Three Goals

I went to the creative writing course at the VA today.  It’s not exactly a journaling. We have a topic we write about.  Some are more therapeutic topics than others.  Today’s topic was “three goals.”

Goals 

I have no goals; none at all

Look inside to find the call.

When there is no focused life

Heart and soul are filled with strife

Finding hope in darkness lost 

Breaking free from chains’ high cost;

Maybe I will a path find

From fear’s chasm to faith sublime.

To grow my goal is to try

To revive what inside died

To hold to the future fast

To leave behind what has passed.

———————————————————–

Goals come in all forms.  Mine are getting prepared to identity and strive after goals.  It’s funny: my goal is to have a goal.  

Quote of the Day- December 16, 2016

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways – either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” Dalai Lama 

It is so easy to lose inner strength and be  crushed by hopelessness.  I’m there right now.  I don’t see a meaningful life right now.  Yet, living though this requires inner strength.  There are days all I want to do is give up.  I spend hours, even days, wondering about ways to commit suicide that will be fatal- not just an attempt.  It’s been worse since November.  

For me, a self destructive habit is isolating and withdrawing from people and activities.  Discipline leads me to take to the road-or treadmill- to run.  The focus on breath, concentration on form, and losing myself in the passing miles is relaxing.  My feet striking the ground roots me to the present moment.  I am present in a manner I no longer have off the road.  I am connected to myself and my spiritual senses.  Running is still a solitary activity.  Recently, I connected to a friend I used to work with.  We run together a couple times a week.  We don’t talk about serious things but I am drawn out of my silence and the jangle of my own thoughts and attempts to make sense out of the unexplainable and unchangeable. 

 I have been experiencing more serious depression for about a month.  I spent several hours before Tai Chi yesterday  sitting in my friend’s office.  Being alone was not a safe thing for me at that moment.  Funny thing, a serious conversation ensued.  Inner strength manifesting in reaching out to someone.


Tai Chi is another acitivity that helps me find a sense of peace and grounding.  Movement, breath, concentration on form and poses- it’s easier to focus on something positive during class and be in the moment mindfully. I’m also around other veterans.  We may not talk much but there is a  connection.  

I do yoga at home. While it is a solitary activity it is another one that I find a sense of peace.  Breathing, form, focus, exercise.  My mind stills for that time. To a lesser degree, I find relief in strength training as well.

I wish I could be physically active 24/7/365.  

Physical activity is what helps me through the harder times.

Maybe one day I’ll find inner strength, my balance,  and peace without needing the acitivity at the same time. 

Grief and Bargaining 

Initially I thought bargaining was a stage that I either hadn’t experienced and probably wouldn’t.  Grief is different for everyone.  It is possible to skip a stage.  One can also cycle back to earlier stages.

I considered bargaining as quid pro quo from a spiritual standpoint, “Give me this and I’ll do that.”  While researching the Stages of Grief (Kubler-Ross), I found the Changing Minds website.  They summed up bargaining as seeking a way out of the situation.

It continues with  an in depth definition:

After the fires of anger have been blow out, the next stage is a desperate round of bargaining, seeking ways to avoid having the bad thing happen. Bargaining is thus a vain expression of hope that the bad news is reversible.

Bargaining in illness includes seeking alternative therapies and experimental drugs. In organizations, it includes offering to work for less money (or even none!), offering to do alternative work or be demoted down the hierarchy. One’s loyalties, debts and dependants may be paraded as evidence of the essentiality of being saved.

I actually experienced bargaining and denial at the same time; the behaviors and thoughts overlapped.  I kept working at reduced duties and kept trying to move to harder work before I was ready.  (denial/ bargaining) I was convinced if I just worked hard enough I would heal fully in time to deploy with my unit. I’d be an outstanding Social Worker and therapist, making a huge positive impact (bargaining). When it became clear that I wouldn’t meet that timeline, the goal  became deploying with another unit later.  I sought after every damn therapy under the face of the earth for years. I kept pushing. When all this failed, I fell into anger and depression.

While proofreading this entry, I realized that I did bargain with the Deity in a slightly different form. There was a lot of pleading for healing so I could return to my career.   I still ask for this.  I can use what happened to me to help others with a greater level of understanding and skill. Grieving can be subtle.

Expanded Stages of Grief

  1. Stability
  2. Immobilization
  3. Shock
  4. Denial
  5. Anger
  6. Bargaining
  7.  Depression
  8. Testing
  9. Acceptance


I’ll explore the rest of the expanded grief cycle during future posts.
Grief hurts but it’s the only way to find the “new normal” (acceptance).

Random cuteness and reducing anxiety

One way to deal with anxiety is to find something you appreciate and enjoy…

Bridhid

Bobby

Kaliyah


Brighid brings me joy and affection.  I am not as anxious around her.  She has a way of keeping me calm.  She is my familiar.

Bobby and Kaliyah are both at Rainbow Bridge now.  Although I miss them, I remember the lessons they taught.  Eat healthy,drink water, play, and get enough sleep.  Doing these things helps with lowering anxiety. They also made me laugh.  Ferrets are inquisitive by nature.  Watching them get into mischief and look totally innocent was fascinating.  I just couldn’t get mad.  They’re also fun to watch play.  They don’t worry about what people think.  They’re totally in the moment.

Reducing anxiety can be done in many ways.  I’ll write more tomorrow.  It’s now time to sleep 

Lessons by Pets

Brighid is not a happy cat right now.  But Kaliyah is a satisfied ferret.  One of Brighid’s favorite toys is now in Ferret Stah Number Three.  It still had food in it!  She is now making her displeasure known with rather loud meowing.  Fairly soon I will have to rescue her toy.

1. Lesson one- never underestimate a ferret.  Trouble can come from small things.

Kaliyah loves her dig pit.  She buries herself hunting for her hidden toys.  She leaps out of the box and does the Weasel War Dance then runs up into the play tubes.  She enjoys it more when her human plays “bury ferret.”  Pounce on the hand.  Pounce at the human.  Jump out the pit and jump at the human.  Scratch.  Because a ferret always needs a good scratch.  Hide under the bookcase then charge out and climb in the box again.  Each exit scatters the startch peanuts.  (The dissolvable kind).  She just plays openly an happily; totally in the moment.  She has ferret business such as stealing cat toys and exploring the house.  She needs to know her territory hasn’t changed.  Or maybe there’s something new to explore.


2. Lesson Two- play with abandon.  Don’t let fear of judgement hold you back.  Enjoy simple things.

Brighid hunts her toys and loves to chase and leap.  This is often followed by a meal,  if it’s feeding time, or a nap.  Or both.  There is nothing like a good nap in the sunshine.

3. Lesson three- play, eat, and sleep


There is nothing like jumping up on the human, shoving her wet nose in the human’s face, and purring like crazy.  The best is managing to leave fur on the human’s face. Bonus points if it goes into her eyes or face.  Then, settle in for a good cuddle and pet before sleep.

4. Lesson four- if you love someone, tell them.  

A ferret in a hammock is adorable.  She sleeps deeply, snoring softly. Then jumping down and scratch vigorisly, eat, drink, poop, and go back to sleep.

5. Lesson five- there is nothing more refreshing than a good nap and scratch. And stay hydrated.


A ferret and cat play together and occasionally nap together.

6. Lesson six- everyone needs “odd” friends.

The most important lesson they teach me is to laugh at simple things.  There is peace in just being.  Just be.  That’s what matters. 

Reflection

I mentioned yesterday that I felt a draw to the prayer/ chant that I posted.  During meditation today, anger kept coming in- both the emotion and thoughts around it.  You know, it’s possible to be angry about being angry?  I don’t like where this form of anger is leading me.


Anger can be healthy and helpful.  It’s basically telling you that there is something in your environment needing your attention.  It’s what you do with it and how it impacts you that matters.  For example, is the anger harming you or someone else?  Do you carry it and can’t release it?  Do you know what’s causing it?  These can be signs the anger isn’t helping you.

Feeling anger, acknowledging it, and figuring out what to do about why you’re angry is where it can be helpful.  It’s motivating change.  Trick is to not respond in the heat of anger.  Great phrase.  Heat.  It’s ok to take a break and let the anger cool before you make a decision or take action.

My anger isn’t good for me right now.  It’s there- about everything and triggers easily.  I suppose I’m angry about the brain injury and what it did to me.  Angry my life isn’t what I want it and I’ll never get what I had back.  It’s a dark anger.  I withdraw, I swear at people, I just want to be alone. I’ve hit stuff and blown up verbally at people and situations.  Anger goes hand in hand with frustration.  Anger makes it hard to enjoy anything.  It is darkness.  Like a black hole that draws me in.  I’m struggling to release anger over something I can’t control and can’t fix.  I’m certainly not at peace very often.

Love: wow.  Now there’s a concept.  I’m starting to really hate people sometimes.  Hate drama.  Hate people hurting each other.  Hate people trying to push morals off on others.  Angry about political candidates running on hate and fear.  Hate abusers.  Sadly, hate people for being “normal.”  Hate that they don’t understand what people with disabilities experience, especially when they’re “invisible.” People can look “normal” and still have some serious issues going on.  This is broken.  This isn’t who I was.  I’m not sure if this is who I will be now.  I suppose I don’t totally hate people. I still care about people and what happens to them.  I’d still help if I could.  Maybe it’s just the drama and actions that piss me off.  Back to boiling anger. 

This anger isn’t serving a purpose anymore.  I know there’s shit in my life I need to do something about.  I’m just not sure what or how. And it’s hurting my life. 

Maybe it’s grieving.  I’ve spent the last few years trying to “fix” myself and be who I was that I never really considered it could be long term.  I have lost so much.  

I  need to make a conscience decision to release this. It’s a process.  It takes more than once to really totally let go of anger over situations.    Or I could just avoid drama and people and frustration… And try to figure out how to numb myself totally again.  

Heal what’s broken.  Broken isn’t totally physical.  Enlighten the darkness.  Restore peace and love.

Something Positive

Today was Beltane.  It’s a celebration of the fullness of spring, of new beginnings, or new life.  It’s also considered the marriage of the Lord and Lady.  That May Pole?  Fertility symbol.  Anyway, no digression into Wiccan beliefs tonight.  Just spirituality.

I had a rough morning that more or less threw my plans off track.  I blogged it earlier but just got to posting it.  Had a WordPress WTF moment where it looked like it double posted. Yet, another digression.  With what happened, I slept most of the afternoon.

Tonight I celebrated Beltane in a bit of a different way.  I focused on the new beginnings/ new growth aspect, with a bit of healing thrown in.  My spiritual approach isn’t all that formal.  I don’t generally do formal Circles.  I use meditation and activities as my primary ways.

It focused on two main meditations with a release of the anger a fear to the Universe and a call for healing and peace.

i posted the Wiccan Prayer earlier.  This was my focus in a chant.

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Said slowly, relatively, but listening.  There was no huge insight.  There is a sense of quiet that hasn’t been there for a long time.

I feel drawn to work more with this prayer.

 

blessed be everyone!