Saturday, September 23, 2017

Think About It -- Living Whole-Heartedly

Thursday was a slump day. I started off with good intentions to get a lot of work done, but I took time after eating to play Spider Solitaire (SS). That’s my break time; my time when I don’t have to be thinking about all the things I should be doing. I don’t want to be “working” all the time and “thinking” is working. I tend to think way too much!

Unfortunately, SS doesn’t occupy my mind enough to stop mind chatter. My brain still multitasks. I can have more than one scenario or conversation going on in my head at the same time, and when I slip into daydreaming, it’s often dreaming of things going wrong.

I tell myself to stop, but it’s like watching a movie. I want to see the end … until I force myself to stop. I try to think of something else; that turns towards disaster, too. Even thinking of the mini-vacation next week evolved into things going wrong like accidents, attacks, and issues with hotels or people. I try to envision work around the house or art work, but again, that’s about work and the daydreaming brings to mind everything that has not worked out right. 

Stop! Stop those downward thought patterns!

Yesterday I was determined not to fall into that funk again and get back to living a whole-hearted life.

The most important thing to do is not listen to or read the news. It’s hard to get away from it. There are headlines on Facebook, people are always going on about some issue or other and blowing everything all out of proportion or not having all the facts, the TV or radio are talking constantly about every bad thing that has happened. Then there’s all the commercials yelling about their products. 

I get a kick out of the radio station that comes on as my alarm clock in the morning. The news always starts with “Here’s what you need to know today…” and it’s always about someone getting killed, some disaster, or some political controversy. Do I really need to know that? No. I don’t think there has ever been anything I’ve needed to know.

Think about it. We are constantly bombarded with negativity, most of which we can’t do anything about. Commercials are constantly pounding us. The constant repetition of the terrors in the country and world, everything bad and horrible, all the grief and anger affects everyone. Is this what you want to surround yourself with? Is this what you want for your family and kids?

The more negativity pounded into us, the more negativity and horror there will be. It’s like mob mentality. People get caught up in it. They can’t help it. It’s psychological. The pumped-up attitudes, the adrenaline rushes, the need to strike out – it’s catchy. People’s emotions run rampantly out of control.

Think about it. Think about how easy it is to get caught up in others’ emotions. When they are angry, you get angry. When they are pumped-up and rallying against one thing or another, you get pumped-up, too. People stop thinking for themselves when caught up in all the emotion. And it doesn’t matter where you are -- even concerts, pep rallies, sports games, protests -- people get caught up in all that emotion and may end up acting in a way they never would. Think about it – is this the type of person you want to be?

Not me! I’m pulling back, refusing to get into it. Yes, I’m repeating what I’ve said before. Repetition is how we learn and my goal is to repeat things to myself that are important to me, that will bring me joy and mental well-being. (Not the repetition of commercials and negativity.)

Think about it – what do you want to have repeated to you? Think about the commercials, TV programs, newspaper stories, and such. Is this the type of stuff you want running your life? Think about it – anger begets more anger, negativity begets more negativity, terrorism creates more terrorism, violence promotes more violence … Think about it.

Think about it. What do you want to promote for your community, state, country, world? And what happens when so much effort and thought is being concentrated somewhere else and we are not taking care of our own communities? 

So, how can I live whole-heartedly? Whenever I think that, it brings me back to myself. It helps me rein in my brain when my thoughts are scrambling and feeling overwhelmed. Asking how I can live whole-heartedly focuses my thoughts in the here and now. Taking care of now will also build for tomorrow. 

And living whole-heartedly means caring for others. It’s helping when I can and where I can. It’s knowing what fights to fight and when to walk away. It’s taking care not to jump on the latest bandwagon because that’s what everyone else is doing. It’s taking the time to look at a situation instead of being caught up in the hoop-la. It’s choosing what types of repetitions will be beneficial to whole-hearted living because creating good for me will help create good in those I meet. 

Think about it. What kind of life do you want? I am choosing to live a whole-hearted life. I’m not perfect, but I am being the best I can be.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Reminding Myself to Live Whole-heartedly

I forgot. I got caught up in the media bombardment of all the devastation in the country, phone call scams, and the lack of good customer service from businesses that I was being torn away from myself. I feel crushed under the weight of media negativity. The constant pounding of all the horrors, drug problems, and things gone wrong in the world. It’s hard to get away from it. And they can’t just talk about it a couple of times. It’s over and over and over until your entire being is saturated with it all.

It’s the repetition. Repetition sticks. It’s how we learn: Alphabet, math, spelling, etc. But lately the repetition is of the negative kind. I call, “Stop!” This is not the kind of repetitive reinforcement that helps. Negativity breeds negativity and the media loves keeping everyone riled up because that’s what sells stories. People get caught in the “mob mentality” without truly understanding the situation. 

Think about it. People are addicted to negativity. They can’t get away from it. The more horrible, the more they want to hear about it, read about it, and see it. We’re constantly bombarded with it all and eventually we crack. It’s almost like they want a reason to be angry and cause a scene and the media keeps stirring the pot.

Yes, it’s good to know what’s going on in the state, country, and world, but it isn’t all bad – and it doesn’t have to be. We can choose what we want to hear, read, and see … and how much of it. Plus, I don’t want to be manipulated by the media. I don’t want commercials pounding products at me all day long. Isn’t it funny that we have such a huge drug problem and what are most commercials nowadays? Drugs! “Got these symptoms? Ask your doctor about …” So here, on one hand they’re saying how bad some drugs are and then they’re shoving other drugs down your throat. Again, think about it. What do you want in your life? And think about what kids are listening to and having beat into their minds. Is this what you want for your kids?

I think, too, we get so worked up by what’s going on out there, that we are not taking care of what’s here. We’re so busy looking at the bigger picture, we’re not working on making our lives better or helping our immediate family or community. (I’m not saying we shouldn’t be helping people recover from the hurricanes and such because we should.) But again, think about it. Where is your energy going? 

And, I have to stop talking and thinking about it, too! Too often, lately, I’ll go on a rant about these subjects and find myself getting worked up. I have to stop for my own well-being or I’ll slide into the well of miserable, hating people. So here again, I say, “I refuse!” I am pulling back. I am determined to live whole-heartedly. 

I’ll try even harder to not hear news, not see a headline. I won’t read the “Trending” news on Facebook and anyone who starts in on politics or other negativity, I’ll quickly pass by or “hide.” 

When I say “negativity,” I’m not talking about people having a hard time and needing a pep talk or advice. I don’t mean that people shouldn’t talk about issues. Talking is helpful. Just knowing that someone hears us and understands helps gives us the strength to go on. We all need support from time to time and sharing our personal stories can help one another. We experience life and we can’t hide from it. Something I go through may help you with something you’re struggling with and vice versa.

This is part of living whole-heartedly. I have to recognize what I need in order to be healthy in heart, body, and mind. That means taking care of me. Taking care of me, which includes my mental well-being, will allow me to have compassion for others. Taking care of me replenishes my energies and soul so that I have the strength and wisdom to offer others. 

I also recognize my strengths and weaknesses. This helps me know when, where, and how I can help others when it is needed. I look at how I can help family, friends, neighbors, and the community. I am not the out-going person who can jump on bandwagons and lead campaigns. I sit quietly in the background waiting for the right moment for which I am suited. I write stories, give words of encouragement, provide ideas.

Living whole-heartedly means avoiding the negativity we’re bombarded with from the media. It means knowing what I can do, what I’m willing to do, what I’m not willing to do, and having the courage to know when to say no. It’s knowing that I care about others. It’s knowing I will have pitfalls and knowing I will get back up. It’s knowing that every day I am doing the best I can and that I’ve done enough and I am enough.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jumbled Ideas and Living Whole-heartedly

I am always amused when I start a writing project or poem thinking I’m covering one topic and it turns into something else. This is one such case. I was going to write about art, but as you can see, the words went in another direction.

I have notes and lists in piles on my desk. I’m always writing down thoughts and ideas as my mind jumps from topic to topic. Of course, I think all my ideas are good ones, but in the moment, I don’t want to work on those as I’m usually in the middle of something else when these ideas come to me. So, they become side notes on scrap paper from the backs of notices, mail, extra pages, etc.

The pieces of paper are all jumbled. The ideas and comments vary from gardening, pastel/art, shorts and fillers I’m putting together for the newspaper, things to do, stories and blogs, deck painting projects, things to tell others or write about later … oh, it can go on. Nothing is in order and if I remember writing something and want to add to it, I have to dig through the pile.

I’m feeling unorganized and scattered. I feel I’ll never get to it all. And I want to do it all. Most of these are things I care about; I’m passionate about. I want to write about every idea (because they’re good topics). I want to take the tips on pastel painting to the studio while I’m at the easels (but I don’t). I want to use garden plans in updating the garden itself or adding the concepts to the gardening reference manual I’m creating (but I never seem to get around to it). 

Some things I need to do, though, are more like chores: Paying bills, making out invoices, record keeping, housework, shopping for groceries (I hate shopping!), and running errands like getting gas, going to the bank, mailbox, or post office.

All these projects make it hard for me to eat. It’s not that I can’t eat, but I don’t want to take the time to prepare food. I don’t want to interrupt work flow even if I’m jumping from one project to the nest. I’m on a roll energy-wise and I’ll work past hunger because I want to get a piece of a project done. 

How does this unorganized spewing forth of jumbled ideas work into living whole-heartedly?

To live whole-heartedly means I have to accept that what I get accomplished every day is enough. (It’s also enough if I choose to have a lazy day.) I can’t dwell on what I didn’t get done. I focus and celebrate every accomplishment no matter how small. I know I am doing the best I can and it is good. (Lazy days also serve a purpose to well-being.)

Living whole-heartedly means I like me and I love what I do. 

Am I perfect? Heck, no. Yeah, I’ll make stupid mistakes. Yes, I sometimes spend money foolishly. And sometimes I am ornery and whiny as I tackle those must-do chores. But in the end, I make sure the good accomplishments are the highlights of my days.

My lists and piles of paperwork? OK, one more item on the to-do list, written again as it has been on past lists – organize. I’ll get to it someday … and if I don’t, that’s OK. I am satisfied that what I do today is enough. I am enough today and tomorrow I’ll do more and that will be enough, too.

Live is good!