Meditation Required

I completed my very first meditation last night.

I figured it was time.

The last 10 days has been stressed to the max and that’s not even including the normal stress of Christmas and the holidays.  Yesterday I experienced what I believe to be a ‘anxiety attack‘ or ‘panic attack‘.

I have had a few of these before and they aren’t pretty – terrifying would be a word I’d use to describe the whole experience. Especially the first time.

If you Google the symptoms – racing heart, shortness of breath, dizzy – feeling like you are going to pass out, break out in a sweat – chances are you’ll find you are having a heart attack – or a panic attack.  It’s a good thing that there is no possible way that during one of these episodes you are going to be Googling anything.

The ton of bricks hit me and I had enough in me to tell my son he would have to walk to the bus because I was suddenly not feeling well and stumbled up the stairs.  My younger daughter was still getting ready for school and I asked her to wake me when she got out of the shower – then again when she was ready for school.  I’m not sure that it was a good thing that they didn’t get freaked out  – what if I had been having a heart attack – this not too minor point is running through my head as I’m laying on my bed doing Lamaze style breathing.

In a very few minutes everything returned to normal and I was just feeling tired so I dozed for an hour and then when my daughter woke me again I got up and did a status check – all seemed good.  I waited a few minutes and went to work.  No more episodes the rest of the day but I did have an ongoing problem focusing.  I believe I was tired.

I have found in my vast experience with anxiety attacks (I’ve had 3 now) that the cause is probably not what you are doing immediately before the attack but probably (and yes, I am surmising, speculating, theorizing without benefit of a medical degree or even any real research) that this is your body’s way of hitting you with a stick or slapping you in the face much like is depicted in movies and television when one is slapped to “bring them to their senses“.

My body and brain had been telling me that I was overwhelmed.  I felt tired, cranky, even downright hostile.  I was waking in the middle of the night thinking about work.  I was having headaches and yet I ignored all this with the plan that things would settle.  B&B (body and brain) decided waiting was not an option and together they ‘took me down’.

Effective.

So instead of listening to my usual David Wood or Dean Dwyermotivational pod casts on my way to and from work yesterday – I decided meditation was required and I shifted gears. (you can read about my initial meditation experience here)

Alone

Ok, well, I’m seldom alone but this as of right now I’m about to spend the third consecutive night alone in our king sized bed.

This is not the first time in 25 years that I’ve been on my own with the kids by any stretch of the imagination.  My husband has been going off on his solitary vacations periodically for a few years now but it’s usually a week – maybe even two weeks.  This is the first time that I’m looking out into the horizon and not really being able to wrap my head around how long this vacation actually is.

Looking outside at the snow and thinking that in 3 months it will be April.  Last April it was running around a balmy 15°c outside – the grass was greening, jackets were being discarded – spring!

Unfortunately, and I’m thinking this might just be some kind of cosmic tom foolery, nothing has been going right since he left.

Truth be told though, the few days leading up to my husband’s departure were not great at work – tackling a giant project that was stressful and time consuming probably wasn’t the best timing but that’s life right?  If I was actually single, I would still have to do my job, regardless of what else was going on in my life so fine…. the universe wants to play that way, I’ll play along.

So work has me running around and working extra hours (something I rarely have to do) and the kids chime in and add to the chaos.

The middle kid in particular presenting me with his unique brand of challenges.

It was suggested that he might be acting out because his Dad has gone off but honestly, so far it really isn’t that much different from his usual ‘ball of raging hormone puberty in progress’ self – I just decided this time I wasn’t going to play along.

New Year, new outlook and I don’t have time for him to play “if I irritate mom long enough she’ll stop asking me to do stuff”.

It’s all good though.  This is just normal life with normal stress and sometimes it’s easier to handle this kind of thing without having to deal with an uncooperative or uneven tempered peanut gallery offering his 2¢.  It’s kind of nice to make the decisions, take the action and move on without having to discuss it to death.

So far, still liking single – but hey, it’s still early… I could change my mind.

The Laws Of Attraction

“They” Say… They being the experts in the field of all that is ‘woo woo’ and ‘spiritual’ and ‘feel good’ and the way it should be in a perfect world – ‘they’ say that the things that you focus on are the things that you will attract to you.

In the movie, the book… ‘The Secret‘ the basic concept is that you should focus on the positive that you want more of in your life because what we focus on is what we get more of.  Ok.  I think maybe it works.

I have been focusing on my marriage – on not knowing if I would be happier separated or if that would just bring me to a new kind of miserable.

Today I put my husband on a plane for a 3 month “hiatus”.

Hiatus:  A pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process.

It’s not entirely clear if the hiatus is for him… or for me… or for both of us – but I’ll take it.

The thing is – if I take myself out of my own head, out of my own space and try to look at this scenario from an outside vantage point – it just seems weird.

Seriously, how many people willingly go or willingly send their spouse on vacation for 3 months?  It just doesn’t happen.  I can tell.

Our friends and family have reacted  – some laughed (thinking we were joking), some yelled at him (thinking it was his idea) – some looked at me and knew that this was all OK with me but you could still detect the ‘how the hell did she pull this off’ thought running through their minds.

I’m convinced it’s the law of attraction.  This is what I have been daydreaming about.  Somehow having a trial separation without the mess and the hurt and the drama.  It’s a win-win situation.

My husband suffers from back and neck pain – the cold Canadian winters bring him to his knees – he is too sore and tired to do much of anything – he complains about it constantly (justifiably) and it all adds even more stress to an already buckling relationship.

He typically tries to go away about 3 times during the winter – choosing the least expensive destination helps but it’s still expensive.

As he was scoping out his next 2 trips in the next 3 months I suddenly recalled that he had mentioned that some of his older retired friends spend months where he goes and get a better rate for it.  Quick basic math said he could go for 3 months for the same cost as going 2 weeks now and 2 weeks later.  I offered the suggestion, we talked, we thought and in an hour he will be on the plane.

The down side – yes there is one – even several but this one is not about me – it is that our youngest child is not very happy about it.  The others are older but this one is pretty young still.

We have made a plan that the kids and I will try to arrange a trip in about 6 weeks to visit, we will talk on the phone every week and there will be of course email and Facebook.

I am going to be very busy.  I still have to work.  I still have to drive 3 kids around to their various activities.  I still have all the other stuff that I have to do and want to do.  This will be a real trial.  Lets see how it goes but for now I am a happy person just getting this opportunity to try this on without having to commit.

Wading Through The Marriage Goo

I have waffled back and forth about my marriage so many times I’m not even sure which direction I’m moving in at any given time.

For snapshot in time sake, my marriage is not a disaster.  We have been married over 25 years but for whatever reasons, and the reasons are potentially many and varied, I am just not feeling ‘in love’ any more and while I am not exactly “unhappy”, I am not happy either.

I find myself daydreaming about being single.  Often.

On the other hand, (this is where the waffling comes in), I am not sure that leaving for ‘me’ to  be happy is very fair.  I wonder if I could bring myself back to interested, or better yet, back to ‘in love’ – for the sake of the children…

I think sometimes that as long as I do all the other things – make all the other changes – follow my passion, encourage happiness within myself (without concern for external conditions), be healthy,  encourage my spirituality out into the world, that this one area of my life might be ok to stay not quite so happy.  Or perhaps that being a better person in all the other aspects of my life would improve the way I interact with my husband.  But I sure would have to get better at this being “okay” because right now it’s not.  No.  It’s definitely not.

I no longer have tolerance for the faults my husband possesses.  Nothing has changed – he is the same man as he was when I married him but now I don’t like him so much – and when I don’t like him, I am not nice and that is not good.

I saw myself yesterday as a miserable witch.  Or even more accurately – Bitch.

I almost always believe I’m right – and I probably am, almost always and I do think that I at least try to choose my battles but I don`t always choose the best ones.  I think the Bitch only comes out when I think it’s important to be right.  It’s not that I thinknow that I am more often right than I was 10 years ago, it’s that I no longer have the patience and tolerance to ‘sway’ the argument or ‘encourage’ my husband on to my train of thought.  I just figuratively (of course) hit him over the head with it.

That isn’t right.

So yesterday after one such battle, I agreed to go to therapy.

A little dishonest about the purpose of therapy.

He asked me to go a few months ago.  He feels that I did not adequately deal with the breast cancer I was diagnosed with 3 years ago, or the death of my mother 2 years ago.  That’s possible… and maybe looking at those things will help me as well.  What I want out of therapy is for me to come to a solid answer to the question – “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”

Slippery Diet Sliding

35 Days ago I joined a diet program.  I believe it’s a Canadian thing – the program is Dr. Bernstein’s.  It’s a Slippery Diet – meaning if you don’t hold yourself just right sliding down hill is way too easy.

Interestingly enough, they don’t go into a lot of details as to how the program works, at least they don’t volunteer the how’s and why’s of it but it’s easy enough to figure out and I knew going in what I was up for.

The program is based on low carb, below 30 grams a day I believe but that could be off a bit.  It’s also low calorie – less than 900 calories a day, and it’s supplemented with  Vitamin B12 and B6 injections 3 times a week, a daily multivitamin, daily potassium supplements and a VERY strict and limited allowed foods list.

The goal of all this is to put your body into ketosis.  Ketosis   happens when you don’t consume enough carbs for your body to use as fuel and so it starts to use your fat stores for energy and the result is – amazing quick weight loss while continuing to feel great.  Energy is still there and the ketosis keeps you from feeling hungry.

I went in wanting to loose about 35 lbs.  They would prefer I loose between 45-55 .  I said I would re-assess when I met my goal.

In my first month I lost 19 lbs.

The problem is that the first month landed me right smack in the middle of “Christmas Goody Season” and goodies are my weakness.

Honestly I did pretty good at sticking to my diet through 8 grueling days of the office goodies table.  I realize now, in retrospect, that the further from my allowed foods the goodies were, the better it was for me because I would avoid the table altogether.  When things on the table were closer to what I was allowed to eat, I would think – ok, just a couple and then any willpower, real or perceived, was done, toasted, even deep fried.  Gone.

macaronSo, remember how I said that this was low carb, low calorie?  Well the big deal is the carbs, if you are going to eat something you aren’t allowed to eat, you might squeak through if you  binge on a chicken breast or even a couple of pieces of cheese but there is no how, no way that a Parisian Macaron – beautiful visually and in your mouth, home made by your sister is going to squeak through anything unless it’s a split seam in your jeans.

In a sum total of  6 days (since the teensy weensy start of my diet slide) I have gained back almost 7 lbs of my 19 lost.

What an absolute bummer and Christmas itself is still 4 days and counting and then there is New Years!

I know, I have no one to blame but myself.  I knew that varying from the diet was weight loss suicide…. yet I did it anyway so I have no one to blame but myself.

However, I refuse to wallow.  Me Intercepted, Me Reinvented does not wallow.  This me gets up and dusts off and says ok – I’m going to climb back up the slide and then I’m going to continue up the mountain to reach my goal.

Mountain Climbers do not just slide the rest of the way down, they get a better grip and keep going and I will too.

I started my climb with a short stint on the elliptical trainer and I am back on the program today.

I am going to make a list of snack like food that I can keep on hand so that if I’m going to binge on something it doesn’t have to be a full bag of Doritos or a absolutely beautiful Parisian Macaron a la my sister.

You Can’t “un Know” Something

I am going to hell.  If there is a hell, and I’m not already in it – I am going there.  There is no doubt.  I am an awful human being.

I came to the sad but true realization today that there is nothing left in my marriage for me.  It is over and I have to make it over.  Hanging in there, even for the most honorable of reasons is not an option – it’s not an option that makes any sense nor is it kind or ‘doing the right thing’ or any of those things a person in the wrong relationship might convince themselves of.

I am not happy and I’m not making anyone else happy.  Pretending and going through the motions seemed like a reasonable idea at the time.  After all, I don’t really dislike him.  I certainly don’t hate him and I talked myself into believing that I could just go on like I’ve always gone on and that it would be “okay”.  It’s not even that good.

I can’t think of an appropriate metaphor to describe this but it’s like trying to un-know something… putting the information back into the universe and pretending that you never learned it or heard of it – you may wish you’d never known something but it can never happen.  I know now that I have to end my marriage and now I can’t pretend anymore and that… That piece is the thing that is doing me in.

Before, when it wasn’t clear, when there was still an if, there was still doubt, I could pretend.  And now I can’t so I am trying to make a plan – and that’s what I’m going to hell for.

I don’t think a person goes to hell for falling out of love with someone or more accurately, no longer being ‘in love’ but I do think it’s wrong to make a plan, to continue the charade of “everything is ok” while you work on the plan but the alternative is even more distasteful to me.

The alternative is blindsiding him because right now he thinks everything is “okay”., 6 weeks before Christmas ripping the kid’s world apart so they can associate Christmas with the time the family broke up… and then there’s the really selfish crap that will earn me some extra billows in the hot place to make sure it’s extra hot – this is the stuff like I’m not prepared yet, I have to get my ducks in a row and make sure that I’m going to be able to survive… In all fairness, when going over this in my head, I am also trying to make sure he is going to be fine too.  I know how much money we have and I know how much we earn and I want to ensure that we are both going to be able to “make it” so I’m rehearsing different scenarios to see how they work out in that regard.

So.. while I try to get my head wrapped around this, I’ve decided the fairest thing to do is to start letting bits of my thoughts seep out.

I did that tonight, just a little while ago.  He knew about my mood today but didn’t know what was causing it.  Only that I was not feeling happy.  A while ago he found out that I have been looking out at what the future looks like and it’s feeling pretty grey – like vultures circling a carcass and that  I really can’t face the next 10 – 15 – 20 years of not feeling like there is going to be any big joy.

What it really came down to is that for our whole relationship there has been one hurdle after another – there really has.  We went straight into our relationship trying to make a family, we fought to adopt, then we fought to adopt again and again, then it was raising the children, then a life altering car accident, a life threatening illness bringing us to the here and now. (I skipped a few minor hurdles in there but that’s the main stuff) so I flat out told him… asked him… what exactly are we going to be doing when the last kid leaves?  There is NOTHING THAT WE LIKE TO DO TOGETHER!

I think that was a pretty good indication that there is a problem.

I’m sure we will be talking until I turn blue over the next weeks but ideally, what I would love to end up with is an agreement.  An agreement that yes, we’ve grown in different directions and it’s time to call it a day.  There is no need for things to get messy.  We are both adults – we should be able to work something out that will make this an ‘elegant separation’ for everyone’s benefit.

Please… if there is a power out there – that is my wish.  I don’t really want to go to hell.

Crazy Busy

Things have just been crazy busy the last few days.  I have a kid that’s into a particular sport and it seems that it has been all time consuming for the last few months with everything coming to a pile up over this week.  It’s been the last three nights in a row and late too but even though we’ve got a few days break until the next round with him, there is just a lot going on in other aspects of life as well.  The point to all of this is that it’s been hard to find a moment of peace to focus on this blueprinting I’ve been doing. However I have managed to keep a few of my goals in check My to do list as of this post was as follows;

  1. Drink 5 bottles of water a day
  2. Only 1 cup of coffee a day
  3. Write down everything I put in my mouth
  4. Weigh myself every morning and write it down
  5. Use arm weights every morning
  6. Walk 10 minutes a day

I have tried to get the 5 bottles of water in a day but I am not there yet.  I am however drinking much more water than I was so it’s an improvement but not there yet. My goal to limit my coffee intake to 1 cup a day has been semi successful but in an equally satisfying lateral type goal. My reason for limiting the coffee intake is that I take a lot of cream in my coffee.  It is the cream that I was attempting to eliminate or reduce as a way to improve my chances of weight loss but I was finding the tea as a substitute (with milk) was not as convenient and just not what I wanted so, after reading some of Dean Dwyer’s make shift happen book about the paelio diet and drinking coffee black, and then remembering my mom always drank her coffee black I thought I’d give it another shot. I did try it and was not amused but then I tried it with a little sugar – not lots – less than a teaspoon and found that I quite liked it so – I am changing that goal to eliminating cream from my coffee and I will work on reducing the sugar.  I don’t like artificial sweetener so I’m not going that way either and I do think that bit of sugar is healthier for me than the 10% double cream or 18% in the coffee shop. Other than today (yet) I have written down everything I put in my mouth and my weight daily, I’ve also used the arm weights daily but I’m a little concerned about what’s happening to my chest muscles and the impact of that. I had a complete mastectomy and reconstruction after breast cancer and the feeling of the implants ‘under’ the muscle is a little odd, I find the muscles feel tight quite often and I had some illusion that the arm exercises might help stretch them a bit and make them less uncomfortable but so far the reverse has happened.  It might be that I just need to work them out a bit but if there is anyone out there reading that knows anything about this, I do accept advice.  With gratitude. I am also revising the 10 minute walk to some focused time on the elliptical machine in my front room.  Because of my sciatica I have to be a little cautious so I’m managing something like 5 or 6 minutes at a time but I think even that little bit is lifting my mood  so I will keep putting one foot in front of the other with this and set a goal to improve my time until I’m able to do 15 minutes a day plus the weights. All this is to help me create a visual on what works for me and what doesn’t.  Certainly the data isn’t in yet, it’s only been a few days but I think it will be interesting if I can figure out to rate mood and energy and motivation and corrilate that to food and excersise I could concieviably end up with a me care and maintenance manual.  hmmmm… I like that Idea.  If I write it down in a blog as my idea with a bit of a description and someone copies it they can be in trouble … no?  yes?  hmmm… readers might be a good thing before that becomes a concern.  So I’m seeing me work out  a formula to developing a blueprint, a story of how I did mine and a template for doing your own and then I could provide it to readers on the sight..a…. just a thought but I think it’s a good one and I am going to go and develop it.  I’m laying claim to “The Me Care and Maintenance Manual” or “_________ for dummies”  hehe.. maybe that wouldn’t be so good. Anyway, digression but as far as my list goes, I’m feeling positive. Where I’m not feeling so positive is my parenting issues but I think I’ll have to write about that tomorrow because I need a night to marinate in the issue to get my head level and really look at the issues we are facing with my puberty boy..  I took something Dean said about needing to sweat the small stuff and address issues before they get to be big issues.  Excellent perspective – I’m just feeling a little lost with how to go about this with this particular boy – and actually – all the kids because I’ve broken it down to one request I have for them around this and that is that I want them to treat each-other with decency and respect. Anyway, I am going to have to get this blog more reader friendly … for when I get readers but I might just ask Dean to read this part about the kids, in that he was a teacher before and this was his idea to see how I might make that kind of shift happen for them… maybe I’ll write that post first and then ask for an opinion.  Maybe he would even take the time to come, he does kind of seem like that kind of a guy.; So I’m off to modify my to do list and maybe add in a few long term goals. One final note for this post, just because it’s a bit of a biggie – my husband and I looked at a house today.  The fact that I am considering this as a potential good move and good choice for our family suggests that maybe I’m not really ready to give up on the marriage yet.  Maybe it needs to be kick started.  I think that’s a positive thought.

Connect The Dots

Ok, reading back to the last post from a couple of hours ago, things were pretty drivel-ish.  I’m not fond, nor prone to ‘drivel’ and so I had to spend some more time with me – thinking and perhaps even stomping down that inner gremlin.

I decided that since I subscribed to Andrea Owen’s daily email KickAss Life Coaching series that I would go ahead and be ‘coached’ here.  I’m not going to address each daily email here but the ones that feel pertinent to my ‘predicament’ –  I will.

What do you want? What do you really, really want?

  • I want to be healthy
  • I want to have many friends
  • I want to have opportunities to use my intellect outside of a work environment
  • I want to be able to be trusted
  • I want a level of excitement in my life – something to feel passionate about
  • I want to not have to work until I’m 65 – or, to be somehow earning money without feeling like I’m working.

In my Un-Lived life, the one that I see in my mind, I am living in the country, in a cottage perhaps, and I have a sense that I spend time doing ‘artist’ type things, writing, drawing, creating.  I’m calm and peaceful.

It’s like a snapshot though, It’s not a concrete plan or something to work towards because I don’t know what else it is.

You can’t tell about someone’s life from a picture – an image frozen in time… The next scene could be someone coming and starting a big argument or getting into a car and driving in traffic to an office or putting an open sign on a roadside stand or a dinosaur coming along and crushing the cottage or aliens beaming me up to the spaceship – see – my snapshot of my Un-Lived life is meaningless when it comes down to it.

Inner Gremlins? Perhaps.
Realism? Perhaps.

Let’s go back to Dean Dwyer and Making Shift Happen.

Pick something small, or not even small – but 1 thing to change and make that work before starting the next thing.

When I first heard that I thought wow – amazing insight.  Still is amazing insight.  He said that very often people get all gung ho about a new diet plan, lifestyle change, exercise plan  breaking a habit or whatever and they try to take on the world in a single leap (I am paraphrasing here) and end up failing because you just can’t change everything all at once.

That all made perfect sense to me when I heard it the first time, and when I paraphrased it the first and second and all the subsequent times I that I repeated it yet here I am, frustrated because things aren’t moving quickly enough – I haven’t changed enough…

Man – I’ve hardly ‘changed’ anything.  Mostly what I’ve done is talk about changing, think about changing and the things I have put on my list…. well, I haven’t failed, but not exactly a roaring success either.

So, what have I concluded from this little episode of verbal/mental diarrhoea?  Slow down.

This is not an overnight project.

Stick to the plan.  Start with being healthy.  Why?

Because when I become more healthy and fit, I will have more energy, feel better about myself and my outlook on life may change.  The mental fog I find myself in all too frequently may lift and I may be able to see that un-lived life a little more clearly – the direction may become more apparent and actually, when it comes down to it, in my un-lived life, I am healthier, fitter, stronger.

I feel better now.  I think I’ve connected some of the dots.

 

 

Wishy Washy

I’m very tired today and not feeling at all motivated to do anything let alone CHANGE MY LIFE.  sigh.

That happens to me.  I am struck by something, go at it full boar, and then it’s almost like I wear myself out.  I also think, in this particular case, I might just be a little scared.

I just had a pretty nice weekend with the husband and kids and some family and friends and I’m a little worn out after an active weekend and my ambition level is WAY DOWN and that seems to coincide with the motivation and I think… well, you know, that wasn’t so bad and the next thing I know I’m wondering why I was so hell bent on trying to change everything, turn my life upside-down for what?  For some fantasy of some life that I don’t even know if I can get to or not?  So I can make a whole bunch of other people feel miserable and betrayed?

Is that my inner gremlin talking to me now or common sense?

The problem is that I know – I know as sure as I sit here typing and thinking and giving myself a monumental migraine fretting over all of this that if I were to say forget it – there is nothing about this life that is so bad…. in a matter of days something would happen to make me remember in full techno colour what I was so worked up about a couple of days ago.

Sheesh.

I’m not even making any sense.

I believe that part of this wishy-washy-ness is in large part due to the fact that I really don’t have a plan and I really don’t know where I’m going.  Does one actually need to know where one is going in order to start heading in the direction?

The only thing that is really on my to-do list that is tangible is getting healthier.  It’s not like I’m obsessed with that but it does seem to be a good place to start anything.  Make sure you are in good enough health, and fit enough, to be able to make the journey you are planning on going on.  Sounds like good advice right?  I thought so.

I’m stalling.  And I’m scattered.  I need focus.  What a disaster.

Introduction

I was born in 1960. Somewhere between then and now I stepped on to a life path that, other than the occasional twist and wind, seems to have maintained a certain level of dull consistency. Over the years I have been married twice and divorced once, become a parent to three amazing children, and settled into a career that once seemed like my purpose but now seems like drudgery. Don’t get me wrong, my current life has served me well so far.  I have had both amazing highs and devastating lows, shed tears of happiness and have wailed in despair but I know as surely as I type this, I would trade nothing in. One might wonder …. the failed marriage, the failed adoption, the cancer, the deaths of loved ones…. wouldn’t I trade them? No. I am the sum of my accumulated experiences. However….  Maybe this happens to everyone, maybe not.  Maybe it’s a midlife crisis, maybe I’m actually loosing my mind – I don’t know ‘why’ but suddenly my life path has been intercepted by a sense of something else. It’s like the movement you see out of the corner of your eye, something exists just on the edge of my peripheral vision – another version of my life and I just feel like if I step off the path I’ve been following my whole life, that maybe something spectacular would happen.  Spectacular is not a word I have ever used to describe my life and really, I think I would like to – if even for a little while. So I am here to chart a new course and I want to do it out loud – in public – because when you are doing something that takes strength and commitment, sometimes it helps to announce your intention.  My intention is to change, to chase down that unlived life and move in to it. This is going to be a process, not an over night thing but I’ve got a little time – if I use it wisely I think it will pay off.