13 Reasons Why

This post is a little bit different. I just finished watching “13 Reasons Why” after seeing a lot of comments about it on Facebook from friends. I found the pace slow yet intriguing and the more I watched the more I wanted to learn the outcome. And it got me thinking that I want to share my 13 reasons (not exhaustive) why I want to live.  I am not writing this because I feel suicidal or depressed, more as an affirmation and reminder to appreciate the goodness and joy in life. I also don’t intend it to be a list to state what others should be grateful for because it’s my list but feel the show has had a subtle yet profound impact which I would like to express through writing. So here is my list, unedited and written as it comes to me.

1. My family, immediate and wider. So much love and supporof completiothat goes both ways.

2. My children. I am their world as they are mine.

3. Friendships I share in near and distant proximity, especially those that blossom and grow with little effort.

4. I have a car which I am allowed to use whenever I want to go wherever I would like to. And am getting more confident in doing so!

5. Sooooooo many books and e-books to get through.

6. Using my bullet journal to accomplish day-to-day tasks and relishing in the satisfaction of completion.

7. My mini home gym; I can exercise without leaving the house.

8. Running dates with my beans 🙂

9. Living near a good pub.

10. Future study plans and anticipating my return to academia.

11. We are financially comfortable enough to cover our bills yet poor enough to really appreciate it

12. Life has a lot of lovely surprises, big and small

13. I feel loved.

I could go on but this is a list of 13 reasons in keeping  with the show title. And on that note, time to do a loving kindness meditation.

Being Here Now

I am going to try my very best to articulate these thoughts into words, so bear with me. Firstly,  I cannot fail to mention my sadness about the horrific events that occurred in Manchester last night.  My heart breaks a little with every story, plea for contact with unaccounted for loved ones and devastating news at those who sadly won’t be going home.

Also, the thing that has made me well up the most is the pride i feel for the fellow humans who have gone above and beyond to provide comfort, food, transport, shelter and love to those affected.

I also cannot imagine how Ariana Grande is feeling having her performance targeted like that. Poor lady.

With that said, the inspiration for tonight’s blog came to me whilst I was meditating following a reluctant dumbell workout (wow how pretentious does that sound?!).  A little while ago I wrote about the difference between being and doing, and how to differentiate between the two in real life. Easier said than done, right? But it led me to think about exercise. It’s no secret I have an ongoing battle with my weight and by proxy physical appearance. I am trying hard to sever the mental link between that and my self worth. One sure fire way to lose weight and generally get healthier is to exercise. Before I have put pressure on myself to do it, because that’s how you lose weight (as well as eating right). However since I have made a habit of it, I am enjoying working out for the sake of working out. 
Forget whatever goals I have of one day feeling like it might be acceptable to wear a bikini in front of other people (not that I intend to, just feeling like I can); that would be acceptable bonus acceptable nd not the be all and end all. I LIKE  the workouts I am doing. I LIKE  the lady that does them. And as a bonus, I like the positive difference it makes to my frame of mind. And with no defined goal, it makes it feel a lot more relaxed!
Summary: Do it because you like it and do what has to be done.
Second point from that: meditation. I recall reading several times not to meditate to achieve enlightenment,  sleep, relaxation or any other profound experience other than to perform the act itself and spend some time purely in the moment.  It made me think that I am not lost in meditation, which seems to be quite a popular hippy outsider concept ( for want of a better definition) but through mindfulness practice I am HERE in meditation. 

Despite my amateur ramblings, I feel this demonstrates to myself that I am really getting the concept of living mindfully and the attitudes  I’m beginning to adapt naturally reflect that. 
There, that feels better! Now to enjoy the rest of my bath and hopefully the baby will sleep through the night 🙂

32@32

Bizarre title, no?

I turn 32 on Thursday so I decided to create my own 30 day challenge, but as it turns out it will be a 32 day challenge.  And when I say challenge, I guess I mean more of a plan to help me grow physically, mentally and to a degree spiritually. It’s tailored to me personally, because we all have stuff going on that might make it difficult to follow a pretty determined 30 day challenge (in my experience anyway) so I will see how this goes! 

Before that, I have to contend with the reality that my biggest small turns 3 tomorrow. He is a little boy rather than a baby. 

This is when he was all new and squidgy 🙂

And here is is 2 days ago, posing on his buggy board!

No doubt I will be totes emosh tomorrow. And that isn’t a phrase I actually use in real life. Tonight; cake baking, challenge planning and (mostly) sugar free cookie eating! 

Oh, Hello Hurdle! (Also, a Look at the Authentic Self)

I am currently trying to clamber over a hurdle.  It isn’t pretty, it isn’t graceful, and more often than not I am landing in mud. I am learning so much about Mindfulness yet am struggling to put it into practice, letting everyday occurrences and my own ego get in the way. I feel like I have no power over myself, and this is affecting my mood. Sometimes it feels like there’s a barrier between how I am behaving and how I want to behave and ultimately be.

My attitude to past, present and future events mostly relate to my diet.  i have good intentions to eat better and exercise more but I focus too much on enjoying unhealthy food NOW, telling myself I will eat better in the future to make up for it.  Unfortunately for me, this future does not and never will exist as long as I am not present in my current healthy eating goals.  So right now, I am being present in it by ignoring the salted caramel fudge in the fridge and bag of popcorn by the toaster.  If I can get through this evening without eating any of them I will be proud, as pitiful as that may sound.

Referring to my last post, it’s the being I’m struggling with! This leads me to share my latest insight through study; the authentic self.  So, apparently there are 5 simple ways to move to a more authentic self.  This is according to one author so I shall give my views for each one.

  1. Appreciate Kindness. (This is something I try to do anyway, whether it’s directed at me or an opportunity to show it to others.  I think we should all be kind in general, so I like this and can live with it.
  2. Listen to people’s stories with full attention, not just politely, because they matter. (Absolutely agree, and I am guilty of not doing this, usually when I am wrapped up in reading something, watching something, playing a game or otherwise occupied.  I mean on a day-to-day level, sometimes it might not be appropriate.)
  3. Ask a colleague for their opinion on something not work-related (currently, I am self-employed although I do work with my mum.  it is something I have practiced anyway in previous roles and would also give opportunity to exercise point 2.)
  4.  (ITalk to anyone who approaches you in the street whether begging, trying to sell something or doing a survey. (I don’t feel comfortable doing this; usually I have my boys with me and at aged 1 and 2 I would rather get to where I am going with no delay, distraction, meltdown or fire.)
  5. Don’t take mobile phone calls when with someone. Concentrate fully on being with them. (Guilty of not doing this one this afternoon with having a drink with my best friend; husband was messaging me updates with what he and the boys were doing at home! I totally get not texting or using social media, however I wouldn’t want to not be accessible by phone due to a small with possible ASD and a small with allergies.)

It would be interesting to see how these suggestions lead to the authentic self but at the very least would lead to being more present, focusing attention and making others and yourself feel more valued and respected which can never be a bad thing.

I find, as I mentioned above, that my barriers to my own authentic self are anxiety, phobia and my tendency to catastrophise things.  I am also guilty of pretending to have knowledge of things I don’t in order to gain favour from another person; it’s best just to be honest and learn from and listen to them than pretend and potentially look foolish further down the line.  It’s also to be honest with your opinions and, well, don’t be a dick.

As part of my own study, I also answered questionnaires on whether I tended to fixate on the past, future or present; authenticity regarding whether i have issues and what effect those have on my life and concentration, how much attention I give to certain aspects of my life including listening and reading.  I have chosen to keep my answers to these private so it’s something I can reflect on again in the future.

 

Thank you for reading this post.  Although I have primarily written it for me, I welcome any outside guidance or comments.  A lovely gentleman called Luke in my previous post linked me to his podcasts – well, one in particular but I enjoyed it so much I found his website, downloaded all the material I could sign up for and plan to enjoy further podcasts (even installed iTunes on laptop so I could!) – so already writing in this medium is paying off!  Here is the website http://herohealthroom.com/

There, I got to the end of the post and still haven’t eaten the fudge or popcorn.  I am going to take part in some more study, reflection and have a peaceful, mindful sunday evening!

Te

 

 

Little bit Lost

Here is my confession; I’m struggling. With diet, exercise, CBT and generally looking after myself both physically and mentally. 

My mindfulness studies have become stalled, my diet is atrocious despite sticking to my lentern promise (aside from a pizza Hut last week) and I feel bloated, tired and a bit down.
I am struggling to recapture the motivation I had mere weeks ago. All I want to do is eat popcorn and watch sons of anarchy so it’s probably a good job I am on the final series. I never was able to ration things or have self control when it came to little pleasures. This is why ice.cream doesn’t last long in my freezer.
Hopefully I will come out of this soon and be back to maintaining myself physically and mentally. 

Here I Am!

It’s been a little while, and in that time I have not been following my exercise plan, practising Mindfulness minimally and becoming obsessed with watching Sons of Anacrchy whilst making a good go of consuming my own bodyweight in popcorn. I also had a battle with conjunctivitis, or rather the littest small did. Today is day 9 and his eye is still swollen, he has been quite poorly with it but is thankfully on the mend now. I also managed to scrape the side of the car on the fence this morning pulling out of the drive. 

I have, however, managed to stick to my lent commitment of giving up chocolate, sweets and takeaways for the duration. Only a few weeks left now!  Anyway, after talking to a friend on a rare night out at the weekend, I have decided to pick up my fitness challenge from day 20 and resume my commitment to good health. I have done as a bonus 50 squats and 50 crunches that I didn’t even need to do today. 
Not going to punish myself or feel bad for taking some time out, back on it onwards and upwards 🙂

Friday Daily Update

Completed day 17 of my fitness challenge today, it’s definitely getting harder and I have to complete the exercises in stages a lot but as long as I get it all done I am happy!

Also, tonight when I put toddler to bed I decided to have a go at reiki on him and he went down like a dream, no issues and no fuss! Will definitely have to keep this up!

Happy with my food intake as well, apart from the chilli crackers and popcorn.

Watching an episode of sons of Anarchy before bed with a glass of amaretto and salted caramel vodka. 

Thursday Update: Medical Stuff

15:40 I am tired and to be honest, a bit scared.  I knew having had an ultrasound on my gallbladder recently that I have gall stones, quite a of as it happens. I knew from my own research, and confirmed by a phone call from my doctor, that surgery was pretty much inevitable.

Now a month later, I am sat in the waiting room to see the consultant in surgical outpatients and I feel nervous. Aside from a c-section, I have never had surgery before and never been under general anaesthetic. 

Will they want to remove the stones or the actual organ itself?

How will the do this?

Will I have to stay in? (That I wouldn’t actually mind, a night off sounds wonderful)

How long will it take to recover?

16:12 Confirmed my gall bladder is to be removed under general anaesthetic as a day surgery case, looking at an approximate wait of 6 weeks followed by a 2-6 week recovery. Slightly worrying as I am self employed.

Also advised to avoid all fatty food, including cheese and butter. So naturally I bought a pack of sweets to deal with it so managed to fail lent on day 2. Ugh. Don’t think daily challenge will happen either because i am not there mentally, going to watch Sons of Anarchy and sob on the sofa.

Daily Update

A much better week at Speech and Language group for toddler today, and a very helpful and positive chat with the health visitor.  I have felt generally more energised today, and have remembered to read through my affirmations I posted about yesterday.  Still going with it though!

I am on day 14 of the 30 day full body toned workout challenge.

180 Jumping Jacks DONE (130,50)

135 squats DONE

11 push-ups DONE

75 crunches DONE (managed about 50 or so in a row and then had to have a couple of pauses)

1min 30 plank DONE (1min, 30 secs)

2min 20 wall-sit DONE (over 3 attempts, really felt the burn tonight!)

One of the affirmations I posted about yesterday is “I choose my own goals and my criteria for success in reaching those goals”  My goal is to complete this 30 day challenge, though I know it’s OK if I don’t manage 30 consecutive days.  And I allow myself to complete the exercises in stages, over the course of the day if necessary.  As long as I do the correct amount of exercises for the right amount of time I feel it successful.

I may have mentioned before, when performing any kind of exercise when it gets hard I try a mindful approach, feeling and embracing the pain and difficulty to try and bear it for longer and push myself.  It’s still difficult but definitely noticing a difference, which is why I note down how many attempts it takes me to reach each goal e.g. performing a 1min 30 plank in 2 sittings.

 

Something else I am proud of myself tonight; I watched “The Walking Dead” with no snacks apart from my between-exercise amaretti biscuits. Wow that makes me look like I have some kind of food problem!  Ha!

Yeah, I  was enjoying an amaertti biscuit after every completed exercise.  Makes me feel like I earned them!  So that was today’s update. Still trying to work on “I accept what happens to me without frustration”!

Growing yourself: Mindfulness and Your Potential

I would firstly like to say that a lot of my material I use for study comes from Practical Mindfulness: A Step-By-Step Guide (Ken A.Cerni, Dorking Kindersley 2015).  it’s such a vast, detailed yet easy-to-read book that I have made it the focus of my studies.  it will take a while to get through but it’s important that I take my time.  I have purchased a few other books to read at a more leisurely pace but this is the main one for me.

This afternoon I have been (whilst looking after the children so go me!) looking at the role of Mindfulness and realising one’s potential, living life as fully and a contentedly as circumstances allow.  To me it’s not in itself about being wistful and planning on making massive changes, it’s about living and growing in a way that’s manageable and realistic to now.

The idea is to focus on an authentic reality of my present experience, and detach myself from others’ opinions – a massive thing for me.  So stop wishing, fantasising and focising on what I want/haven’t got.

Be aware of artificial cues for failure or success!

Positive and negative events, e.g. good results vs bad results, can influence our attitudes and expectations. E.g. recently I didn’t do as well as expected in an assessment.  This doesn’t make me bad at what I do, it is a result I got along with information on how to improve.

Our inner dialogue can influence whether we build barriers that prevent us from realising our potential. “Can I see myself…?” is one of the most limiting thoughts we have as we often see ourselves askew.

On my phone, and pictures above, I have typed a list of self-realisation statements to look at frequently and remind myself that I am ME, and not the sum of what others think of me, to remind myself to live in the moment and accept what happens without frustration.

 

As I mentioned earlier, although I follow a main text for my studies here are the books I purchased today.  I’m definitely into my overdraft but I felt it was important to buy them, enjoy them and learn from them.

 

 

Last but not least, my daily fitness challenge targets have been hit!  Which is good because I have put on half a stone in a week.  My food intake has just become ridiculous, so I really need to rein myself in.

Jumping Jacks – 170

Squats – 130

Push-ups – 9

Crunches – 75 (was meant to be 70 but I forgot so did more)

Plank – rest

Wall Sit – 2 minutes

 

This is only day 12.  I’m not even officially half way through yet and it’s only going to get harder!  Again, with the stupid food attitude, I was having an Amaretti biscuit between exercises.  Stupid.  Then had popcorn and chocolate whilst watching “Call the Midwife”.   You’ve probably noticed the flow and style of this blog seems to change a lot – that’s because I’m still finding my own style and I make plans and change them.  I want it to be my own diary as much as sharing info on my mental health development.  Thank you for sharing it with me.