Weekend Coffee Share, Befriending my Brain

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Antoinette Truglio Martin.  If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I am on a journey of learning.  Of course, I’ve mentioned my participation in physical therapy, as I am working on some pain areas that I have due to arthritis, or stress, or one of the car accidents from my past, or maybe from one of my falls when I was younger and stupid.  I believe it is progressing well, and the sciatica is at a minimum, though it comes back when I wear the wrong shoes at work and have a stressful day.  At any rate, I am so glad I finally took this step rather than telling myself I did not have time.  I feel great about this decision.

82147550_10216558383061057_159610369222901760_n Working on health of body, spirit, and mind.

Stressful days have been a norm lately.  The teaching schedule has been a little off due to five days of testing students in the mornings.  Students don’t respond well to the change in routine, and as a matter of fact, I don’t think I do either.  I take extra long to get papers or test materials in order, to the point that one kid asked if I have OCD.  I said, “Yeah, probably.  Oh, well.”  It is a type of anxiety, and I tend to get that.

I’ve been reading up on the brain and its relation to anxiety and pain.  Facebook has targeted me, showing me ads on the Curable app.  So guess what? I downloaded it for free.  Better to be informed than to be surprised, as I was the first time I had an anxiety attack four years ago.  I was convinced someone had broken into our house in the middle of the night. My heart felt like it would jump out of my chest.  I went and got the dog out of his crate; he sensed nothing.  Before this, all I had ever sensed in myself was being nervous or stressed: sweaty palms, red face, that sort of thing.  This time, I wasn’t sure if I could slow my heart down; it was horrible.  I don’t know if it just all piled up.  I’m working on it.  I’ve read that pain and anxiety are part of the brain’s response to protect us; for that we should be thankful, but we should recognize when it is irrational and learn some tools to calm it (instead of feeling betrayed by our minds when they take energy away from our focus or memory to direct it to our danger alert system).  One website I have searched is https://www.anxietycentre.com/anxiety-symptoms/brain-fog.shtml      I would cite other sources here, except that I’ve read so many and have committed these things to memory to use in my toolbox for surviving and thriving in a high stress job and a family that deals with a mentally ill family member with support, encouragement, and understanding. I won’t go on to list all of my stressers, but these are ongoing.  Another possibility is that going through ‘the change’ is affecting my responses and causing irritability.  Still, I am building a toolbox!

HendrixBook.82497427_10216553268053185_1263644820899889152_oIn my toolbox….

I must acknowledge that I have some really good friends at work that I can talk to about my stressers, and a boyfriend whom I have been dating for ten years.  He has seen me through my son’s teen years, a major surgery, and many of my family traumas.  I suppose I have seen him through some things as well, and he is patient when I am almost always late to social or family events. He jokes with me about it.  We are both getting older, and he has some health issues as well as a family issue that are both on his mind lately.  And I will be there for him.  I am thankful for his presence in my life.

Another part of this toolbox is the education I received in college and the encouragement my loved ones provided me when young to keep writing.  I write about a lot of concerns and anxieties, mostly in fiction form.  That way, I can write the resolution; I can create a hero, not a victim, and I can create characters who are there to help and prove that some people can be trusted.  I’ll be honest, I am not writing much fiction lately, but I am writing about my process with re-training my brain to deal with pain and change it into growth, starting with the process of physical therapy that is making me stronger every day.  I am still dealing with sleep issues, but I see the doctor in about ten days.  I know that all has something to do with the brain as well.  Let’s not forget imagination.  Being a writer of fiction, I have learned to work things out and write stories with heroes and lessons about those less fortunate than us.  It gives me hope. I have written some stressful, tense situations into my fiction, which I feel creates conflict, as there certainly is in day to day life.  I am 20% of the way into my next novel, and will return to it after I finish my current Teaching Gifted Endorsement class.  But for now, imagining has helped me to identify music and songs that relax me and take me away when I have to let the tension go, and some of Jimi Hendrix’s music does just that.  So I bought this beautiful book about him, so that I can know all I can of him, instead of obsessing over my health.

Next, I will need to start planning some real getaways, which has been on hold while I work on the pain and try to de-stress.  I cannot drive anywhere stressed and anxious; I’ve tried it, and it’s not a good idea.  The Endorsement class I have is a good escape for my brain, because I love learning, but at the same time it does produce some stress with deadlines and a lot of required reading.  I can do this.  I’ll read to learn more about Hendrix when I need a break.  And those trips I wanted last year to D.C. or New Orleans are still in my plans.  I CAN do this.

I hope all is well in your world, or that you are at least on the way there.  Have a great week!

 

 

#WeekendCoffeeShare. On the Hamster Wheel.

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Welcome to my Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Allison at eclecticali.wordpress.com.  May is slipping past us.  I have felt so busy and overwhelmed, yet the days keep going by.  To quote T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, “I have measured out my life in coffee spoons.”  Eliot is singing to me lately, as I’ll be turning 50 later this month!  I just worked on a turing fifty post and can’t wait to share it later this month!  Lately, I have pondered my life, what I am doing, where I am going, etc.,  and sometimes that just results in anxiety.

Case in point, last Saturday.  I was feeling frustrated with my book marketing efforts.  I had a marketing strategy session with Audrey, who runs the Author Transformation Alliance, and it was so exciting and educational.  I was pumped!  Then, I went and saw that my back tire had been leaking air all night; you see, my boyfriend and I had put air in it the night before.  I’d have to take it in somewhere.  Only, I had a massage appt. for 3:00 and hadn’t showered yet.  I had spent time on the laptop doing lesson plans before I’d even gone out to see my car.  What was I going to do?

I wasn’t taking my car in.  I would not cancel the massage appt.  It was bad enough that I had brought work home this weekend; I didn’t need a crisis situation.  Instead, I got a ride.  My son and my boyfriend later patched it up, and it was looking better Sunday…not flat.  I am so glad I didn’t jump and react with panic.  That was NOT going to be my Saturday.

Saturday evening was relaxed.  Affter dinner, I fell asleep watching Netflix after my boyfriend left.  I had started fantasizing all day about leaving the job, leaving my writerly aspirations, leaving my responsibilities, buying a van and then parking it on a beach where I would live and write poetry on paperbags, convincing someone I was the next Kerouac so they’d bring me tacos and sandwiches a few days a week.  On the beach!  A great way to leave behind the hamster wheel.  Sometimes it seems I’m going nowhere.  I’m getting older and I’ve never been to Europe.  My body aches after a massage.  I stress out just planning a vacation to the Northeast.  This tells me I’m riding on the edge a little too much.

On the writing scene, I finished my first edit for Undercurrents in Time (the sequel to Detours in Time) after the paid editor did her edit and notes.  Someone is now reading it for me….Excited, I am! I also took at least two webinars this week and read many notes of advice on the GDPR that is passing on 5/25, so I feel like my privacy policies and my e-mail marketing are in compliance.  I was stressing about that for a while.

On the topic of stress, I’m still reducing the caffeine intake.  I am dreaming of camping out and watching beach sunrises.  I suppose that could replace the dream of Europe.  Flying in a plane for 12 hours might not be the thing for me.  It’s okay.  I’m still living my life.  I’m just tired right now.   Slept until 10 a.m. last Sunday.  Guess I needed it!  The hamster wheel is a pain, but I am going to imagine it is exercising me, getting me in shape and ready for the next phase of life.  I’m going to believe it will be fabulous.

My family and I  enjoyed a wonderful Mother’s Day last week.  We went on a boat in the St. Augustine waters.  Here is my post  about my Mom and the wonderful ways she has shaped me as a person:  What Mother’s Day Means to Me

Thanks for visiting my Weekend Coffee Share!  Visit more Coffee Shares or enter your own for viewing at  Eclectic Alli Coffee Share 5/18

Have a great weekend!

Staying True to Me, My Exercise Evolution, Pt. 2

YogaBabt4thI am sharing an experience from about a year ago.  It is my intent that I will share a few experiences that inspired me to write, whether a Facebook post or diary entry, and to catch up to more current yoga streams of consciousness.  This one was a turning point for me, because no matter what exercise you choose, you have to realize that you are not like everyone else and embrace that fact, instead of feeling ashamed.  Due to physical arthritis or stress-related issues, Yoga has lately been my exercise of choice, with occasional pilates and barre classes to push myself. Yet my spirit so often begs for yoga.  Think about it; yoga is a relaxing exercise that helps center the mind, but it quickly loses that factor when you are pushing yourself to be something you’re not, or comparing yourself to others in the room who may be a little more, well, limber.  Best is the instructor who reminds you to go at your own pace, modify if needed, stop comparing yourself to others, and yes, “Hang out in child’s pose” if you feel the need!

*I had a yoga win last night! I was not going to let that gal force me into a frog. I’ve been forced into one before and, well, Pam is not a frog. This was probably 9 years ago at a gym that has long since closed.  I recall being amazed that I could actually get into a frog, only, guess what?  I didn’t get into a frog; I was forced into the frog!  Getting out of it was pretty awkward.  I wasn’t having that this time.  I muttered, “No. I have trouble with….” You could fill in the blank, this week. She heard knee, and moved on to someone else. So I did my own pose without pins and needles of pain, because yoga is for relaxation, not pain. I also did not turn my mind off (such a rebel)! There are great things going on; thank God! My mind is working for me right now and I will let it, since I’ve actually been able to write lately. This yoga/exercise state of mind and leading me to healthy thoughts; my mind is not shut off, but I’m not worrying!  Therefore, this must be a good thing.  It was awesome this time to practice something that did relax my body and mind, and still, through it all, I remained true to me.   Sorry if ya’ll expected me to say I’d figured out the headstand…..*