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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer, changes and Anger

So, this summer has not been very conducive to making regular posts or finding the time to reflect and report.  It has been a busy and stressful summer.  Coming up next week is the beginning of school for the kids, and a major change in my schedule for an unknown period of time.  I plan to use that unknown period of time, which afford me about 4 hours in the middle of the day while both kids are at school, and I am no where near my house (i will write more about that in my  family focused blog later this week).  So I plan to use that time to continue to write, as that will be necessary for income, AND to really focus on exercise.

I have realized more recently that all of the current stresses, responsibilities, and challenges in my life overwhelm my focus to get physically healthy.  This in turn creates many new challenges and does not allow me to clear my mind and my spirit to better handle all of the day to day challenges my life is currently filled with.  So it is a horrible cycle.  But I have finally created a problem for myself that no excuse I give myself will work for, I want THIS particular problem to be gone--as completely as I can get it out.  And that problem is ANGER.  I have been a short tempered, grumpy, ferocious person over the past couple of weeks.  AND I HATE IT.  I have always loved that I was a kind, gentle, forgiving, patient, and uber caring person.  And ANGER is bowling me over lately.    it confuses me, it affects the way I see the people in my life, it affects the way I react to challenges AND to joys, it makes me into a person that I can barely recognized.  I do not like feeling like an angry person.  I have often treated anger with food--between the endorphin rush, the serotonin release, and the psychological response to food, normally I could eat myself out of anger (rather than actually deal with such an unpleasant emotion).

That no longer works, and yes I have tried--I have been a bit of an eating machine the past few weeks.  other than gaining back about 8 pounds that I had lost earlier, it has done little to eradicate the grumpiness.  Though I am fairly good at hiding it, my children have noticed that I am more grumpy than usual, and they have found me less tolerant of crap than I normally am--especially int eh number of toys that have been shelved in the back room. If they treat their belongings in the wrong way (like BITING the gameboy, stuffed animal, or lego blocks or slamming controllers or stuffed animals into the floor (Gonzo's big issues--biting or slamming toys he is mad at)--both of which damage the electronics or tear stuffed animals, and are inappropriate responses to disappointment), the toy is taken and put away for a certain amount of time--from a few hours to a couple of weeks depending on various things.  They also have been spending more time than usual cooling off in their rooms when they throw a tantrum over frustration or disappointment, neither of which warrant a fit.  Normally I am good at redirecting, using the teaching moment, and helping to bring about an appropriate reaction to the issue at hand--which is a much better solution as it helps the kids learn the appropriate path to dealing with frustration and disappointment--with brain damage, it takes many, many MANY rounds (into the hundreds or repetition) to create new neurological pathways--so it is very important to work on the redirecting and reprocessing gently to nurture the formation of new pathways in how to deal with strong emotions.  So, lately I am failing at that, and resorting to separating the kids from what is bothering them and having them just have time to cool off and self sooth (which are good skills to gain too), which is fine, it gives them safe space to return to baseline using the tools that work for them currently--like listening to their music, having some time alone, snuggling with their favorite stuffies, reading/looking at a book, etc....  It just does not help them to build new pathways that help with their long term, executive functioning reactions to strong emotions.

The anger that I have been feeling has colored my reactions to myself, to my friendships, to my basic reactions to the challenges in my life.  I have drastically reduced how much I write to friends, as I am not sure how mu writing is coming across, as even when I am not cognizant of my anger, it appears to work its way into some of the way i word things, even if I am not angry or upset at a person, that general sens of grumpiness appears to come through in emails about totally benign topics that I do not feel strongly about.

So, one of my goals during those few hours i will have each day, is to really focus on moving my body--as that is the on thing that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that releases angry, grumpy feelings in a productive and useful way, and leaves me feeling better.  I do not like feeling angry and grumpy all the time.  that dislike of anger is more motivational and powerful for me than my weight, my size, general feelings of malaise and depression, frustration about a variety of issues, or anything else.  I do not want my children growing up with an angry parent, or even on that is just perpetually grumpy.  I do not like the lack of compassion for foolish people that tend to accompany my generalized grumpiness, nor the lack of forgiveness that goes along with lessened compassion.  I find that my tolerance for other people and for myself is greatly reduced as my anger increases, and i am more judgemental towards myself and others when there is that grumpiness rolling beneath the surface.  It makes me cynical and irritated.  Right now I am getting irritated by my own repetition in this post.  So I will end there and just say that this angry feeling is becoming a driving force in wanting to get more healthy--particularly eating better and exercising!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chugging along...

Sorry I have been so scant in my posts lately, life has been busy--between babysitting for three different families, working on the house, spending some quality time with my kids, doing so freelance writing, and trying to prepare for upcoming changes, life has been very full.

So upcoming transitions include all of the changes that the start of the school year brings.

Josiah's current plan is to attend the k-12 school that is part of the center where he did his special needs preschool and does his aquatic PT each week.  I think this will be a good fit and will be a good transition.  It does mean that I have to drive him, at least for the first couple months as his behavior plan calls for me to be able to pick him up within 15 minutes if he has a melt down that they can not turn around.  So I need to be nearby, and as home is over an hour from the school, the only way to do that is to drive him down and resume my former routine (which is a great thing) and drive him home.  This results in not being able to open the day care at this time, and needing to ramp up my writing and finding more assignments for writing so that I can retain an uber flexible schedule.

I have been preparing my mind for Gonzo's transition to a totally new school program, totally new teachers, routine, setting, everything.  That is a different ball of wax, that I will probably go into on the family blog at some point later this week.

Other stuff has been trying to implement the three habits that I am trying to form based on this post here.
1) No eating after 9:30pm--just herbal tea, or water.
2) Exercise--focused exercise--at least 45 minutes a day, EVERY day
3) In bed by midnight, strive for a minimum of 6 hours of sleep each day.
While there are days that I do well with them, I still am struggling to really make them a daily habit, ingrained in my mind as "normal" functioning.  Part of it is the stress that is overtaking my life--between car issues (my car has been out of commission since late July), financial issues (not making enough to meet basic required bills and expenses), and the emotional roller coaster that has been surrounding appropriate school placement for the kids (as well as many other things), my brain and body both tend to use whatever means possible to keep stress levels from destroying me, however, mal-adaptive coping skills--like overeating, insomnia, and lack of focus--have made changing my current habits more difficult.I just need to forgive myself for my shortcomings, recognize the reasons for them, throw away the idea of using the stress response as an excuse (without beating myself up for it), and grabbing on to my boot straps to pull myself up and keep moving forward.

The fair starts thsi week, and we are headed there on Thrusday.  I look forward to that very  much!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

cocooning and decision..

I know I have not posted in a while.  I have been doing a variety of things--Josiah's birthday was yesterday--six years old.  I will have to go over to Blessings Beyond Measure and write about it later.  If my computer can handle it.  the cooling fan has stopped working, so i have a limited amount of time, even with ice packs under the computer, that I can be on the computer before it gets dangerously hot and risks burning out the system.  So, being a freelance writer is challenging when I have only short periods I can be on, and the have to take 30-45 minutes to let it cool down before starting again.  Articles are taking far longer to do this way. So blogging (and emailing friends) has had to take a back seat as I have been trying to get assignments done.  I have also been dealing with many decision making processes in variety of areas, none of which has reached a definite action point yet, which is making me cocoon a bit and withdraw from unnecessary tasks while I focus on these decisions...

Things I have been doing in working towards transforming my life, the topic of this blog...

My three goals mentioned in my previous post have been slow to make into habits, so I am continuing on working on integrating them into my life so that I do not even have to think about them.  Then I can add in another layer of transformation.

I have been reading a couple of good books lately, as well as some not worth mentioning (at least they did not speak to me really at this time).  I have started re-reading Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron.  I read it a number of years ago, and in re-reading it I have found my thoughts, ideas, and understanding of life have shifted greatly over the past few years, so it is almost like reading it for the first time.  I am enjoying the content and ideals presented.  Reminding myself that I can only start from where I am, not where I want to be, in changing the way I interact with myself and with other people.  Being reminded that in order to show true compassion to others, I need to show compassion to myself, and from that letting go and moving past mistakes, I can forgive others their mistakes so that both I and they can move past them (if they decide to do so).

I am also reading The Tenth Insight by James Redfield.  It has been over 15 years since I first read The Celestine Prophecy, which I enjoyed greatly, but so much time as passed that I have forgotten the nine insights in that book.  So reading this sequel is taking some time as I have to draw on old memories.  It is good though, as these ideas remind me to see that everything happens for a reason, coincidences are messages to learn and grow from.

I'll mention other books in a later post.   I hope you all are well and enjoying the ongoing transformation taking place in your life every day, even in small ways...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I just keep reminding myself--

In order to change my life life, I need to change what I do...