Friday, March 13, 2015
Learn from the Past, Live in the Present,PLAN FOR THE FUTURE! (I love to teach)
My post today is focused on "Learn From the Past." In future posts I will discuss the ideas of Living in the present, and planning for the future. All of mankind can benefit from these three concepts.
I LOVE TO TEACH! I LOVE TO TEACH ADULTS. In my blog I try to teach lessons that I have learned that have helped me. As I write I gain a great benefit by reminding myself of these ideas. Never at any time do I wish to promote the idea, "Look at me, I've conquered it all. I'm smooth, I'm clever, I'm always perfect." SHUDDER...unfortunately, there really are people like that. It seems that the majority of them either need professional counseling, or have been involved in professional counseling for a long, LONG time. (Not necessarily a bad thing, unless you are being counseled by someone who likes your money more than your mental health).
Somewhere along the 59 years of my life-path I discovered the philosophy I wrote on my subject line. I will repeat it, Learn from the past, live in the present, plan for the future. Each and every one of those timelines is important, but can you go back to the past and change things? I'm not discussing making recompense to those you have offended. I'm talking about waking up in the morning and then spending your entire day beating yourself up and feeling negative about yourself because of something that happened long, LONG ago.
The folks who struggle with this the most are reading this and thinking, "I do that." Then they add that particular idea of guilt and shame and are not uplifted by these ideas, but they actually use the positive ideas of growth and improvement as sticks to beat themselves with. Trust me, I know guilt and shame and the terrible things that they can do, close up, and personal. I have three words to give you about that idea. Are you listening? DON'T DO THAT! Repeat that out loud. (Unless you are in public transportation, a grocery store, or church. Speaking out loud in those places may add some other types of issues to your negatives from the past list).
Here's an analogy that helps me. At birth you are handed a symbolic bag. You are told that this bag has been given to you to contain any problems, traumas, and/or dramas You know, a great big bag like Santa has in his sleigh.
Usually the first years of life do not give you much to add to that bag. One of my friends was a children's crisis counselor. Those beautiful children she counseled had a lifetime of grief to put in that bag, and they hadn't reached the tender age of ten yet. I do know that there are precious, young souls who have a bag full and running over.
As we walk through life the bag gets heavier. You march along through life adding those struggles, challenges, and sorrows into that bag. I was bullied and tortured from grade one through twelve. Teachers bullied me, kids bullied me, and in one instance the administration bullied me. They actually said to my Mother when she reported an incident when one young man threw a pen that hit inches above my eye, and I had to literally pull the pen out of my flesh, "Mrs. Jones, boys will be boys. There is nothing I can do about it.
I had to go back to that classroom and sit with those boys around me. They did NOT quit the bullying or the torture. Tacks randomly were placed on my seat. They did it randomly so that I would forget to look first. That only happened twice...after that I did NOT forget to look at my chair each and every time before I sat down. Sexual innuendos and harassment were constant. I took a good book with me to that class. I read that good book almost all the class to block out the misery.
My Mother went to Parent Teacher Conference. When she asked that teacher why I received a NOT SATISFACTORY on my citizenship score he said, "She doesn't participate in class." (Remember that book I was hiding behind)? Mama said rather heatedly, "I'm certain that you remember you have her seated surrounded by boys who harangue her non-stop."
A long sigh from my teacher. "Mrs. Jones where can I sit those boys? They are a problem wherever I seat them." My suggestion today to that teacher would have been, "Sit them in the hall, send them to detention, get them transferred to a different class...GET THEM AWAY FROM ME!"
Today that scenario simply would not, could not happen, I HOPE!
So now you've witnessed my account of those events that weigh heavily in my bag. I just participated in a dangerous thing. I pulled out that misery from my bag and reviewed it, actually, kind of relived it to a degree. I discovered a year ago that the three main young men that tortured me, have passed away. I never wished them dead. I just wished them gone from my life, and now gone from my memory."
Each and every day we add other burdens to our bag. At the age of fifty I could no longer even drag that bag behind me. I came rather unglued. A friend challenged me to spend my 5th decade of life learning and improving myself. It's been a real journey of discovery. During this decade I learned the above lesson in the first paragraph.
When I awaken and feel as though I simply can't move I take a few minutes for visualization. In my mind I simply dump each and everything out of the bag into a huge, bottomless hole. A hole where all of the struggles, and juggles of my lifetime this far spill down, down and there is a trash compactor to chew them all up. (I wouldn't want them filling up a landfill, right)?
My beloved husband used a very dramatic visual to help me with this. For my 40th birthday he had a huge party. At one point he had each of our guests grab a helium balloon and head outside. What a sight to see FORTY helium balloons. My honey explained, "Each of these balloons represent trials, and problems that my wife has experienced in forty years of living. We are now going to let each and every problem float away. Watching those forty balloons float, up, up, UP, and away into the sky was magical. I literally felt lighter of soul.
Carrying the past around in that big bag stops you...it STOPS YOU! You may still be functioning, going to work, doing your job, being a wife, husband, or child. It stops your sense of hope for the future. It bogs you down so heavily that you couldn't feel joy if it slapped you. (Wait, if joy slapped you, would that be joyous? Hmmm...) Even on a sunny day your soul is filled with big, black, dark, dangerous clouds. (You may have noticed that I like analogies. I hope you do as well).
Let me share another hard lesson learned. Those burdens in the bag can actually change to a vaporous state and sneak into your sub-conscious. Some event in your present may trigger some of those vaporous burdens from the past. They will then sneak out and into your psyche. This will stop you. The burdens literally weigh more than any human could drag. Even if the human we're discussing has an Atlas' type of muscle power.
If you feel dark, heavy, worried, or any other negative emotion give yourself a ten or fifteen minute time out. Use those minutes to look inward. Ask yourself these questions: You could also write them in a journal to review later...an amazingly helpful tool of mental health, journaling.
1. Have I been sneak attacked by a burden from my bag?
2. Was there an event that triggered this sneak attack?
3. What can I do to restore myself to peace and contentment, better yet JOY?
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. It's a process of healing. Remember when you were little and your Mama pulled a bandaid off you? Did she do it quickly so it only hurt for a few seconds, or did she take it off slowly, painfully? Only YOU can decide the method of healing that works best for you.
Please understand that there is HUGE world of difference between discouragement, self-defeating behavior, feelings of worthlessness, and clinical depression. Clinical depression is caused by a physical chemical imbalance in your body and brain. You can't just pull up your britches and move on when you are battling the demons of clinical depression, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, or any other serious type of chemical imbalance. For those you need medication and professional counseling.
Back to our bag. Did you write down the answers to those questions? If the answers will take longer than fifteen minutes you will have to go back to them later. To clear any negative energy from you do a quick visualization. Imagine all those balloons. You can imagine them black...
that may help you to remember that these are negative past experiences that you are removing from your world.
Write yourself a list of support. My Mama could always tell just by looking at us when were having a negative experience in our lives. She also could tell that we didn't wish to share. With me she would simply say, "Honey, go dance." Who knew in the 1960s and 1970s that exercise increased endorphins and serotonin? Who even knew that we had endorphins and serotonin? For my brother the encouragement was, "Go run. On the other hand, sometimes he danced. He also taught me how to sing and dance. My sister also taught me to sing and dance. They performed together in our church group, and other church groups. Sometimes I got to join them. So Mama cleverly helped us to learn self supporting skills. Below is a suggested list.
1. Call, text, email, Facebook, connect in person, somehow or someway connect with somebody that loves you. You might need professional counseling. They are neutral to your situation and can give you objective ideas to help you.
2. Dance - I don't care if you have THREE left feet...anyone can move to the rhythm. Even people who are deaf can feel the rhythm and move with it. I am NOT telling you that you can only dance if you are very, very good at it. I'm saying, let the music move your soul, and your feet.
3. Run - This is a marvelous way to improve your mood and give you perspective. Do NOT start running when you are in your fifties, have heart, back, or knee problems, and have never ever run in your life! Walk first and then run. If you can't run, jog, or walk. If you are in a wheelchair, get outside. Look at the sky, clouds, mountains, or mountains of skyscrapers."
4. Write in your journal - You may and probably will be surprised by the words that start tap tap tapping on your mind trying to be let out into your journal.
5. Meditate and visualize - Another visualization that I really enjoy is to imagine all of those issues and troubles as knots. Think of all the knots and tangles we have in our lifetime. Visualize a huge ball of twine filled with all sorts of gnarly knots. You are going to start and unknot one miserable knot at a time. Or you can envision that twine magically becoming smooth and unknotted. Just like your life.
6. Use your spirit. - I'm referring to our life force. It has many names. Consciousness, soul, spirit, energy, psyche, etc. etc. Read uplifting books. My favorite go to book is "The Power of Positive Thinking," by Norman Vincent Peale. It's a classic and always lifts my soul. The Bible, Torah, or Koran, are grand for those who are in more of a traditional religion.
7. Bask in beauty - As I write this I am surrounded by large windows. The view from our Hillside Home is magnificent. The home is in the foothills of a mountain range. Late winter has painted a rather brown landscape. Brown is NOT an ugly color. There are many hues and varieties of brown, from golden, to mahogany. The mountain range that I am looking at has been (depending on who you ask) around for thousands of years, at least. Use that image...those strong, long lasting mountains to remind you that YOU are strong. YOU may be immovable. Not as in close minded, or stuck in one place. No, you are immovable (meaning nothing can remove you) from joy, from gratitude, from the positive virtues that bring wonder to life.
8. Write down all of your favorite quotes or scriptures and create your own go to happy basket - I heard of one marvelous lady on Facebook that has a huge "Happy Jar." Everyday she writes down some wonderful moment. She NEVER empties the jar. Her kids also write happy moments and put them in the jar. Imagine the fun and joy of pulling out the happy memories and reviewing them.
I'm going to stop at eight ideas even though there are many, MANY more ways that you can support yourself, or have others help you support yourself. If I include them all here, I will be writing all day and into the night. I have many other things that I need to do today so those may pop up in another post.
Today's lesson is "Learn from the Past." The next lesson will be, "Live in the Present." You are all such wonderful students, class dismissed.
Posted by CJ Smith at 10:37 AM