NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGHS: The Pleasure of Sadness

May is Mental Health Month. I thought this would be a great article to highlight. I wrote this in 2009, way before the pandemic, but with all that we have experienced this year, the message fits. We all need a good cry and perhaps a NERVOUS BREAKTHROUGH. I have had many.

Throughout my life I have had a series of nervous breakthroughs. Rather than call them break downs I like to call them break throughs. I learned from these experiences and found my life more enriched, more mature, and at a powerful stage of growth after coming through a sad or conflicted time in my life.

I believe “it’s all good” and that happiness is living with a sense of trust that everything happens for a reason, or as I say “everything happens for a lesson. “ Life is a journey in which we follow a path that leads us on a road, not always straight, full of twisted side paths, but eventually leading us forward to discover who we are and our ultimate purpose in life. It is not always comfortable. Discomfort can simply be a sign of growing pains.

These days, it seems we do not allow ourselves to tolerate discomfort in our minds and our souls. Sadness and depression, while often so deep and debilitating they rightly warrant prescription medication, are a time to get in touch with the depth of your heart and soul. There is nothing wrong with a good cry or a time to scream out in anguish or to get down on your knees and pray. It’s a time to listen to what our deepest inner self may want to tell us after such a time of anguish and pain.

There are so many new books on the market about happiness that it may seem wrong to experience sadness. It is great to be a positive thinker and see the glass half-full and the world through rose-colored glasses. However sadness is not negative thinking. It just is a beautiful human emotion. You can still see the glass half-full when you judge sadness as simply an experience and not a tragedy. You can wear your rose-colored glasses and even imagine you are sitting in a rose garden, while you have a good cry.

Victor Hugo described melancholy as “the pleasure of being sad.” Sadness is normal after losing a loved one, losing a job, failing at something felt important, or just reading the newspaper or watching the evening news. It would be a classic case of denial if one said they never felt sad.

There are times when you can’t pinpoint the source of sadness, and yet something inside is not right. If you are losing weight, losing sleep, feeling hopeless or have thoughts of suicide some type of therapy may be needed. Rather than hurry to take a drug, it might be helpful to see a professionally trained psychotherapist or counselor.  Sometimes medicine is helpful while engaging in talk therapy.  And there are times when depression is caused by a chemical imbalance and may warrant medication similar to a diabetic who needs insulin. In these cases it is best to see a knowledgeable psychiatrist who is a doctor trained to decide the best medication and dose for individuals suffering from depression.

Once,  I went to my doctor and told her I was feeling a little down, wondering if I should take a drug, and she said “ You have normal sadness. Your father died, your life is in transition-you don’t need medication, just a little more soul-searching and allowing yourself to be content with not being happy all the time.” I left the office empowered and with lightness in my step as I thought, she’s right. This is natural and normal and you will come through this with yet another nervous breakthrough.

Question?? Have you ever had a nervous breakthrough??

Back to The Middle Way Health Website

How have you grown? What are your blessings? Where are your wings taking you? 

Feeling the Wings You’ve Grown, Lifting…Rumi

The photo of the swan was taken on our trip to Oregon many years ago, but I will never forget this day. What are your blessings? How have you grown? What lessons have you learned? 

                          The photo of the swan was taken on our trip to Oregon many years ago, but I will never forget this day and the beautiful show of wings.

I love this poem full of positivity and blessings. We don’t grow in our comfort zone. Sometimes our greatest blessings are found in our pain. We have all felt it during this time of uncertainty, but can we admit there have been blessings along the way. Keep looking.

Rumi says it so well in this poem, Feeling the Wings … But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation, so everyone will understand the passage,We have opened you.”

How have you grown during this time? What are your blessings? Where are your wings taking you?

Who gets up early
to discover the moment light begins?
Who finds us here circling, bewildered, like atoms?
Who comes to a spring thirsty
and sees the moon reflected in it?
Who, like Jacob blind with grief and age,
smells the shirt of his lost son
and can see again?
Who lets a bucket down and brings up
a flowing prophet?
Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
and opens a door to the other world.
Soloman cuts open a fish, and there’s a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.
Chase a deer and end up everywhere!
An oyster opens his mouth to swallow one drop.
Now there’s a pearl.
A vagrant wanders empty ruins.
Suddenly he’s wealthy.

But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes a moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,
lifting.

(Taken from The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks)

10 STEPS to Stay Motivated to Move

Walking in the neighborhood-notice the technique - keep the arms up and moving with the legs.

I love walking

I hear this often -“I’m having a hard time getting exercise-I’m bored, get interrupted, it’s too cold and just don’t like it. What can I do to get my exercise and stay motivated?”

I always ask, “What is an activity you enjoy? Walking? Dancing? Ballet/Bar? Yoga? Tai Chi? Meditative movement? And then what is the best time for you to take 30 minutes to dedicate to a workout of some sort?” For me it’s walking and dancing. I love to walk.

30 minutes 5 days a week  gives you the recommended 150 minutes for promoting and maintaining health and wellness. Add two days in your week to do resistance exercises using weights, bands or even your own body. Make the 30 minutes your sacred half hour and find something you like to do. Walking can be boring. I usually listen to podcasts or make phone calls. Some people love to listen to music and walk to the beat.

When it’s cold outside, walk in place or turn on a You Tube Walking Workout video. You Tube has just about any kind of workout you’re in the mood for.

Here are the links to a couple of my favorite indoor walking workouts:

FAST Walking in 30 minute

30 Minute Boosted Fitness Walk

10 STEPS To Help You Stay Motivated 

  • Make this your time to feel good. The best motivation is what comes from you internally instead of trying to please someone else or because you feel guilty. Call it movement instead of exercise or workout if that makes you feel better.
  • Get a pedometer and track your steps-go for 10,000 but start from whereever you are and make 10,000 your goal. (More below)
  • Make it fun. Put on some cardio dancing music and dance for 30 minutes. Or add variety. You can do some cardio and whole body work.
  • Walk around your house when you are making phone calls or listening to podcasts.
  • Put on a You Tube video.
  • Join a Zoom exercise class.
  • Buy a new exercise outfit that makes you feel comfortable with your movement. And don’t forget good shoes.
  • If you can, create a special place in your basement or home just for exercise. You can put mats on the floor and posters on the walls that motivate you and help you to visualize your success at feeling and staying fit.
  • Forgive yourself if you a miss a day or two and just get back to it. It’s not all or nothing, it’s something – whatever you will do.
  • Reward yourself. After you are done, you can take a soothing bath, read magazines, play a game on your phone, or make a relaxing phone call.

More on 10,000 Steps

If you want to begin with lifestyle changes and exercise is your top priority, go out and buy a pedometer and work up to 10,000 STEPS PER DAY. I love my pedometer. I put it on in the morning and track every step. You would be surprised how little walking you get in if you sit at the computer all day. On the other hand if you have steps in your house and you vacuum daily, run errands, do the gardening, and walk to the mailbox, you may find that by mid afternoon you have over 5, 000 steps. Now all you have to do is go out and take a brisk walk for less than an hour and you will have your 10,000 steps. You can sneak steps into your day by parking your car farther away, walking up and down every aisle in the supermarket, window shopping at the mall, or simply walking around while chatting on the telephone. I wish I had invented the concept of 10,000 steps. 10,000 Steps is equal to about 5 miles of walking. In the beginning don’t worry if you are getting sufficient aerobic exercise at your target heart rate, just WALK. Once 10,000 steps is a habit increase your intensity and frequency, but for now just clip on your pedometer and get walking, and of course, if you are not used to exercise, check with your doctor to make sure you are ready to begin.

I found a great web site using this concept.
http://www.thewalkingsite.com/10000steps.html

 

Like It Or Not Change Is In The Air

change-smallstepsbigchanges-com_Yes!! Change is in the air and all around us. I have changed my website.Take a look and tell me what you think, and give me any feedback for clarity or improvements.

 https://themiddlewayhealth.com

 I want to thank you all for reading my writing and for your feedback as I go forward. I want to write more frequently and while I will continue to write articles on health and wellness and life, I want to write more articles on spiritual wellness and share some of my story. So stay tuned and feel free to write to me and let me know what you enjoy about my writing and what you would like more of or less of. What are your biggest health, wellness and spirituality questions. Have a cup of tea and join me in this transition and in the meantime enjoy this article on CHANGE.

LIKE IT OR NOT CHANGE IS IN THE AIR

The most successful people are those who adapt to change, go with the flow, and use their creativity to become an active part of a changing world. Rigidity, a tight fist crossed arms have no place in a changing world.

Physically you can stand still and not move, but the universe is changing all around you. How you adapt to those changes will determine how you handle stress, loss, and adversity. Those who adapt to change and enjoy variety in life, do best when faced with a major shift in their routine. However, those who like to stay with a familiar routine, avoid risk, and like the security of staying where they are, can be quite frazzled when faced with an interruption in their routine that comes with change. And that means that those people will be frazzled a lot, since change happens all the time.

You may be stuck in your ways, but the world does not stay stuck. There are climate changes, technological changes, economical changes, changes in politics and changes in health care, AND WHO KNEW THERE WOULD BE A PANDEMIC?!  Change occurs when we suffer a loss. This could be the loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one, or the loss of something as simple as the familiar way you watch TV now that we are in the digital age. Change also occurs when good things happen. It’s not all bad news.

There are people who change jobs every three years and there are those who stay in the same job for years or until they get laid off. If you can’t handle change a job loss can be devastating. I once lost a job and in my pocket was a message that read, “The universe is supporting your dreams and goals.” And that is exactly what happened. It was time to move on, create new avenues and grow. This is a time for contemplation more than strict planning or visioning.

If you are someone who finds comfort in keeping things the same, and has remained rigid about moving in a different direction, the world will pass you by as you stay in the rut that will feed your extinction. We like the familiar. It makes us feel safe. Venturing into new territory can be scary and trying new things does not come natural for many of us. However, like it or not change is in the air.

Here is an exercise I do with clients who are faced with change:

1. Take a deep breath close your eyes and then open them and look at your world.
2. Look around you and ask what you can do to make one change in your life.
3. If you could imagine yourself doing something different, what would you do? You might really enjoy this exercise. Nothing has to change yet. Just imagine.
4. You may have kept your creative juices frozen but now you need to thaw them out, get out the crayons and color your world.
5. What does it look like? Who are you? What do you need to do today to go with the flow?

Whether you like it or not something around you is going to change and the sooner you get excited about it, adapt to it, and become responsible in it, the sooner the world will spin in an ever changing, ever growing direction that can be delightful, freeing, and exciting.

Are you social distancing out of love or separating with hate

The other day I ventured out to Lowe’s. I was in the middle of planting my summer annuals when I decided I needed a large flower container for my patio.

I went fairly early, so it didn’t feel too crowded at first, but as time went on, more and more people were shopping. What was I thinking? It was Sunday. Churches are still closed for the most part, so what are many of us doing? Focusing on our outdoor landscaping and space.

As I approached the garden store part of Lowe’s, I noticed many people had masks, but several also bared their faces. I thought to myself, I know what side they are on.

For the most part, I stayed 6 feet apart, and if I noticed someone getting too close, I chose another aisle.

I found some beautiful containers along the wall. The ones I liked were a light aqua color in freeze-resistant hard plastic. The color was perfect as I have a small bistro table set made of multicolored broken tiles, and one of the colors is that light aqua. Perfect! The pot came in various sizes, and I was trying to decide between the 18-inch and the 24-inch container. A woman was standing next to the containers, and I said hello and asked what size she thought was best.

But something shifted my focus from the conversation about the pot. This woman did not have a mask on. So, as we talked about the plant containers, my mind went to Sure. I know what side she is on and whose example she is following. But she is just another person dealing with all of this. Yet I’m feeling angry that I have to wear this double-layered mask with a paper towel inside. My nose is running, and I can barely breathe, but I’m right, and she is wrong.

I continued to look at the pot, and she suggested, “Just buy them both and see which one works the best. Bring the other one back. That’s what I do when I can’t decide.”

“Good idea.” I thought.

Then I am not sure how the conversation changed, but I might have said, “I see you are not wearing a mask.” And that started it. She said, “I don’t believe all the hype. They are building this up and making it more than it is. This is no different than the flu. I tell you this could be a Communist plot.”

I couldn’t help myself. “So, I get it. What news station do you listen to?” Fox, I thought for sure.

She said, “I don’t listen to any of them. They are all fake. Fox was bought out, and I would never watch CNN.” Of course, I said, “I knew it!”

She then proceeded to tell me about the Communist plot and conspiracy theories. I stood there and can’t believe I said this. “I am more communist than anything. I like some of Karl Marx…”

I hope I didn’t say it too loud, but knowing me, I probably did.

She didn’t really flinch. She just kept going on and on about how we have been brainwashed into fear. I don’t remember her exact words, but I stopped listening at one point. When she suggested the book I have to read – something about the plot. I did a quick body scan and noticed my heart was palpitating, and it just didn’t feel good. Yet she is a person. I said the book you need to read is A Course in Miracles. She got out her pad and said, “What is it? A course in what?” I couldn’t believe she was writing it down. I did not write her book down, didn’t want to know. I’m right, and she is wrong. Then I said, “A Course in Miracles and believe me, I am not practicing it now. We need to shift this conversation to where we can join and not feel separated. Let’s go back to discussing the pot. I think I’m going to get the smaller one. It will be perfect. Wish you could come and see my flowers.”

It turned out every time I needed a customer service rep in the store, they were always working with her, and I was interrupting. I was beginning to feel connected to this woman, although I disagreed with her politics.

As I was checking out, she was leaving with her huge order of wooden barrel pots. I said, “Wow, you are doing lots of planting!” She then told me she and her husband had bought a large farm and were planting an organic garden. She added that eventually, they wanted to open it up as a wedding venue.

Guess what, I thought? An organic garden?? That kind of fits with my side. 

I let it go, and, in my mind, I referred to her as the No Mask Lady.

The next morning, I woke up thinking how, if only I had practiced beginner’s mind.. I don’t know what anything is for, and had I stayed curious, I might have learned who she was at a deeper level. I might have been able to learn something. I might have wanted to take a look at her book.

Yes, this is a time of social distancing out of love for others and ourselves, but I experienced separation because of a difference in values and self-righteousness.

I’m not going so far as to say she was now right, and I was wrong, but there has to be a way we can connect with others and plant the seeds of healing together.

Stick to talking about your garden. We all love flowers.

Life Management and Balance Tips for Dealing with Coronavirus

The Coronavirus

The Coronavirus has changed the world as we know it. These are tough times right now and we are all living with incredible uncertainty. That uncertainty is causing an array of emotions -anger, fear, guilt, sadness and curiosity. This is all natural for us as humans. We feel incredibly threatened and have no true idea of what life will look like in the future. I think most of us would agree, life will never be the same. Hopefully this will not only be a challenging time but also a time for all of us to learn how to help each other and the universe. And humans are resilient-we will get through this!

If there was ever a time to call on your spiritual journey to carry you through it is now. A Course in Miracles teaches that we can’t change the world, but we can change our minds about the world. We are all going to see the world differently. We can’t control everything going on right now. All you can do is live every moment, follow common sense precautions like hand washing and social distancing. Taking normal precautions is a good thing but if we let our fear, guilt and anger overtake us, we will be no help to the world.

We can best help by keeping ourselves healthy so that those who really need the frontline care of our courageous doctors, nurses, and health care workers can get the proper care with the proper equipment. They are the boddhisatvas- a Buddhist term for one who stays around until everyone is healed before taking the final step into Nirvana.

Did you know that the sanskrit word for compassion is Karuna? I heard this on a Dharma talk the other day and I thought- “Wow” That doesn’t sound a whole lot different than Corona, which actually means crown. I’d like to think that rather than be afflicted with coronavirus, which they say we may all have a touch of, we could be afflicted with koruna – compassion for everyone right now. None of us are totally sure how to handle our lives right now so reach out with calm and kindness as much as possible.

Here are some other ways to balance the anxiety and stress of these uncertain times.

Meditate – Simply give your self time to sit, breathe, and allow whatever thoughts and feelings to come up-tears are good and so is laughter. See my post on meditation.

Yoga and Tai Chi or just meditative dance are all fun and relaxing. Put on some quiet music or a video and move through your favorite poses. Sometimes I just put on healing music and dance like I’m floating.

Take a break from television and social media. We can become oversaturated with newscasts and updates. It is good to stay abreast to directives for how to live and work right now, but not all day. I notice how emotional we can get when our fear takes over-that will just fry your immune system

Boost your Immune System. Keep your cells healthy. Check out my post https://themiddlewayhealth.com/our-internal-warrior-the-immune-system/on taking care of it by healthy eating and drinking but more importantly healthy doing and thinking.

Exercise-One of the best things you can do right now is to keep moving. Many people have worried about gaining weight while isolated. Easy to grab snacks and eat out of anxiety and boredom. Get out and walk, if you can. When I am on the phone (unless it is a coaching call) I walk inside my house-amazing how many steps on I can get this way. There are some great fitness videos and workouts on You Tube.

Cook and Plan healthy meals. I happen to love to cook but friends who have just been eating out in the past are now getting back to enjoying their kitchens and culinary creativity. Get out the cook books and have fun making nutritious and colorful foods.

CONTACT ME FOR MORE STRESS MANAGEMENT TIPS OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE COACHING IN MEDITATION AND WELLNESS

 

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