Monday, March 31, 2014

V is for Validation (funny how it's also for Victory).

Let's face it and be honest, shall we? We all seek validation. I mean the "LIKE" button and Google's +1 were created based off our desire to be told we are funny, or pretty, or smart, or good enough. Yet, so many of us never seek this validation within ourselves. Why is that?

My life coach, Cheryl, has me practicing Prizing (Prizing is the act of telling yourself something you like about yourself from any age, for any reason. I tried to find a link for you to read up on it but I couldn't) while my acupuncturist/meditation instructor has me complimenting myself over 5 times a day. It sounds egotistical, but when you think about it, what's wrong with telling yourself, "good job" or "how nice of you to let that car in" or "you look good today" when you know it to be true? Why can't we compliment ourselves the way we would another? How have we become our own least fan?

In my past it wasn't that I was picked on or made fun of or put down, because I was; it was that I wasn't complimented (my parents complimented me plenty but that's their job) as often I was the former. I see that now as I go down my spiritual journey and realize that all those mean words and hard times stuck with me. And truth be told, somewhere way back I just started to believe them, and held on to them tightly when things were bad. I used those ugly thoughts to remind me, "see, you aren't good enough." And because I'm Type A, I used those thoughts to fuel me. To compete. I was motivated by hate and by the fact I felt I had something to prove. I guess you could say my daily diet was consisted of diet soda, chips and hate. 

The more I learn about people and their reactions to situations, the more I realize that maybe those people weren't mean because they are flat out mean. Maybe they had their own struggles to deal with and didn't know how. Maybe they were passing on to me what was passed on to them. I can't say for sure. I honestly don't know if I care anymore. What I do know is I can't change what has happened in the past and I forgive them. That doesn't mean I am saying what they did was acceptable, I'm just saying that I no longer am giving those words and actions power over me. (I am however sticking needles in places that seem to hold onto those toxins and man does it hurt to get rid of them. But it's a good hurt—which I never understood until acupuncture, because what exactly is a good hurt?)

So now I sit in front of the mirror in the morning (I have no choice really, my closet doors are mirrors--side note: what's with you LAers and mirrored closet doors anyway? WEIRD) and tell myself one good thing about myself. From the job I did yesterday, to the time I was a kid and wore those orange sneakers no matter how much I got picked on because I loved them; and I compliment myself when I can. Good job for not cursing that horrible driver out (that's a toughie, believe you me), good job on getting up at 5:45 when you aren't getting up for work to go to meditation, and so on. It's kinda nice actually. And to me this is more than validation, this is victory. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

W is for Watch Your Words

Yup, here it is. The post I have been promising to write. The first lesson/lecture/tip I got from my life coach. Watching my words. Both the kind I speak and the ones I use in my thoughts. 

To bring you up to speed, I started seeing a life coach because I felt kinda lost, AND it also kinda presented the opportunity to me. Didn't seek it out, rather, it found me. Which I am learning is how this crazy universe works.

So, Type A me walks in to this first meeting with my life coach with a list of goals I wanted to achieve and the timeline in which I wanted to achieve them. Well, that list no longer exists nor did Cheryl (my life coach) care to see it. Of course, I didn't know then that this whole journey is not about checking off a item on a list and moving on. It's about relearning how to work with what I have AND learning new tools to deal with what I encounter. And one of those new tools is, yup, you guessed it, watching my words.

When I spoke in that first session, a lot of hater-like words came out without me even thinking about it. It was natural. I said things like, "only losers are there" or "sucks the soul out of me." All stinkin thinkin type of words. Cheryl let me go on and on and when I was done she said the first thing she wants me to practice is watching my words. Hmmm, that wasn't on my list. Shit. I'm thrown for a loop. Not only that, but as a creative, my words are very important to what I do. Shit.

She continued to say that the words I use define the way I view a situation and present myself and that the negative ones serve me no purpose. I knew what she meant, and I didn't disagree, but I never realized that what I said or thought really affected me, a situation, others around me...but I was willing to give this challenge a try. I mean, what Type A-er doesn't love a good challenge?

SO...I started to think before I spoke. That took A LOT of practice. And when a negative comment (small or large, innocent or intended) flew out of my mouth, I stopped myself and said out loud, "wait, let me rephrase that." It wasn't easy but over the past few months I have gotten better at it. And it has changed the way I see the world, my day, the people I interact with, and so on. And I think it changes the way people view me AND who I relate to.  

When you change your words, both internally (ie: thoughts) and externally (your conversations) you change your day. There is a saying in the spiritual world (ok, there are a lot, but this one is apropos for this post): The quality of your thoughts (for this blog post purpose, WORDS) determine the quality of your day. And wanna know something? I agree. I've experienced both sides and can say this is so fucking true. Now I think before I speak and it almost comes naturally. Almost. And I make sure I watch what I say, think and feel. I don't hate or moll over my negative thoughts as much anymore; but rather thank them for coming and then think and speak more positively. 

But fret not, just because I am watching my words, doesn't mean I am not who I am when speaking the truth. (Or that I will speak kindly about The Patriots or Red Sox ;) ) I just do it more tactfully. And with better words. But the 4-letter kind are still a part of my vocab. I am me afterall. And sometimes when words escape me, a good "SHIT" really helps. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

M is for Moxa, Mugwort and Meditation. Yes, I said that seriously.

I know, I know. I still owe you (or maybe, myself) a post about my first lesson from my life coach. And I swear I will get to it, but damn, so much good material found it's way to me this weekend, I have no choice but to put it off again until tomorrow. But don't hold me to it. 

Ok, as you can tell by the title, I've clearly crossed the line into Salem Witch territory. Or perhaps a Harry Potter chapter. Here's how it went down...

Saturday. I get up at the ridiculous hour of 5:45am (yes it is silly because IT'S SATURDAY) to get to my morning meditation class (ya know, I have to find out if that's even the right word. Maybe it's session?) by 6:45. We have tea, we chat, we sit. I'm not going to bore you with this in every post but this sets the stage. So after we sit, I leave to get breakfast. I usually stay and eat breakfast with Dr. Kim (yes, my acupuncturist is also my meditation, ummm, leader? instructor?...) when I have an appointment with him, but I needed alone time. I have been dealing internally with my own vulnerability and whether or not to share those feelings with my parents. Why? Because I'm a friggin weeks away from 42 year old woman who feels she should be able to take care of herself and not have to have her mommy or daddy tell her it's going to be ok or that they'll make it better. But I needed to hear it. So I left and went for a bagel (note: bagels in the South Bay are HORRIBLE. Sorry, but they are. I've found a place on the Westside, go there) and called my mom and cried and cried and spilled my fears and exhausted myself. I felt better I told her, but I wasn't all "glad this passed." Because it hadn't.

Anyhoo...It's now 8:57 give or take a few seconds ;) and I have to head to my acupuncture appt. I walk in and I'm sure I looked as blotchy as I felt. So I get in and the first thing that happens is Dr. Kim asks me why I didn't stay for breakfast (BTW, this man is the sweetest person I have met. He opens his home, heart and refrigerator because he truly cares about people) and I said because I had to run an errand. Urg, I hate lying to him. I can tell he saw right through me so I said, "and call my mom." "Ahhhh..." that's all he says. He's crazy intuitive so I had a feeling he knew why. Good, I didn't want to cry again. Twice in one morning was too much. So I get my treatment. Needles in places that needles shouldn't be. Usually afterwards I get Cupping. But not this time. This time I got Moxa. With Mugwort. Yeah, go ahead, laugh, make a face, call it foolery. I did. But hell if I'll do that again (I'm trying hard not to curse f-letter word would have been my first choice). I walked out of there feeling different. Lighter? Happier? Calmer? Yes, yes and yes. 

How it works: the instrument used in Moxa looks like a fat pencil. I assume It's stuffed with herbs and heated (no assumption on the heat, it was H-O-T) and the AA (acupuncturist assit.—not sure if there is a correct title) pretty much looks like he/she is coloring over the spot where you had a needle. And within the time it took him to finish, my mood had lifted. I was shocked how quickly I felt it. SHOCKED. It was like he colored the worry away. Ok, that was a bit hokey. Sorry. 

It didn't hit me when I was there but as I was driving home, it did. Mostly because I was now feeling awake—I mean who is up and functioning at 5:45 ON A SATURDAY? Dr. Kim's secret powers of intuition knew I needed something more than bruises that look like pepperoni on my back (Cupping, pics to come at another time). I needed a shift in my Chi (WHO AM I TALKING LIKE THIS???). And 2 days later, I still feel it. So thank you, Dr. Kim. 

And here is the crazier thing. Because yes, this isn't crazy sounding enough. In my last session with my life coach we talked about clarity. What I really want out of my career, my life, myself, my relationships. I didn't know. Still don't. Trying to figure it out. But what is interesting is while I was getting the treatment, one thing the AA said was that some people find the Mugwort herb to give them some clarity and control. That the native Americans used it to control their dreaming and see things clearer. It sounds like a stretch but trust me when I say there is this weird synchronicity happening between my life coach sessions and my treatments.

Look, for those of you that know me, you know I'm about as cynical and practical a person there is (hi, Type A). I still have a hard time believing I am believing in this (universe, chi, alternative medicine, et al). It's really nutty sounding, I know. I'm shaking my head as I write this but I can't make this stuff up. I just can't. 

So...if you ever want to feel like a character in a Harry Potter book when you tell someone what you did today, or a person caught in some kind of good spell, get off of this blog and try it. Maybe not all of the above because each person has their own path, but what's a little herb here or there?  LEGAL HERBS PEOPLE. Try it, like Mikey, you'll like it, And you can thank me later, with a cup of witches brew.

Friday, March 21, 2014

U is for Unconditionally by Katy Perry AND for uncontrollable tears

I was going to post about one of the first lessons I got from my life coach which is "watch your words" and I will, eventually. However, last night while catching up on "The Voice" (don't judge) and this morning in meditation I had uncontrollable bouts of tears. Not full-on crying, but somewhere between tears and sobbing. (below I might refer to it as crying, just go with me...)

This isn't the first time this has happened and I can't recall each one, but what I CAN recall is the first time it happened. It was in spin class. At like 7:15 a.m (ish). I kid you not. And it was during a sprint-up-a-hill excercise. Yeah, I know, tears of pain, but it wasn't that. The song we were sprinting to was "Unconditionally" by Katy Perry (my spin instructor has the same 16 year-old girl taste in music as me, LOVE IT!). As it's playing the water works are starting to fill up. So...there I was, sprinting up a hill when the tears just started flowing. I wasn't thinking of anything, I was just listening to the song, concentrating on every hurting muscle. I was a bit WTF-ish but it went away so I just filed it under "stuff I don't want to recognize." 

Then, a few days later it happened again. WTFA (A being again...I think you know what WTF stands for)! Not to the song, or to anything pertaining to muscles or Katy but to someone's emotional outburst before meditation class (let me just note here that I wouldn't call it an emotional outburst in a crazy kind of way, because I'd hate you to think we are all looneys—hey, I thought it at one point—it was more a of a heated discussion amongst some peeps before we sat, but for blogging purposes emotional outburst has a bit more flair). 

Now, I'm not so cold that I don't get emotional during my non-PMS weeks but this was a bit ridiculous. Two times in like a week? And to have no rhyme or reason to my recently new stunt was kind of freaking me out. So I asked Dr. Kim. And what he told me was an old Korean saying, "New liquor, new cups." Umm, ok....yeah. So he explained (because my face tells you exactly what I'm thinking and at this point I was thinking I'm giving this guy money to put needles in my face? great.): as I meditate and do acupuncture and yes, work with my life coach, I am becoming more compassionate. More in touch. With feelings, emotions, other people, MYSELF, other (dare I say) energy. Meaning, I am transforming who I am. (buh-bye hater) So with this newer, realer me, comes newer, realer emotions. And tricks, like crying on cue. I kinda liked it (the explanation). And now I embrace it. 

So if you you see me and I look a little blotchy-eyed, it's not the medicinal (no, really, I don't even have a card), its the compassion. So just pass me a tissue.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

H is for Haters. As in, haters gonna hate...

In full disclosure, I was a hater. Or, rather, I'm a recovering hater. So, on top of Type A, or maybe because I'm Type A, I have hating issues to deal with. And I mean HATING. Every thought had me down a negative spiral abyss. Road Rage, the finger, yelling, jealousy, self-disgust, horn honking, mean jokes, sarcastic (albeit funny if you ask me) remarks and so on bled into body and truly altered the quality of my thoughts. I was also surrounded by haters. My ex hated his job, hated LA (yeah, I don't get that either), hated people he didn't agree ex-boss was a hater, too. But the amount of hate he had is it's own blog, let alone post and I just don't want to give him that honor. 

So, back to hating. Haters attract haters. That's why I was dating who I was dating and working for whom I was working for. It also breeds negativity. Throw in the fact that I'm a neurotic NY Jew and what you (or rather, I) ended up with was stomach issues, back issues, sleep issues, dating issues, work issues, posture...see where I am going with this? I had more issues than National Geographic.

But I digress...I am telling you all of this because I feel it's important for you to understand a little bit about where I was coming from. I didn't just go off on some spiritual journey because everyone in SoCal is doing it (and they are). I did it because it kinda fell into my lap and I made a rash decision to try it. 

(Note: I wasn't all hate. I laugh, I go out, I have fun, I challenge myself, I love my dog, but deep inside my core I hated. I feel the need to say this so you don't think I'm some evil, ugly soul with no heart. Ok, that's just me prizing myself...another blog post down the line)

One day, after weeks of PT for my back, a break-up I couldn't get over and a project I couldn't wait to be over, I was in pain. All kinds of pain. Enter 2 people whom now I believe I was supposed to meet. One who referred me to my acupuncturist, Dr. Kim and the other passed along a number of a life coach. Both saw right away how twisted I was. Now, let me just say I am NOT one of those flakey, loosey-goosey Venetians who doesn't believe in Western Medicine. On the contrary. I think the person who invented Vicodin and Motrin are BRILLIANT. But it failed me. And I was at personal rock bottom (no kleenex, I'm not looking for sympathy).

So, my new mentors began their work on me. What was crazy was each one was pretty much saying the same thing to me in different ways (and Dr. Kim's Korean accent added to that for sure). I decided if 2 people were saying these "things" they both can't be wrong. So I started to listen. And did what they said. And now I am a recovering Hater. No 12-step program. Well, not really. And I still hate, um, I mean dislike, time to time, but I'm am so much better at getting a hold over it. And the steps I took are exactly what I'll be sharing with you.

Starting with watching my words. Which I'll explore in another post. So let me leave you with this...haters gonna hate but they aint' gonna date or relate or meditate. Unless they get help. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I is for Intro. Or...I'm an A-er. Are you, too?

No betrayal here. No famous last words (not yet anyway). Just one Type A-er to another (or other), blogging out a spiritual journey down the alphabet.

With that being said...

"Type A personality" (or Type B, but for subject sake, Type A only). We've all heard that term. It's used to describe people who are  ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, sensitive, truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. Sound familiar? Well, it did to me. I didn't need a test or a diagnosis. I knew right away this is who I was. And for almost 41 years it served me well. Sort of. But recently I realized I no longer wanted to be defined by any type, and I did what any Type A person wouldn't do. I sought help. I started acupuncture. I began meditating (Zen Meditation) and I hired a Life Coach. And all at once. And it's starting to change me. 

So, what this blog is going to explore is my own personal journey down the alphabet. In no particular order. This isn't my version of "Eat Pray Love." Nope. I'm not jumping my life's ship to head to 3 amazing countries with 3 amazing adventures. (I mean, really? Like that sucked?) I'm not getting paid to write this (for now :) ) or took an advance to fill the pages of this blog. Julia Roberts probably won't play me at any time either. This is just me, my thoughts and experiences and words that hopefully inspire you to find your letter in life. Or at least laugh at mine.