Tag Archives: Depression

Contentment – it really is close at hand………

 

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“He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature” Socrates

Contentment, yeah a wonderful way to feel, contented. The word even sounds good, I tend to say it softly with reverence.  Last night after I did my yoga flow, I thought about today.  A day of rest. I get wrapped up in my practice in good way.  I feel the balance it provides me. I like when I feel like I am on track. I take pride in it. Life seems good. Some times my practice feels annoying,  I run negative tapes like, “why do I need to dedicate so much time to my practice?”.  The old poor me, “what’s wrong with me, is there so much wrong with me that I am straddled with dedicating so much time to working on things?” Wait a moment, let’s reframe that.  Try a different approach.  Where does content live?  What makes me feel contentment? This is the fork in the road I talk about, the choice we have.  We can decide to think of anything from a different angle.  I heard a great line in a movie we watched yesterday,  This is where I Leave You, think about this, “anything can happen all the time”. Love that!  Think about taking stock about what has been accomplished, what has been sorted out, along with just living through our days and finding the joy where it is, this is worth reflection.  What makes us feel contentment?  I am pretty sure it is right up there with gratitude, we have many sources of contentment, just as we discovered there are so many things we are grateful for, everything that brings us contentment are many more than we ever imagine.

I am going to free associate here, let my mind float and make a list of the things that give me a sense of contentment presently.  Remember just like your gratitude list, list the smallest and silliest things that contribute to your contentment, they all count. Close your eyes and begin, once you have a few, you will feel the flow……I am writing, John is here watching football, companionship, nice toasty fire, great holiday weekend, my good friends grandson is coming for a visit, soup month is here, spending time with a 7-year-old, taking one week off from therapy, good sales in my shop, my daughter is well, my daughter is in love with a good man, my muscles are stronger, I am able to make this list, Jamaica is on the radar, we have dear friends, my siblings are thriving, I sleep in a comfortable bed, I feel inspired, I have a new bracelet design, I work in my studio at home,  prayer comes easily to me, I am in the mood to do the work…….writing these here I clearly see how gratitude and contentment are the same thing, many things we are grateful for bring us a contented feeling. I drove in the driveway recently and noticed the kitchen light was on, it gets dark early now, I was grateful to see it.  That light meant John was home before me. I felt my body get warm, not because it is wonderful to be married to him, or that I love him, or that he is my lover, it was the “hi honey, I’m home”, and the gratitude I feel for his companionship, and this quite simply makes me feel very content.

Wow, this was interesting.  I have never specifically made a list of things that provide a sense of contentment. I can see and feel how much contentment and gratitude overlap. It makes sense, things we feel grateful for provide us with that sense of contentment. This focus – exercise is a great idea.  It opened me up to the reality that there are more things that make me feel content than I imagined. Try it, remind yourself what brings you contentment.  It is always good to remind ourselves what is positive and what works for us. It is a great approach.  I have discovered my contentment is everywhere.

I had an amazing visit with my dear friends grandson, Cody. She was off to see friends and hear some music. Cody would have my undivided attention., another way to put that, he would keep me completely entertained for the entire time I am with him. He did not disappoint.  He brought over so many goodies.  He gave me a deck of cards he got on his recent trip to Disney World, and mom brought me new pictures, great gifts! We have an ongoing card tournament, Fish, I have never been in the lead I am always catching up, and I am trying to win!  We built Mixels, they are Lego creations, we studied the Muppet Identification Book, he led me through the coffee table book, The History of Homer Simpson, we played United States Scramble, a fun learning game, we drew and colored, and it was all fun.  I adore the company of children.  They are a blessing.  I adore how clear he is, full of energy and excitement.  We have such a good time. I do not have any grandchildren.  He is all the evidence I need to see how fantastic it really is.  I also watched my friend bloom since the day he was born.  We had planned to make dinner together, but when it came time I was genuinely tired, we ordered pizza and later heard from mom that pizza is his dream dinner. I know he has fun too!  It is a very special relationship I have with Cody, and I treasure it. Talk about content, just spend some time engaging with a child, they will bless you and you will feel totally content. And like I heard from so many grandparents, “the grandchildren are wonderful, and then they go home”. I understand that so much more than I did before. I can be the heroine, I am not the mom. Now that’s a cat-bird seat, a fabulous place to land, feeling completely content and in the moment, only to feel a great sadness, because yes it is true, they do go home.  Yes, his Nana came to pick him up I could see he was onto the next part of his day, a place he adores, being with his Nana. The more you think about something you will think bout it more and more. Think about your contentment and where it dwells. Do this mindfully. Invite contentment in, welcome it. Offer this up to the universe.  See that contentment is all around you.  Relax, take a seat, sit down into your contented place. Know that your contentment is there for you.  Be mindful, life just got better…………..

“When you get to the fork in the road, take it” Yogi Berra

Always dazzle, Karen

 

The Art of Being Present & Making Authentic Connections

 

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29 December 2014

“…..it was a changing period of time that took everything away, turned it around and returned growing like a glorious garden full of color light and magical energy and most importantly possibilities…”

Life as I knew it was over. I looked around and realized this is not what I thought I though I would be doing. This realization was eye-opening. It was the confirmation of my control issues. If I could judge the situation as not what I anticipated, this lead me to believe I was certainly lost in the past (ruminating) and investing in over planning the future (fearful). What does this mean? Simply put not spending enough of time of my time being present. Funny, not haha, but ironically the present is where I want to dwell. I want to be in the moment. I want to enjoy what is happening when it is happening. The benefit to bringing yourself to the present is pleasure. Worrying about the past and anticipation of the future is a waste. Time just passes and it belongs to none of us. It is precious, it marches in, with or without you. Consider this when you are not operating in the present moment. You miss what is happening in real-time, wasting time thinking about what is now the past or anticipating what hasn’t yet occurred, the future. All we have is the present moment. The past, yes it is the past, it does not belong to us. We only have the promise of a future, there is no guarantee. We all have things to look at in hind-site, enabling us to move forward and be more productive and thrive. That is fine.  You are in the moment reviewing your take away from a learning moment. That is prudent and useful.  Obsessing about what has happened is unhealthy and dangerous. You can easily get stuck in the past. This is regret and it will prevent you from growing. What good comes of that? It will hold you back and likely depress you. Obsessing about what may happen is just as destructive to your well-being. The bottom line, the past and the future will rip you off. They both can suck the life out of you. People close to you will tire of your obsession with the past or the future, as it will overtake you, unhealthy and unattractive. It is so sad to be wasting time. Remember the truth, time is precious. You can not buy it you can’t recoup it, it is fleeting. Be mindful and make a commitment to being present. It is like any habit, good habit, it takes time to establish it. You will quickly discover how often you are not present. I think it may surprise you.  The practice coming to the present moment is very similar to taking a breath and coming to center, a calming moment. You can work toward being present more of the time employing the same methods. Pay attention, take the breath and bring yourself to the present moment. We can all benefit from this work. Modern life can be very distracting.  You can decide to set aside these distractions, just decide.  I find I am becoming more present the more time I dedicate to my meditation practice. It calms me down and clears my head.  Meditation creates space. Makes room and helps me use my precious time in ways that benefits my well-being.

Think of someone you know or someone you met who seemed very attractive.  I am not talking about physically beautiful or handsome.  I am talking about their essence.  It is something you can’t put your finger on. It is a combination of elements.  It is their personality, sense of humor, intellect, body language, tone, engagement, and the stories they tell.  Any attractive quality adds to the overall feeling you get from someone. When you experience this feeling from someone your takeaway is positive.  You would love to get this person better. You would love to know their secret.  The next time you come across one of these individuals, evaluate your experience.  What is there to learn?  Well they don’t have a secret, they are simply present.  Being present fosters their ability to employ powerful tools that opens them up to every possibility.  They have the skills to meet and greet people, they open themselves to you, this is an attractive quality. They are engaging, they look you in the eye, they “see” you, their body is supple, their body language says I am open, they may rest their hand on your arm while making a point, they are genuinely interested and they are very good listeners.

The practice of becoming more mindful is just that, the more you think about it the more you will do it.  You will become more and more present.  Everything worth having is worth working on.  Practice, practice, and practice.  The present is an amazing place to be. You will feel energized.  The way people respond to you will be all the evidence you need, you will find it refreshing.

I recall my experiences when I began my focus on being present.  It was during the same period of time where I had begun a meditation practice.  The method was mentioned by a yoga teacher after a class.  When you encounter anyone, your best friend, the gentleman who holds the door open for you at the post office, or the clerk at the market, make a connection.  Here is what I would like you to try. You encounter someone, take a breath, look them in the eye, and quietly say to yourself, Namaste (that is my choice, you may use your own centering word). This may seem awkward at first, but as you practice it you we see that it takes mere seconds and no one even realizes you are doing it.  This simple act will delight you. You will feel people’s energy change as they open up to the possibilities of your time together. It feels genuine, authentic and real, we all crave it. I believe this practice has helped me be more present and has enriched my experiences with others tremendously.  I do this every day. I am not too busy or in too much of a hurry to do this. Try it, you may find it as addictive as I did when I began. You will feel awkward at first, keep trying, you will develop your own style and you will love the results. They are evident. People’s body language changes, they sense a warm engaging feeling, and they open up. What transpires is fantastic, you will see and feel it, it is palatable.  It becomes an exchange of energy, with possibilities that would not have existed had you not engaged on this level.  Imagine enjoying your connections with other much more.  This practice can be the beginning of a collaboration, cooperation, a new friendship, even a romance. Trust me you will love it, please give it a try. This practice always brings me to center, and into the present moment.  Get out of your own way, stay in the present moment and enjoy the experience.

Talk about “you never know”.  I have discovered incredible things about people through this level of engagement. It is a game changer.  You will be astounded by what is revealed, what comes to light and the energy that is created with this connection.  You will be most delighted by what you learn about yourself. Yes, open up, connect while being present and feel yourself grow, fantastic!

“tragedy stays alive by feeling what’s been done to us, while peace comes by living the result” Mark Nepo

Happiest Clam on the Beach…

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There is a saying here in New England, “I am the happiest clam on the beach”. I can say this today. It is the day before Thanksgiving. Oh boy, am I grateful. There were many lines I drew in the sand for when I would recover, making plans because by then certainly I would be okay. I planned to travel to a party in New York to see old friends from Horace Greeley High School in mid-July. I did not go. I thought I would surprise my dear friend, Nancy Bueti, a fabulous painter and go to a show she was having. Check out her work here, NancyBuetiArt.com enjoy. I am so happy for her success and her passion for her work. I wanted to see her standing in her own light. I did not. My brother was celebrating his 50th birthday, having a party at his home in LA. Certainly we would attend, it was in October for goodness sakes. We did now go. Now looking back these events that were looked forward to, seem like disappointments along the way. Sure I was disappointed, but life just steps in and says no. I was back in the hospital having my second hip revision. My hip revisions were like bookends, they framed, ‘the worst summer of my life’.

Well another line was drawn in the sand, I was going to be better by Thanksgiving, we made plans to drive down to Cape Cod and have dinner with our dear friends Joelle and Paul. We are going. I am following the rules and my heart and staying on track to wellness. I did not go crazy. There has been no unnecessary people pleasing.  I picked up the deserts I ordered from the Pasty Box. It was actually fun, I am giving myself a break. The pies are gorgeous and the carrot cake is a jewel.  I happily paid one of the lovely women that owns the bakery. I remembered when they opened, I wished them every success. They have arrived, their baked goods are beautifully executed and delicious, reasonably priced too. I could not resist I picked up some Hermits for my husband. They are a favorite of his, future lunchbox treats. It had started raining. I made my way home to prepare my nosh for before dinner, mentally pressing my easy button. I gave myself a break and I felt no guilt.  I felt happy, well-being ahead.

I drove in the driveway and had a bit of a chuckle. There is a nor’easter bearing down on the east coast, from DC to Maine. My weather panic of a few days ago had evaporated. It had begun to sleet, sure to get messier before it would get better. I had finished what I needed to do, I was nearly ready to leave in the morning. We will have a bit of ice, but not much snow. The warm ocean temperature is what is preventing an accumulation of snow in our town. It was a relief. If I could sing I might belt out ‘Everything is Coming Up Roses’ . Paint Karen happy, you get the idea.

I am very focused on my gratitude book. I am truly grateful, more so since I am feeling better. My dark mood has lifted, I am sleeping, and I am quite sure that my iron levels are better as the mid-afternoon fatigue is gone. A few simple tweaks have added up and I just  feel better. It is a relief. There is more work to do. I realized after my appointment with my therapist this week, there is so much to come to terms with. I look forward to the process. The journey continues. Today I am mostly grateful to be feeling better. My energy is increasing and my sense of humor is returning. I think my husband mirrors me and I can see myself through his eyes, if I care to look. I have begun to see myself when I look in the mirror. I hadn’t noticed that I wasn’t looking at myself until I saw myself. That may seem crazy, but it is just true. I smiled at myself in the mirror this morning, saying to myself, ‘it’s going to be a good day. It was unexpected and spontaneous. Fabulous.

i have written here previously that the woman I once no longer existed. I had no idea who I would be once the dust settled. Well, I am still in here bringing it all along with me. That girl did not disappear, she is in a process of acceptance, while she heals and really recovers. How delicious is this? I feel I am coming to terms with the truth. I thought what you go through is not as important as how you deal with it.  I have discovered I was missing a step. I am coming to terms (acceptance)  while carefully considering how I perceive what is happening, and striving to deal with grace and balance. I am not quite standing in my own light, but I know it is there. That is a remarkable improvement and I will stay the course. Today “I am the happiest clam on the beach”….

I wish you all a Thanksgiving Day where you simply feel the love, and let it in. I am humbled by my gratitude.

Always dazzle, Karen

The Worst Summer of My Life

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Ah, the gift of another day, I am grateful. I read my first blog post this morning, and I thought it was a great place to begin. If there is a thread that runs through a life, I’d say I usually get ahead of myself. Here, today I will explain “the worst summer of my life”.  We will get that behind us and move on.  That is what I am doing these days, moving on, firmly planted in a period of acceptance.  It took many days to get to moving on, letting in the idea of acceptance settle in.  Trust me I was stuck, firmly planted in denial. I was stuck in between “old” Karen and “new” Karen. A very surreal place I must say.  I had lost myself in everything that had “happened” to me. I was operating from a place of reaction, I yearned to take action. Confusion set in, I wasn’t sure who “old” Karen was, and I had no idea of who “new” Karen might be. My curiosity was killing me, I just wanted to like my new self, bringing all that was good, all that worked, and a lightness of being with me.  It isn’t that I did not like “old” Karen, I did, I loved her, in fact I missed her. Things had changed and she really did not exist any longer. There it is, opportunity and possibilities, a rebirth. I realize that life changing events are just that life changing. Here is how life changed.

I have been coping with chronic pain for the past forty years, stemming from a car accident. There have been periods of time where the chronic pain was in control of my life. There were other times, when the chronic pain subsided and I was able to cobble together a normal existence.   Presently, after “the worst summer of my life”, I have a foot neuropathy (dropped foot) and severe nerve pain in my lower leg and foot.  Ironically, what appeared to be a simple surgery to repair a couple of screws that were broken in my existing hip prosthetic brought on an onslaught of new challenges. Following the hip revision I experienced a debilitating cellulitis, extreme edema, two hip dislocations and finally another hip revision to install hardware to prevent future dislocations. The takeaway: my hip is fine, but I have what may be a permanent disability and a higher level of chronic pain.

So there, take that Karen! Talk about monkey mind, this has been the norm. I can’t even believe the thoughts I have had, the things I have been worrying about, no rhyme or reason to it at all.  Yet, all the while I have doing my physical therapy diligently and employing whatever tools I can to recover. My leg in general is stronger, my incision has healed beautifully, my edema treated with supplements and herbs is gone, my restrictions have been lifted and I may do my full physical therapy routine, I am riding my new spin bike, and I have reopened my vintage jewelry shop on Etsy. Sounds good doesn’t it? It is and I am very proud of myself, I have come a long way, and I am grateful that I have managed to put all of this together. But wait, I also become the master of my Tupperware smile, become an expert of taking care of my husband taking care of me, and worst of all I am feeling extremely ambivalent. I am emotionally flat, wondering if laughter and joy will ever return. The downside has manifested as sleep deprivation, a loss of appetite, monkey mind, anemia, low hemoglobin levels, and an overall sense of dis-ease. This situation has overwhelmed me on every level. I am a control freak and I am can do Karen. Not this time, I am venerable, I am scared, and I have no control over this situation. I finally had to say, “I need help”.  I went to see my primary care doctor. I adore her, we have a good working relationship, I trust her and she knows me very well. It didn’t take but a few minutes for her to tell me, “you are not yourself, you are depressed”.  Whoa, I am depressed, no that can not be true, not me, other people are depressed, I have never been depressed. Yes I have been depressed, more times than I’d like to admit.  My doctor told me how we would address this and I just let go and said, “ok”.  She prescribed medication for depression and a sleep aid, the medication would lift me up just enough to get out of my own way and the sleep aid would allow me to get some rest. You know why I said ok? Simple, old Karen would have wanted another chance to manage (control) the situation, I had nothing, I just sat there and agreed, I am depressed and I need help. I was relieved, my shoulders relaxed, I thanked her, hugged her, and went to my car and cried like a baby. I went to the pharmacy, picked up my prescriptions and began taking the medication like an obedient child. The next morning I actually felt better. I had really let go, there was a plan coming to light and I was all in.  I made an appointment to see a therapist, my first appointment is this afternoon. Hopefully we will be a good fit and she will be able to help me wade through this period of acceptance. That is where I need to be. No more waiting, wishing and hoping. Acceptance will allow me to move this situation off center stage and begin to move on to a better place. A place I remember, a place where I thrive, a place where laughter and joy are the norm. Now that sounds good, build it she will come. We will see what happens, I am looking forward to the appointment, and I am ready to show up and do my part.

We all have a choice today. We will decide to be part of the solution, or part of the problem? I am certain we all can sustain and grow through life altering events. It hardly matters what the event was, what is important is how we decide to deal with what has occurred. I am curious, wondering what tactics you employ when life has knocked you down? Whatever you are struggling with today, what path will you choose to lift yourself up? We are all coping with something, that’s just life. How will you walk toward the light today? I look forward to hearing from you.

Today I am grateful for letting go ~ accepting help that is available to me ~ my willingness to be open to solutions. What are you grateful for today? May I suggest you keep a gratitude book? More on my gratitude book later, it is clearly one of my most powerful tools.

I pray that you are feeling well and are in the best of spirits today.

Always dazzle, Karen

Photo – Quotable magnets, taken by me.