Overwhelmingly Overwhelmed?

Have you ever just had a day, where you feel the weight of everyone else’s world on your shoulders? Where you don’t know where to look or who to help or what to do, so the easiest thing to do is close the curtains and pretend you aren’t home? Uh huh. You know you have.

And the thing is, it’s not one or two big things. It’s more a culmination of many many many MANY little things. Sprinkle in a few big bombshells and BOOM, that crushing feeling is upon you. Divorces, family members not speaking to other family members, (some family members just fine with never speaking to a certain other family member again), affairs, lost loves, bankruptcy, cancer, alcoholism, recovery, friends struggling with friends, friends struggling with family, lost friendships, lost spouses, lost pets, children sick, weight loss, weight gain, kids struggling in school, with friends, with peers, with boyfriends or girlfriends…..OMG, I could seriously go on longer and that’s just in the past week!!!!!

This is the overwhelming part for me. And I have cried on enough shoulders and vented enough to my family and friends that I owe them my shoulder in their time of need. At least my shoulder. A few of them need me to call the divorce lawyer and pack up that spouse and kick them out. A few need me to get a shovel and a rural (unfrozen) parcel of land and start digging, if ya know what I mean. The fixer in me wants to wave my magic wand, sprinkle some fairy dust and make those impossibly difficult, narcissistic, egomaniac, selfish people into decent normal human beings. But I can’t do that and watching them struggle with this idiotic spouse/friend/person can be overwhelming.

High school kids are hard enough to deal with on good days. When they get mean for the sake of being mean, and hurtful for the sake of being hurtful, what can you do as parent? Most of the time they don’t want you involved anyway. So it gets tricky sometimes. But when the meanness causes your child to weep, do you step in? When and how do friends become enemies? It’s sad and overwhelming.

No matter how hard you try to be optimistic, or looking for the silver lining, what do you do when it’s hard to find? For the parent who finds their child suffering, suggesting they look on the bright side seems callous. What bright side? But do you allow it to make you become withdrawn? Bitter? Angry at the world? Or do you try to be a friend and walk a tightrope of not knowing what to say? A friend found out her daughter has cancer. How do you comfort them, especially when she wants to push everyone away? I don’t know how to help. It’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

So how do you handle it? No really, I’d love to know. For me, I’m thankful today is a barre day, because even thought my triceps are still sore from Tuesday, I’m gonna work the hell out of them today! It’s gonna be a “sweat dripping off my nose” kind of work out. I know that I can’t be the fix it person to anyone but me. I can lend an ear, a shoulder, support. But I can’t fix it. Great lesson learned in Al Anon is that I can only be in charge of me and my behavior. No one can change someone else. You can try, but then you’re just manipulating. You don’t want to do that, do you? Cuz that’s just not nice. So I’m going to try to focus on me and what I need (this is the year is ME, right?) and I’m going to go work out. And I’m going to remember this:

Just try to be a good person. That’s enough. ~~ The Dalai Lama

Namaste

Load

I’m in love with my UPS man

Yep. I said it. I love him. Of course, now that it’s cold, he wears a coat and a hat and is all bundled up. But in the summer, those cute little brown shorts can come knocking on my door any day.

That’s because he brings me PRESENTS!!! Presents that I order for myself, presents that my parents send me, and even the occasional present from a friend who just wants to brighten my day. It does happen! But it’s always fun to see him stop in front of my house and carry some mystery surprise box to my door.

Every since discovering the amazing power of Amazon Prime, my first thought is always, “Can I get that from Amazon?” Prime is fast, free and cheap! Well, not everything is cheap, but some things are decidedly cheapER than at a store. So I can place an order Monday for something, it usually comes by Wednesday. Sometimes it comes on Tuesday! Yes, next day service baby!

With the vitamins and some supplements I take, they are much much cheaper on Amazon. Throw in free shipping and sit back waiting for that cute little truck to pull down my street. We needed a new water filter for our fridge. Not only was it 20% (yes, 20%!!!) cheaper than a local store, the local store was sold out. So I got it delivered from Amazon, for free and didn’t have to hunt all over for a silly water filter.

I would like to throw in the added perk of buying Amazon gift cards from my local grocery which gives me money off my gas for every $50 of gift cards bought. So I save money buying the water filter, but I also get money towards gas. Tell me what’s not to like?

Now, I looooove to shop local. Love it. My area has a great eclectic choice of stores. I buy a lot of Christmas and birthday gifts locally. But there are times where getting the deal is better than shopping local at a huge mark up.

Before you start thinking this is some paid advertisement for Amazon, it is not! (However, if Amazon would like to be added a sponsor to this blog, please contact me. No reasonable offer will be refused) I also order stuff from Avon and it’s delivered right to my door. I order show tickets and calendars and flaxseed and coffee!

Coffee!! Oh it is so much cheaper to order K cups online and have them delivered right to my door! And the variety is without question so much better than a store. Yes, the local groceries have what looks to be like a large selection, until you get online. Coffees, teas, cocoas, iced lattes, the choices can feel a bit overwhelming. It’s best to have something a tad specific in mind before you order or next thing you know, you’re monthly coffee order is over $200 and the poor UPS guy needs a dolly to get your order to the door.

Can you imagine giddy I’m going to be if Amazon really does start using drones for delivery?? I’ll be ordering stuff every single day just to watch that sucker land on my porch. I better go get some more gift cards.

UPS man

winter ups man

Relapse or Slip?

These terms could fit a myriad of issues. And for good reason. They are interchangable with what we all struggle with. All of us. Don’t think you have a problem? Ha! I bet if asked, people could come up with at least “Fault”. I use fault in quotations because obviously not all struggles are exactly equal in scope and size, but at the same time, let’s not diminish any type of internal wrestling with right and wrong.

As some of my most loyal blog followers know, I had to have surgery on my back, again, for a melanoma that thankfully my doctor caught early. Surgery is a general term. She calls it surgery. I’m sure billed like a surgery. But it’s not in a hospital, its outpatient in her office surgical room. (Plus, as a side note, since it’s the beginning of the year and no deductible has been met yet, I’m sure this bill is going knock me off my feet. Sigh…..) So as a result of this “procedure”, I’ve had to miss a few yoga classes and a few barre classes. Throw in the Super Bowl and lots of not-so-good-for-me snacks, and well, you can probably see where this is going. I stepped on the scale this morning and was horrified and saddened to see I’ve gained 1 and 1/2 pounds since last week.

I’ve held my 70 lb weight loss to the pound since I hit that goal. Even though it was frustrating to not continue to lose more when nothing had changed. Maybe my body needed some time to recalibrate. I don’t know. But I went into a quick inventory of what I’ve been doing, what I’ve slacked off doing and how and when I need to refocus my efforts.

Do you know someone who struggles with an issue of trying to change and they have the tools, they know what to do, and yet……even after much success something switches in their mind and they give up all the progress they made? I think we all know someone (at least one) who has gone through this. The alcoholic who is sober for days, weeks, months, and in a moment, has the bottle? No thought about about what is being thrown away. What about the drug user who is out of rehab, made changes and suddenly an opportunity is there and they take it without a second thought. Until it’s too late.

So I’ve been thinking about this relapse or slip terminology. I’ve talked to some very knowledgable people in my Al Anon group as well as some in AA. The difference seems to be what happens after the fall. Do you continue on a shame-spiral and think “Screw it. I messed up. I have to start all over. I can’t do it. It’s too hard. I don’t even want to try anymore. This is who I am, if you don’t like it, YOU leave.”

OR

Can you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and realize how much you’ve learned since your last Day 1? Can you start Day 1 with renewed determination and focus? Can you call someone who is helping you along your journey and honestly ask for help?

This is the difference between a slip and relapse. It’s not that you have to start over (because you do) it’s that you start over with serious gusto. You add more tools to your toolkit so that it doesn’t happen again.

I’m choosing to look at myself as the latter. I’m going to go barre Thursday and do what I can. I’m going to drink more water, because I know I’ve been seriously slacking in that department. I’m going to confess to my trainer that I had more than a few bites of ooey gooey yummy homemade soft pretzels Sundays, and yes, one or more may have fell into some cheese dip and then stumbled into my mouth. Mmmmmmmmm.

But I can tell you what I won’t do. I won’t allow it to derail me. I think about people who have lost significant weight by going on a fad diet or one of those pre-packaged meal deals like Jenny Craig or Nurtisystem. Those people all lose weight. I did when I was on Jenny Craig decades ago. But it doesn’t really teach you to keep it off. It teaches you how to use the microwave. Long lasting change isn’t easy, or fast, or without trials. But it’s soooooo worth it.

So even if your “slip” is falling away from your New Years Resolution, or you’ve fallen off the diet/alcohol/drug/sex/gambling/whatever wagon that you’ve been trying to stay on, fear not! Today is a new day. And today is a great day to call Day One.

Namaste

dont give up

Silliness

Sometimes, don’t you want to just be silly? I mean, silly to where you are cracking yourself up silly. I think today feels like one of those days.

I hear bad news around every corner, but I think that makes me want to be silly even more. Must be the rebel in me. Oooooooo.

I went to barre class this morning, feeling a bit sluggish. I ended feeling great, as usual. You know the old saying, no one ever regrets their last workout. True that.

Then I got a phone call from my dad and his procedure this morning went well so that was a huge sigh of relief. No cancer cells detected and he doesn’t have to go back for another test until May. So I did what any normal person does, I came home, cranked up the tunes, put my teeth whitening trays in and started dancing around the living room, cleaning the kitchen, talking to Izzy like he was some baby who could, in fact, understand me, and then started dancing some more.

Just being silly.

So if anyone was looking in my windows while they were out walking their dog, or driving by slowly, that’s right. I was dancing. I don’t think I was quite “Elaine Benis” dancing, but that would’ve made it even sillier! Little kicks! Ha!!!

I’ll dance for my dad. I’ll dance that my dog is still alive and looking at me like I’m crazy. I’ll crack myself up that I can’t sing while I have my teeth trays in without sounding like I have a lisp.(Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

There’s plenty of time to be serious……..tomorrow.

Amy silly

Toast

So yea, today is my birthday. Yea! I’m just older and any day now I’m going to start getting AARP crap in the mail and notifications about my Social Security monthly payout if I was to die right now. Thanks a lot SSA for letting me know that.

But this is not a blog post about that. It’s about toast. And my wonderful, oh-so-wise Yogi and her meditation thought from yoga Monday night. Yep. Toast. Pretty deep, right?

Let me start by explaining that it was probably one of the worst Savasana poses in a long time. Except that one time I broke out in tears and cried through the whole thing. No this was a close second. But at least this time there were no tears. It was mostly laughter.

First, there was talking from other people who were there to train. Unless we issue a gag order during Savasana, I think I need to learn to block it out better. Julie is doing a great job. Tammy and I and the other girls, not so much. Second, it was cold because, well, after sweating for an hour and then lying still tends to get a little chilly. So between Tammy and I, we were fumbling around trying to get our sweaters around us without disturbing others. It didn’t work so well. (Note to self: Be prepared for the cold ahead of time!) Then, I sneezed. Not a huge problem, except then I started laughing. Then Tammy started laughing cuz I was laughing.

So much for lying still and only listening to our breath, right?

But then Yolanda started her meditation focus for us. And I’ve been thinking about it ever since. And that too strikes me as funny, simply because it was about toast. Specifically, burnt toast.

She asked what we did when we had a piece of burnt toast. Do we throw it away and start over? Do we try to scrape off the burnt part with a knife? Do we try to cover it up with something else to mask the burnt part? Do we eat it anyway and get through it and promise ourselves we’re going to be more careful next time? Do we convince ourselves we LIKE burnt toast and this is what I wanted in the first place?

And then, while you’re pondering what you do with burnt toast, replace toast with your life. Hmmmmmm. Can you make a fresh start? Can you get rid of that part of you that is holding you back and move forward? Or do you cover what is wrong with other things? Food? Alcohol? Drugs? Gambling? Shopping? Can you get to the root cause of what happened and fix it?

Of course, fixing burnt toast is as easy as changing the setting on the side of the toaster. But fixing what is holding you down is as easy as taking the steps needed to move forward. To stay motivated. To stay focused. Put down the weight that is causing the problems and lighten up. Just like the toast.

And pretty soon, instead of dealing with burnt toast slathered with peanut butter (ya know, the crunchy kind and it’s on so thick you can’t taste the toast anyway?) you can have it lightly toasted with a schtickle of coconut oil. And realize how good it is without all that other stuff.

Namaste.

burnt toast

Feeling Funky

I could be thinking of all kinds of songs to make me dance, like Funky Cold Medina, or Funkytown, or even Play That Funky Music White Boy. (Ok ok, so I’m playing those songs and a chair dancing while I type this, which I must say is not as easy as it sounds!! I have a tendency to snap my fingers and throw my arms around in no discernible way.)

But I mean FEELING funky. Off. Not yourself. You have something weighing on you and you might not be able to put your finger on it. You feel distracted. Unable to concentrate. Feeling like you’re supposed to be somewhere or do something but you know you aren’t. Preoccupied. All wrapped up in to one big ball of funky. You know what I’m talking about?

I think we all have off days. Nothing specific can be pinpointed, but you feel it. OR maybe you CAN pinpoint it and it’s something you have been putting off, dreading and something has pushed it to the forefront. A memory. A song. Something triggered this response in you. So what can you do?

If I could count how many people have commented or asked me how I stay so “perky” or “in a good mood all the freaking time”, well, I’m not good with math so I probably couldn’t count that high. But it’s A LOT. Then I get the other side of the coin where I’ve been called “fake” or “pretending” or worse. Don’t we all go through ups and downs? Don’t we all have good moments and times where we wish we could take back a conversation, or a deed or an entire chapter of our lives? (Raise a hand for a decade or two??) No one that I know of lives in a perpetually even state. No highs and lows. Even Steven. Who does that?

The part of me that WANTS to be optimistic starts with my decision to do just that. No matter what happened the day before, I try my very very hardest to start the new day as a clean slate. Today is the day to make that change. Today is the day to start a new way of living, of doing, of being. So whether or not I’m delusional, I don’t think starting my day with a good intention is wrong. I might not end my day on the same note I started, but I can sure make a conscience effort to start that way. That’s not fake or pretentious, that’s me making a stand for the direction I want my life to go.

After, eh hem, a certain point in your life, I think we DESERVE to be happy. Don’t we? To throw off what is weighing us down. Cast aside what is not bringing us joy and contentment and GROWTH in our lives. Focus on you and what you NEED. Do you need to make a change? Are you scared to do it? Can you ask for help and have someone hold your hand while you do it? Do you want to risk living in regret? More time passing by with no action on your part? THAT is how you get out of that funky feeling. By taking ACTION.

And once you take that first step to better yourself, things have a way of falling into place for the next step to be taken. Even if you have taken these steps before, sometimes they need repeated. And a hand to hold for support. And that’s not fake or phony. That’s starting your day with a grateful heart, an intention to make a positive change today and doing whatever it is that needs to be done to make it happen. Let nothing stand in your way. Focus on the goal. Don’t let a fleeting moment derail your progress. And you’ll feel that funky feeling dissipate before your eyes.

Namaste.

baby steps

New Year, New Yoga, New Mindset

Today was the first yoga class of the new year. I had decided as one of my New Years goals was to push myself a little harder, try to do the smallest thing a bit better and truly appreciate what my body was doing and is capable of doing during class. It’s still so difficult for me to see how much progress I have made. I know that sounds silly. It’s not me fishing for compliments either. It’s just me being honest about the way my mind works sometimes. I think we all have a tendency sometimes to be overly critical of ourselves and focus on the flaws instead of the progress. So I’m making a conscience effort this year to do this as the part of the year of me! :)

By the way, every time I think of that phrase, I think of Seinfeld and the “Summer of George”. It cracks me.

So with today’s yoga practice with my new mat, new yoga pants and my renewed determination, I set out to push a little farther. Hold my pose a little deeper, stretch myself juuuuuuuuust a bit more. And I’m thrilled to say I did just that. Through the entire practice, I was able to push myself and bring my leg all the way through without touching the ground. Vast improvement in my book! And even though my arms still tremble during side plank, I rocked that baby on both sides the whole entire time, even when we flipped over, top leg behind and arm reaching for the sky. I refused to fall or come out of the pose before instructed. Again, major progress in my book. Beautiful wonderful progress.

Yoga is such a personal journey. It’s graceful, delicate, but strong, determined and focused. I think each of us exhibits those features every day. Some days we show one side more than others. Some days we have to. But it’s always there. Finding something that shows all of those characteristics in for splendid hour is a Godsend.

So while the year is still new, resolutions or goals are still fresh in our minds, try to find that something that is yours. Something that can bring focus and clarity and challenge and renewal to your mind, body and spirit. Because no matter what it is you achieve, it’s yours. No one can take that away from you.

Namaste.

white yoga