Zen & Now

I’m reading Zen Path Through Depression.  At the end of each chapter it has a suggested meditation to follow.  I haven’t had the space to do that lately.  It’s not like my Simply Being App which is just sitting and listening to the woman talking, which is simply easy, has done me a world of good when I remember.  It requires the listener to blank out ones mind and focus on the moment.  If thoughts creep in, let them creep out, notice everything around you (with your eyes shut, of course).  I’m not ready, I don’t think, to not have a guide with me to keep me on the path of meditation and not getting snarled in a bunch of dark and spiky thoughts which are always toed-up to the line to jump in and distract me. 

What I found really interesting was that Zen requires a focus spot and to imagine yourself up on a huge hill, feel the air and the freedom and the expanse.  Then you invite your depression into the meditation and take a good look at it.  This is where I’m lost.  I have no idea what depression looks like.  I thought it was like a big sucking black hole of hopelessness or some sort of snarling animal that wants to, at any weak moment, devour me whole.  I realize I have to identify it, name it and then tame it into a space where I retain the lessons learned from it but our of the way and reach so  it can no longer leach time and bar my talents from expression.  I’ve been a firm believer that if you don’t learn your lessons from life you are doomed to live the same trial over and over again until you master it.  I feel like I’m finally pushing through.

There’s this story that I know that gives me hope that my trials will be for good:

“Once there was a man, thin, weak and penniless.  He pled with God to help him.  God responded with “My son, push on this rock,” So the man set to the task of pushing the rock every day.  He would get up push on the rock, go home, eat and get up and do it all over again.  After a while the man is no longer thin or weak but he had huge muscles on his arms and abdomen and chest.  He threw his arms up to go and said “Why do you have me pushing around this rock when it’s too heavy for me to move by myself.  God responds back with “Oh, my son, I never told you to move the rock, just push.  Now you are ready to do that which I have chosen for you.”

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and every one of us, and it has a lot of trials in it.  One way to look at it is the greater the trials the greater His love and the greater good you are meant to do in the world.  He never forgets us, never throws us under the bus for a greater person because we are His, and He loves us each unconditionally and individually.  I don’t always feel that in my life, but it helps to know it’s true.

Closed for Business

Okay, so I’ve been hunkered down getting my New Years Resolutions together for the new year. This is one thing OCD is good for…organizing thoughts on paper and then trying to achieve the different tasks that are assigned each year. I will do a post later where I outline my mental/emotional goals. The overriding goal for the year is to be HEALTHY. I want to pull myself out of myself and try to re-engage in life and to no longer be a afraid of it. It will take some time, and I’m aware of this. I think with all the internal deconstruction I’ve done to turn myself inside out to be among the world would be like exposing a third degree burn to the sun on the hottest day in July. Much, much too painful. But I’m taking baby steps.

I’ve discovered if I make my bed in the morning I won’t crawl back into it at the first chance. I learned yesterday that it needs to be done while the bed is still warm otherwise I snuggle back into it. If I can find comfort outside of my bed to make me feel safe then I will become stronger. I’m not saying their won’t be bad days ever again where the only place I’m safe is my bed, but I’m saying in general, until the sky starts to fall again, my bed is closed  for business. Mom, of course, is thrilled I’m following her example (well, her helper person makes her bed). To her doing things like that means that I’m all better, not still in the process.

The other step I’m taking is trying to get my room organized and to keep it organized. For example, I want to turn part of my room into a yoga/Meditation space. But that is the space that I normally drop my clothes when I change out of my work attire. So, I’m training myself to change on the other side of the bed, tear down the pillows and fold back the comforter before I walk around and turn off the light. If I choose to leave my clothes on the floor, I can, or if I choose to put them in the sorting hamper, it’s totally up to me, but I will have my meditation/yoga/Zumba space if it kills me.

As for the near future, I am going to try and participate in Lent again. I didn’t do it last year because it’s not something I regularly do. So this year, instead of giving up anything I’m adding meditation and showering to my schedule. I know, showering is a strange thing to put down, but I’ve not been showering as much as I should and I want to fix it. So maybe if I do it every day for six week is something might stick….instead of stink.

Crazy + Christmas = Anxiety

I started my weekend before Christmas with a disturbing night of my heart trying to pound its way out of my chest, bringing with it images of me going to the ER, and trying to convince them I didn’t want to die, I wanted them to find out what was wrong but things just kept going wrong. I tossed a little and my heart settled down briefly before it would start again. I overslept, afraid to get out of bed.  Dressed in a dress that I used to wear to church and collapsed on the couch.  I was supposed to do so many things in preparation for the Holiday but I was torn between doing what I was supposed to do or go to the ER and get checked out.  To be cautious I took my pills, the blood pressure and anti-anxiety and anti-depressant.  It alleviated some, but I swear to you my chest was sore, and I wasn’t breathing deeply (although when I wanted to I could) I was sure I was going to die.

For someone who has the odd insensibility to take a serrated blade diagonally across my left wrist, dying of something I couldn’t control would be a blessing of sorts….right?  I realized I didn’t want to die.  I have been having too many ideas for books and things that I can do with my limited funds and time.  I was convinced in my terror that I was going to die.

When my sister came home with Mom and Mom had to run to the bathroom we had a few minutes alone.  I expressed to her my fear and then the floodgates broke and I cried.  I didn’t want to, I wanted to keep everything in.  Keeping everything in isn’t always the best way and just the brief amount of time I cried on her shoulder did a world of good.  I still felt frail and I wasn’t keen on the idea of driving to San Francisco and having an anxiety attack in the car or in my friend’s car or anywhere actually.  I missed church the next day, again afraid that I wouldn’t be able to not break down again.  I used the excuse that I didn’t have appropriate clothes, but we all know Heavenly Father loves us if we wear the wrong clothes to church, but I didn’t want to get out of my bed.

I survived the Christmas festivities with the family on Christmas Eve, and then the Dr. Who Christmas Special with friends on Christmas evening.  I’m back a work now, able to be back on my schedule of shots and pills and knowing that things will be okay if I just stay stalwart on that path.  I need to meditate.  I need to find things for myself.  Mom can join me, but I won’t pay for her and I won’t stay home unless she asks me.  I don’t ever want to be overwhelmed by Anxiety like that again.  It wasn’t a needful Christmas present.

OOOOOhhhhhhhmmmmmmm

Meditation. It pretty much says it all. I was incredulous at first. You hear about all these Born-Again Hippies chanting and making their lives better. How it’s the next weight loss fad. So, yes, I jumped on the fad-wagon and tried it. I don’t know what I was going to expect. Let me explain:

I had gone through a horrible patch where I wanted to just take a knife or scissors or something and just stab my thigh over and over again, thinking that would fix it or maybe cause me to feel something other than anger and disgust and anguish at my life. I settled for just pressing really, really hard with my needle and insulin and I ended up with huge rings of bruises on my thighs. It didn’t really help. Mom got her feelings hurt and her little tantrum really didn’t help either. But given time, and almost three months to pull myself back out of the whirling dervish of the emotional storm and get myself back on the voids edge. I’m still dealing with the set backs. It scared me suitably enough for me to go back to talk therapy at 7:00am Wednesday mornings. It’s helping. Right now we’re trying to figure out why I just don’t want to shower any more. I wash my hair when I absolutely have to, but beyond that, nothing. I am trying to do better, I really am.

I downloaded a about a year ago on our Kindle the “Simply Being” It’s a very simply guided meditation that doesn’t stress you out about not being able to hold your thoughts at bay long enough to do a 10 minute meditative session. I’m doing 20 minutes. The first couple of times I felt myself relax and a very agreeable and pleasant relaxation sort of just covered me. Lately it’s been a struggle. But doing it, whether or not it’s been successful or not has been a boon. I’ve been able to turn off the gushing spigot of anger when it hits me, I’m able to be patient when my mother is driving me up a wall with all her little requests and her ever so obvious mis-directed requests so she can get me to do things for her. For example, ask me to come from my room to see what I’m doing then asking me if I could get her water, dinner, desert, or whatever she needs at the time. (It’s almost funny, she really thinks I can’t see through it.)

My goal is to no longer need guided meditation, to have an hour a day to just relax and turn off my brain. Between that and the pain medication I’m taking for my stomach, I’m sleeping so much better, which again, aids in keeping my emotions in check. Although, I will say, I’m still susceptible to outbursts. I need to watch out for them. It’s silly, I know to believe I can completely eradicate all the anger and hatred in my life right now through 20 minutes of introspection three times a week, but I’m willing to give it a try.

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