Santosha, Contentment … Stoicism

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My innate personality is NOT to be content, I want to know how things will end up, to focus on the ultimate goal,  “the end game”, “the bigger picture”.  I read somewhere “writers thrive on endings” (not that I’m a “writer” but maybe I think like one), however, as I’ve gotten older I realize so much of the “end game” is out of our control and by focusing on how we want things to be or how we think things should be, or how we think people should be (aka behave ;)), we miss so much of how things ARE and what is happening right NOW, so much of which is beautiful & amazing.

Having kids, getting older, yoga, teachers, workshops, reading, researching … have all taught me you can’t control much in this life, but you CAN control your reactions and perceptions, and you can try to appreciate every day, every moment of the here and now, even if it’s not always pleasant or enjoyable, there is always something to be learned, appreciated, contemplated, experienced, and yes sometimes endured …

As far as I know (although I hope I’m wrong and at least a part of us lives on in some form or another), this is the only life we get, so we should try to enjoy or at least appreciate every day, even when things are hard, to at least be aware and present and therefore …

Santosha 

Santosha is the second niyama (“virtue”) described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. It denotes contentment and a lack of desire for what others have. The term is derived from the Sanskrit sam, meaning “completely” or “altogether,” and tosha, meaning “contentment” or “acceptance”, “complete contentment.”

Santosha is closely related to equanimity, in that practicing it allows one to accept whatever circumstances present themselves, including pleasure, pain, success or failure.

It is said that santosha helps the yogi to develop a better relationship with him/herself. They learn to accept and be content with the way they are, rather than making their happiness dependent on achieving certain goals, or changing aspects of themselves.

In yoga, santosha can be exercised through asana practice; by accepting oneself; and by accepting the body’s limitations, rather than striving for more.

Simply put … being happy with what you have and not wanting what you don’t have, accepting how things are and THAT making you happy, not striving for things to be different and THEN you’ll be happy

Making the best of everything.

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I was talking (possibly complaining ;)) to my friend the other day, about being let down by people because they weren’t behaving the way I thought they should and that “I want to believe everyone is doing the best they can, but I actually DON’T believe they are” and my friend said to me “But what if everyone IS doing the best they can?” and I said “but what if they’re not?” she replied “it shouldn’t matter to you, because they are doing what they are doing and whether or not it’s ‘their best’ is none of your business and you just have to accept it”.  She’s right and I can only control my reaction and perception. Accepting how things are instead of wishing for things to be different (wasting my time and energy on how I think things should be).

Other cultures view happiness quite differently than Americans …

I heard on a podcast that the French view happiness differently than Americans.  The reason Americans suffer from more depression is because they (Americans) look at happiness as an achievement, an “end all” whereas the French strive for contentment and look at happiness as a state of being that you can come in and out of, so just because you’re not happy right now doesn’t mean that you won’t be again or that you have failed.

When describing the Swiss the author of “The Geography of Bliss”, Eric Weiner states: “Happy? Content? No!? A word fails me, I need a new word for Swiss happiness, not mere contentment but less than full on joy … “conjoyment” a joyful but calm feeling (whereas when Americans feel joy they often feel manic or panicked that it will end) the Swiss simply feel a calmness”.  Weiner quotes a British academic who states that “Affluence breeds impatience and impatience undermines well-being.  But the Swiss are wealthy AND patient, they know how to linger, no one looks at their watch (their perfectly synchronized Swiss gold watch).  It’s not feeling like you should be elsewhere, with someone else, doing something else, being something else. In Switzerland you can just BE and therefore be happy”.

“As far as I can see, this is a problem with living in the twenty-first century. Many of us have every material thing we need, so the job of marketing is now to tie the economy to our emotions (happiness) to make us feel like we need more to make us happy by making us want things we never needed before. To feel poorly travelled if we have been to only ten other countries. To feel too old if we have a wrinkle. To feel ugly if we aren’t photo-shopped and filtered.” “How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig

At the same time Santosha was showing up in my life so was the concept of Stoicism, I think the two concepts are very related.

“As for things that could not be changed, they must stoically be endured.”  Elizabeth Gilbert “The Signature of All Things” 

sto·i·cism
the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.

I subscribe to a website called “The Daily Stoic” and recently the topic was about Amor Fati a Latin phrase that may be translated as “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate”. … Moreover, amor fati is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.

Usually the website quotes the great philosophers of stoicism, Marcus Aurelius, Seneca, Epictetus … recently they quoted from Billy Jean King … “she would close her memoir with a pretty remarkable series of sentences that capture one of the most important (but most difficult) concepts in Stoicism: Amor Fati

“But more important now, I must think in terms of very specific goals and realities. Of course, I can just say I want to win all three — the singles, doubles, and mixed. Easy to say and easy to want, but so difficult to execute. How can I do it? More than anything else, I must love everything that is part and parcel of the total Wimbledon scene. I must love hitting that little white ball; love every strain of running and bending those tired knees; love every bead of sweat; love every cloud or every ray of sun in the sky; love every moment of tension, …. love feeling and absorbing the tradition of almost one hundred years.  In essence, I have to possess enough passion and love to withstand all the odds. No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how many bad breaks along the way — and with more love and passion than the world has ever witnessed in any performance. A total, giving performance: give more when you think you have nothing left. Through the desire, the inspiration will be present. Love, passion, attitude, ability, intensity — the only way, a street with no curves or cul-de-sacs. I must let my inner self be out front and free. Love always.”
Billy Jean King

From the Daily Stoic … “What’s particularly striking about this passage are King’s observations about the mundane difficulties of the life of a tennis player and the way she was able to capture and appreciate–much the way  Marcus Aurelius could–the ordinary pieces of experience. The beads of sweat…the moments of tension– these are the things we see in a different light when we choose Amor Fati. In Marcus’s time he wrote about stalks of grain bending low, about the flecks of foam on a boar’s mouth, ripe fruit, the chattering of the adoring (and not adoring) crowds, the yapping of small dogs.  When we accept and embrace everything that is around us, we can truly begin to see it. We can see everything, big and small, good and bad, and find beauty in it–find something to love in it.”

As Friedrich Nietzsche describes it:
“My formula for greatness in a human being is amor fati: that one wants nothing to be different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely bear what is necessary, still less conceal it… but love it.”

“You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it. – Cheryl Strayed author of Wild

“The truth? You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are. That’s the takeaway.” Rachel Hollis “Girl Wash Your Face”

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“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

Although I hope you are mostly content, I also hope you are happy and often 😊, and I do know that no matter how bad it seems, the next day, or next week, or next month, or next year it will most likely be better.  Keep your loved ones close they are your touchstones, during good and bad.  Get outdoors!  Especially on a bad day and I bet a sunrise, a sunset, a flower, a lady bug, the sun, the moon, the stars, a snowflake, even a raindrop,… SOMETHING will bring a smile to your face, or maybe a tear to your eye (and that’s good too) … just look around, open your eyes and your heart. There is SO much awesomeness in this world!

 

Sometimes driving around with teenagers in your car is AWESOME (sometimes not ;)) … but thanks to my daughter my new favorite song … “I Hope You’re Happy” Blue October

There will be days when you’re falling down
There will be days when you’re inside out
There will be days when you fall apart
Someone else will break you heart
They’re never gonna hold you back
I’m always gonna have your back
So try to remember that
I hope you’re happy (or at least content)
I hope you’re good (you don’t always have to be great)
I hope you get what you wish for (or at least your needs are met)
And you’re well understood (this one I won’t budge on, I hope at least one person you love understands you)
And whatever your progress
I know you’ll be fine (“and will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed” Dr. Suess)
Because I hope you’re happy
Even if you’re not mine
Try to remember that
I hope you’re happy
I hope you’re good
I hope you get what you wish for
And you’re well understood

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Turning 50 (in 5 minutes & “the license”)

 

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I’m not sure yet how I feel about turning 50 … “it’s strange to be almost 50, I feel like I just understood how to be young, it’s like the last day in a foreign country, you finally figure out where to get coffee & drinks & a good steak and then you have to leave and you won’t ever be back.” “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer.  It’s kind of true you just get to a place where you feel good about yourself & your life, you don’t look THAT old, you can still do all your activities (hopefully, maybe along with some aches & pains), you don’t care what people think about you (aka “the license”), hopefully you’ve accepted the way you look, you’re “comfortable” in your own skin, and then out of nowhere it’s like … “damn I wish I could go back to being 20 and I’d wear mini-skirts” because my legs weren’t as bad as I thought, but now even if I could, I can’t, because it wouldn’t be appropriate.  I’d travel to the all the places I could afford (and some I couldn’t and figure it out later) because my body would bounce right back, if my job wasn’t waiting for me, I could get a new one, my dog would survive the “grandparents” or the kennel.  When you’re older there may not be another job and the grandparents and real babies would not necessarily “survive”.  I told a friend that I think for the next couple of years we’re only going to travel within the U.S. (maybe Mexico & Canada) because international travel (10-14 hour flights) is not that easy the older you get (even if your lucky enough to upgrade to first class).  And she said “NO, you have to go NOW while you’re still somewhat able-bodied because it will only get worse, save the Winnebago for when you’re in your 70’s!!!”, she has a very good point!

And then there’s the “LICENSE”, a phenomenon that mostly women experience (men might also & they just aren’t as vocal about it 😂).  I recall, as do most of my friends, when our mother’s turned 50 and all of a sudden they turned into (and I mean this in the most loving way possible) the biggest bitches!  It’s like they turned 50 and got a “license” to say and do whatever they wanted (I get it — I’m in the process of acquiring “the license”, my husband would say I’ve been in the process for the last 10 years)!  You get to be over 45ish going on 50 and when a 25-year-old tries to give you “life advice” it’s really hard to nod politely and say “thank you” or “you’re right” because what you want to do and unfortunately sometimes I do (in a manner of speaking) is shout back, just YOU wait until you’ve worked for 20 plus years, been married for 20 plus years and given birth to two children (72 hours of labor total, had an ectopic pregnancy rupture and almost bled to death), been sleep deprived for 17 years, are the parent of two teenagers, own a house & cars that are constantly in need of repair, and aging parents that are also often in need of repair, or the death of a parent … and THEN you can give me life advice.  Not to say there aren’t some very wise 25 year olds out there, but just sayin’!  A great thing about “the license” is not only do you not care what other people think about you, you care more what YOU think about you (in a good way)!  Or at least I hope you do, I feel pretty good about “where I am” my heath, my weight (even my little pot belly, I earned it after 2 kids & 3 abdominal surgeries & a lot of 🍺)!  My laugh lines (aka wrinkles), my spirit/soul and I can honestly say if someone doesn’t like it that’s their problem not mine!  “Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and your soul. And part of being an adult is learning to meet your own needs, because when it comes down to it, with a few exceptions, no one else is going to do it for you.” Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

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Kind of along the lines of mother’s and their “license”  … I was listening to an interview with Lena Dunham on “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard

Dax: “A term I learned in AA, is we all suffer from terminal uniqueness”
Lena:  “Yes! I learned that term in therapy and one of my favorite thing my mom does is … I’ll tell her something my therapist told me & she’ll love it so much & then a week later I’ll discover she’s using it 100% the wrong way to support her own theories about herself, I told her the expression ‘terminal uniqueness’ and later she said “I think I also suffer from terminal uniqueness, you know just being so unique my whole life, that nobody gets it!”
Lena: Another time she said her therapist is really into “accountability” and I asked her “what does accountability mean to you?” and her response was “as in everyone needs to be accountable TO ME”
Dax: “There’s a couple little clues that there might be some light narcissism in the mix here”
Lena:  “I will tell you something about my mom she’s my hero, but as she’s gotten older, her capacity to endure anyone else’s bullshit is zero, she’s just a steamroller, steaming through the world.  She’s a female artist and because she had to really duke it out in the 70’s & 80’s to do what she does, she’s now really settled into this eccentric glamor puss with a jewel on her shoe & it really works for her …
Dax:  “Like she’s earned the right …”
Lena: “it’s 100% the vibe she has going on.”

 “THE LICENSE”

we’ve earned the right!

Another aspect of turning 50, is you don’t truly feel like a “grown-up” until you experience the death of a parent and I can only imagine, but maybe not until the death of both parents, which typically happens when you’re in your 50’s …

“I hadn’t known I needed him there, needed him like a landmark, like a pyramid-shaped stone or a cyprus, that we assume will never move, so we can find our way home.  And then inevitably one day it’s gone, and we realize that we thought WE were the only changing thing, the only variable in the world, that the people & objects in our lives are there for our pleasure, like the playing pieces of a game and can not move on their own accord.  Like they are held there in place by our need for them, by our love for them.”  “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer.  And then one day they are gone and you have to “go it alone” and then you slowly start to realize that you really are alone and YOU are the grown-up and that maybe some day you will be the cyprus, the stone, the north star for one of your children … 

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“People always remember you at the age they met you, so at 50 they will only ever imagine you as a grown up.  It’s not all bad, people will always think you are grown up and therefore take you seriously.  My point is “welcome to fucking life, 50 is nothing! I look back at 50 and think what the fuck was I so worried about?  Go enjoy yourself” (from his 70 year friend).  “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer  It’s kind of true, I try to picture people as a younger version of themselves before I met them, the people I love, everyone once in a while I have a glimpse of what they must have looked like as a child, but really I do remember them as they were when I first met them, even if their weight has changed or their hair has turned gray, or they now have glasses, I see them how they were when I met them.

” … look at them! Who would ever believe it is two days before his birthday & he’s on a camel ride in the Sahara (his friend hollers at the group) “shut the fuck up and enjoy the fucking sunset on your fucking camel” and he’s thinking “it is after all almost a miracle they are here and not because they’ve survived the booze, the drugs, the migraines, not that at all. It’s that they have survived everything in life, humiliations & disappointments & heartaches & missed opportunities, bad dads & bad moms & bad jobs & bad sex & bad drugs, all the trips & mistakes & face-plants of life to have made it to 50 and to have made it here, to these mountains of gold, this tidy table on the dune set with olives & pita & glasses & wine chilling on ice, with the sun waiting more patiently than any camel for their arrival, so YES as with almost every sunset, but with this one in particular “shut the fuck up. “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

ENJOY THE SUNSET

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You have turned 18 with 32 years of experience! You are like the fine wine that gets more exquisite with age! 

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Thanksgiving …

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Just a reminder …

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If you know me I’m not a big fan of holidays, and Christmas just about does me in .. I do like Thanksgiving, because it’s about gratitude.  And (hopefully) reflecting on all we have and all we have to give.  Not about unnecessary gift giving. Believe it or not I even enjoy hosting Thanksgiving (every few years ;)) although it is far from a Norman Rockwell painting.  It’s more like everyone come (even though our house is small, certainly no formal dinning room). Bring one & all!  One of my best memories is having one of the young coaches from my son’s football team, he was so thankful for the invite he pulled me aside to say “thank you so much for having me, my mom wanted me to give you a hug from her because she was so sad that I might be alone”. ☺️  Every Thanksgiving I have at least one major cooking mishap … like the year the turkey was cooking so slowly because the boiler pan that comes with the oven was on the lower rack so the heat wasn’t reaching the turkey!  That’s how little I cook I didn’t even know it was there 🙄!  We were supposed to eat at 5p, the turkey wasn’t ready until 10p 😮.  We use our nice dishes, crystal etc. but I’m not embarrassed to admit that come dessert the paper plates and paper napkins come out! No more dishes please!!!

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Leading up to Thanksgiving & Christmas all I can think about (along with the dishes 😉) is how lucky I am to have my health, my family, my friends, my cozy little house on the hill, the change of seasons, the sun, the moon, the stars, the trees, the mountains, the ocean (when I’m lucky enough to go) and of course my babies …

 

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I am grateful for my limits
that teach me patience and pace
I am grateful for challenge, defeat, and loss
They teach me hope is not a light at the end of the dark tunnel
It’s the ember burning within me that I forgot to fan
I am grateful to my teachers
for introducing me to myself
I am grateful for my past
that has delivered me to my present
I am grateful for all I have found and all I have lost
Both remind me I can live with and without
I am grateful for silence and for laughter
And for my ears that can hear both
I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals
I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.
— Jeannie Manchester

I can’t not mention that we should all be sending good thoughts, wishes, hopes & prayers to all the people suffering the horrible fires in California … and for all those suffering in the world.

Screen Shot 2018-11-15 at 1.49.18 PMPerhaps take some time during the holidays while enjoying time off with your family to discuss how your family would like to give this holiday season, whether it’s a donation to a cause you all feel strongly about, or “adopting” a family, or volunteering.  I have a personal request, my dear friend (and first babysitter) Susannah, her husband is fighting colon cancer and is unable to work and they have two small girls.  If you would like to help the donation request is below 🙏.

“The Santamarias remain grateful and moved by your support, prayers, and financial help. If you missed their Go Fund Me campaign, here is the site where you can help them. They are continually in awe of all of you, their friends and family, for your loving support through this time. Thank you for loving our friends well.”

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In yoga we often end class with the mantra “may all being be free from suffering and may all beings benefit from the merits of our practice”.  And by “practice” it doesn’t mean the asana (movement) practice of yoga but the love & kindness that contemplative movement & meditation hopefully bring, inspire & transpire into your actions with others and the world around you.

Let’s all remember this holiday season what it is REALLY about:

Thanks & Giving 

In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.  Elizabeth Gilbert

🧡🧡🧡

 

 

 

 

“I feel like I left who I am somewhere and I can’t find her …”

“I feel like I left who I am somewhere and I can’t find her …”

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“And I don’t even know where to start looking.” I heard that on a show & I felt this overwhelming feeling of  “EXACTLY”!  Because no matter how hard you try, the years of being an employee, a wife, a mother can be so frantic & exhausting it can smother the person you were or dreamed of becoming.  The life of women (and men) can become so busy & overwhelming, especially when you have kids, that it can be hard to find time to take a breath … literally!  I think that’s why I became “addicted” to yoga because it was the only way to escape and breath and have an hour of PEACE and quiet.  Over the years my friends who’ve known me for “forever” have said to me “where did the Shannon I used to know go? What happened to THAT girl?” There’s a song “That Don’t Sound Like You” … that ain’t the girl I knew, gimme the girl I knew, if you wanna come back, you can come back to …” Lee Brice.  You CAN come back to you.  I want to come back to me.

Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 5.58.39 PMI told my friend I’m tired of trying to be perfect, I just want to be me (whatever that means) and she recommended a book to me “Present over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist, I told her it’s only taken me to age 50 to not care if I’m not perfect … perfect hair, perfect body, perfect house, perfect wife, daughter, mother etc. and to truly feel like “if you don’t like it, you can try to find a better one, well maybe not mother!?  My kids are kind of stuck with me! My husband would say I still care a lot about my hair 😉 & that I let the “perfect house” go long ago. 😂

“In many ways, I loved this life—loved my husband, adored my kids, was so thankful to be a writer. But it’s like I was pulling a little red wagon, and as I pulled it along, I filled it so full that I could hardly keep pulling. That red wagon was my life, and the weight of pulling it was destroying me. I was aware that I was missing the very things I so badly longed for: connection, meaning, peace. Who wins, then? I handled it all! I showed them! But who is “them”? Who cares? Whose voice am I listening to? What am I trying to prove? What would happen, what would be lost, if I stopped, or if I slowed down to a pace that felt less like a high-speed chase all day, every day?”  “If someone gave you a completely blank calendar and a bank account as full as you wanted, what would you do? The first thing that leapt into my mind: stop. I would stop. I would rest. I would do nothing at all. I would sleep. The thought of it almost made me weep.”  “Stop. Right now. Remake your life from the inside out.” Shauna Niequist “Present over Perfect”

Get back to you, is how I interpret that statement.

What if …

“I Allow myself to stop, to rest, to breathe, to connect. That’s where life is, I’m finding. That’s where grace is. That’s where delight is. Years ago, a wise friend told me that no one ever changes until the pain level gets high enough.  That seems entirely true. The inciting incident for life change is almost always heartbreak—something becomes broken beyond repair, too heavy to carry; unmanageable.” Present over Perfect

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Well I’ve done that, I “retired” two years ago and I’m getting closer to finding “that girl”.  I’ve “rested” a lot!  What I’ve discovered and rediscovered about myself is I love reading & writing, I hate cooking, I love baking, I love napping, I love art & poetry, I love learning about yoga, I love being by myself, I love traveling.  I’m trying to do my “work” (aka chores) during the day and not feel guilty folding laundry, emptying the dishwasher, going to the store etc. while everyone else is at work.  When I first quit working I would race around all day long being “busy” because I felt guilty being at home, but then my evenings were full of chores ,just like when I was working.  Instead of running myself ragged trying to get everything done in a day, I’ve learned to slow down (maybe too slow for my husband 😂)! What if I don’t get all the laundry done, or go to store, or empty the dishwasher … for a day? Would everyone survive?  I think so, I KNOW so, but the key is to not beat myself about it if it doesn’t all get done TODAY.  I’ve been much more pleasant to be around (I think, I hope🙏)  because I’m not completely exhausted & spent by 7p.

At the same time I was reading Present over Perfect& working on this post. One of my yoga teachers, Sukhraj Kaur, sent the following in her weekly newsletter …

Cold Depression
Cold Depression is our single biggest challenge as we enter the Aquarian Age. It affects vitality of spirit and leads us to behave in ways we would not otherwise. Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga, cautioned us that as we transition into the Aquarian Age, that is, through 2038, humanity would suffer from a phenomenon he called Cold Depression.

What is Cold Depression?
“Cold Depression is when the external demand is greater than the internal capacity to deliver and we have spent our reserves. We are depressed but we are so numb and insensitive to our own self, we do not feel it. The depression is therefore “cold.” This leads us to inner anger and isolation from our soul.

We instinctively counter the numbness of Cold Depression with behavior that fulfills the need for stimulation. A person experiencing Cold Depression does not seem depressed to herself or others. This is because she is busy, active, and appears energized.  They may overwork, create “emergencies,” or drink 6 energy drinks a day.  They may engage in extreme sports, risk taking, or substance abuse. The insensitivity of Cold Depression leads to reactivity, impatience, and drama. Do you know anyone like this?”

Yes! ME! This is what my doctors diagnosed me with years ago, they just didn’t have a name for it, when all my tests came back “negative”, meaning there was no medical reason for my racing heart rate, insomnia and panic attacks, they both said we think you’re depressed but you are so busy, being busy & exercising so much, you don’t feel depressed, you have put yourself in a constant state of “fight or flight”, but there is no saber tooth tiger chasing you, you don’t have to build a fire with two sticks to keep warm & you and your children are not on the verge of starving.  I think it’s because someone told us (women) who are now in our 40’s & 50’s that you could & SHOULD “have it all” but you really can’t, not without running around like a chicken with its head cut off! I do believe our mother’s generation, telling us girls “you can have it all” had the best intentions, but sometimes I think it did more harm than good, because we all think we have to be perfect, but really we just need to be “our own perfect”, flaws & all!  Let something go or ask for help (or skip a workout & take a nap ;)) or get “take out” or order a pizza. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure it means you’re human! I used to lie about taking a nap because I was scared people would think it was a weakness & self-indulgent.  Only in the last few years do I proudly admit & announce “I need to lie down for a few minutes”.  My son said in the days of headstones mine would read “she just had to lay down for a few minutes… this time she didn’t get back up”😊

“There has to be another way. And I’m going to find it. I’m going to make the space to taste my life once again. I’m going to find a new way of living that allows for rest, as much rest as I need, not just enough to get me through without tears, but enough to feel alive and whole, grounded and gracious. Things I haven’t been in years. What I ache for these days is space, silence, stillness. Sabbath. I want to clear away space and noise and things to do and things to manage. I want less of everything. Less stuff (that we are just going to throw away). Less rushing. Less proving and pushing. Less hustle.” Present over Perfect

Periodically I will declare “a ban on saying yes to more than one thing a week”  and my husband rolls his eyes, but then I say it doesn’t mean we can’t do more than one thing in a week, but it does mean we are not OBLIGATED to more than one thing!  He usually thanks me later ;)! One morning after being out late the night before (and maybe a bit hungover), we woke up to a snowy, cold morning and my husband was talking about going to the gym and everything he had to do that day and I said “what if for one day we did what some people do on a cold, snowy Sunday and watched a movie (something he would NEVER do) and he said, a bit reluctantly “ok let’s watch half of a movie”.  I was SO happy!  We watched “This is 40” and snuggled on the couch & giggled, halfway through I said “ok I better take the dogs and you should go to the gym” and he replied “what if we watched the whole movie?” I was over the moon! ☺️

“Richard Rohr says the skills that take you through the first half of your life are entirely unhelpful for the second half. They made me responsible and capable and really, really tired. They made me productive and practical, and inch by inch, year by year, they moved me further and further from the warm, whimsical person I used to be . . . and I missed her … the opposite of pride, one might say, is vulnerability—essentially, saying this is who I am . . . not the sparkly image, not the smoke and mirrors, not the accomplishments or achievements. This is me, with all my limitations, with all my weaknesses.” Present over Perfect.  

My friend sent me this the other day & said “this is so you” …Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 2.31.12 PM

I took it as the biggest complement .. my husband says that’s why I’m no longer the best housekeeper!” 😂

“Trying to be perfect is a toxic journey. We are not perfect.  We have to love and embrace our shadows. Sometimes, good enough is good enough” Jane Fonda
“Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” Winston Churchill
The author of “Present over Perfect” says towards the beginning of her book “My prayer is that this book will be a thousand invitations, springing up from every page, calling you to leave behind the heavy weight of comparison, competition, and exhaustion, and to recraft a life marked by meaning, connection, and unconditional love.”

That is my hope, wish, mantra, “prayer” for all of us, especially women in their 40’s & 50’s.

Present over Perfect!!!  It may have taken 40 or 50 years but …

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Aging (& friendship):

 

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Maybe because of my “near death experiences” and/or the older I get (my husband agrees with this wholeheartedly — not just me, but both of us getting older;)) there is not enough time to hang out with the people we want to, let alone people we don’t.  There are people that either I don’t want to get out of bed to meet (from my afternoon napping ;)) or I can’t wait to get in bed after being with them — the latter are the people I want to hang out with, because it means I was up past my bedtime, so I must have been having fun!!!  I’m like Cinderella, except I turn into a pumpkin at 10p not midnight.  That being said, I stayed at our friends house the other night until 12:30a!!! We were having so much fun, I didn’t want to leave (normally my bed time takes precedence over all else & I don’t want to lose my “glass slipper”), but who knows when it ALL could come to an end.  I used to say “you could get hit by a bus tomorrow” now it’s more like “you could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow”!  It was the first time in our 15 year friendship that the wife had to “kick us out”!

I was talking to a friend about people changing and getting “less fun” & boring & grumpy as they get older and she said “if you don’t bring anything to the table/party at this point, why would I want to hang out with you?!”,  (🙏 bring humor, andicdotes, empathy, honesty, authenticity, intellect, “deep thoughts & feelings”, & oh, did I mention HUMOR?!) 😜 We both agreed we want to hang out with people that think & feel “the glass is 1/2 full not 1/2 empty”, who are grateful for what they have and want to enjoy what time we have left.  People who are FUN & REAL!  She’s right, “after all we only have 10 or 20 good years left … if we’re lucky” (this I’ve been told A LOT when people find out I’m turning 50)! 😮

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A therapist once told me “people change as they age and they generally go one of two ways” …

they either soften and become sweet & pleasant

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or they harden and become sour & bitter

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I want to become the former not the latter.  As I’ve gotten older people have gone one of two ways:

1.  Become more open-minded and less judgmental, more generous, more fun, more all-encompassing of differences, curious instead of condemning, easy-going, fun-loving, grateful for what they have vs. longing for what they don’t, optimistic

or 

2.  Become closed minded and more judgmental, self-centered, frugal, boring, less tolerant of differences, condemning, rigid, grumpy, stuck in the past, regretful, pessimistic

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I also think we have a choice of who we want to become #1 or #2 — soft and sweet or hard & bitter.

I choose #1 softer and sweeter — at least I’m hoping and trying 🙏  (and hopefully with the same fabulous color of gray hair as my mother)!

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Less Said, Best Said …

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“I give zero fucks about anything yet I have strong opinions about everything, even topics I’m not informed on & know nothing about” Hannah from Girls … this kind of sums me up or at least my husband might say it does and that’s why he has to give me “the look” or a slight “kick” under the table which means “wrap it up” or ‘take it down a notch” “or “don’t ask THAT” (because you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about or if you do your opinions are too strong, or who would ask that!?!).  I actually really appreciate it (most of the time) because he saves me from myself or at least saves the other person from having to listen to me and what I think 😉 on a whole range of topics that aren’t necessarily acceptable to talk about :(.  But those are the things I WANT to talk about … politics, religion, the meaning of life, the bad shit in addition to the good shit going on in your life.   However, I recently had to leave a conversation/party before I was finished telling a “story” and the girl (women I guess because I’m that old 🙄) grabbed my arm as I was leaving and said “wait I want to hear the rest …” and my husband said “trust me you don’t ;)” and she said “oh … Less Said, Best Said”??? And my response was “YES!?” (maybe 😏) sometimes, maybe that’s the best road to take???  My “New Years Resolution” was to make a change or should I say my newest mantra (since I started this post last fall) is going to be “Less Said, Best Said” anyone who knows me knows it will be NOT be easy (probably impossible)!

“The less said the better.” ― Jane Austen

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Regarding making a CHANGE …

“People change” … “but more often people stay exactly the same” … The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.  Isn’t that the truth?! More often than not you can’t change someone, but I think sometimes a person can change themselves at least a little bit or at least maybe get some credit for trying??? Honey I’m going to try!

“Aye, well, sometimes best not to say the first thing that pops into your mind out loud, eh?” he said quietly, not looking at me.” Elinor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman— believe it or not I really do try not to do that, but most of the time I just can’t help myself! 😮

Regarding text abbreviations … “I wasn’t made for illiteracy; it simply didn’t come naturally. Although it’s good to try new things and to keep an open mind, it’s also extremely important to stay true to who you really are. I read that in a magazine at the hairdressers.” Elinor Elephant by Gail Honeyman

 

“Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” — I don’t know where I first heard this (I wish I said it first 😉) just looked it up and nope not me … DARN IT!

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When women my age wear too short of skirts, or too short of shorts or tube tops or teeny, tiny bikinis — and even though they may look good in them because they’re in really good shape, it’s still not appropriate — “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should”  I won’t “change” my opinion on that one!

Anyway, as long as my husband gives me “the look” or the slight “kick” under the table ;), I’m going to try to be a little bit more …

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that being said …

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For the love of dogs 🐶❤️

Reposting because it’s National Pup Day! 🐾🐶💕

This is how it always is, or at least how I think it should be ... by shannon bennett

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“To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace” — Milan Kundera

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“Dogs are not our whole life but they make our lives whole” — Roger Carass

“Dogs are wise.  They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not rejoin the world until they are whole once more” — Agatha Christie (good advice for when I have PMS)

“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs” — Charles de Gaulle

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs & infants” — Johnny Depp

“Dogs are better than human beings because they know but do not tell.” — Emily Dickenson

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight, but the size…

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Looks can be deceiving …

I was sitting in yoga before class the other day trying to “meditate” and one of my favorite, long time yoga teachers (actually the one who really “hooked me” on yoga) was taking the same class.  She gently touched my shoulder and said “you look so spiritual & serene sitting there” and I almost said “looks can be deceiving” but instead I just smiled.  Maybe if I keep sitting still and trying to meditate & smiling I WILL become spiritual, serene, peaceful, content …. that’s what I keep “praying” for because I’m not.  When the teacher says set an intention for your practice, something you want to take with you “off the mat”, mine is always “remain peaceful & calm” the two things I am not, but desperately NEED to be … I went off my anti-anxiety/depression medicine a couple of months ago and at first I thought I was doing great but slowly the racing heart, sleeplessness, uncontrollable irritability has crept back in … if I were single & alone I might try to push through, but I have a husband, two kids, two dogs, a cat, a mom recovering from one of the worst cancer surgeries you can have, and the list goes on, and none of them deserve having to endure my bitchiness.  The definition of spiritual:  affecting the human spirit or soul as opposed to material or physical things, The definition of serene: calm, peaceful, and untroubled; tranquil, “her eyes were closed and she looked very serene”, (synonyms: calm, composed, tranquil, peaceful, untroubled, relaxed, at ease, unperturbed, unruffled, unworried)… I WISH!!!  Anyway, I “gave in” and went back on Lexipro — for better or for worse — those around me would probably say for better and unfortunately I have to agree 😦 I’m sleeping better, not flying off the handle over the littlest inconvenience or mishap, all and all better for everyone involved.  I really tried, I tried meditating every day (or as often as I could) for a couple months — it helped a bit but not enough (unfortunately).  I’m going to try to keep up with the meditation because I think, actually I know it helps.  My husband has been meditating almost every day for the last two years and he is such a better husband, father & human being because of it, it’s amazing how much more tolerant he is … with me especially.

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I may look calm & peaceful & put together on the outside … but on the inside I feel like I want to smash a dinner plate on the floor or throw a rock through one of my plate-glass windows that I adore in my house that I adore.  Or alternatively, crawl into my bed and go to sleep and never come out … I mean ever!  And this isn’t to say I always feel this way but I definitely “have my moments”!  I was telling my friend about the yoga teacher incident because she was asking me why I hadn’t written in my blog for awhile and I told her “funny you should ask” … and I told her I’ve had too much “real life shit going on” and then I told her about the “looks can be deceiving” yoga incident that prompted this post.  I said to her “come to think of it you are one of those people that always looks serene & peaceful & happy, on top of being one of the most beautiful people on the planet” and her response was “oh I have my moments you just wouldn’t know it by looking at me” … see looks can be deceiving.

So now I’m back on my “happy pill” and I wouldn’t say it makes me happier but I’m generally calmer, no wanting to throw rocks through windows or slam plates on the floor when no one shows up to dinner or shows up and then says they aren’t hungry because they don’t like the looks of it  ;)),

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I’m a Grinch … sort of

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“Oh, that’s right,” she said, “you never go, to the company party do you?  I’d forgotten about that. You don’t do the Secret Santa either. Eleanor the Grinch, that’s what we ought to call you.” They all laughed. “I don’t understand that cultural reference,” I said. “However, to clarify, I’m an atheist, and I’m not consumer oriented, so the midwinter shopping festival otherwise known as Christmas is of little interest to me.” (Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman). That could be me, I’ve been called the Grinch on more than one occasion.

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My mom loves the holidays & always tried her hardest to make them picture perfect, especially Thanksgiving & Christmas.  It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting, but sometimes she seems a little stressed 😟. We all try to tell her it doesn’t have to be perfect, I just hope she gets joy & happiness from all her hard work.  She does make the BEST Thanksgiving dinner! I on the other hand could skip it all, sometimes I do, I’m pretty good at trying to plan a trip so that we can skip the holidays especially Christmas & New Years.  We also pick a charity each year to donate to rather than too many unnecessary presents, I encourage you to do the same whether by donating your time or money.  It’s nice to sit down as a family to discuss what organization “speaks to you” for us it usually ends up the World Wild Life Foundation, http://www.worldwildlife.org.  My best Christmas was the one we “skipped” and went to Mexico and our only presents were surf lessons on Christmas Day …

We’re not religious, not me or my immediate family or extended family (as far as I know), and isn’t Christmas the celebration of the birth of Christ?  Even though I’m pretty sure December 25th isn’t even his birthdate.  I prefer to celebrate the winter solstice, or maybe even Festivus, “Festivus for the rest of us”  as proclaimed by George’s father on Seinfeld, is both a parody and a secular holiday celebrated on December 23 as an alternative to the pressures and commercialism of the Christmas season. Originally a family tradition of scriptwriter Dan O’Keefe,[1][2] who worked on the American sitcom Seinfeld, Festivus entered popular culture after it was made the focus of the 1997 episode “The Strike”that’s what George proclaimed he would celebrate from now on instead of Christmas or Hanukkah.

“Winter solstice has long been recognized as the first day of winter and is the shortest and darkest day of the year. It occurs when the Northern Hemisphere is furthest from the sun. After the winter solstice the days get longer … What can you gain from this period of darkness?” According to its Latin roots, the word solstice means “sun standing still,” and winter solstice has been recognized across many cultures as a time to celebrate the gradual return of the light.”  … http://www.yogainternational.com

I want to celebrate the holidays by spending time with my family doing what we love whether it’s time at the beach, or skiing or hiking in the woods to cut a “Charlie Brown Xmas tree” but NOT shopping or wrapping gifts!

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This isn’t to say I don’t like some things about the Christmas holiday … the lights for one, the year Vail hosted the Alpine World Championships and all Vail was lit up with red, white & blue! 💙❤️💙  I like it when my mother-in-law takes me & my daughter & my sister-in-law & nieces to Xmas tea.  I love curling up on the couch with my family and watching “Elf” & “It’s a Wonderful Life” for the millionth time. I like the Xmas eve party our friends host that we get dressed up and they put on an amazing dinner spread (that looks like so much work but their extended family all help and I think they truly enjoy the time spent together putting it on).  I also like when my extended family doesn’t exchange gifts and instead plays a game …. What I don’t like is the commercialism and Xmas lights & music BEFORE Halloween and the pressure of gift giving.  If I drive around and get frustrated with traffic and the crowds and parking etc. to buy my sister-in-law a scented candle & then she in turn does the same thing & gives me a scented candle don’t they cancel each other out? And we could have saved ourselves all the aggravation, not to mention the damage to the environment?!?!  And don’t even get me started on the wrapping of presents 🙄!

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And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.

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I do like Thanksgiving, it’s about giving thanks (therefor the name ;)) not unnecessary gifts. Believe it or not I even enjoy hosting Thanksgiving, although it is far from a Norman Rockwell Painting. It’s more like everyone come (even though our house is small, certainly no formal dinning room) bring on the “orphans” bring your relatives that are in town! Bring one & all!  One of my best memories is having one of the young coaches from my son’s football team over.  He was so thankful for the invite and although I told him not to bring anything, he brought his family’s traditional appetizer,  He pulled me aside and said “thank you so much for having me and my mom wanted me to thank you because she was sad that I might be alone”. ☺️ 💜💛.   One year in a somewhat new house, the turkey was cooking so slowly (because the boiler pan that comes with the oven, was on the lower rack, goes to show how little I cook I didn’t even know it was there 🙄) the heat wasn’t reaching the turkey, we didn’t eat until 9p, but it was super fun because we drank a bit more, played a board game before dinner instead of after and laughed hysterically (thankfully that mishap was PK (pre-kids)).  We use our nice dishes, crystal etc. but I’m not embarrassed to admit that come dessert the paper plates and paper napkins come out! No more dishes please!!!

This Thanksgiving break we were in Mexico and the night before we left we happened upon a guy getting ready to release baby turtles from their protected nest and he asked if we would like to help him release them into the ocean, which of course we were thrilled to help, now THAT is something to be grateful for!

Last Thanksgiving was the last time I saw my father, I remember so clearly when I came into the living room he said “you look so pretty” and I knew it would be the last time.  I miss him terribly, today especially, I’ve been a puddle of tears more than once.  I’m going to try to concentrate on how thankful I am to have spent his last Thanksgiving on this earth at his table.
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“I am grateful to my heart
that beats and breaks and heals
I am grateful for the fullness of my life
For the brief, heartbreaking, heartwarming fullness of life.”

May your holidays be filled with experiences (less shopping & wrapping), laughter & peace (less stress) & happiness, joy & love!

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Letting go of (or at least learning to live with) resentment

Screen Shot 2017-10-12 at 8.53.57 PMI think, actually I know, one of my worst qualities is my ability to hold onto resentment and the toll it takes on me physically and emotionally.  I have very strong feelings on how I think people SHOULD behave and when they don’t live up to my expectations instead of being upset or sad or even disappointed, I get mad!

“When you are angry at someone, you are unhappy with how they acted. You believe they should have acted some other way. The should have acted is what you’re holding onto. If you didn’t have the should so firmly attached in your mind, you wouldn’t be angry.  So the answer is letting go of the should.” Leo Babauta, zenhabits.net

“There is no good way or bad way. And the sooner we let go of expectations about how things are supposed to go (should go), the happier we get to be.” “The Divorce Party” by Laura Dave.  Perhaps my mother is right, she once told me “I have really high expectations of myself and so I think everyone else should behave the same & the sooner I let that go the better”.

For me feeling mad is much easier than feeling sad or even disapointed.  If I am sad I have a tendency to become paralyzed, wanting to crawl into bed and not come out.  But if I decide to be mad, I can move on and in my mind persevere, and in some circumstances even “kick ass”, I’m the same way if someone questions why I want to do something or go somewhere … it only makes me want to do it more.  The problem with mad is I feel it in my heart, literally my chest tightens up, my heart races, sometimes I feel like I can’t catch my breath.  They say resentment resides in the heart chakra … “Physical imbalances in this chakra might include a cardiac or respiratory issue or a feeling of pain and heaviness in the heart.  Emotions connected with the heart chakra include love, hate, anger, bitterness, resentment, grief, forgiveness, compassion, loneliness, self-centeredness, generosity, gratitude, commitment, trust, loyalty and the ability to follow one’s heart.” … chakra.info

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“The color associated with the heart chakra is Green. Green symbolizes harmony, creativity, health, abundance and nature. It is the combining of yellow (soul) and blue (spirit). Green, nature’s color, offers new energy and revitalizes tired nerves.” … crystal-cure.com

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I just got back from a yoga retreat and the first day of the retreat there was a praying mantis “praying” right next to my door, she was there every night until the last night, when she decided to take up residence in our room.  I told my roommate I was so thrilled because they are my favorite insect! She was green my favorite color, like the color of my dad’s eyes and the heart chakra, coincidently or not?!💚.  This is not a new love of mine, my husband bought me a glass praying mantis 10 years ago, it was definitely not in our budget at the time, I fell in love with it and he said it was too expensive, but he went back and bought it and gave it to me for my birthday.  My friend looked up the “spirit meaning” of the praying mantis, lets just say her being there had significant meaning to me, “An appearance from the mantis is a message to be still, go within, meditate, get quite and reach a place of calm.” “The mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives. Usually the mantis makes an appearance when we’ve flooded our lives with so much business, activity, or chaos that we can no longer hear the still small voice within us.”

we felt like she deserved a name because she greeted us every morning & every evening, we named her Shanti, Peace in Sanskrit 

Resentment: or the strong and painful bitterness you feel when someone does something wrong to you, it doesn’t have actual physical weight, but it feels very heavy and can last a long time. Forgiveness is one way to get rid of resentment.  Sometimes resentment lasts for years. It can be strong and hard to pull out, like an old, gnarled tree root. While resentment over being wronged can come from just one act against you, it also can get stronger over time, it also comes from misunderstandings, like feeling resentment over a dirty look you thought was directed at you but really wasn’t.  It’s usually best to root out resentment early. … vocabulary.com

Or in my case … a text that was missing a particular emoji that would have helped me determine if you were just “short on time” vs. “being short”, why not throw in a … 😉or 😍or 😴???  It only takes a second!

“The human emotion of resentment is one of the most futile and destructive emotions, more a reflection of inner needs than outer circumstance. Many people spend more time dwelling on the wrongs supposedly done to them than on the wrongs they have done to others.” … psychologytoday.com

Trust me I’m sure people resent me for certain things … I know I’m not innocent or perfect by any stretch of the imagination (even my imagination;)).

“It’s Futile. It’s Destructive. It’s Blinding. But this universal emotion does have its rewards. It assures us of our own impotence — (inability to take action)” By Theodore Dalrymple

“Considering the importance of resentment in our lives, and the damage it does, it receives scant attention from psychiatrists and psychologists. Resentment is a great rationalizer: it presents us with selected versions of our own past (how things should have played out), so that we do not recognize our own mistakes and avoid the necessity to make painful choices.” Theodore Dalrymple, brainyquote.com

Psychologist James J. Messina recommends five steps to facing and resolving resentful feelings. (1) Identify the source of the resentful feelings and what it is the person did to evoke these feelings, (2) develop a new way of looking at past, present and future life, including how resentment has affected life and how letting go of resentment can improve the future, (3) write a letter to the source of the resentment, listing offenses and explaining the circumstances, then forgive and let go of the offenses (but do not send the letter), (4) visualize a future without the negative impact of resentment, and (5) if resentful feelings still linger, return to Step 1 and begin again.

People have told me to write it down, crumple up the piece of paper, throw it in a fire & let it go … 📝+ 🔥=🙏… hmmmm???

“Resentment is considered to be synonymous with anger, spite, and other similar emotions; however, while it may incorporate elements of these emotions, resentment is distinct from these emotions in several ways. Aside from sharing similar facial expressions, resentment and anger differ primarily in the way they are externally expressed. Anger results in aggressive behavior, used to avert or deal with a threat, while resentment occurs once the injury has been dealt and is not expressed as aggressively or as openly.  Resentment and spite also differ primarily in the way they are expressed. Resentment is unique in that it is almost exclusively internalized, where it can do further emotional and psychological damage but does not strongly impact the person resented. By contrast, spite is exclusively externalized, involving vindictive actions against a (perceived or actual) source of wrong.” … Wikipedia

“Resentments embody a basic choice to refuse to forgive, an unwillingness to let bygones be bygones and bury the hatchet. We review and rehash our painful past, even as we profess to want to let go of it. We do so because we believe the illusion that by belaboring our resentment, we will somehow achieve the justice we believe we are due. We cling to a futile need to be “right,” which overrides the capacity to heal and be at peace with ourselves. We hang on to perceived offences because we don’t know any other way of coming to grips with painful feelings of hurt, rejection, and abandonment. We need to learn to let go of resentment, because living with it can only bring us chronic punishment and pain, and prevent us from building up other relationships based on love, nurture, and support. Letting go of a resentment is not a gift to the person you resent. It is, rather, a gift to yourself.”  Mark Sichel, LCSW

“Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, we do it for ourselves — to get well and move on  likelovequotes.com

“Forgive when you can, and practice willful and deliberate forgetfulness when you cannot, keeping in mind that these acts are gifts to yourself rather than capitulation to the people you resent.”  Mark Sichel, LCSW

My dear friend has been acting as my voluntary editor, commented on the above … “I love the bit about practicing forgiveness, and when you can’t do that, WILLFUL FORGETFULNESS. That works for me! So may times other people’s behavior is inexplicable/confusing/mysterious, so it’s better to “forget” the perceived hurt. I call it “not putting any more energy into it.”  It actually works! For me anyway ;)” 💚 thank you!

“When you let go of resentment toward someone, you are not necessarily condoning or agreeing with what they have done but you instead are allowing yourself to be free and liberated from the heaviness of carrying it around. Remember that you are not letting them off the hook but simply allowing yourself to release the strain so you can put your energy into something that is good for your mind, body and soul.” mindbodygreen.com

“Happiness: When we are frustrated with someone, disappointed with ourselves, unhappy with our situation, angry at something in the past … what is standing in the way of our happiness? We could blame the other person, or ourselves, or our situation, or the thing in the past … but actually, the thing preventing our happiness is being stuck on an ideal or expectation (the should). We could let go of how we want others to be, how we want our lives to be, how we want ourselves to be … and find contentment in the way things are. This is hard for people to accept — because they aren’t good at letting go yet.  The answer is to loosen the tight grip on the way you think things should be. And let the should blow away in the wind. Because in reality, we have no control over the should of reality. We can’t make other people act the way we’d like them to, because they’re not puppets. We can’t even make ourselves act the way we want, much of the time.  We don’t control the should, and so letting go of our tight grasp of them, loosening up and learning to accept the uncontrollable nature of life, leads to many benefits …” Leo Babauta, Zen Habits

“Forgiveness is mercy in action the same way that compassion is wisdom in action” Stephen Levine

“To understand everything is to forgive everything ” Buddha

“What we achieve inwardly effects how we behave outwardly”   Plutarch

“When you find peace within yourself you can become the kind of person that can live in peace with others” Peace Pilgrim

“If you are depressed you are living in the past, if you are anxious you are living in the future, if you are living in the present you are at peace”  Lao Tzu

And finally (this poem has presented itself to me four different times in the last few weeks) …

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty it of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond — Rumi

Until I’m capable of  “letting go”  the “The Guest House” is what I will practice for now …

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“the mantis comes to us when we need peace, quiet and calm in our lives.”

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