Saturday 25th March 2017

Week 12 Intention. Practise Self-Compassion. 2017.44.

Week 12 Intention. Practise Self-Compassion. 2017.44.

After living a life with many distractions, busy-ness to the max and more, I have found the quiet times in retirement are quite a challenge. Why? Because there are more stretches of time and space in which to think.

For me, it’s interesting to notice how I continue to strive and how I continue to want others to see me doing well in my quest for greater equanimity in my life overall and better management of my IBS.

Who is out of this real or imagined group who support me? Often it’s me.

I remain steadfast in my older, learned early, self-critical views and I am S L O W L Y learning to remember my self-compassion when I am not doing so well. It is not every day because I am making progress!

I am pleased to note, that when I started a Self-Compassion Course on-line with Kristen Neff and Brene Brown my overall score was: 1.93 and when I completed the course it was: 3.11

“Average overall self-compassion scores tend to be around 3.0 on the 1-5 scale, so you can interpret your overall score accordingly. As a rough guide, a score of 1-2.5 for your overall self-compassion score indicates you are low in self-compassion, 2.5-3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5-5.0 means you are high.”

So, what I take from that ‘score’ is I am improving in my self-compassion and I am remembering to speak more kindly to myself in difficult circumstances.

My Week 12 Intention.

This week I am going to practise self-compassion more. In fact, I will even make it something I do throughout the day in the smallest way. It might be a ‘go me’ under my breath or a literal ‘pat of kindness’ on my arm when I need soothing.

If you want to take the self-compassion Test, it is here: It is free and I find the work of Kristen Neff and fellow researchers fascinating. Self-esteem it is not!

I wish you well if you decide to take the test. It is very insightful.

Denyse.

UPDATE: I have chosen to reduce my blogging output as of this week so as to be more mindful of my self-care and self-kindness. I am not making any further intentions at this point. My life has been on a learning curve as part of ageing and transition to living with both a chronic condition (IBS and its accompanying limitations)  and the stress which is part of my inner being. I am wanting to feel less inward pressure on myself and needing to care for myself more. Blogging has been a part of my life for more than 6 years and will continue to be but I am blogging now for when and if I choose to. I know that regular  readers will completely understand my new(er) direction as of today! Thank you!

A reminder is in this image: 

 

Joining with Leanne and her lovely team for the  Lovin Linky on Thursdays here.

 

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Week 11 Intention. Recognise ‘It’s In Me’. 2017.40.

Week 11 Intention. Recognise It’s In Me’. 2017.40.

Every time I turn around to look for an answer to what life is dishing up to me now I see that it’s up to me how I address it and how I react/respond.

Until recently I thought that meant “ME” alone. However, with good advice and a cooler head helping me, I realise it means that I can see and seek how to act and solve issues for with tools at my disposal.

These might be professionals. taking my own advice and getting outside, reading an article, doing an on-line course and the like.

I just need to remember to find them and ask for the help from others where it’s useful.

But what I know is that it is all within me.

The poem from Mary Oliver captures the essence of what it is for me. Thanks for my husband (my wonderful confidante, friend and life guide) for this.

Last week, and continuing on, the Gratitude Journal app is having entries almost daily. That’s a win!

My Week 11 Intention.

To recognise that all I need is in me. I need to take into account the ‘in-built guide of my mind’ and the tools I have external to me that can also help me as need be.

I wish you a wonderful week ahead too. It will likely have bumps and scrapes but will have YOU to guide you too.

Denyse.

 

Linking here with Leanne on Thursdays for Lovin Life. Hello everyone!

 

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Week 10 Intention: Gratitude. 2017.36.

Week 10 Intention: Gratitude. 2017.36.

I’ve blogged before about writing in my gratitude journal on a  regular basis. Then, as if by ‘magic’ the habit gets waylaid. I know that when I made entries in it I could focus on the big and small things that I am grateful for.

I have an app and it gives me a reminder. I am back! It’s a paid app called Gratitude Journal – The Life-changing App. I like it because I can add photos as well as text. There are many others out there too

However, I also practise gratitude more these days without always recording it.

Gratitude has taken some criticism of late in some circles, as does the notion of whether meditation helps us if we cannot shut out our thoughts – by the way, you can’t and that’s OK too!…So I go along with what works for ME!

Here’s some information gleaned about gratitude from a great website worth subscribing to..it’s free. Source:

The Greater Good. 

Physical
• Stronger immune systems

• Less bothered by aches and pains

• Lower blood pressure

• Exercise more and take better care of their health

• Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

Psychological

• Higher levels of positive emotions

• More alert, alive, and awake

• More joy and pleasure

• More optimism and happiness

Social

• More helpful, generous, and compassionate

• More forgiving

• More outgoing

• Feel less lonely and isolated.

The social benefits are especially significant here because, after all, gratitude is a social emotion. I see it as a relationship-strengthening emotion because it requires us to see how we’ve been supported and affirmed by other people.

Indeed, this cuts to very heart of my definition of gratitude, which has two components. First, it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good thing in the world, gifts and benefits we’ve received. This doesn’t mean that life is perfect; it doesn’t ignore complaints, burdens, and hassles. But when we look at life as a whole, gratitude encourages us to identify some amount of goodness in our life.

The second part of gratitude is figuring out where that goodness comes from. We recognize the sources of this goodness as being outside of ourselves. It didn’t stem from anything we necessarily did ourselves in which we might take pride. We can appreciate positive traits in ourselves, but I think true gratitude involves a humble dependence on others: We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.

Thank you to my lovely commenters relating to my ‘go gently’ intention. It “was” a tough week (I am getting somewhat familiar with those!) but I did treat myself more gently and now am ready to accept that some weeks/months/years ARE indeed tough as that is LIFE.

My Week 10 Intention.

To practise gratitude each day, and continue onwards after this week, by noting what I am grateful for and by recording a summary each evening in the journal.

What do you do to practise gratitude?

Denyse.

Joining the lovely Leanne’s linky called Lovin’ Life on Thursdays.

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My Week 4 Intention. Savour The Positive Pt 1. 2017.12.

My Week 4 Intention. Savour The Positive Pt 1. 2017.12.

Last week I know I benefitted from my intention of kindness and it was brought home to me even more after a stressful time on Tuesday. I had to summon up the courage to drive a long way (45 minutes) on a super hot day to the periodontist who I HAD to see about my poor gums. I did it, but it was at a physical and emotional cost the next day when my IBS struck and I couldn’t go out. But, instead of my ‘old ways’ of talking to myself and thinking I had ‘failed’ I was able to be kindly towards myself in word and action and be a friend to myself!

Being a friend to yourself takes practice!

It was also lovingly helpful to have so many commenters who understood what I was writing about when they read my post last week. Thank you all! This kindness that is spreading around is GOOD!

Building upon this, and wanting to continue to learn more about how our thinking can distort our feelings (and vice versa) I have become a firm fan of the work of Rick Hanson PhD & his collaborator  Richard Mendius MD. He speaks from years of research about the ‘neurons which fire together wire together’ and how we CAN affect our health by too much of the negative messages,  self-talk and so on.

I have been listening to him speak with  Richard Mendius about  and in doing so, am beginning to make some subtle but helpful changes to my daily experiences.

My Intention Week 4/52. 

My intention this week is to ensure I am taking time to SAVOUR positive experiences of all kinds including these:

knowing I am loved and have a person who is my best friend to talk to, hug and be companion to every single day

that the world of nature just outside my house in the form of my small garden offers me opportunities to observe, smell and touch to let the memories flood my brain

I know this needs to be on-going so next week will be an update and more about what I have learned via the lessons and meditations from this CD program.

Have a good week everyone.

Denyse.

I join Leanne and friends here for the Lovin Life Linky on Thursdays.

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My Week 3 Intention. Compassion. 2017.8.

Week 3 Intention. Compassion. 2017.8.

I am continuing my inward journey this week of intention by learning more about compassion. I have much to learn and firstly about myself. I guess I am tough on myself as many of us are. In fact, both my GP and Psychologist have told me that very thing. I am hearing the words of a very wise man, my husband who says “I expect too much of myself”. What I am doing…and learning…is ‘how to be more compassionate to myself’ as I begin the slow journey of being slightly more confident about how to accept Irritable Bowel Syndrome as it is now because the anxiety it brings can overwhelm me.

Here are some excerpts from an article I read yesterday. The link to the full article is at the end of this.

Compassion is the feeling that naturally arises when you learn of the suffering of another, and that motivates you to want to do something to help. Far from being just a social nicety, compassion has a great evolutionary purpose: Human offspring are the most dependent and vulnerable of any species, and need the most care from others to survive. This total dependence is why Charles Darwin said that sympathy is humanity’s strongest instinct. Simply put: Without compassion we wouldn’t survive.

If you find yourself feeling less moved than you’d like—or maybe your empathy muscle has grown a bit weak from lack of use—here are some ways to strengthen it. You, and every other living creature, will benefit from the results.

Be Kind to Yourself

Sometimes it’s easier to feel compassionate for another than for yourself. But true compassion doesn’t discriminate. The next time you’re having a difficult moment, see if you can offer yourself some kindness. You might be surprised at how much it helps—and helps you to feel kinder toward others.

Turn Values Into Verbs

When asked what they value most in the world, people will often say things like “peace,” “compassion,” or “connection.” But in order to make this real we have to turn these values into verbs, making them more specific and practical. If you value compassion, what does that look like daily? Take out a piece of paper, write “Compassion” at the top and create a list of actions, small to big, that you can start doing immediately.

This is how we live Gandhi’s words: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

This is the source of the full article by Elisha Goldstein.

My intention for Week 3 of 2017.

“dipping my toes” in the water – making small changes!

Each time I take the smallest steps in gaining some greater confidence about living with IBS I will give myself words of support and ensure I write down how it went for me as my psychologist and I planned.

Are you compassionate towards yourself?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

 

Joining Leanne’s linky called Lovin’ Life here this Thursday!

 

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Close To Nature. 2017.3.

Close To Nature. 2017.3.

One thing I have learned about me in the past two years is that I need to be close to nature.

I did not really appreciate the healing and wondrous aspects of nature until I was taken away from ALL of my life’s work, distractions and busy-ness!

There IS something about the negative being turned into a positive and with the anxiety which rose (and rises!) in me, I have found being close to nature helps me become more grounded and at one with myself.

Here are some of my recent forays into nature. Some are as close as walking outside to our back garden and others are 5-10 minutes drive away! Enjoy.

In keeping with my blogging practice from 2016 I will blog under categories but now, there may be more than one in a blog post such as today’s with covers both mindfulness and health and photography!

Have you tried being in nature to take away some of the head-oriented stuff that keeps us stressed and anxious?

Denyse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linking with photography bloggers here:

Trish, Sue, Jen and Steph.

Linking with The Ultimate Rabbit Hole here with Sammie and friends for the first time in 2017.

 

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What We Resist Persists. 366/312.

What We Resist Persists. 366/312.

Linking today, Friday 18 November to newest linkup on the bloggy blockhere! 

I am blogging today because it’s Raychael’s last Wednesday link up here. I have been grateful for her support for this blog and blogging in general. So, pop over here and say g’day as I am linking up!

Today I HAVE to say more. Here’s why:

Today is Wednesday 9 November in Australia but it is still Tuesday 8 November in USA where voting for the next President is occurring. There is a world waiting with baited breath for the outcome. Neither candidate is preferred by me. I am however, much more concerned for the outcome dependent on who wins. All that aside, the other news is that:

My health and mindfulness journey* which I have explored each Wednesday has given me some great insights into human behaviour…mine in particular! I am seeing a psychologist who is helping me discover some issues which are pertinent to me and my goodness, something resonated when I found I have been resisting change or acceptance. It’s too long and personal for here now  but the following chapter from Pema Chodron nails it:

In the Buddha’s first teaching – called the four noble truths – he talked about suffering. The first noble truth says that it’s part of being human to feel discomfort. Nothing in its essence is one way or another.

All around us the wind, the fire, the earth, the water are always taking on different qualities; they’re like magicians.

We also change like the weather. We ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon.

We fail to see like the weather, we are fluid, not solid. And so we suffer.

The second noble truth says that resistance is the fundamental operating mechanism of what we call ego, that resisting life causes suffering. Traditionally it’s said that the cause of suffering is clinging to our narrow view, which is to say, we are addicted to ME.

We resist that we change and flow like the water, that we have the same energy as all living things. When we resist, we dig in our heels. We make ourselves really solid.

Resisting is what’s called ego.

The third noble truth says that suffering ceases when we let go of trying to maintain the huge ME at any cost. This is what we practise in meditation. When we let go of the thinking and there story line, we’re left just sitting with the quality and the energy of whatever “weather” we’ve been trying to resist.

The essence of the fourth noble truth is that we can use everything we do to help us realised that we’re part of the energy that creates everything.

If we learn to sit like a mountain in a hurricane, unprotected from the truth and vividness and the immediacy of simply being parts of life, then we are not this separate being who has to have things turn out our way.

When we stop resisting and let the weather simply flow through use we can live our lives completely.

It’s up to us.

Chapter 13. Comfortable with Uncertainty. 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion.

Pema Chodron. 2003. Shambhala Press.

I read a chapter from this book each night and last night was the ‘ah ha’ moment! I was in a place in my journey* for it all to ring so very true. It is up to me to understand the ways in which I have been resisting and causing myself such stress. This is a slow learning time and much needed. Mandalas are helping me greatly too. Here’s my most recent:

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Have you read anything about Buddhism?

I’ve been more and more interested over time.

Pema Chodron’s work is one great place to start. Tara Brach’s podcasts and books are also helpful.

Here’s to a day and week ahead of letting the weather systems in ourselves be accepted and welcomed.

Denyse.

health

*journey. There is no better word for what I am going through. I am ‘owning’ this! It’s become passe (apparently) to write or speak of a journey but I am bucking the trend and sticking with what works!

New linky here: Bloggers and Bacon. #archivelive

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Words May Help. 366/300.

Words May Help. 366/300.

In recent years I have found help for understanding this ‘life’ thing via words.

Some words are in books, others from the mouths of people I talk with and more are quotes and sayings via many sources.

I am sharing a few with you today.

There are also two photos at the end with no words which may set you on a path of putting some words of meaning to the photo.

Let me know in the comments and I will add the words to the pics for another post!

How’s that for co-operating and creating?

Awesome.

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Here’s your chance to think of some words of inspiration for you…and others too.

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Did you find any words that would fit these pics for you?

Thanks for joining in.

Denyse.

health

Adding my post to Blog Exchange on Facebook.

 

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