbs at the occasional tumble to the ground.

It was years ago, and the memory still brings a smile to my lips. I fully appreciate those days with the trees, the swing, and the younger me. In those days of long ago we naturally stayed present in the moment, time had no meaning as we swiftly swung downwards feeling the wind lift the hair from the nape of our necks. We didn’t care what happened around us, our hands were fists around the rope when we hit the top of our swing, and we reveled in the blissful hang time right before we flew back down with our stomach in our throats. Those were the best of times, the times we lived in the moment.

As kids we could never swing the entire day, but those times of swinging stayed with us forever. If you’re older now and feeling overwhelmed, remember the simplicity of the swing, remember the freedom you felt. If you happen to be near a window or outside, look up at the sky, instead of your phone. Take a moment, a second, a minute and appreciate who you are, appreciate where you are. Simply rejoice in the lightness of being.

Mind Your Own Bees Wax

fullsizeoutput_893

Well, let me just say, “I take offense to your offense, and I am super offended because you think I offended you. When really it’s you that offends me because you’ve taken offence to some perceived insult.”

The definition of perceived is to interpret something or someone in a certain way.

If everyone would just mind their own bee’s wax we’d have plenty of bees, and wax, and the world would continue to spin in the appropriate way.

I think we should operate on every single person and take out their offense button, and while we’re at it we should take out the perceived button so they can simply see the facts instead of interpreting people and things a certain way. It’ll make Deputy Dog’s job easier, “Just the fact Ma’am, I only need to know the facts.

I despise feeling offended. I want to be all peace, and love, and Zen. I want to sit in my mellow space with my diffuser spewing out the scent of lemongrass and bergamot. I’d like to keep my, everything will work out fine attitude. It seems I can’t.

I have unwittingly joined the ranks of other Canadians becoming a wee bit hypersensitive these days. Not only have I felt offended, now I’ve become on edge about opening my mouth, I might say the wrong thing. I might behave… God forbid, politically incorrect. Knowing this, I’ve come to believe that sometimes people lie about what they actually believe in order to prevent offending anyone else. This is a tragedy. Pressuring people to think a certain way promotes a bunch of phonies running around not truly supporting anything.

I would rather meet an honest person who displays their true colors with disagreement, than meet the one who is pretending to follow todays latest politically correct agenda. Lets be honest, you can only have an engaging and enlightening discussion with someone if they are offering you an accurate view they have of the world. Arguing different viewpoints doesn’t necessarily mean anybody’s wrong or right. It generally means the truth lies somewhere in the middle. A difference of opinion does not mean one person is bad and the other is good. The gray areas in life are far more profuse than black and white. I’ve taken to adding more gray clothing to my wardrobe in support of that very point.

Truth be known, it’s the politics in the country that really jabs the button on my feeling offended. Every time I look at the news headlines it jolts my Feeling Offended button just like a pre-schooler hitting the crosswalk button a hundred times.

I’ve come to the conclusion I should start wearing a paper bag on my head.

If you saw me, you might ask, “Why are you wearing a paper bag on your head?”

I might shrug brushing the bottom of the bag with my shoulders and answer, “It’s because I’ve taken offense to my own offense. I am so tired of being offended. It’s utterly exhausting.”

“I still don’t understand?” you would ask, “Why would you wear a paper bag on your head just because you’re offended?”

“It’s a corrective action, it stops me from looking around for more things to be offended about.” I said. “It forces me to mind my own bee’s wax.”

You might make a face, “But then you’ll miss all the other wonderful things going on in the world.”

I’d shake my head and the bag might shift slightly, “Not really, I miss them anyways by always searching for things to be offended about. This way, if I mind my own bees wax for a while, I’ll have enough wax to do my own Bikini line.”