Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Artists Of Being Alive



"The most visible creators I know are those artists whose medium is life itself, the ones who express the inexpressible-without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint or sculpt- their medium is being. Whatever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don't have to draw. They are the artists of being alive."- J.Stone

One life. We each have one. Limited time. We each own that. A choice.  We have the gift of a choice to simply show up and allow the canvas of life to do the rest. If we fight too much we loose. If we let go too much we loose. Wake up to the beauty that is in you and around. WAKE UP. As soon as you make being alive your goal you loose the significant story line. Goals become something separate from YOU...just beyond reach. Living well is beyond goals, it is simply opening up to the life around.

"Tonight, we are young. Let's set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun."*
 We can burn brighter. Especially, in friendship and love. My world is MY canvas. I love to paint passionate strokes of red, vibrant warm oranges, persuasive purple and deep thinking blues. Every once in awhile I own the calm green or the treasured gold...but these are the colours I GIVE. Each of us has a different fusion of the palette to share. By being who we ARE we paint LIFE. I owe so much to the people who simply share their lives with me. They are a part of my gradual awakening. We are together and separate on this journey. They add colours to my tapestry I would never have otherwise. The thread that ties us together goes beyond the spiritual, into the honest, and through the fake perfection. Sometimes, a bond between two people is magic.

Sometimes that magic means honest, frank strokes of black. Some of the friends who have added depth to my picture are the ones who seemed to really tick me off at the time. But their bravery changed me. Their raw honesty to be the colours meant for them made me face my own colours. Because YOU are the only medium YOU can change. You Must be the change you wish to be in the world. You must take responsibility for this one precious, wild and wonderful life you have been given! This IS IT. What are you going to do about it? Who are you going to love? What are you going to change? What courage do you need to cultivate to re establish that friendship that meant so much to your growth?

The Artists of Being Alive see the brilliant in the tough moments, the opportunities in heartbreak, the tragedy in injustice, the anger at oppression, and the unconfined JOY of the moment...without judgement. 
This is your world. You are your world. What colours are you choosing? What colours will you share?



To all the colours in my life. Thanks for carrying me home to myself. X.O.

Song Choice: *We are Young- Original artist: Fun.  I also LOVE the Glee version...yup a guilty pleasure:)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tranquility Tips : Suggestions to Meet Desperate or Ordinary Needs





When you need a break:
Find a quiet place and challenge yourself to spend fifteen minutes simply breathing. You can afford fifteen minutes.

When you are suffering bodily ill:
Breathe. Tell yourself that you WILL get through this...eventually... somehow. Take your supplements. Drink water. Buy some plants to cleanse your air. Switch cleaning chemicals for normal vinegar, soda and tea tree oil dilutions. Rest. Slowly walk. Slowly stretch. Consume anything that you can keep down but try to keep it raw or clean...or dark chocolate. Take an Epsom bath for fifteen minutes. Call a friend. Revive your spirit with a happy song. Honour what your body asks for. Listen. Contemplate.

When your mind begs for peace:
Reach out to a friend in need. Help somebody. Give some inspiration. Make something beautiful. Give of yourself and you will briefly find your peace.

When your mind begs for challenge:
Be your change. Create a forum. Create a group of people who would never otherwise meet. Do not make the goal of closeness, make the goal of acceptance and growth. Keep your tone merciful and your knowledge in balance. Humility involves confidence and gracefulness.

When you are looking for something that lasts:
Stop looking and start BEING. Nothing lasts here except the love we give and get. Yet, even those good times will feel temporary on this planet. Instead of getting down about this, mourn losses and celebrate victories. Party with those who are happy and cry with those who are down.

When you are barely surviving:
Ask. Those who ask - receive. Ask until someone answers. Ask for your needs. Ask for someone, anyone, to breathe moments for you. When they tire, ask someone else. Do not feel guilt. You too will gain strength and then you must be the one who answers.

When you look in the mirror and see nothing of value:
You must write to your best friend. Picture the one you love most in this world. Write what you see in their soul and what you wish for them. Then realize that you also need to have these thoughts for yourself. Paste it on your mirror and change the person's name to yours. This note is for you, first and foremost. If you can see these attributes in the one you love- you must also see them in yourself. In order for those you love most to find the love in themselves, you must also find yours.

When you need activity:
Sigh. Stretch. Sing. Dance. Walk out the door. Walk around the block. Stretch. Sing. Sigh. Dance into bed in the style of My fair Lady. Thank your muscles by slowly releasing with thankful thought each one ... as you lay cozied up.

When you are lonely:
Honour that place. Is the universe asking you to sit with yourself? Is there a painful growth that needs to be done alone? Are you meant to think for yourself first? OR Are you alone because you made the wrong choice without regard for others? OR Are you simply alone because often in this unfair life we all are...but in that fact we are together. Be comforted. Find anyone who will listen to your loneliness. Find belief in something and talk to the Being or thought. Know, none of us are truly alone yet we must all bear this burden at some point...in this you are united with others.

When you are bored:
Learn. The last thing you need to do is sit on your duff thinking nothing appeals to you. In this moment nothing will. Until then find something to learn. Look up a word on the net. Find a reason to help end poverty. Research a syndrome. Understand your human counterparts. Find some meaning in a well worded book. Teach someone about something. Learn how to calm anxiety. Learn about differences. Seek knowledge. Find anything to learn about. Life is short. Fill it or allow it to flow. Sit in boredom for awhile if you must. Perhaps it will give you more gratitude when something captures your attention.

When you are feeling forgotten by all of your friends:
Ask yourself: "Have I forgotten to email back before? Did I ever receive a phone message and be extremely excited to hear from a person only to forget about it for weeks? Have I missed dates and get together's simply because I got caught up in life? Did that mean I loved this person less? Of course not!" Then apply this knowledge to yourself. Perhaps they did forget about you and you need to make yourself heard. They can not think of you all the time.
Or you need a few new friends to fill another role? Friends fill different aspects of us. It is important to have a few different friends. It is important to love them all differently and not be jealous because we all have different parts of our character that are brought out by different people. It does not make anyone less.
But more likely, if you are feeling forgotten, you just need to give yourself and others grace. Grace and time.

When you need water:
Buy a fountain and feature it in your home. Make a commitment to water your plants, your soul, and your body. Fight to protect natural marshes and man made places of appeal. Send thank you notes to all the places that keep the water pure.

When you need trees:
Plant one. Plant one in your yard and pot one in your home. Watch the Lorax with the kiddos. Drive to the forest once a year. Share your love of trees and nurture growth in your community.

When you need beauty:
Make some. Find a new song and send it to your friends. Link up a photograph. Paint your face or feet. Find a treasured cast off in a second store and reunite it with it's purpose. Watch a well done film. Feed the homeless. Laugh with a child. Remember the wrinkles in a loving parent, grandparent or role model.

When you miss your friends:
Tell them. Make sure they know why they are unique. No one else can ever be them. Honour that by giving words of affirmation any chance you can. It may seem mushy but our hard lives need mush. We need more softness. We need more gentle light. We need more hope. We need more affirmation. Give, give, give, give...one day they will be gone forever and you will loose a piece of yourself in them. Until then, honour with your words. Honour with your gifts. Write.

When you need a hug:
Give one. If no one is safe... buy a stuffie. I am not even joking. Find a beautiful, soft animal and pretend you are buying it for a child. Go home to your secluded safety and hug tight. Those who sleep with something to hold are found to be less stressed and healthier. Cry and honour your inner child that begs to be held. This isn't weird. It's why children love their soft toys. You were once that child.


When you want to end it all:
Don't you dare. You are a valuable, unique, undiscovered work of art. Someone will see that if you give them a chance. We need you here. You are here for a reason. There is something that only you can give...you are soul worth BEING. Find someone who can believe in a stranger. Find some kindness. Be some kindness. Talk and keep talking until somebody listens.

When you are taking advantage of someone:
Remember we all struggle. It's ok to ask. It's ok if you are a person who needs more aid. Just make sure to give back to somebody somehow. Try to give the same consideration to the person you are asking much of. BE grateful always. Move on if they become bitter. While it is true they must own their boundaries and own their attitudes, you must respect theirs as well.

When you feel anxious:
I am sorry. There are no set answers for this one...well for any of these actually. These are just some suggestions to trigger your life choices. But in each situation, there is a part that is choice and a part that is not. You must recognize what is truth for you. In all things choose grace, redemption, love and forgiveness. It is a constant mindset. A constant changing. For anxiety- you must find grace. Someone or yourself to help you see some perspective. Someone to legitimize every crazy thing you are feeling...and then to give you a hand into a bit of light. Sometimes this takes a professional. Sometimes it must be sleep. Sometimes this means Cognitive therapy. But mostly this means TIME. Anxiety is hell but it does pass. Center yourself in the storm and find whatever works for you to quell the quivering fears and frightening threats. (Check out my link here for more: http://worldwecreate.blogspot.ca/2014/01/defending-and-understanding-anxiety.html)

Remember Gandhi's words;
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." But lower your expectations and be graceful yet strong within your change.


Monday, March 25, 2013

How To Deal With PMDD (Part 2)


I realized I did not give any tips on how to cope with PMDD in my last post. I wrote it a year ago on a blog that is now private. Since then I have learned many ways to cope. I still suffer. I still want to smash glass but I have found tiny healing steps, so that I can at least function some of the time or give myself the illusion that I'm in control. For those who like practical help this post may help. The previous post on Smashing Glass (click) will help those who just want to feel validated and understood (which usually helps me more.) These tips can also apply to other mood disorders or conditions:

1) Find a Naturopath. I can not stress enough how much a good naturopath is worth the cost. Depleted vitamins, over taxed adrenals, imbalanced hormones...they can all be replenished. I am now on R20 drops (among other supplements) each day that take the edge off of my hormonal craziness. It has helped a heap.

2) Give into some of your cravings. You may be craving them for a reason...and it takes the edge off. Bonus- your body burns extra calories during PMS. If you do not believe me, read THIS. Bring on the steak, berries, dark chocolate, spinach and heavy cream poured over fudgeeos! This woman needs her respite!:)

3) Don't schedule in anything that is not necessary. Clear your calendar for this week. You may say or do things you will regret when your mind calms down. Have as much down time as possible. Soak in that epsom bath, listen to music more, stay in your house and surround yourself with everything GOOD.

4) Have hubby, or family take the kids (if you have them) for at least a few hours on the worst day...or pull out the trusty Netflix or Kid's shows. Do not feel guilt for this. They will have their brains stimulated by someone new or have fun watching a show instead of sitting with a moody you...and you will have time to just be angry. Win Win. Sometimes we need to allow our emotions to just BE.

5) If you skipped the Naturopath you still need to be taking some key supplements. Vitamin E, B C, D and magnesium will all help support you. Evening Primrose oil and other supplements may help too.

6) Go for a light walk. Don't engage in crazy exercise but a light walk in the fresh air may help you...or some stairs in the house if you live in the frozen tundra of my land.

7) See a therapist or a friend who gives good counsel. Talking it out, or venting, releases a lot of the unpredictability.

8) Use Reiki meditation...especially focusing on the Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakra.

9) Set your boundaries. Find A safe way to channel the anger. Not all of it is bad. Some of it stops you from accepting the normal ways people are rude or walk all over you- this is the time of month when you can put a stop in those behaviours that most women do not allow themselves to do. Men are fine and allowed to be rude at times or have clear boundaries but if a woman does the exact same thing she is considered witchy. This is a great time to start new boundaries.

10) Speaking of safe ways to channel anger- Music is a great healing agent. Some people calm down with mellow tones...at this time of month I do best indulging in these songs...I feel so much better after an hour of angst:) Song Choices: Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy that Way- Anjulie, Bohemian Rhapsody, Many P!nk songs AND MOST OF Metallica (Misery, Until It Sleeps, Enter Sandman and The Unforgiven are my favourites.)

* Finally, if you really can't cope and are having dark, dangerous thoughts that you feel you may follow through on, seek understanding medical help. Not all medical help is good. Find someone who is empathetic and will give you the run down on the true side effects of medication or HRT. I have studied HRT in my degree courses and it is not something to take lightly...but sometimes it is a necessary evil. Choose a balanced care giver.
I hope this helps. May you find healing.



http://www.medicinenet.com/premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder_pmdd/article.htm
http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/pmdd/pmdd-premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-symptoms-treatment/
Blogs:
http://pmddisnotfun.blogspot.ca/2011/05/pmdd-sucks.html
http://floakes.blogspot.ca/2007/05/pmdd.html


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Smashing Glass (PMDD)



The window beckoned my fist. Tightly clenching my hands I strangled a helpless moan. I backed away from the temptation and grabbed my iPhone schedule. I never know what day of the month it is but I always know what day of my cycle I am on. Mother moon is responsible for my transformation. I laugh at those who have never experienced PMS. PMS has NOTHING on PMDD. (Some sites say it is the same thing but any reliable site knows the difference.) How lucky are those who only suffer mild cramps and tiny bloating. I have to schedule in time to avoid people for a full week every month...just in case. I do not trust my responses to typical interactions five days prior to a bleed.

It was my first diagnosis years ago. I explained in a post before how most of my labels are like spaghetti...one begets the other and all are connected somehow and almost all are due to neurological differences. "While the cause of PMDD has not been definitively established, a leading theory suggests it is due to the lack of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and mediated by the fluctuations of the levels of sex hormones (progesteroneestrogen, and testosterone) in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.[10]" (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder#section_2)
I am fine with various labels explaining me or giving other people more understanding. But I do not think the labels alone make up me. But PMDD is a whole other story. It's like having post partum depression once a month...yet sometimes I am lucky enough to escape the clutches of mother moon. The Diagnosing doctor told me that is more likely during PMDD that women take their own lives or others... and that it is a literal "get out of jail card" in some cases... With that information I was sent into a horrified stupor involving tears of helplessness and feelings of frustration. Doctors recommended birth control, but being an Aspie sensitive to meds I lasted three horrible months. Instead I had to face the unpredictable moments and trust that my mind would never be clouded with violent tendencies.

I am a passionate person by nature. Passion is different from violence. Passion is expression and glorious emotion. Violence often forms from malicious intent. Let me be clear that I am as safe as any person can be (all are capable of some form of danger) and I do not ever own malicious intent. It's not in my nature. I have a strong threshold of self control and keep things in check until I am alone or with trustworthy people. This is not a post showing how incapable or mean I can be. It is however a post giving a glimpse into something I rarely ever talk about.

Usually Wiki is not terribly reliable but I found that this explanation of PMDD was clear and covered most of the bases. It's a cyclic disorder occurring in a rare percentage of women from mid cycle, or generally the worst five days before menstruation. PMDD involves these symptoms taken from the WIKI article HERE:


"mood symptoms are dominant.[6] Substantial disruption to personal relationships is typical for women with PMDD.[6] Anxiety, anger, and depression may also occur. The main symptoms, which can be disabling, include[7]
  • feelings of deep sadness or despair, and suicide ideation
  • feelings of intense tension or anxiety
  • increased intense sensitivity to rejection or criticism
  • panic attacks
  • rapid and severe mood swings, bouts of uncontrollable crying
  • lasting irritability or anger, increased interpersonal conflicts; typically sufferers are unaware of the impact they have on those close to them
  • apathy or disinterest in daily activities and relationships
  • difficulty concentrating
  • chronic fatigue
  • food cravings or binge eating
  • insomnia or hypersomnia; sleeping more than usual, or (in a smaller group of sufferers) being unable to sleep
  • feeling overwhelmed or feelings of being out of control
  • increase or decrease in sex drive
  • increased need for emotional closeness
Common physical symptoms include:
  • breast tenderness or swelling, heart palpitations, headaches, joint or muscle pain, swollen face and nose
  • an altered view of one's body - a sensation of 'bloating', feeling fat or actual weight gain."
Click this link for physical symptoms.
I explained it to my best friend as Ware Wolf Syndrome (defined by Harry Potter movies of course.) The mythological creature transforms by the light of the full moon against it's will. A kind person can suddenly become a vicious creature. I dread my Mother Moon week. I gain ten pounds EVERY time. These pounds dissolve after the first few day's bleed...most of it is water weight. My face shape also changes slightly. It is the only time I ever have lower than low self esteem and see myself through distorted eyes. I point out women I look like only to have my husband look at me funny and exclaim, "They are at least a hundred pounds bigger than you."And I wonder what is wrong with his eyes.

My moods smash glass. One moment I can be laughing and cranking the music in our home but a few minutes later I can be staring vacantly into space or suddenly VERY upset at some event. (Obviously I shelter my children from any extreme effects. They just mention I am crankier and I explain the basics of PMS...yes my boys are included in this lesson...) Horrendous pictures of wrist slitting and car swerving come uninvited into my mind. I hide my knives not because I actually think I will follow through...I trust myself...but because they enhance the pictures in my mind and increase visions. I seclude myself from most events. Like the Ware Wolf who has to be given an elixir or chained up for it's own safety...I choose my own form of placating. I have limited choices. Seclusion combined with bursts of scheduled, timed moments of interaction make up my days.

The lucky (or unlucky) aspect of my self awareness is that I KNOW when I am "not myself." Sometimes it takes recounting the days to solidify it in my head that I may be overreacting. At times my husband has to point it out in some creative way. He learned NOT to say "What day of your cycle is it?" when I am upset. With intelligence, he often chooses calm moments to kindly ask, "Hey hon, just wondering what day we are at (I know immediately what he is speaking of) so I can be prepared to love you better." Wonderfully smart man that he is...While it is true that sometimes I am unaware of the effect I can have on people at this time during my "hormone fog," generally I have an idea. If I don't, the Divine gives me insight, or my husband or a friend...because I do feel that I am legitimate in my reactions and perspectives. My Pre Frontal cortex tells me I am.

Women are to be honoured for their cycle. "The RED TENT" changed my perspective on the sheer privilege it is to be a woman bound to the moon, ocean, earth and Spirit through a raw process of emptying, filling and life giving. But, during PMDD I feel that this aspect of being bound to my calendar is a tribal form of torture. I am a slave to the days of the moon. Any other day is just any other day, but days where the symptoms decide to show... can be binding. I do not like being moody. I would rather not be a less controlled version of self. Passionate is an attribute I am proud of (although I am aware of obvious downsides that we all possess with any good personality trait) but moodiness is a roller coaster ride. I detest rides.

When I don't trust myself, I don't speak. This week I decided instead to take another approach. Education. At least it is something.

These are dark days considering the fact that Mother Moon is overlooking the landscape. Binges are the only reprieve I get. Last night I downed several chocolate Fudgeeos and DRANK 100% cream. This at least stopped the torturous feelings for a moment...and no I don't care that I am stuffing my emotions with food. The emotions are too strong and if sweets can stop death thoughts than so be it. One tiny event can set me off. Normal sensory Overload that often will just frustrate me slightly becomes a trigger of rage. Blinding perceptions, my Hulk like anger bursts over me. I squeeze metal cans, I throw my sacred books, I stifle screams of agony, and I picture satisfying shards of smashed glass....because smashed means that I actually gave in to the confused mess of expression. Smashed means I was unaware and lost the last shred of knowing control. THAT would be more merciful than looking at the smooth glass in the mirror and seeing the distorted image taunt,"You are not yourself. You know you are not thinking clearly." Because knowing while one can not do much to change a situation makes the agony surface. Knowing others have it worse and I will be better in a few days time does NOTHING in the moment. I am still grateful, I am still hopeful, I still possess most of my intelligent capacity but mother moon defines my choices. The only choice I seem to have is whether or not I will smash glass. Thus far I have not.



Further links:
Part TWO (TIPS TO HELP WITH PMDD) here: http://worldwecreate.blogspot.ca/2013/03/how-to-deal-with-pmdd-part-2.html
http://www.medicinenet.com/premenstrual_dysphoric_disorder_pmdd/article.htm
http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/pmdd/pmdd-premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder-symptoms-treatment/
Blogs:
http://pmddisnotfun.blogspot.ca/2011/05/pmdd-sucks.html
http://floakes.blogspot.ca/2007/05/pmdd.html

P.S. Speaking of safe ways to channel anger- Music is a great healing agent. Some people calm down with mellow tones...at this time of month I do best indulging in these songs...I feel so much better after an hour of angst:) Song Choices: Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne, Crazy that Way- Anjulie, Bohemian Rhapsody, most songs OF P!nk AND MOST OF Metallica (Misery, Until it Sleeps and The Unforgiven and Enter Sandman are my favourites.)

Song Choice: Crazy Train- Ozzy Osbourne

Crazy that Way- Anjulie, Bohemian Rhasposdy
Additional: Raise your Glass- Pink, Howl at the Moon- Hank Williams ( ha ha), The Long Day is Over- Norah Jones,


Monday, March 18, 2013

It's Like Cupcakes...

Cursive Fonts



The delights of people, earth and life can be found intentionally. A sacred space dedicated solely to the love of cupcakes is often tough to find, but walking in the senses are delighted at the artful displays of tiny cakes. Each one is unique. Each cupcake has a story. Yet most cupcakes share a few common ingredients, if not butter then flour, if not flour then vanilla, if not vanilla then salt.

Lined up row by row, the eyes feast on chocolate, lemon, butter cream, caramel, white, and gluten free.  Each one is lovingly designed with swirls or embellishment. No two are alike. Cupcakes from the same bowl and batch carry a different aspect or form from one another. Whether this difference is in the actual cupcake or the slightly different swirl on top, it matters not. Each one has something slightly set apart to offer for the trained eye. Each one carries a flavour with the potential to delight. But this delight is dependent on the person who chooses. To one connoisseur chocolate is preferable to butter cream, to the health nut gluten free is the best option. The flavour or ingredients determine the best suited partner.

Yet, every now and then, someone who enjoys gluten free will daringly take a chance on the sweet. Delighted and surprised lessons come with risk. Or the sweet tooth will choose the reduced sugar and be charmed by the subtle taste.

Our souls crave being fed. We need the hearty weight of kindness, the sweetness of grace, the practicality of realism. With cupcakes our imagination gains weight. The poetry and taste of life are given in each experience. Sometimes we need to be fattened. Not explained or reduced to our caloric intake or nutritional value. Sometimes we need to be enjoyed.

"Give us this day our daily crumb, our ice cream cone, our cherry pie. The slightest things- a walk, a word, a breeze, a passing view- please the soul immeasurably and feed it. A dinner with a hint of imagination and effort, a tree bearing fruit outside the kitchen, a favourite market, an old recipe, can all feed the soul even as they nourish the body.
The health fantasy of food is not enough. That has it's importance of course, but if it is allowed to dominate, especially as we at present imagine it- a medical, scientific, chemical-genetic reduction of the human person to a materialistic object- the soul in food will vanish, and we will have lost one more important source of soul and enchantment in the everyday experience."- Thomas Moore*

Cupcakes are a source of contemplation, of meaning, of creativity. Big impact in a tiny parcel. Reading the ingredient list does not diminish the taste. Knowing the exact compilation does not explain the mystery for the senses. Whether it is Lemon Drop, Strawberry or Peanut Butter, Pumpkin, coffee or Red velvet, each one belongs because it is. Each has the capacity to delight. But it is up to the sampler to decide what will bring joy. One can be a critic, assessing and reducing each cake to a set of prescribed ingredients. One can be a sour face and deny pleasure based on calories or some other reason to walk away. But I hope most take the occasional risk to add the weight of delight to the short walk of life.

People can delight. It's like cupcakes. So many choices, so many versions, many different gifts but we can get the same result back. The surprise of delight and the mystery of imagination. It's all perspective.

*Find this book from Thomas Moore ( The ReEnchantment of Everyday Living) and link in my library. It's EXCELLENT.

A happy song: