My Survival Kit for Christmas/New Year/anytime!

Sometimes I find life overwhelming. I don’t think I am alone in that experience! Just thought I would put together a list of some easy things to remember when feeling stressed/depressed etc.

  • Remember there are some things in my control and others are not (inspired by the Stoics)
  • Remember that it is not things that upset us but our beliefs/judgements about them (Stoics)
  • Be grateful for life, health and the many good things in my life
  • Be in the moment, as in “when doing the dishes, just do the dishes”
  • I sometimes break the day down to hours or minutes e.g. “for the next hour I will shower and make my bed” I can do more if I want to but the goal is to just get one or two things done. (works for me).
  • I try to remember that others are fighting their own internal battles (we don’t know what it is like to be them) so try to be compassionate and try to see where they are coming from.
  • I find something to do that lightens my mood – I love taking photos of flowers or editing photos so I can set up a small project (go out to the garden and snap away and them come inside and edit the photos) and it can help me lift my mood.
  • Listen to a podcast. I am currently into learning about Stoicism and there are heaps of podcasts and YouTube video to watch or listen to.
  • If every thought in my head is coming out bleak I need to consider it might be my thinking that is out of kilter and not the rest of the universe!
  • Sometimes I write in my journal and maybe do a mind map (in my journal) to get a more objective picture of where my life and thoughts are at the moment. See what I can change and what I can’t.
  • I try to resist making big decisions when stressed. I sometimes want to do something straight away but encourage myself to review the idea at a later date – maybe three months, depending on the issue.
  • If all else fails, I go and have a rest for a while. Often I feel better afterwards!

Had a perfect life?

Philosopher Epictetus said:

“It is not events that disturb people, it is their judgements concerning them.”

I can see how we can use this idea in our present lives, however it occurred to me today that perhaps it could help us deal with the past as well. I am inclined to believe that we have all had some bad/difficult moments or experiences throughout our childhood, teenage years and beyond. We didn’t have much say over some things and as children may not have had the capacity to reason to the same degree as we do today.

If you are like me, the past can still impact on us today by robbing us of our self-confidence and self-esteem – if we let it. What if we were able to look back with wisdom and realise that our judgements (of ourselves and others) at the time were incorrect or at least inaccurate?

Maybe this would help restore some peace of mind and liberate our thinking about who we are today.

Something worth giving some more thought to, I think!

Epictetus teaches us that each individual is responsible for their own good or their own evil; their own fortune or their own misfortune; their own happiness or their own own anguish. There is no such thing as being the ‘victim.’ Suffering is self-inflicted and can be cured through a discipling of the mind. It is not things that upset us, but our judgements about those things. “When we are frustrated, angry or unhappy,” Epictetus explains, “never hold anyone except ourselves – that is, our judgments – accountable.”

https://dailystoic.com/epictetus-discourses-summary-quotes/

Stop rowing the boat!

I have been thinking about persistence, perseverance, resilience and the like. All good things, I am sure you would agree.

Do you remember the Olympics a few years back when one of the rowers actually stopped rowing and caused her team to lose the race? She received lots of negative publicity. My question is, is it ever okay to say ‘I can’t give anymore energy to this’ ?

Today I was pulling out some weeds in the garden and decided I would be happy to get the job half done. But then I thought I would do some more but couldn’t quite complete the job. Of course, I could have kept going but I chose not to. It wasn’t that important to me and the weeds will still be there tomorrow.

But what about more important issues such as a work situation or a big challenge you have taken on? Is it weak to quit? Or is it healthy to know when enough is enough? When I have experienced periods of depression in the past it is usually my first inclination to want to quit doing just about everything. In a case like this, is it weakness to give in to the urge to quit?

What I find challenging about this topic is that in the past I thought it was okay to quit but now I wonder if I could’ve been tougher! I know there are many layers to the questions I have asked and there are many strategies to consider but the main issue for me is to not rush into quitting too quickly as I may find I can actually achieve what I want if I stick to it for just a little bit longer!

Just for Today (2)

Here is my quote for 30 March 2020:

2. Just for Today, I will be happy. This assumes that what Abraham Lincoln said is true, that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Happiness is from within; it is not a matter of externals.

Source unknown.

A SPECIAL GIFT

The pretty blue fairy wrens had nothing to do

When one of them spotted a pretty blue stone

One said “I will fly close and inspect it for you”

He soon called out for help to carry it home.

Just at that moment very close by, a little girl is born

She is very sick and might not live

Her parents are indeed quite forlorn

The fairy wrens decide they have something important to give.

They magically carry the precious blue stone to the babe

And cleverly hide it in her tiny navel

They disappear quickly into a nearby cave

And wait for news via twitter or cable.

The little girl is now better and going home to stay

Her lovely eyes are becoming a pretty shade of blue

The tiny blue stone glows within her each and every day

As she gets older the wrens decide to give her a clue.

She learns that the little blue stone

Is full of love, wisdom, truth, beauty and kindness

It is always there to help her when she feels so alone

It frequently helps her out of a mess.

Inside she becomes beautiful, wise, honest, loving and kind

But others don’t seem to know about her little blue stone

She wants to tell them, if they look carefully, they too will find

There is a special gift inside each of us waiting to lovingly bring us home.

NB. Looking back through my old writing files and came across this one I thought I would share.

A Little Bit of Love

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the increasing rhetoric of hate and fear that is found in society. Has the world always been like this? When has it become OK to vilify people because of their religion, race, gender …

The challenge, as I see it, is to remain hopeful that there is more good than bad in people and not to respond to hateful attitudes in a way that fuels them to grow but to remain optimistic that love will overcome.

Life’s lessons

I have heard the following expression at various times in my life. Are you familiar with it?

” Whatever or whoever is in front of you is your teacher.”

It is not always easy to remember this when I am in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. Sometimes I might get caught with someone talking about things I don’t believe in. I try to stay silent and listen – after all, they may have some greater insight into the issue than I do.

Or maybe someone doesn’t turn up on time when I am on a tight schedule. Maybe I need to learn patience or that some things are more important than punctuality.

What about when it is a really tough situation and I don’t feel like learning? The word compassion (for myself and the other person/s) comes to mind plus the ability to distance myself from the situation and try to be objective.

Not an easy thing to do, however I acknowledge there are still plenty of lessons for me to learn in life and I try to remain open to them. Just because I am in my sixth decade doesn’t mean I can put my feet up and relax! And yes, sometimes I get it wrong.

wisdom