Category Archives: introspection

Finding True Self-Esteem

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Finding True Self-Esteem

In looking back on last week’s first lesson on Finding True Happiness, I am admittedly disappointed in myself that I just plain forgot to utilize the lesson’s exercises and what I promised to do when things get stressful, overwhelming or frustrating: Deep breathe, check in with my body and observe what I feel physically … emotionally… and breathe…

I am disappointed because I’m so desperately searching for ways to change any negative patterns and avoid toxic circumstances – or at least deal with them in a way that promotes understanding, love and inner peace.  I really could have benefited from remembering to practice self-care in this way this week.

Our company shut down, unexpectedly and with no warning on December 5.  We were all told we had until the end of the day to pack up and leave and that would be our last day of pay.  We were given a print out of FAQs in order to navigate through the muddy, and uncertain waters that lay ahead: Collecting our last paycheck and information about whether or not we would receive unused sick time, vacation and floating holiday time, whether or not anyone from HR would be available to answer any questions (NO), etc.  Blind-sided.  Shocked.  Devastated.  Terrified.  These are the most relevant words I can use to describe what I felt; I know my peers felt it too.  I know the over 19,000 students, trying to finish their programs, felt these things as well.  And not a soul from the organization was committing to sticking around to help anyone through their questions, feelings of betrayal and loss.  I guess in retrospect, I don’t know if I would have known how to breathe deep.  I felt like I was drowning.  I’m just sorry I didn’t try.  How beneficial it would be to remember to breathe and take time to be aware of what I am feeling, slowing down my mind and getting control of my emotions.

Tonight, I’m sitting down to read lesson 2:  The Second Key: Finding True Self-Esteem.  This is a short lesson that focuses on two concepts:

  1. Happiness comes from self-awareness and knowledge of your true self.  Being unhappy comes from confusing their self-image with their true self.
  2. Object-referral vs self-referral.

The idea here is to try to get to know your true self and rid yourself of the addiction to the feeling that happiness is connected to self-image.  Self-image is a product of what life’s situations, others, society and the environment around you, imposes upon you and it leads to ultimate unhappiness (need to make more money, do more things, have more things, etc.).  This is what object-referral is. It’s an addiction to creating an ego based on external factors.

So, we must learn to operate in self-referral mode vs object-referral mode allowing us to be more in touch with our true self and less concerned with self-image (ego).

“True being has five qualities, which does not depend on any external factors at all:

1. Your true being is connected to all that exists
2. It has no limitations
3. It has infinite creativity.
4. It is fearless, and willing to step into the unknown.
5. Intention from the level of being is powerful and can orchestrate synchronicity (a meshing of outside circumstances to bring about your intention.)” (Reinventing Happiness, DailyOm.com)

The lesson teaches that the contrasting five qualities of the ego identity are “completely rooted in the external rather than in the internal:
1. The ego needs outside validation in order to belong and have worth.
2. The ego fears that its helplessness will be exposed.
3. The ego prefers habit over creativity. 
4. The ego fears the unknown.
5. The ego assumes that without struggle, its needs would never be fulfilled.” (DailyOm.com)

As we learned in the first lesson, awareness is paramount.  This lesson piggybacks that theory by learning to engage in life through your true self and not falling prey to object-referral based, self-image habits and behaviors.

Something this lesson conveyed really resonated in me today, as I struggled deeply to not feel overwhelmed, stressed out and abandoned.

“And instead of repressing old thought patterns of neediness or dependency, we must allow ourselves to be with the feeling until it completely dissipates. When we keep doing this, we make sure that we will not fall into the same pattern over and over again because we remind ourselves with a new awareness that remembering old hurts does not help anyone.” (Reinventing Happiness, DailyOm.com).

In other words:  Don’t wallow.  Rather, be aware of what you’re feeling. Feel it.  Be with it. Let it go and realize staying in that negative space helps no one; especially not you.  Be with yourself with no judgement and no pressure from object-referral (outside pressures of expectations) and be with your true-self and move forward into it – whatever that feels like, or looks like for you.

We’re asked to observe ourselves in difficult situations, begin to be aware of our motivations, and to contemplate what moments we are acting on our ego versus our true self.  We’re asked to look at something that happened in the day and ponder: “What can you do in the future to increase the times when you are acting out of true self rather than self-image?”

There isn’t a single day I know I’m not operating in object-referral mode and pushing or judging myself, in self-image mode, based on what I think I should be accomplishing or doing in my life.  I know that the vast majority of people around me live this way too.  It’s so very hard to find that fine line between knowing your true self and living your life in that space and not offending people around you because you’re not subscribing to what they think you should be doing or how you should be living your life.

I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago.  If I had a quarter for every time I’ve said, “I haven’t made anything of myself…”, I’d be rich.  It is this very mentality I seek to change.

It’s a work in progress for sure but I know that awareness is indeed the first step. Then, put some of the observational techniques in place to breathe, feel, and let those negative self-image based feelings pass, so that you can make way for a healthier mindset and growth towards inner peace.

If anyone reads this and can relate, and would like to practice more mindful habits but gets stuck like me, please feel free to reach out.  I’m a firm believer in surrounding myself with like-minded, positive people, to set a new pattern and help to achieve a goal.

Peace-seekingly grateful for the support and community!

Meg

 

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Knowing Thyself

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Knowing Thyself

It’s been far too long since I’ve written here. Insightful maybe, that the last post I made was a Valentine’s post filled with innuendo about a new relationship. Three years later, because of where that journey has taken me and leads me now, I’m taking a course on Reinventing Happiness, (Deepak Chopra and Sonja Lyubomirsky, Reinventing Happiness, https://secure.dailyom.com).

I’m seeking answers to why I seem to lose myself in relationships. I’m also seeking to find a way to accept and find peace with the things in life I cannot change and to have the strength to change the things I know I need to. Deepak’s Eastern approaches to wellness have always promised to teach one how to master these things. Before a debate on western vs eastern philosophies and teachings ensues, rest assured, I hear the Serenity Prayer in what I say I’m seeking. This only cements for me the universal strings all religion and philosophies have and employ to seek inner peace, joy and happiness.

The introduction to the course is as follows:

“This course is divided into two parts. Part I is composed of 7 lessons and based on the book “The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment” by Deepak Chopra. Part II is composed of 8 lessons and based on the book “The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to getting the Life You Want” by Sonja Lyubomirsky. By combining the spiritual principles of happiness with the scientifically proven research behind happiness, this online course strives to offer a more holistic approach to your lasting joy and inner peace.” (Reinventing Happiness, http://www.DailyOM.com)

My 18-year-old son Nathan and I sat down together this morning and read through Lesson One – The First Key: Be Aware of Your Body. This is the introduction to the course. The goal of this lesson is to gain awareness of the mind/body connection and to take time out each day to be mindful of what your body is telling you. First we were instructed to write a statement of what our current state of happiness is, then to write a statement of intent on what we wish to achieve by the end of the course. We completed exercises in breathing to observe any discomforts without any judgment until they disappear. The lesson instructs us to “breathe deep anytime we feel distracted, overwhelmed, stressed, or overshadowed.”  This helps to build “awareness muscles” and states that it will benefit us and the people around us, for a lifetime. Finally the lesson asks us to take 20 minutes of alone time, in a comfortable position. We are to give our bodies permission to do whatever it wants (cry, sigh, feel the tension or discomforts that exist both physically and emotionally). In so doing, we are told this gives our bodies the space to heal and refresh itself. (www.DailyOm.com)

As a long-time massage therapist and believer in the mind/body connection, none of this sounds foreign or kooky to me. Nathan too, is a mindful and introspective person, so he’s on board and we write, breathe, observe and only I am utilizing the online community/discussion board to document my answers to the lessons.

Today, I observed:
1) Physical tension and discomfort (very mild but notable) in my face/sinus.
2) Right-sided neck and bilateral occipital tension, as well as top of head.
3) Left, lower, lateral arm, wrist and hand discomfort (joints generally achy).
4) Left, lower, lateral leg and ankle discomfort and a sort of throbbing spot around ankle.
5) Extremities cold (nose, hands, feet).
6) Spasm in right QL (Quadratus Lumborum/middle to low back, lateral edge). Just one.
7) Tinnitus in both ears (ringing).
8) Intermittent stomach gurgling – feeling a little hungry.

As I noted these things, about 10 minutes in, I decided to do some deep breathing to see if I noted any change in these discomforts. I noted mild reduction in discomfort around sinuses and left arm and ankle, but only while deep breathing. It returned when I stopped.

We are asked to post intent on how we plan to incorporate body awareness into our everyday life. My intention is to do this “body check” every night in bed and to remember to breathe deep during the day when I feel any physical or emotional discomfort to help train and build my “awareness muscles”.

Our next lesson is called, The Second Key:Find True Self-Esteem.

This course and many other awesome courses on mind/body and general well-being, can be found at https://www.dailyom.com/. You pay only what you can afford for the courses.

Check it out!

On my FaceBook Rant: Chivalry, Respect, Manners… Are They DEAD?

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Before I get into this, I just want to begin by saying, “All’s well that ends well”. Because it did. I have a lot of respect for people who take accountability for their actions and strive to work on themselves. Kudos for that. 🙂
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Last week I had an experience that raised and important social issue. This one is big. To me at least. I feel it should be to all of us, but that’s just me on my soap box. So pardon my suds, because I’m about to make some.  It’s about to get bubbly up in here.

I was parked at the school to pick Nathan up from soccer practice. I don’t know why I parked in this particular spot, but I pulled my Explorer, front end in first, into a spot, right next to a high cement wall. As soon as I did, I thought to myself, “that’s not a smart spot to need to pull out of”. I was only parked there for a few minutes before time to pull out and drive around the lot and circle around to the curb where I usually wait for him after practice. I started to very slowly pull out, being extra cautious, just because of the nature of the spot, when I heard a “zoomy” car come racing into the parking lot. I immediately hit the brakes and decided to wait, while I watched a sporty silver car with a young man and girl zip around the lot. As I continued to back out and circle around – and ultimately end up behind them in line to pick up Nathan – I put my vehicle in park and sat in wait. I had my sunglasses on and was just listening to music. The young man in the car in front of me opened his car door, leaned out and hollered at me, “What the fuck are youlooking at?” I couldn’t believe my ears! I felt both assaulted and wounded. I responded, “I’m not looking at anything honey, I’m just waiting for my son to finish up soccer practice” and took off my sunglasses. I was genuinely shocked at his confrontational tone and language. He told me to “shut the fuck up”. At that point, I got angry, because after he cussed at me the first time and I responded to him with kindness, he cussed me a second time, so now I was angry and wasn’t going to take his abuse, so I said, “You can’t talk to me that way! What’s your name?!” At which he promptly told me to “Shut the fuck up” a second time and sped out of the parking lot after retrieving one of Nathan’s teammates (his younger brother).

I was left with my mouth hanging open, my heart racing, and my mind absolutely blown. There in a car directly across from me was the father of one of the other boys, and 2 or 3 other mothers waiting to pick up their sons. The father sat in his car the entire time and did nothing. One of the mothers approached me as the kid spun off and drove away. She said she thought I knew him, that we were just joking around, and wasn’t sure if we were serious or not. I assured here it was no joke and that I was VERYupset. Two other mothers said they could tell something was going on from their cars but didn’t know what or who was involved until after it was all said and done.

I was so upset, I jumped out of my car with no shoes on and stomped up the hill to where some of the boys were still practicing. Nathan had forgotten I needed to get him a few minutes early that day, so I had to go retrieve him myself. On my way, one of the other teammates was sitting on the hill waiting for his ride and I was able to get the name of the kid who got in the car with the raging guy in the silver car, so I could call the parents to talk to them about what had happened.

I was still so upset by the time I got home, I wasn’t sure if I should wait to calm down to call, or call while I still had the nerve and was upset enough to do it. I didn’t want to make things awkward for Nathan or for us and the other soccer moms and dads for the rest of the high school soccer season, but there was no way I could let this go without saying something. If that was Nathan talking to one of his teammates’ parents that way, I’d be mortified and he’d be one sorry kid! So, I called. Before I did, I told Nathan what had happened. He was upset about it and thought I should talk to the father because he’d be harder on the kid than the mom. Kevin advised me to talk to the mother – mom-to-mom. I ended up taking Kev’s advice. I knew she’d talk to her husband anyway. She was mortified and the end result is, the following day, I got a phone call from the guy, apologizing. He explained he has anger issues. He also explained that when he came around the corner that day and saw me pulling out, he thought I was going to hit his new car. I reminded him, how fast he was driving. So fast, he was “squealing wheels” in the parking lot with way too many kids around… I told him that I could understand how he could have thought I may not have seen him, but I certainly heard him coming and had already stopped backing out to let him go by. I thanked him very much for calling, told him it meant a lot to me that he did and that I realized it probably wasn’t an easy thing to do. It showed a level of maturity I wasn’t sure the guy had, but know now he’s working on. His parents are really nice people and clearly are trying hard with him. I learned a few days later that he’s a pretty hard-working guy, who is working to pay for that car on his own because he wanted a nicer car than the one his family could provide. He’s 19 – just trying to work out some kinks… I’m hoping he gets there.

What really bothered me about this scenario was the lack of support I got while this event took place – especially on the part of the man who watched it all go down. I’m aware people don’t like to get involved in other people’s business anymore for fear of retaliation, law suits, personal harm that may come to them, etc… but quite honestly, I think this airs on the impish side. I’m sorry. Go on and judge me, since I’m judging here – it’s OK. I just do. I’m a damn GIRL and I’ll step up and DO and SAY and take ACTION if I KNOW something isn’t right or someone’s in trouble. I’d rather get in trouble for standing up for something I know is right than let something wrong happen and have done nothing at all to try to stop it. I guess I have my limits, if I’m being honest. I wouldn’t get in the middle of gun fight, that’s for sure – or a hold up in a grocery store. But if I saw a domestic violence thing going down, I’d make a call. If I saw someone getting bullied or messed with, I’d assess the situation and see if it was safe for me to do something about it. If it wasn’t, I’d call the cops, or look for someone else to help.

What are you willing to stand up for? What are your limits?  Comment here and let me know!