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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – My Struggle, My Story

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I have put off writing this post for a long, loonnng time. Not because I am afraid people will think I am a freak but because I want to portray this behavior accurately and maybe even help just one person who also struggles and can relate to what I speak of.

We all have a story – a part of us that we can choose to share or choose to protect and keep hidden. I finally feel as though I can share the raw, gritty details of my anxiety disorder even if it feels as though I am ripping off a Band-Aid to a wound that is always at the surface.

So now that I have finished procrastinating I am ready to finally share a chapter of my story. First let me give you some background…

I grew up in a loving home in a teeny tiny town with two working parents and an older brother. We always had what we needed but not a lot of the extra, fancy stuff. We had more than enough though. My Mom was a pretty decent housekeeper and like any parent who works full time there were the occasional times where things got messy and untidy. My parents were quite traditional in that Mom did the majority of the cooking and cleaning and dad did more of the yard and vehicle maintenance. As a small child I always liked things neat and tidy. We didn’t have a ton of stuff, definitely not many brand new things; even a large portion of my wardrobe were hand-me-downs from my cousins (I was the youngest). I didn’t mind though. I just liked my home and my belongings to be in order. I found myself always looking through catalogs and getting rid of the ones that expired, I put things neatly in piles, I was always looking to get rid of food that was past its prime and I enjoyed vacuuming, (I still do!) I liked things in straight lines and symmetry was my friend. Then there was my room. My parents NEVER had to tell me to clean or pick up my room. I wanted my closet to be organized and would only keep the clothes that fit and so I hung them according to type and even colour. Ok now this is the part where you might think I am insane; that’s ok. I would also space my hangers evenly because I thought that it looked neater. My dresser, bedside table and bookcase would always have a clean and uncluttered look. I would never, ever have clothing, garbage or items that were not put away. My posters were carefully placed on my walls symmetrically. I was constantly trying to make my room look nice. Only when I thought it looked perfect was when my mind could rest.

I loved reading and art. Ahhh, art was a passion of mine. I also played piano, loved my dance classes, and played the odd sport. I found school projects would take a long time for me. It wasn’t that I didn’t do them. I was quite eager to please, it was just very stressful and I was a perfectionist – and then some. My grades were usually average or above. Not because anything came easy to me but because I worked my ass off for every mark that I got. Like I said I loved art, I even took an advanced art class by correspondence. Any poster or project that I ever did took me hours upon hours to complete. I would draw and erase and draw and erase. I was meticulous with shading and tried to get everything looking as life-like as possible. Some might say that the process was pain-staking. I don’t think that anyone noticed how school work gnawed at me at times. I got my work done and I did fine so no one paid much attention.

It wasn’t just about order and neatness for me. A big part of my life has been worry over this and that. Sometimes things that one might consider worthy of worry and much that people wouldn’t think twice about. I would and still do agonize over many things – comments, things that have hurt me, even other people’s issues. I do not take lightly to anyone hurting those that I love – call me loyal or call me the grudge. But when I was hurt I felt it and still do for a long, long time. 

It is interesting now that I think about it. I always enjoyed going to my friend’s house SO much. I didn’t care what their home or rooms looked like. Their messiness didn’t bother me… unless it was extreme chaos. I felt like I could relax. I didn’t have to think about things being in order because it wasn’t my stuff. I have always offered to help clean up though, I still do. Sometimes I will just start doing dishes at my friends’ houses after a meal. I never want to be a burden. My hubby says that isn’t necessary but I look at it as helpful. The way I look at it, is if someone is kind enough to invite me to their home for a meal then the least I can do to show thanks is help clean up. That is partly my upbringing too.

As I grew up and got my own home and had children suddenly things got a little more complicated. I wanted my home to remain clean and tidy with everything put away in its place. We all know that is easier when you are alone but with the addition of more people under one roof things become more complicated. They don’t clean up the way you think they should or even at all. I was becoming agitated when my son was making ‘messes’ with his toys, or when my husband was not helping out with chores to my standards. I was literally picking up toys behind my little boy. All. Day. Long. My husband, bless his heart would get frustrated with me as he felt like I was just going to go behind him and re-do anything that he had tried to help with. I would sometimes point these things out. That was hurtful to him. I would refold the laundry. I would also re-clean in all the nooks and crannies that I felt he missed. I understand why this would be upsetting to him, yet I could not (sometimes I still can’t) leave it alone. We have even joked that I would be really good at being one of the basic training officers in the Military with a white glove, going around and inspecting the recruits’ rooms. Making sure that everything was ship-shape. The truth of the matter is there have been frustrations on both sides. I have been a puddle of tears many-a-day over things that I know should not be a worry – things that most ‘normal’ people don’t think twice about. I have had days where I want to call-in sick and stay under the covers and just not face the day and all of the constant harping thoughts in my head. It can be exhausting. Some days it can be a chore just to get out the door as I cannot leave until everything is done. 

I admit I have some crazy habits. (This is the part of my story where you will think I am a freak.) Deep breath. Here I go… I like to run my hands over the counter tops and feel a smooth surface with no crumbs. If I feel like they are too dirty then everything gets moved off of them and I clean them from the back splash to the edge of the counters which often leads to wiping my cupboards. I sweep and vacuum regularly – sometimes daily. It honestly depends on the day and what is weighing on my mind at the time. Sometimes it is counters, sometimes it is a project, sometimes it is errands or items out of place. I try not to get too busy because the overwhelming feeling is almost unbearable. It suffocates me. I have wondered what it would be like to not have the obsessions and compulsions. I can’t imagine how freeing it would be.

So you probably guessed that I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Here is the official definition as per anxietybc.com.

“Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that affects about 1-2% of the population. People with OCD experience both obsessions and compulsions.

  • Obsessions are unwanted and disturbing thoughts, images, or impulses that suddenly pop into the mind and cause a great deal of anxiety or distress.
  • Compulsions are deliberate behaviors (e.g. washing, checking, ordering) or mental acts (e.g. praying, counting, repeating phrases) that are carried out to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessions.”

I was once informed by a Counselor that we all have some OCD tendencies. Many of us have habits or things that we like done in a certain way. You may have to load the dishwasher a certain way, put your groceries on the belt in the store a certain way or fold your laundry exactly the way you like it. When you have OCD it’s not a matter of having a few habits. It is also about the thoughts that play over and over in your mind until they are ‘dealt’ with. In other words if I see something that is out of place it might be on my mind over and over until I put it back where I think it should be. It doesn’t just go away on its own. It can be quite stressful for me especially if I am tired and don’t have the energy to get it done. But I do, no matter the time. <Cue frustration with my family who don’t see ‘the problem’.>

You may think then why do you let these things happen?  Well OCD can be a debilitating disorder. I put on a pretty good front and joke about it at times. Most of my friends laugh about it and say that I should go to their homes and clean. Often I take it in stride and it doesn’t bother me – there is the odd time that it does. I don’t think many people understand the ins and outs of it. Sometimes when we think of OCD we think of the person that washes their hands repetitively until they are raw. But there are so many forms of it. I should also add that I don’t always let it get the ‘best’ of me but sometimes I feel like I can’t control the beast. 

This is adapted from the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health

Common Obsessions

When the fears reflected in the following obsessions are experienced, they usually result in immediate anxiety. Some of the more common obsessions are:

Contamination

  • fear of contamination by dirt, germs, or other diseases (for example, by shaking hands)
  • fear of own bodily fluids

Repeated Doubting

  • fear of not having done a specific act that could result in harm (for example, turning off the stove, hurting someone in a traffic accident or leaving a door unlocked)
  • making a mistake

Ordering

  • fear that things will not be “just right” and become distressed when things are shifted or touched
  • focus on exactness and order

Religious

  • fear of having blasphemous thoughts
  • preoccupation with religious images and thoughts

Aggressive

  • fear of harming oneself (for example, while eating with a knife or a fork, handling sharp objects or walking near glass windows)
  • fear of harming others (for example, poisoning people’s food, harming babies, pushing someone in front of a train or hurting someone’s feelings)
  • fear of blurting out obscenities in public

Sexual

  • forbidden or unwanted sexual thoughts, images or urges
  • fear of being homosexual

Compulsions

Most people who experience obsessions engage in extreme rituals, or compulsions. Acting out these compulsions does not give them pleasure, but it can help them feel less anxious or distressed. Compulsions can be very rigid and involve elaborate steps. They are either not realistically connected with what they are meant to stop or they are extreme beyond reason. Although by no means an exhaustive list, common compulsions include:

Cleaning/Washing

  • washing hands too often or in a ritualized way; showering; bathing; brushing teeth; grooming a lot or having detailed toilet routines; cleaning household items or other objects
  • avoiding objects and situations considered “contaminated”

Checking

  • checking that you don’t harm others or yourself; checking that nothing terrible happens; checking that you don’t make mistakes

Ordering/Arranging

  • making sure things are just right, or are consistent with a specific rule, such as bed sheets or notes on the desk

Hoarding

  • collecting seemingly useless items, such as paper, magazines, towels, bottles or pieces of garbage
  • unable to throw these same things away

OCD

It is unknown as to what causes OCD. Some think that it may be genetic (which I am unsure of as I am adopted). Recently research has identified that people with OCD have low serotonin levels. It is one of the brain’s chemical messengers that transmit signals between brain cells. Serotonin plays a role in the regulation of mood, aggression, impulse control, sleep, appetite, body temperature and pain. All of the medicines used to treat OCD raise the levels of serotonin available to transmit messages. Some other studies say that the brain activity is different in people with this disorder. All I know is there doesn’t seem to be a clear answer.

So what can we do? It wasn’t that long ago when doctors thought that this disorder was untreatable. Cognitive and behavioural therapy and medication (anti-depressants) are a couple of ways that people seek help. I cannot speak for either though I am learning about them with research. Many people with OCD benefit from supportive counselling in addition to treatments aimed at reducing the symptoms of OCD. Individuals may see a therapist one-on-one, or they may involve the partner, spouse or family in counselling. Group therapy (with people who have similar concerns) can also help. There are options which is encouraging.

I just want people to know that they are not alone. Though it can feel like it at times; like you are a prisoner of your own thoughts. It is not hopeless. You should not feel ashamed. You are worthy. Seek help with a specialist that understands anxiety disorders. Find a support group and surround yourself with people who accept you know matter what.

happiness

For me the pain isn’t gone nor is the sadness, the tightness in the chest, the palpitations when something is weighing on me. Yes my loved ones have been victim to the wrath of getting in my way to get things done. Yes I have yelled, screamed, cried and freaked out. There is no cure but each day is a new day with new possibilities and I know that those closest to me love me anyways. I will continue to try every single day to keep the upset to a minimum. I know I have come a long way and still have a ways to go. I know that I can take this curse and turn it into a gift as I have with helping others strive to get out of their chaos and get more organized. I can take each day as it comes and look forward to the possibilities instead of dreading the worst. I. Am. Me. And I too am deserving of a life that is valuable.

If anyone out there reading this, thanks for stopping by to ‘hear’ my story. If you have anything to share I would love to listen.

Hugs and happiness,

Krystal

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Just Tomato Soup

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“What’s for supper”

A text message from my daughter interrupts my work just I’m about to finish up for the day. Annoyed, I ignore it, though I am dying to reply “idk, what are YOU making?” but I let the moment pass since it doesn’t serve either of us. I do ponder yet again why I don’t have the kids make more meals…and why I have kids in the first place.

I’m tired today. Some days, I just want to go home and curl up with a good book and fall asleep at 8. Some days I crave it so badly it brings a tear to my eye when I realize I just can’t today. I let that moment pass too.

I walk home and trip over everyone’s shoes at the front door. Then I grab my other mitts and shovel for the next half hour, listening to my music. I feel the cold air on my exposed face. It feels good to feel my heart pounding and I hear nothing else but my music and the scrape of the shovel. I could get them off their butts to help me. Yes, they should have had it done before I got home. I let them have their space and I greedily take mine. Outside, no one in my head or my ear. Just me and the winter. And the day melts away.

Back inside, I am asked again “What’s for supper?”

“Tomato soup and grilled cheese” I reply.

Yep, just tomato soup. No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal. No old family recipe that I’ve been making for ages. Nothing that will find it’s way to a Pinterest board. Just tomato soup.

No Facebook-worthy vegetarian gourmet meal, just tomato soup.

 

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I pull out the relatively expensive box of amazing organic tomato soup that I didn’t make myself but discovered that everyone loves. I start to warm it on the stove. I cut up the delicious Gouda cheese, and a little bit of the jalapeno Havarti. I slather butter on one side of some yummy, soft rye bread I bought yesterday. I grab a few slices of the ham I bought for lunches. I assemble and cook them into toasted, melty goodness and pour the soup into bowls. Cucumber slices circle the plates and I deliver them to children who stop what they are doing to exclaim “Thanks Momma!”

I love it when they are like little kids again. Gleeful, calling me “Momma”, full of excitement and gratefulness for one of their favorite comfort foods. It fills my heart more than the winter air did. We sit together and visit about any little thing that comes to their heads. I crumble exactly 5 perfect plain crackers into my soup. I’ve always done it that way. Exactly 5, gathered together and lovingly crushed and sprinkled into my tomato soup. And I am 13 again too. With my own Momma and brother and sisters, talking about nothing and everything all at once.

I love it when they are like little kids again.

Melty cheese is stuck to her chin and we laugh. I quickly make another for him. Suddenly I realize that he is taller than me and finally I understand why he’s always scrounging for something else to eat! My heart aches a little as I think about how quickly their older brother grew and now makes his own tomato soup in a different house, thankfully, not too far away. But away, just the same. My tomato soup silly evenings are disappearing fast.

I am savoring every moment with them, every simple slurp of their teen lives and the melty bites in between where they allow me to be their “Momma” even for a minute. Hugging me with my head on their shoulders now that they are so much bigger than me. I relish every complaint about the beautiful meals I make them that they like less because someday, I will be eating without them.

I am savoring every moment with them

It doesn’t matter what we eat. It matters HOW we eat. Take in every morsel with exuberance and with attention to who you are with. Put down your damn phone and be with the food. Be with them. Be with yourself for a few minutes. Indulge yourself with the expensive favorite dessert, the steak dinner that he made for you, the bowl of cereal you manage to squeeze into your morning, the apple at your desk.

Feel every single piece of life that it has to offer. No criticism, no guilt, no remorse that it could have been healthier, cheaper, easier, more gourmet. Just eat.

Tomato soup simple. Just tomato soup. Just for today.

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One Day, One Step, One Moment at a Time

It has been a bit of a whirl wind of a week. In fact since school has been back in things have gotten a bit crazier. Do you feel it too?

We all know that getting back into a routine can be difficult. Just remember that it can be tough on us as well as the kiddos. By day 3 of school last week Facebook seemed to be a buzz with parents discussing how tired their children were; we felt that here as well. It seems one minute we are basking in the sunshine of summer, kids are playing outside, and meals are whatever, whenever. The next moment kids and us are having to get up early and we are back to work/routines as per regular hours. Add to that a bombardment of school papers coming home, fundraisers (already!), volunteer work, as well as extracurricular activities (for us and the children) starting up.

I used to get very overwhelmed by it all. Yes I do enjoy a bit of structure but boy how I miss my bare feet on the grass. I enjoy being able to jump in the car with the kids to go exploring, sleeping in that little bit longer – well you get the point. But alas seasons change, times change, schedules change and we are back at it.

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I just want to let you know dear souls that you do not have to do it all. Do only what speaks to your heart. I know, I know easier said than done. Simplifying our lives means that we need to take a step back and re-evaluate. I encourage each of you to think about what brings you joy and fulfills what you need at this time. For me it is to feel connected and nourish those relationships close to me. If you are involved with several committees and having trouble having any energy left to bring back to your home (the place that should be the most comfortable, stable, loving place) then step away from the ones that you can no longer give your time to. If you are running out the door every evening, all evening and every person is out of sorts despite your best efforts of taxiing them there and funding their activity then realize that maybe someone or some activity needs to give.

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It is perfectly fine to not do it all. You do not have to feel guilty (I know – easier said than done). But really you don’t. Unless an activity brings you happiness; why are you doing it? I recently read this (Adapted from Michael Hyatt – Intrinsic Motivation). “Author and researcher Marcus Buckingham was surprised with research he did at Gallup that showed that women’s happiness had plummeted over the last forty years—the exact opposite of men” (See Find Your Strongest Life).He devoted himself to figuring out what made the happiest women happy. He found that the happiest women tended to focus on the few areas where they excelled. If a woman loved marathons, she didn’t waste her time on home decorating. If she enjoyed studying rocket-science, she didn’t focus on entertaining friends. You get the idea.”

Yesterday I had this great plan to work my day, go to book club, have the kiddos try out a class with a friend, work out put kiddos to bed. There was also the school BBQ and Meet the Teacher Night which I had already decided would not work for us (not a big deal) as I have already met the teacher as my other two kids also had her for a teacher and I am more than familiar with the school. Fairly standard day right? Yeah…so work went late, which meant I missed book club, a buddy stopped over which meant  we missed workout. Kids to bed on time? Well…not quite. But I didn’t stress about it because by taking each moment and realizing that I can only do what I can do I was able to roll with it and do the things that I could do to the best of my abilities.

Quite simply even if you were 100% organized, life has a funny way of throwing curve balls at you. Just roll with it sistah! Do the best that you can. With the time that you have. Every day.

I just wanted to send you a virtual hug; or if you aren’t so much a hugger let’s pound it. If you are feeling overwhelmed right now with decisions, papers, work, classes, tired kids, you are not alone. Hang in there. Words of advice from the SLC Gals Simplify Life’s Celebrations, Celebrate the Simple Life. In other words don’t make your life so complicated that you cannot enjoy life’s every day pleasures – the simple things. 🙂

simple things

 

Enjoy your day and all of the simple things that go with it!

k

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Flip Those Disorganized Moments

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Disorganized Moment

I didn’t get my legs shaved in the shower this morning

Flip to an Organized Moment:

I’m wearing pants today anyway and this will give me an excuse for a relaxing bath later!

Disorganized:

I forgot to get envelopes for the mail I need to mail today.

Organized:

They have some at the post office and I only want two anyway instead of a whole box.

Disorganized:

I missed getting Lucas new shoes for school

Organized:

He doesn’t really care and we’ll shop local which is better anyway.

Disorganized:

I didn’t get any social media posts done up last night.

Organized:

I did get a lot of other work done that I wanted to do and then took a much needed break which made me much more ready and able to face a new week (and I got a shower idea anyway because my mind was clear!)

Disorganized:

I didn’t leave enough time to go and buy a coffee.

Organized:

I have coffee at home and a very handsome hubby who made one for me anyway! Plus I saved money!

These are just a few examples of those frustrating moments where you can choose to have a little freak out and over-reaction (which, yes, I have done) or you can choose to flip it around and see the “silver lining” as the saying goes. We are all disorganized and imperfect. It’s about time we chill out, don’t you think? I choose freedom and peace instead.

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What are some of your disorganized moments that you turned around and changed your attitude about? Fess up in the comments!

Want to turn over one of those frustrating “to-do list” things to someone else, like meal planning? We’ve got it covered for you in Badass in the Kitchen Meal Planning. We do it for you. Read more here: Badass in the Kitchen

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Cleaning the Bathroom Sucks…and Other To Do List Problems

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There are just some tasks that really suck, don’t you think? Like cleaning the bathroom. It just gets dirty the instant you walk out the door. A-L-L…T-H-E…T-I-M-E!! You just look at the bathroom the wrong way and it’s dirty again! Having kids getting older was supposed to make it easier! The mess is just bigger, that’s all.

As you sit down with your gargantuan Saturday “to-do list” and a cup of coffee, decide which tasks will best serve your highest purpose. What will make you FEEL good (or at least better).

 

Is there stuff on there that you can just say, you know, I really don’t care that the book shelf gets dusted today, it doesn’t actually bother me that they’re a little dusty. I’d rather read one of them for a little while out on my sunny deck! Would that be more in line with how YOU want to feel today?

Are you cleaning things because “you’re supposed to” according to some “rules” someone created? Are you cleaning things just for the sake of cleaning them? Do you actually read or even want the books on the shelves? If not, wouldn’t your time be better spent gathering them up, donating or selling them and leaving that space for something else that you love (and doesn’t need dusted as much)? Gasp! What if you even were able to get rid of the whole shelf entirely? Then you wouldn’t have to dust it ever again! Hmmmm…..Less stuff to dust; less dusting! How would that make you feel?

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What about that bathroom?…it has to be cleaned for sanitary reasons. I get that. But, if cleaning the bathroom causes you stress, can it be delegated? Perhaps we need to let someone help us…perhaps we can let go of the need to be the only one who does everything around the house (I’ve never said that…yeah right, Miss Martyr…being a martyr feels so great….NOT!)

Maybe it can be less perfectly cleaned by someone else, and you can feel better about asking for help and allowing that you don’t have to do everything. (What!!??! I don’t have to do everything myself? Oh, but the taps won’t be perfectly sparkling! Have you ever taken the time to show someone else how to do it? Ummmm no, I haven’t, because that’s too hard…uh huh…so….it’s easier to freak out about having to clean the bathroom myself all the time? Hmmmmm….maybe not…)

If it can’t be delegated for whatever reason, then what about a different approach in how we FEEL about cleaning it. Can we change our attitude?

Yep, my attitude is in MY control. I can spend the morning being pissed off that I have to clean the bathroom again or I can approach it differently. I love how the mirror looks when there are no tooth brush crime-scenes splatted all over it. I can stop and admire that hot momma in the clean mirror when it’s done.

 

I can pull out the “good towels” and enjoy a clean, luxurious bath in the clean bathtub later when it’s all done. Clean the tub for ME! I love the smell of a clean bathroom. It just makes me feel good. How about I focus on that instead?

Or what if I got rid of all these almost empty bottles sitting on the counter/ledge so that it’s way easier to quickly clean these areas. I can control what’s in my bathroom. If there are a ton of knick knacks that always get dirty, why am I keeping them there? Do I even like them? If not, let’s simplify this whole bathroom cleaning job! That makes me feel waaaayyy better about cleaning the bathroom.

These are the ramblings of a to-do-list-aholic. Over the years, I’ve re-evaluated the whole idea of them and how I approach my list. I do still get a little Martyr-Crazy and scream and yell, but not as often. This is a process, not perfection. Join me today as you look at that list. Try just re-thinking ONE thing on the list:

  1. Re-evaluate – does it really need to get done NOW?
  2. Delegate – do you HAVE to be the one to do this?
  3. Re-frame – can you change how you approach this task?

Please let me know how this goes for you. Your To-Do list doesn’t have to make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. It can make you feel good. Feeling good is what life is all about in my opinion. #DesireMap

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UN-Motivated

You know what I’ve noticed this school break? I haven’t got very many of my “projects” done that I planned. At first, I was annoyed with myself, thinking that it’s because I’ve been feeling UN-motivated…and that I’ve been “lazy”.

However, what I’ve realized today is that I’ve really enjoyed this time WITHOUT getting those things done. Instead, I’ve spent a lot of time with my kids and with friends. I’ve been doing little things around the house that I thought were project ‘avoidance’ tasks but now I’ve realized were little things that were bugging me (eg. the recycling yesterday). I’ve slept more too.

Most of all, I’ve been spending time just in my head. Not really thinking about anything, just in the quiet space, turned off and tuned in. Not really consciously meditating, but turned off from all the projects and books and ideas and to-do’s and songs that are normally flying around in my head. They just haven’t been there. It was worrying me. What if I was missing out? What if those things don’t get done? It’s hard to just let them sit there without the accompanying guilt filling me up. I am letting it go, how could I face myself knowing that I wasn’t getting stuff done?

Maybe it’s my hubby’s zen vibes he’s sending me from Costa Rica. We’ve been emailing back and forth and I can already feel how changed he is. Maybe it’s the spring trying to peek out from the long cold winter. Maybe it’s just me, feeling a little burned out; but it doesn’t feel like my usual burn out I’ve felt before.

Maybe this UN-motivation isn’t anything sinister. Maybe it’s just me making space for the changes that are coming. Changes that I don’t even know about. Maybe it’s just time to embrace whatever happens WHENEVER it happens. Life is just too bloody short to fret about what I’m supposed to do next; even if those are things I love to do. Maybe it’s a little reminder to just be here in this moment whether the moment is filled with something or not. It’s just a moment. And it’s mine to do with whatever I will or even won’t do. I choose right now, today, this way. And that’s totally OK, no matter what it looks like.

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Meditate – Eyes Open

I’ve been exploring a different way to meditate and I am in love!

Sometimes, I find it hard to sit with my eyes closed and observe my thoughts. I’m often tempted to open them to make sure no one is there. I guess I’m still working on that trust thing.

However, with this new meditation program I’m doing, it “fits” better with me. So far, it’s less about the “ooommm’s” and more about intention in the moment. It’s more about FOCUS – with my eyes open. Focus isn’t easy, but so far, doing it this way works way better. This example in the picture is focusing on the word on the page. Listening and being absorbed in each line as I create it. Being aware of the word coming to life as my pen moves across the page. Focusing on something like that, I am less distracted. I am actually focused!

I wanted to share this really wonderful idea with you today. If you struggle with taking the time for you; with taking the time with “meditation” (or have any ‘fears’ around doing something like that); I highly recommend Annika’s program. It’s something different and a comfort for me in the wee hours of the morning to help me focus my day. Plus, she has a beautiful voice to soothe your soul 🙂 Visit Eyes Open from Annika Martins to sign up!

Do you have any recommendations for meditation? What kinds of “tools” do you use? I’m always open to trying new things! Let us know in the comments!

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Happiness Is…

Recently, it was International Happiness Day. A day to celebrate what makes us happy. The point of the day, in my opinion, is to notice the little things and…most of all…

So many of us rush around getting things done, being stressed out, keeping up with everyone else. We have more things, but we are less happy. We are sick and tired, yet most of us have everything we’ve ever dreamed of. And then some.

I was looking at old home movies on the weekend and I noticed something. I wasn’t very happy. I noticed how happy my kids were with simple things like playing gymnastics on the couch cushions or sliding around the kitchen floor in their socks or just playing playdough. I noticed that I was always cleaning or constantly moving from one thing to the next and our house was full of STUFF. I was very overweight and dressed (if I was dressed at all) in clothes that did not flatter me. At one point, I heard my hubby sweetly ask me what he could do to help and I told him he didn’t have to – that I would do it all.

It was an eye-opening glimpse into how far I’ve come. This was perfect timing for me because I still have days – like Friday last week – where I think that I’m not good enough. Days where I struggle accepting who I am. My sweetheart and I talked late into the night trying to help me accept my truth. And then, I woke up to the thought, “Oh! I need to backup those home movies before that computer crashes”. I hadn’t thought about them in months – maybe even a year. Yet, suddenly, I thought of them early on Saturday morning. Still shaky in my belief about my own worth. And then I saw her on the video. The old me. The one who struggled to find happiness in those simple moments caught on video because I was too busy running around, “catching up” on all my to-do’s. Too busy to eat properly. Too busy to shower. Too busy to wear clothes that I love. Too busy to take care of me.

I’m still not sure of what the exact moment was when I decided that this had to stop. Maybe it was that I was tired of it all. It certainly wasn’t overnight. It has been one step after another. Each day something new. Each day a chance to try again. And now I hardly recognize her.

Now, I don’t mind so much being in front of the camera. Now, I’m mostly smiling. Now, I slow down and notice the little things. Now, I choose Happiness:

  • I love that our espresso machine has a mug warmer on top
  • I have a really cool space where I can sit and create, play or do whatever makes me happy
  • Yoga with my sweetheart to close the day
  • Snuggled on the coach, squeezing in beside lanky teenagers watching a movie
  • Quick visits with my grown up baby boy wherever I can catch him
  • Resting my head on my daughter’s shoulder as she towers over me for a quick “Mama” hug
  • That goofy little guy who’s almost as tall as me and has his Dad’s sense of humor that always makes me laugh
  • A cup of tea and amazing conversations with kindred spirits who I call friends
  • Catching a glimpse of geese and hearing their call on yet another winter day that gives me hope for spring

It’s the little things that truly make me happy. What makes you happy? Share in the comments.

Do you need help and inspiration to notice those little things? The Divine Goddess Circle can help. It’s a community for working women who are seeking support and actions to become the Goddess they are! Join us: www.divinegoddesscircle.com

Open post
Technology-social-media

Confessions

Technology-social-media

Confession…

I was a Facebook addict. Sounds ridiculous right? Facebook otherwise known as Crackbook by some had my attention several times a day. And not just Facebook either. I HAD to have my phone by my side at all times as if it were my lifeline. If I misplaced my phone it would cause me great anxiety. I would have to check emails and Facebook first thing in the morning and last at night plus during the day. I would pick up my phone whenever I heard that little ding to remind me that I had a new message or another email.

 

ad·dict

transitive verb \ə-ˈdikt\

Definition of ADDICT

:  to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively

 

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Technology nowadays makes it really easy to have everything at the touch of our finger tips. Social media sites, email, web pages, music, news, weather and more are readily available with computers, laptops, net-books, tablets and phones. There are many, MANY debates regarding the pros and cons of technology. In terms of users there are those that aren’t comfortable with or choose not to use technology. There are people that use technology only when they have to; maybe for work or the occasional correspondence. Some have a cell phone only for emergency purposes. Then there are those that use technology several times a day. They may be the gamers, use it for their jobs, like playing with all the latest techie tools, or might be very social with the use of it. Whatever the case, it is all around us.

I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer for how much each individual should use technology. It is all a very personal decision. For me when it got to the point where my kids would be frustrated because I wasn’t 100% present and I was getting distracted for far too long then I knew that it was time to change. I was also really tired of all of the posts telling me what I should eat, what I should wear, how to parent and the list goes on and on. I was not a happy camper. I had been toying with the idea of a Facebook detox for a long time. I had also decided that at this point I needed to take a break from posting on our webpage too (which most of that is connected between Facebook and our site). For me it was the right time to focus on my health and relationships. Getting caught up and pouring hours into our posts cut down on time for other things. I needed a break from online to create a bigger presence and more meaning in my relationships.

 

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Not to say that I wouldn’t have done these things while still being active on Facebook because I still would have been active with workouts, and doing things with friends BUT I was able to squeeze in more running than I had, extra workouts, more time with friends and family. It was quite eye opening really. I love Facebook for keeping in touch, sharing experiences, inspirations and advice but I also know that it is great to live outside of the screen and I just needed that break to remember what other great things I could accomplish.

I am not sorry for stepping away from Simple Life to evaluate what I wanted and didn’t want from our business. I do not feel like I missed out on a whole bunch either from staying off of social media for over a week. I am happy that I got to have more coffee dates rather than texting dates. I know what’s right for me is to step away now and then, follow my feelings, post when it does not feel forced and remember that relationships are what will always be needed in life. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook, texting, emailing and posting but for me there definitely has to be a break from technology at times.

I know I am not alone; I read a statistic that said that ¼ of FB users checked their accounts 5 or more times a day. And considering there are over 1.2 billion users that is a LOT of time online. I also read that ¼ of smartphone users don’t remember the last time that they did not have their phones with them. (Hopefully they are not taking them in to the shower and to bed!) Is this time on Social Media concerning? I think that it could be and everyone needs to evaluate that for themselves.

 

 

text

 

 

What can you do?

If this is a concern for you then there are a few things that may help you.

~ admit that there is a problem. Ask yourself if you are present in your families lives; in fact ask them!

~ figure out why you go on social media in the first place. Is it for connection? Are you bored?

~ find a balance between online and offline interactions.

~limit your time. Check your email only at certain times of the day. Limit social media time.

 

This video is humorous and eye opening.

 

What are your thoughts on social media? Do people abuse it?

 

Credit to Becoming Minimalist
Credit to Becoming Minimalist

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