Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Transition to my Eat, Pray, Love

I work for a grant program that had its funding cut. We've known about the money running out for nearly three years now. My boss has spent this time pretending that more funding was coming any day now, but it hasn't. When he finally attempted to address the elephant in the room about myself and my co-worker who's funding source has not been renewed, it was done so shady and so much to cover his ass that I thought to myself "I am sooo done here." Truth be told, I've been unhappy at this job for many years. I've been too scared and too comfortable to leave though. I'm scared I won't find another job that I am comfortable at. I know I won't find a job that pays as well for as little as I work with the flexibility I have and co-workers I like. It just doesn't happen for most people, ya know?

But, I'm done. Even though my boss says I could stay if I wanted, I feel stuck in this job and am unhappy. I'm gonna squeeze out as much as possible out of my benefits and vacation hours until the remaining money is exhausted, but I can't wait to get out of here.

I'm going to spend the next 3 months defining what my "Eat, pray, love" is gonna look like and then spend the next 3-6 months doing it. I'm in the "figuring it out" phase now to see what's going to work for me. And also getting support from the strangest of people and places. I randomly went to a party and ran into an acquaintance that I haven't seen in a long time. She was a lawyer working god awful hours the last time I saw her. But right now she is doing exactly what I want to do. She's taking a break a from work. She encouraged me and reassured me that this is what I need to do for myself and that I wouldn't regret it. At least she hasn't. Running into her felt like a sign.

It's a big decision to make though, you know. I've been thinking about this for months but I just have so much fear of the unknown. I actually had break down in mindfulness meditation class from the stress of the decision. Luckily my teacher is awesome and talked me off the ledge by the pretty quickly, albeit publicly in front of the class (there's only 5 of us). It was so helpful and so weird and so exactly what I needed at that moment.

Meditation is staying in the rotation for my mental health and it's a practice that needs some cultivation. So there's the "pray" component of eat, pray love- no ashrams for me though. And actually "eat" can be crossed out as I've never been a foodie. Love may get a shot at staying in the rotation, but it's not official yet.

So... Eat, Pray, Love (?) could turn into Meditate, Volunteer, Write, Feed Stray Animals. The main point of this post is to declare that I'm taking a sabbatical. It's official.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Emotional fallout to change

I have two friends who have lost over 70 lbs in the past year. Each one shared with me independently that at a certain point they experienced an emotional crisis with the change to their bodies. There was a period of mourning. There was a feeling of loss, not just of the weight but their "old selves." And then needing to make friends with their new selves and get comfortable with their new bodies.

I just put two and two together and realized that I have been experiencing something similar. I'm doing these good things for my health, questioning long held beliefs about myself, and checking back into life. So why do I feel kinda lonely and out of sorts? The more I meditate, the quieter it is in my home which actually feels disquieting to me. Backwards, right?

It's like I don't know who I am anymore. Breaking long held habits leaves a void. And while I am replacing those bad habit with healthier new ones, it feels weird and uncomfortable and like, who hell is this person that stopped watching tv and now meditates. Do I even know her?

I know it was similar with my friends who lost weight. They were like, I'm kicking ass at being disciplined and working hard and losing a ton of weight, so why am I sad?

I know it's just growing pains of a major transition and I will get to a place where I no longer feel out of sorts. These healthier more mindful habits will become my new normal. There will be pitfalls and psychological boobie traps that come with making major changes. It takes inner strength to stay the course and follow your metamorphosis through to completion.

And it's okay to mourn the "old you." It's one of the pitfalls. Just be sure to dust yourself off and give yourself a mental high  five for climbing out of that booby-trapped hole. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

SAINT MOTEL - My Type (Official Video)

I am loving the horns in this song by Saint Motel.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Where I started when I wanted to face my depression

The resources I found helpful-

1. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 8 Week Course
The short story is that it is an introduction to meditation class. It was developed Jon Kabat-Zinn for use in hospitals and is completely secular (not Buddhist or Hindu or any kind of spiritual).

It's hard and you spend the first two weeks feeling the little toe on your right foot and focusing on your breathing but if you pay the money you will go and you will be with other people thinking "oh god, not the body scan meditation again." And the teacher will ask "and how did returning to your breath feel ?" about 10 times and make you keep talking until some epiphany comes flying out of your mouth.

Just like anything else in life, you will get out of it what you put in. But I promise you, you will get something out of it. I'm not sure what exactly but something worth the time invested. Google the eight week course in your area. I went to New Mindful Life in San Diego.

Look up the instructors and see if they have any youtube videos. Choose the one whose voice you like the most because you end up listening to it a lot. And it blows if their voice is annoying.

2. Book List:

10% Happier by Dan Harris- A true skeptics tale of meditation

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

The Mindfulness & Acceptance Workbook For Depression by Kirk Strosahl and Patricia Robinson

The Mindful Way Through Depression by Mark Williams- You can read it for free here: http://site.henizaiyiqi.com/Public/Js/ueditor/attached1/20140828/14092407041265.pdf

There's More to Life Than This by Theresa Caputo- When you are ready to get spiritual, listen to the Long Island Medium. She's strongly catholic and there's a lot of "out there" concepts like guardian angels, guides, reincarnation, spirit and energy, intuition and signs. But I found it comforting. Especially the concept of a soul circle where you can have several lives with the same souls and that your struggles are part of lessons you agreed to learn or impart before your soul entered a body.

Unstuck, Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression by James Gordon

3. Look up and download the app called "Breathe". It's actually called Stop, Breathe, and Think. It's free and has 6 minute "feel good" meditations, or, at least, meditations that I think are way easier than mindfulness meditation. It's my favorite of like 10 meditation apps I've tried.

4. Start talking about it. When I got comfortable talking about my depression and anxiety I was shocked at how many of my friends experienced the same or even worse. And the more I just laid it out there, the easier it became. And the easier it became, the less I felt like I had to apologize for my depression. Most of those I told were supportive and even those that weren't as understanding (particularly the older generations), I didn't take it personally. I decided it wasn't my job to make them understand. They didn't have to live in my head all day, every day.