habits

Kill the Judge Within

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How many of you out there feel like this:

You read all the cool stuff about how to be happy , centered, nurtured, live in the moment, live in love and light, eat this and that, they are super foods after all and then you feel good. Yeah, it feels pretty good reading the words and thinking about the possibilities. “Feel good” words, but when it comes to living that life I have found it’s a ongoing struggle. Sometimes I want nothing more that to eat BBQ chips and watch TV. Yeah, crappy TV.

Don’t get me wrong, if TV was better I would pick the better shows….but that’s not the point. The point is there is only so much a person can take of learning how to be “wonderful in mind, body and spirit”

I hate to admit this, but I find it difficult sometimes to read more then the headlines…..or given a top ten list and I read the only the words printed in bold. I tell myself I will read in depth later. Ha!

I understand when a person is in that world, they are excited and want to share, and thank God they do. I would never spend the amount of time takes to figure out the grams of fiber and calories in any particular green smoothie let alone a book full of these recipes. There’s only so many hours in a day.

When I get my rest and eat well, and balance my day – there’s very little that can get me down. I know when I am really it, “it” being in the moment with a clear mind and heart, everything is so dang easy.

Come to think about it, I have changed my life. I should be proud of my growth instead of measuring myself against those far more centered or advanced than myself. That’s the key. I can read what I want and what I can handle, and if I feel like I am failing because I slack off, then at least I know I only have my self to blame…..which I should never do.

Don’t talk yourself down.

I should acknowledge that I do the best I can on any given day and that to me should be perfection. I am going to try to kill my inner judge. That judge has been living inside me way too long. I think this is a good thing.

Cheers!

Tip: Be as kind to yourself, remember you are still learning.

Inspiration: “Imperfection is not our personal problem, it is a natural part of existing.” – Tara Brach

One-day one-thing: Seek out the beauty in everyday life. Make mental acknowledgements of what beauty you see.

Mean people

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For life of me I do not understand mean people.  I know what bitchy is, and I know what angry is and I am fine with both those in limited quantities.  I mean that’s just part of human nature.  Who among us hasn’t had a bad day? But mean is something I will never comprehend.

I am getting a first hand lesson in the power of mean.  But I have also realized that I can take away that power of mean simply by stepping outside my feelings and observing as if I were a third party. Let me tell you what I have seen as that third party.

I have seen the depth of despair and confusion in the eyes of the mean person.  I have witness someone out of control, unable to stop themselves long enough to find the right words.  I have seen the face of hate.  In their state of meanness, which to me is void of all love, they scan their brains quickly taunting me to engage.  But I don’t.  I have learned to step outside of myself, and observe.  It’s a weird position, and quite new to me.  In the past I would definitely shoot back and lose no matter what.  No one ever wins in “mean.”

It’s shocking to me, because now I see it so clearly.  Before now I would engage and not be able to think straight.

I don’t want someone in my life that treats me poorly.  I don’t want someone in my life that holds anger and hostilities towards me.  For whatever reasons, unknown to me, I am the one that receives what ever sh*t they want to throw.   I have even received the silent treatment, which is hysterical to watch from afar, as if I care to talk to someone so mean.

Mean people don’t seem to know about love.  They just don’t.  They don’t know how to show it, give it, receive it or feel it.  They may have read about it but it’s just not in their nature.  Unless they chose to learn about it and change their core beliefs, they will continue to live on with the weight of bitterness, hate and anger baring down on their souls. I don’t even think they know they are missing out on anything.

You see it’s not about making points, or winning an argument, it’s all about what you want in your life.  A cold loveless existence just isn’t for me.  As I declutter I am purging my thoughts that someone else will ever change.

Instead I have changed.  I have changed by not taking in the hostility anymore. I find this approach both powerful and liberating.  Any sadness I held for what could have been is gone.   I have throw away all my “could-have-been(s).”

Cheers!

Here is a more in depth look at “How to Combat Emotional Warfare and Root Out the Manipulative, Abusive People in Your Life” (this article showed up in my email just now-weird)

Tip: Learn to protect yourself;  just walk away if someone is treating you unkindly.

Inspiration: “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.”- Mohandas K. Gandhi

One-day one -thing: Stop thinking about what could-have-been.

Five Unproven Tips

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I have an issue with getting too  close.  I could explain it away based on many things, now that I recognize much of the baggage I carry.  But that doesn’t change it, and I question if it even need to be changed? Or am I like this because I want it this way?

Yesterday I had this imaginary turn of events play out in my head that lead a friendship from casual and strong to really really close friends. And that’s when I noticed this “pull-back” inside of me, I could physically feel it.  It was like – Oh, I don’t want to do “that.

Mind you, in the past few years I have lost five different friends each by one of the following ways; two by way of death, one good old fashion betrayal, one from a realization, and one because of relocation.  Also during this same time my three children left the nest for college.   (Irish triplets; I knew this day would come, didn’t make it any easier) Feelings of loss are never easy.

In the beginning, Unpack The Rat was focused solely on material stuff, clutter and junk, but when some of that stuff made me cry I knew there was much more stuff stuffed inside me.  I realize that now, right now, is the time to fix everything the best I can.  It’s been brutal a continuing challenge.

Another thing I have learned during my journey is, it will go on as long as I am breathing.  Meaning no matter what happens, I will have to work at conquering my demons every day, or they will take me over.   My demon, disguised as clutter, boxes and disarray, is actually negativity and all that encompasses.

Much like an addiction, I have to fight negativity every day or it will overpower my mind, body and soul.

So right now, I am going to come up with five unproven tips to counter my negativity. Maybe they will help you, me or someone we know.

Five Instant Tips:

1. Stop swearing  unless it’s used in positive comment.  Example: ” That’s so f*cking incredible. I am so excited for you!” Swearing when you are upset or angry only serves to  fuel and intensify any negative emotion.

2. Do not allow yourself to get hungry.  We are grown people, we know we have to fuel our bodies and minds.  Pack a lunch box to take wherever you go, make a first aid kit for the hungries.  Suggestions for your kit: carrots, fruit, cheese,  nuts, crackers and water.  Dig in before you end up in a sour mood or even worse find yourself driving through Wendy’s or the likes. 

3. Remember those who are thirsty.  The time you waste being negative could be time spent promoting Charity Water .  I am signing Unpack The Rat up  today. ( if I can do it this way)  Of course what this really means is help anyone (a person, animal or plant) who needs help rather than filling your own cup with negativity.

4. Daydream about a ridiculous or fabulous adventure. If you want, go ahead and close your eyes for a few seconds and slip away. Envision it all as if you were really there.

5. Be grateful for having the ability to love.

That’s what I came up with.  Now I am going to Charity Water and see if I can sign up.

As for getting too close,  I am not going to worry about it for now.   Not everything needs an answer the moment you think of it.  Sometimes you just need to “be.”

I be being.

Okay, it worked…..Here’s the link to donate to Unpack the Rat’s Charity Water campaign.

Cheers!

Sleepless Reality

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Everything seems possible when you can’t sleep, except of course sleeping.

No one bothers you but yourself on sleepless nights.  But the worse part for me is knowing how awful I will feel the next day.

Well, today is the next day, I have a mild headache and have a list of “must do’ errands.   Winter arrived during the night and there’s a few inches of snow covering everything, and I am sure it’s in the teens with the wind chill.

What did I learn last night?

The earliest known Great White Shark fossils are about 16 million years old

Drinking coffee after not drinking coffee for a week – is a bad idea.  Either commit to it or don’t, because it really does effect your body.  I have had three sips today, and I think that’s going to be all for me, okay one more sip, but that’s it.  Maybe the caffeine is stronger when I use my french press? Or maybe it was the Jamaican coffee, or maybe it’s because I recently switch to a 66% raw diet?  But that’s it for me, no more coffee. That last sip was extremely unsatisfying.

I found out my best friend when I cant sleep is my iPhone.  I didn’t have to get out of bed, and it took minimal effort to read, browse news, tumblr and comment on blogs.  Connect then disconnect with people who were awake, where ever.  Then I would attempt to sleep again.

Tossing and turning is the worst. I  convinced myself that laying perfectly still would be the closest thing I could do to sleep.   I did that exercise more than once.

I figured out that that guy that was on “Shark Tank” episode last night probably didn’t sleep for months after losing 200K in less than 2 minutes.  Offer to hand me a check for 600K for my company free and clear, I say, ” Hell yes  and thank you!” in a New York minute.

During my sleepless night, I decided I didn’t feel right about putting in an offer on house #6.  Needless to say, house #5 rejected our offer.  The #5 house was the best one so far, in the big picture.  We signed all the #6 papers yesterday, and I told my Husband this morning it was a no-go.  He said, ” No problem, we’ll trust your instinct, there will be more houses.”   Was it instinct or exhaustion? No one knows.

Which brings me to this conclusion: no one knows anything.  We only think we know.  We act like we know.  We speak like we know and we listen to others like they may know.

We don’t, they don’t, but we all try to varying degrees to “know.”  Give “not-knowing” a try today.  It’s kind of fun.

Cheers!

Tip: Question yourself.

Inspiration:” We are now at a point in time when the ability to receive, utilize, store, transform and trasmit data — the lowest cognitive form — has expanded literally beyond comprehension. Understanding and wisdom are largely forgotten as we struggle under an avalanche of data and information.” – Dee Hock

One-day one-thing: Errands, as simple as that.

Happy Birthday Batman!

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Today is one of my dog’s 9th birthday. Batman is nine. He is a gentle soul, a loyal buddy, and his is big fluffy and hug-able.

He has his faults, as we all do. He has a weakness for cats and not in a good way, but other than that no one could ask for a better dog. I have a photo of him when he was just a puppy with my entire family. Now I can tell how old we are were in the photo, because before I couldn’t quite peg it by sight alone. My children were 10,12, and 13 in that photo, it was taken during spring soccer season, right before my youngest turned 11.

Batman and my youngest son 9 years ago

The photo is somewhere in all my stuff that was shuffled out of our home while we dealt with the nastiness of the recession.

Our “situation”, it doesn’t change quickly because what some people don’t seem to realize is when all the work is done and you are out of the house the rebuilding starts and that takes time, a lot of time. On the contrary, nine years just flew by when I was living a normal life. Now time seem to seep away slowly as if I have a tiny leak in my soul.

I have stopped expecting anything good to ever happen, or even wishing or hoping. Too many tremendous let downs recently. I am making it through each day but I barely feel like I am here, but I know I am here because I can’t get away.

I am thinking about my escape, and I am thinking real hard, because what I am doing right now isn’t cutting it. It may be unconventional, but I am going to fix this so that I can stand the “situation” until we find a house.

Right now we are waiting to hear back on the 5th house that we have bid on. I quit looking at photos of the home, because I have really talked myself into liking this one. It ended up with multiples. Funny how that’s now happen twice with this same lister. Any time there are multiples, someone appears to get an inside tip as to what the amount needs to be offered to win – we never win. I personally think it’s like insider trading and it’s a huge scam.

In any case, one way or another, I am existing in this temporary situation. It’s temporary. It’s temporary. It’s not a healthy living environment for me or my animals. Temporary has now become too long.

Happy Birthday Batman, I love you.

I have left this environment two other times in my lifetime; once when I alone and single, and once with my entire family cutting a holiday visit short. Always because of the same reason.

Why in the world did I think that it would be any different this time?

Tip: Forgive people, but don’t forgive so much that you forget what you had to forgive, or it might just happen again.

Inspiration:

Even after all this time,
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens with
A love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz of Persia

One-day one-thing: Learning what I already knew.

Why do we Hang on?

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So this is my question today and I do not have the answer.

Why do we hang on to things?  What is it in our minds that puts value on things that in reality have virtually no value?

Our past is gone.  No matter how great or how horrible.  It’s gone. ( I am not talking about photos, because they actually catch moments in time)  I am talking about things, stuff, and sometimes weird stuff.  Items that we personally value whereas a stranger may consider it nothing more than trash.

What triggers our minds?

A Standard Life study suggests 28 to 40-year-olds don’t plan for the future because they prefer to reminisce about past times. Yet experts say nostalgia can give meaning to our seemingly dull lives.

In the extreme cases people can become hoarders.

From this article: “Some hoarders seem to feel unable to process all of the things that are part of their daily lives and feel “anxious, overwhelmed and ashamed” as the piles of clutter accumulate around them, according to Birchall. These people are often perfectionists and worry about making the right decision about what to do with each possession. The stress of trying to make a decision becomes too much for them, to the point where they avoid having to decide altogether by simply keeping everything.”

However, nothing can scare you straight better than watching A&E’s “Hoarders.”  I fall somewhere in between, maybe…not really as bad as an on TV hoarder, but I have enough crap to really dislike it.

I like to look at websites like Dwell and Apartment Therapy for inspiration of designs with little room or less stuff.  There are many more interesting people and sites out there that deal with living better with less. Some people live with nothing, that will never be me, but they inspire me just the same.

We don’t need to know the exact answer, it could be helpful, but I believe it is unnecessary to know in order to move forward.  Knowing what drives us in the past is good, but forget about it if you cant figure it out.  We only have to take things one step at a time with a dedicated focus as our goal.

Remember; if you are anything at all like me and you have too much stuff – change is hard, it takes times, and you will get there, eventually. Keep your focus.

You set your pace, rather your life sets your pace.  Good luck. 2012 is the year for me.  I just know it.

I wish you well.  Cheers!

Tip: Don’t buy anything.  Make a wish list.  Write it down.  Think before you buy.

Inspiration: “To live fully, we must learn to use things and love people, and not love things and use people. ” ~John Powell

One-day one-thing: Get rid of something, anything.

The 1,2,3 of Words

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I had already set my New’s Resolution to stop swearing, then I realize it was more than that.

It is not only the about words but also about what is behind the words.  An anger or a rage lives there.  Who needs that?  We have all witness someone who gets angry.  It can make us uncomfortable,  it can frighten us and change the mood of an entire experience.

We can easily see what we don’t like about it in others, but many times when we do it, we feel perfectly justified.  We become entitled and self-righteous, “I’m just telling it like it is.”   (again, I am speaking for myself) 

What we are really doing is hurting those around us and ourselves, even if that is not our intention.

All words carry energy.   The old saying “stick and stones” isn’t true. In fact, it is plain false. Even when you are not swearing, but just talking negatively without fore thought or speaking with an “attitude.”- those words cause damage.  Each word is what you are as you speak.  That is what you are contributing to the world, to the greater good.

Is what you say good?

Words to Promote Positive Changes in the World by Jill Lawson- addresses the importance of words in her short and to the point article.  She breaks it down to three items.

1) Avoid idle chat, gossip and words that intend to hurt.

2) Speak your truth.

3) Be a good listener.

Also in The Four Agreements, one of the four agreements is:

Be Impeccable with your Word:  Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

So I shall do my best, starting today, even though I said it was a New Year’s resolution.  This will take practice.  I know change is hard and change takes time, but I want to change.  So I have half the battle won already.  Cheers!

Inspiration:  “Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill. ” ~ Buddha

This is not my Beautiful House.

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Kiwi salsa! That’s all I can think about since the day I saw it.  Well, that is only half true.  When I see it, besides looking incredible,  it reminds me of what I have not done. I haven’t even made my green drink (ginger cucumber etc) yet.  The recipe sits on my home desk.  It’s not even in my “book” yet.  I am hoarding again, but now it’s recipes.

Look at this – isn’t it glorious?

click photo for recipe

Procrastination and excuses, I have a million.  But why?  Do you procrastinate?  Do you make excuses?  Why do we do this?

Somewhere in my head I think when we get our house, and have our few things, that’s when everything will come together.  I don’t think it’s uncommon to say “when this happens” then everything will be right.  But that is so not right. When this happens,”xyz” -then I’ll be able to do “abc.”  This is the motto of doom. And it’s how I have been thinking lately.

I am reading, “Does the Noise in my Head Bother You?”  And it doesn’t bother me.  Did you know his fashion style is inspired by Janis Joplin? I love read about other real people, people I find interesting.  People with spirit.  I don’t care that he is famous, and wealthy. His story so far isn’t about that.  His childhood was very different than mine. I don’t think he waited even once, for anything.

I am starting to believe when you are raised in pretentious (pretentious by Cleveland standards) suburbs, that you lack a certain sense of urgency.  Nothing changes much, people don’t move away or move in.  Life goes on and change is rare within the bubble.  Social expectations are basically written in stone at every level, and at every possible turn.  Gossip and keeping up with the Jones’s is the main stay diet.  I subscribe to neither ( never did gossip), which puts me in the category as inconsequential: weird,  odd-ball, and a target for gossip.

I have been told, by someone that, “People like you, you just don’t like them.”  What a load of crap. I’ve been told, “You expect too much out of people.”  So am I supposed to lower my expectations?  I expect nothing out of people who are mean, how much lower can I go?  I beleive it’s important to have some sort of gauge when deciding who you want in your life.  Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

I don’t follow the suburban handbook.  So obviously, I cause my own issues when I may disagree, or stand up publicly to what is wrong.  Oops.

Go, do whatever, here's your green light.

The kicker is by the time you realize what has happened you are “in” very deep. You may end up writing you thoughts on a blog just to keep convincing yourself, that everyone isn’t the same, and this isn’t better than that. And I do have every right to think what I like, and I know how to pick my friends.

I feel stifled. As if change isn’t possible for me here.  So I shut down.  Rationally I know this isn’t true, but mentally I feel the oppression.

I don’t know what would have happened to me if I never left.  I can’t imagine what I might believe right now. Unfortunately, what is truly haunting me now is what would have happened if I didn’t come back?

“My God what have I done? “

(ironic side-note David Byrne married a woman who was raised in my hometown)

I am not what I own

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Which is good.  Because I don’t want to be a bunch of old crap in a storage unit, or and minivan with a crack windshield, even though I love that van.  ( stigma= soccer mom car – but I was a soccer mom )  I am about to break 100,000 miles on the Odyssey, and all those trips represent my family’s travel only.  Kind of sentimental, or maybe only mental, it makes no difference.  Now I use it for my dogs and to my transport of children to and from college.  I’d like to convert it to a camper some day. (hey Pimp-My_Ride pick me)  It’s so useful I will own until the day it dies.

In any case, I confess when I was younger I was into everything materialistic.  Brands and designers, oh yeah.   Not that I thought it made me better, just that I thought is was better to have.  This is quite embarrassing to me now, but most my gifts (from my husband only)  were from Tiffany & Co.   I saved all the boxes.  Those are somewhere inside another box, God-only-knows where.  The beautiful nuggets that were inside those blue boxes are locked in a safe and rarely come out to play.  Which makes it all the more ridiculous.

I love those gifts.  They were given to me with love and that’s what makes them special.  However one of my most treasured gifts is a rock that has “I love you” written on it with chalk.  It was handed to me while having a dinner picnic at the beach.   It’s from one of my children, they don’t remember, and I don’t remember which one, so my mind lets me believe  it ‘s from all of them.

And I don’t own that rock, it belongs to the earth, but I choose to own the sentiment.   Though all my chaos, I have made it a top priority to preserve that rock.  Protecting it for years, maybe as many as 11 years, because I don’t want the chalk to wear off.   I don’t want to ever lose that moment, even though the moment is long gone.

There is no easy way to do this.  People  have tried to protect the famous chalk words of Premier Wen Jiabao,” “distress rejuvenates a nation.” He wrote this while was pointing out to high-schoolers,  that despite all of the hardship that the Wenchuan earthquake had brought to the students, their families, and the people of Sichuan, it wasn’t the end of the world.  They put glass over the words on the chalkboard, which is still in the school.

"distress rejuvenates a nation"

My point, do I have one?  Yeah I have one.  We are not what we own.  We are nothing but what we think or believe at any moment.  If we choose to feel and think  hatred and venom then that is what we are.  If we choose to think/ live with love and compassion then that is what we are.

Make no mistake, we forever adapting fluid beings that can change moment by moment.  When someone is spewing hate in your direction, the first response is fight or flight.  Too often we think we can win by fighting, when in reality we win by simply walking away and letting it go.

And remember it’s no crime to experience an wide spectrum of emotions, we have emotions for our own protection.  Don’t beat yourself up if you get angry, but do take the time to examine and figure out how to get un-angry.

You are never going to be the car you drive, no matter how spectacular (or crappy) you think it is.  It’s not who you are.

Cheers!

Tip: Pick what you want to be and try your hardest to be that as often as possible.

Inspiration: “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”- Barbara De Angelis

One-day one-thing: When stress hits you today, for one minute mentally imagine yourself somewhere peaceful. Repeat as needed.

(I am so writing this for myself)

She did it, Can I?

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I stumbled on this blog yesterday, and I can not stop thinking about it. Primarily I read about the woman herself. I wanted to know and learned what made her succeed at changing her life. More about me -How I got to paradise.

I believe that if we really stop.  Stop what we are doing at this moment, and ask ourselves, “Is this where I want to be?”  Many of us may answer, “not really.” Other will answer, “yes.”  They need not read any further.

I’m in the “not really” category.  I thought I was getting closer to figuring it all out and then poof, I determined I had to adjust my thinking.   Which has lead me nowhere, but back to limbo of not being able to formulate concrete goals.

I didn’t place my bid on the No.3 (small) house.  I woke in the middle of the night and I thought OMG what if I can’t sell it, I’ll be stuck there forever.  And that quite frankly scared the sh*t out of me.

All the cheer-leading I did yesterday didn’t even work for me. That’s another topic for a post, those who can tell others what to do, but can’t seem to do it themselves. I fell back to second guessing myself, and asking myself,” wow is this it?  Is this the final destination?”  I couldn’t make it be.  I couldn’t pull the trigger and commit to this area.  Even though we have other commitments here, my gut told me not to make that decision. At least not right now.

I listened to my intuition – I get credit for that , because in the past I have ignored my gut feelings thus leading to my own peril.

We [I] need to determine what it is that keeps us inside the boxes we have made for ourselves.  The boxes can be our location, our job, our eating habits, or exercise non-habits, it can be any box at all.  It’s what ever has you stuck.  I don’t like feeling stuck.  Feeling stuck is both terrifying and depressing.

So I am returning to square one.  Back to the basics. Time to reevaluate everything.  Again.  But know we have time, because it’s December.  And in December the world stops for awhile. There are holidays, and we even close the business for a week.  I am going to follow the 5 tips below:

1. Recognize that you are in a rut and have lost your ability to dream beyond your zip code.  First step always acknowledge the issue. (easy, check, done)

2. Determine that you are willing to make real changes in your life.  Start with small changes that you can turn into habits.  It takes 21 day for something to become a habit. (so I have read) Today is a good day to start.

3. Set goals, small and big, set at least 5 for starters.

4. Intention: concentrate on your attention on your goal with every choice you make.  Question everything, does this get me closer to my goal or not?  Only participate in those things that are in line with your goals.

5. Follow through.  No excuses.

At the end of December, review what you have accomplished and make 5 new goals for the next month.  This will at least get you[me] moving in a direction rather than,  floating aimlessly inside a box of limbo.

I recall hoping 2011 would be better than 2010, and I find I am wishing for the same thing this year.  Only this year it has to get better, or I may become a drug addict for real.  (and oddly enough that doesn’t scare me :)

I seriously can’t take much more.

Cheers!

Tip: Don’t beat yourself up, most people have no clue how to change their  lives.

Inspiration: ” Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. “- Jose Ortega y Gasset

One-day one-thing: Clean your work area in you home, this will help you to gain focus.