Thursday, May 29, 2014

N is for Nightmares. And not on Elm Street.

We all know dreams are our subconscious trying to tell us something, or work something out. Or a product of some pretty awesome drugs, but I digress...

If that's what dreams are, what are nightmares? Well, they are defined as an unpleasant dream that can cause a strong emotional response from the mind, typically fear or horror but also despairanxiety and great sadness. Hmmm, well that sounds familiar. I've been anxious though I am trying to be eager. I am fearful though I am trying to trust the universe is looking out for me. I've experienced sadness, as we all get down once in a while. So...I'm having nightmares. Again.

For the past year, ok who am I kidding—3, I have battled with insomnia. Mostly because my mind won't stop working. And partly because I have nightmares; so instead of sleeping and going down that dark corridor, I stay awake. I've learned that I can function for days on end on like 3 hrs of sleep a night. It's a talent, I know. Enter Meditation. When I started meditation and acupuncture I was SO EXCITED to have a few nights in a row of 8 or more hours of sleep SANS NIGHTMARES. And this went on for weeks (ok something to note: when I was training for the marathon I slept like a baby because [I think] I ran the voices out of my head which led me to sleep peacefully. However, I'm old and broken and 3 miles is all I can do now). So when they returned this past week I had to examine what was going on (and I won't lie, they scared the shit out me. Startled. Heart pounding. Sweating kind of terrors). Using the "tools" I've gotten from my Life Coach and Therapist (I saw one for about a year 3 years ago) I dug deeper. Well, I'm anxious about a few jobs I've been interviewing for, I'm fearful nothing will work out and I'll have to leave this beautiful place I call home and I'm sad I'm not in love. There, I said it. These are the issues I am dealing with and truth be told no amount of needles, mediation hours, Moxa, Mugwort or sessions will 'cure' them. However, what they do do (insert Bevis and Butthead laugh here) is help me cope so I can reset so-to-speak, and get on with my day, err, night. 

Look, if you meet anyone who isn't dealing with some sort of issue, and they are happy 100% of the time, please, ask them what drug they are on so we can all buy some. No matter where we are in our life's journey, or in my case, a spiritual one, we are going to hit bumps in the road. It's how we deal with those bumps that define who we are and put a smile on our face. And I am thankful I've had some great healers come into my life to help me do just that.

And that's where I am.

When the practices start to pay off (they are, I'm sleeping again), and the universe does it's thing, the mind slows down and Freddy visits another bedroom. Good, cause I am really liking this working on 8 hours-of-sleep-thing a whole lot more. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

B is for Breaking Up. As in it's hard to do?

Break ups. They S-U-C-K. Or do they?

Sometimes we get dumped. Other times we do the dumping. And once in a blue moon it's an amicable and mutual break-up. However, we only think about break-ups as they apply to romantic relationships. But what about break-ups with your old habits? Mainly, your old self who had those bad habits?

If you are following along, you know what I mean. If you're new, let me bring you up to speed. Recently I have decided to change. Being a hater, being Type A, it's what I knew. It was who I was. Until one day, I didn't want to be this negative ball of goop. So I sought help. I hired a life coach AND started acupuncture (and Yoga, but I've been flirting with that for years). And it's changed me. And for the better. However, lately I have been hitting some speed bumps along the way and I found myself back in the world of hating, like booty calling an ex whom I was never really into but stayed with anyway because hey, he was good to me.

It's not easy breaking up with your old self. Trust me. My old self and I have been through a lot. And she was there for me every step of the way. So when things get tough, I fall back into a relationship with her (; but for this sake let's keep it third person) because, well, I felt like she was tougher. However, I noticed something this time around. I didn't care much for her anymore. I noticed, and rather quickly, the bad habits that made me want to break up with her in the first place: the screaming, the yelling, the judging, the picking on, the cursing, the excessive horn honking, the plotting and scheming and so on. And here's the good thing, I noticed the habits all by myself. No session with the Life Coach needed. Why, you ask? Because for now, we are broken up. (And it was HARD) See, we had a session recently where some things were said that stuck in my head and got to me and actually had the reverse effect, they made me negative. And it's not the kind of things that "I needed to hear," but the kind of things that made me say, "maybe we are on two different pages right now." So, like any other relationship that has taken a turn in a direction that isn't suitable for me, I took a break. Not sure if it was mutual but she (the Life Coach, not my old self...stay with me here) is ok with it.

And the same goes for me and my old self. We are breaking up, again.

The best part is that I was able to break-up with my old hatin' self with all the tools I have gained, like: trusting and not worrying, asking for help, recognizing what serves me and what doesn't, being ok with transition and most importantly, staying in my best self (we all have definitions/visualization of what that is, I encourage you to write yours down). Ok, really, the most important thing is family but I'll touch upon this this week. And you wanna know something? This time the break up wasn't all that hard to do. So much so, I might even delete my old self from my proverbial mental cell phone. And wanna know something else? I don't think that will be so hard to do after all.

(Note: I will be seeing my Life Coach again. I just need some me time. She is an excellent person and truth be told, sometimes we need people that make us a non-hating way. I'll keep you posted on this.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

L is for Life and Lessons and Loss

Be prepared, this one is down right serious...

Just yesterday I got some sad news. A guy I knew (I'd call him a friendly acquaintance) had collapsed and is now in ICU, with his family trying to decide if and when to pull the plug. I don't want to get into the specifics because I want to respect their privacy and because this blog post isn't about the decision of what is living and what isn't and DNRs and all the political BS that surrounds a very difficult and personal decision.

However, what I do want to talk about is the feeling one (me, you, everyone) gets when they hear this sort of news: 'life is too short, don't take anything or anyone for granted.' This is so true, yet how is it that we forget this time and again? How is it that when something like this happens it is then we are reminded to love a little deeper, forgive more often, hug the babies tighter and so on? Why is it we practice these things for a while when a tragedy surrounds us but fall back into our patterns of assuming people know how we feel? It's somewhat sad isn't it?

In meditation we practice not only quieting the voices inside our head but we practice "just being." Meaning, be in the moment with nothing else. Experience that moment for what it is. No tomorrow's no yesterday's no lists of things to do (it's soooo hard for me not to make lists when I meditate, dang Type A hardwiring!), just being in the moment. So, what if we were just in the moment all the time? What if when we saw our friends and loved ones we hugged them tighter ALL THE TIME? Forgave them often and loved them for who they are and let them know it (I repeat, let them know it, including letting yourself know it, too)? What if we didn't wait for a reminder? I'm not saying all of you wait, I'm not saying you don't do these things. All I am saying is what if we took a lesson from loss and meditation and lived in the moment a little more, loved a little more and were just there a lot more so if G-d for bid (poo poo poo, zi, zi, zi) anything happened we don't beat ourselves up for not having done so more often.

Loss teaches us a lot about life. I just hope I can put this lesson to good practice.

** For those affected by our friend's tragedy, I'm thinking of you guys and you are in my thoughts and Metta practices.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

R is for Red Lights.

Get your mind out of the gutter. Red lights, not Red Light District.

Good. Now that we got that cleared up...

Ever drive somewhere and you hit practically every single red light there is? It makes you late, you didn't plan for it, you get frustrated and so on. I know you know what I am talking about. As a recovering hater, I remember how this made me feel. I would get so amped up, so pissed off, as if every Urban Planner was laughing at me. It made my mood so negative and me so stressed that by the time I got somewhere I couldn't enjoy anything.

Well, what if I told you this happens when you're going through life? Cause sometimes that's how I feel. That I hit a ton of red lights in my life. Don't feel bad for me, I'm not looking for pity, I'm just trying to point out that sometimes life doesn't go as planned, as a Type A-er, this can be a bitter pill to swallow.

However, in this journey, I'm learning to live with (love is too strong of word for me right now with these damn red lights) the red lights. The acceleration and the sudden stops. The go, go go, stop, stop, stop of everything. A lot of it has to do with meditation. That bitch in my head, Robina (remember her?) has quieted down a lot, or at least for a little bit when I meditate. So I've taken away some of her power (I'm by no means enlightened so that inner narrative keeps running). I've also learned that there is something to be said about a pause. A pause allows you to stop and think and maybe even change direction. Not at all Type A, is it? No and it's quite wonderful. It says (well, to me anyway), trust us, don't go there. So I think, ok, I won't. I'll let it go because while I can control the car I am in (be it actual or metaphysical) I can't control all of the roads I take. (FYI, Dan Harris talks a lot about this in his book; you can control the situation to a point, but not the results. A great read, I highly recommend it!)

My grandmother used to say, "G-d does for you what you can't do for yourself." It's lofty and slightly religious (which is hilarious if you knew my Nanny) but it's also true. The universe is watching out for us somehow. Or at least telling you to stop or go when the time is right.

And as I was writing this, this happened, so there ya go:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A too, Brute?: T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.

A too, Brute?: T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.: I've been struggling with how to approach this subject. Transition. It means change but it also means undergo a process. As a Type A-er,...

T is for Transition. And trust. And temporary.

I've been struggling with how to approach this subject. Transition. It means change but it also means undergo a process. As a Type A-er, change is hard. It's a kink to the system. A change in the plans. I'm not wired for something I didn't set-up myself.

Or am I?
As I mentioned in a previous post, I am a freelancer. I didn't choose this position, it was kind of handed to me. And while I don't mind being here, accepting the change is hard. It has made me question myself, my choices, the bigger plan, all of it. So, of course, like everything else in my life these days, I have turned to my spiritual advisors (wait, did I just say that???). And yet again, as always, they both said the say thing.

Enjoy this transition time. Trust it is only temporary and the universe will hand you the next step. Trust. Buddhists say that all things are temporary and to observe them, be mindful of them and let them pass. Observe, do not react. (I'll touch on my experiences with Mindfulness another time.)

Fuck, really? It sounded so good, so believable when I was told it. I recite it every day as one of my daily mantras: "Trust the universe, worry does not serve me." But lately, as I am between gigs (freelance is good and bad, fast and slow), actually, when I'm always between gigs, I kind of freak out. I let my inner judgmental self (I call her Robina) run rampid. And she when she does that, Robina gets bitchy. 

But as I was sitting there, fighting with myself inside my head, something happened (no, I didn't get a job or a gig, not yet anyway), I was invited by a new friend to take a day trip to Antelope Valley to view the Poppy Fields before the peak season is over. Stressed out about not working, I was afraid to miss a day away from my computer but I trusted the universe and left for the day. I started off not liking myself for being so "careless." But once the drive started, Robina got quiet. (I think she was exhausted for talking non-stop and car rides always put her to sleep.) And in one word, the trip was AMAZING! First, I got to know a new friend better, second, I met some really nice women who have similar interests as myself and most importantly, I got outside and enjoyed the very reason why I moved to CA.

If this doesn't help clear the mind, then I don't know what does. With the stress out of my system, I headed to my screenwriting class. And wanna know something, the instructor came up to me after and said I should REALLY consider doing this as my day job. My idea is amazing. He didn't have to say that, but it meant a lot that he did. So, maybe, just maybe, this transition time is for me to finish what I started, my pilot, and not keep it so temporary, like my situation. I like that, I'm going to trust it, too.