I had my 69th birthday this week. I cannot believe how fast the years have gone. I have done a lot of thinking about where I want the remaining years to take me.
First of all, it is important for me to enjoy my life. Staying healthy and fit is top on my list. Spending time with family and friends is a close second, only because I realize that without my health it is very hard to enjoy anything or anyone. Then comes the everyday living that has to give me joy. This includes my hobbies, like reading, cooking, listening to music, painting, traveling, etc.
Besides spending time with family and friends, I intend to spend a lot of time training my little service dog. Her name is Chi and she is a Shih Tzu. I am deaf and she is in training to help me notice things and people. She wakes me up in the morning, alerts me to noises like the doorbell and also lets me know when people are around me when I don’t see them. These are a few of the things that she is in service dog training to learn.
I also intend to do volunteer work. Since I do not hear, I am struggling to find volunteer work that is meaningful to me. I feel very intensely about animals, especially dogs. I am planning to look into volunteer work that involves dogs and/or other animals. Chi is also in training to be a therapy dog. She is currently completing her therapy dog training in a local hospital. We go to the hospital where she wears a scarf instead of her service dog vest. She sits patiently while being loved on. It is uncanny how she know the difference between playful with me and being calm with the patients. Dogs are so much smarter and sensitive than we realize.
These are just a few of my birthday thoughts. I just want my remaining years to be healthy as possible, joyful and helpful.
I am still on this serious kick. I so admire my friend, Kim, who can find humor in the hardest of situations. I was reading her blog the other day while waiting in my physical therapist’s waiting room and burst out laughing so loud that I looked up and every person there was staring at me! “Seriously”, you have to check out her blog: Life in the Crass Lane here on Word Press.
We all have our sad stories. I think it is important to look at our issues and feel our pain, and it is also important to try to find the silver lining in our situation. It is harder to see the humor, I think. I have always looked at my life challenges to see if I can find a deeper meaning or a lesson I can learn. I don’t always look for the humor.
I am going to take a lesson from my friend, Kim, and start to look at the humor as well as the lessons. I am retired now, but when I was working, I was a mental health therapist. We were not trained to be humorous with our clients. We were trained to help them see what circumstances lead up to the present and how they may have played a roll in it and to help them have some understanding so that they could help their situation and their future. It was serious business.
In retirement, I think I need to lighten up. Maybe it is time to see the humor in life.
I just read my friend Kim’s blog. She made me laugh so hard! I immediately felt terrible about my blog post yesterday. I was so serious. I need to lighten up. Not just on my blog, but in general. I can be the life of the party when I am around people, but it is hard for me to let go when I write. So I decided to seriously give this some mindful attention. That is in keeping with my analytical personality.
So I observed that I was knocking myself because I was not as entertaining as my friend. Then I decided to quit beating myself up because I am not as funny as she is. By the way, her blog is: Life in the crass lane here on Word Press. Please check it out if you want to laugh! Then I decided I was being judgmental and hard on myself. Then I decided to let it go and accept that I am different and the result was that I felt so much better and lighthearted.
I guess the moral of this story is that we all have our special gifts and talents and we are much better off if we appreciate and grow what we have.
I have been thinking lately about what I want my writing to encompass. My blog is my name and so I have been thinking that anything that occurs in my life is fair game! I am a very organized person, so I have to have some kind of formula. I began looking at what my purpose is in this lifetime. I came up with the idea that if I am not mindful, no purpose no matter how important it is, could be attained without mindfulness. So I am going to talk about my life but within the framework of being mindful.
Being mindful to me is being aware of my feelings and thoughts in every situation that I am experiencing in a wakeful state. This awareness is like Zen meditation in that I become aware, observe without judgement and then release with an understanding of my feelings and thoughts. That is my definition for the purposes of this blog.
So, I will be writing about events in my daily life that I have been mindful of, the process and any insights that I might have experienced. I think that this will be very helpful to me and I hope that my writing about my experiences will be helpful to you.
So, here is my first description of a mindful state that I experienced today. I wanted to write but felt very fearful that I would not have anything to write about. What could I possibly have to contribute? My feeling was fear. I observed that I thought that I was not good enough to write anything that would matter to anyone, how could I expose my personal thoughts to strangers, and would I fail because I could not be consistent in my writing habits? Then I reminded myself that the next step was to observe these thoughts and feelings without judgement. Once I did this I was able to release. I started to feel more at ease and then the fear went away. I understood that by holding on to my fear, that I was completely blocking any chance of growth toward my being on the road to a mindful life or writing a blog that might help me or anyone else.
My awareness now is that I am feeling free and excited to continue this journey into a mindful life. I am hoping that my mindfulness of my struggles and successes will benefit me as well as you.
By the way, I am not always this serious! Sometimes you may find me funny. But, as I write this, I am aware that my thoughts are of acceptance of my style and I am not judging it and my feelings changed to excitement and anticipation of what the next entry will be like.
Every time I find myself rushing, I stop and take a few deep breaths like I do in yoga. I remind myself that I am ok and that everything will be fine. So what if I am a few minutes late? I usually have to sit and wait anyway! But it is not just rushing to an appointment that I need to be aware of. It is the rushing to move through my life. I try to be a mindful person and become aware of every moment. Not always easy!
My goal is to become aware and intentional in my every day moments. I want to savor the moments that build to make up my life and my life’s journey. My meditation practice helps me to become more aware. Meditation slows me down. Although, I have found myself rushing through my meditation! I hear myself asking, “Is the timer about to go off?” That is not the goal of meditation!
So, I continue to work on becoming more mindful and try not to rush through the unfolding of my life.
During my whole adult life, I have been aware that I am an explorer. I am hugely curious about people. What motivates them to do what they do? I got my bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. I was trying to find out the answers to my questions. What I discovered is that I am really an explorer of my own motivations. I have spent a fortune on schooling, training and my own therapy to help me understand why I do the things I do.
I have spent years meditating and studying the religions of the World. I feel a little like Christopher Columbus in that I wasn’t sure where I was going and I am not sure where I have been. But one thing that I do know is that I will keep on exploring until I can no longer breathe. I will always be curious.
I have learned a few things on my journey and that is I am motivated by what feels good and what does not feel good. If it feels good, I want more. If it does not feel good, then I don’t want more. My purpose is to create mostly people, things and circumstances that make me feel good. It is as simple as that!
This may seem odd to some women who had difficult pregnancies, but when I was pregnant, I felt the most beautiful and radiant in my entire life. I strutted my stuff and I knew I was a magnificent creature. I was carrying life!!!
In my opinion, I was doing the most important job of all jobs. I felt healthy and I had a radiant glow that everyone saw. Men I didn’t even know came up to me and asked if they could touch my belly. Some women would have been embarrassed, but not me. I knew I was irresistible and I was a beauty to behold! I was an older pregnant lady. My doctor thought that at 37 I was pushing being pregnant. He told me that I could expect morning sickness and I told him, “I don’t do that!” He just looked at me with disbelief, but I was right. He worried about me giving birth and wanted me to be hooked up to all kinds of intravenous contraptions. I assured him I would be fine and I was.
The most radiant I felt was when the nurse placed my darling baby girl in my arms. I thought I was going to burst with love. If you haven’t experienced it, there is no way I can describe the feeling to you. But know it is the most wonderful feeling on Earth!
The only other times that I have felt close to the same radiance is when I have watched my beautiful, intelligent and compassionate daughter triumph over her own milestones.