A N G E R

Responding like a stoic…

Is anger a good thing or a bad thing? Anger, when first recognized, is actually just simply a warning. A signal from your amygdala blasting throughout your brain, sounding an alarm via chemicals, that warns your body that something is not right. Message received as, “there is a present threat and there is a possibility to fight, flight, or freeze.” Anger can therefore be seen as a natural response to external stimuli. It is a response that was designed in humans to help protect us in perceived dangerous situations. After reading what Seneca wrote on Anger, I concluded that he deduced that anger wasn’t natural, that reasoning was natural. The truth is, it requires more brain function to engage the logical areas of the brain. Leaving me to believe, emotion is more natural than thought.

The emotional response happens automatically. This emotional part of our brains (amygdala) is so much more developed than the logical part of our brain, which is known as the prefrontal cortex. The emotional part of our brain has kept us alive, reacting to the world without much thought to consequences, other than one that is primal, “Stay alive!” While this much developed area of my brain has kept me alive, it has also assumed for far too long that it is in charge. I have now learned that the prefrontal cortex can be trained/stimulated so that it can show the amygdala whose boss. Seneca was then saying that allowing our emotional brain to just run rampant in our lives wouldn’t be natural. The natural thing, the “good thing” is to have what we call In DBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, your wise mind always aware of what your amygdala and prefrontal cortex are doing. After studying stoicism and understanding that Cognitive Behavior Therapy was designed using stoicism. I can see how it’s philosophy is also helpful in The therapy I am currently receiving now. That this higher order thinking, being cognitively aware is the practice of stoicism. “through Stoic training, Aurelius was able to master his perceptions and see each obstacle as an opportunity to improve”(dailystoic.com) mastering our perceptions, added with the knowledge of how our minds naturally respond will help most manage anger.



You can find some exercises for the prefrontal cortex below…

https://heartmindonline.org/resources/10-exercises-for-your-prefrontal-cortex


If you have read any of my previous posts or know anything of Borderline Personality Disorder, becoming a stoic is changing the natural way in which my BPD brain will more than likely over respond to the difficult to digest external stimuli. Like black is to white, BPD is to stoicism. The way in which one chooses to respond to this automatic alarm system is what I believe answers our question today. When anger is triggered inside the mind, it is neither good nor bad. It is not decided until we respond.

Anger, shows duality, with the possibility of being both good and bad. Stoics believe that there is no good with anger. They were told to see that there is no good, because of all the “evil” it created. They want every stoic to believe that there is no good to be found in anger. I see the justifications of their message. A calm and sound mind, not writhing with “passions” can be controlled. One drowning in anger or other “passions” cannot. So then, if looking at it from this perspective, serenity isn’t the final goal, but rather control. Or does control get us to the place of serenity? I have had moments, in which I have given into passions of anger and it has kept me alive. So isn’t it necessary to be alive in order to be serene? Can we have one without the other?

I absolutely want to be a stoic sage someday, using this higher-order thinking to get through the most complicated of situations with clarity and peace of mind… I’m left perplexed at this particular question. While I understand what the stoic philosophers were trying to convey to their followers in those times, teaching people to seek serenity. Being calm and collected leads to logical thinking and sound decisions. I have also experienced anger on several levels. Ultimately, anger has ensured my existence during some pretty tough times. More recently, I find that I am just angry at myself and my mistakes and this anger has propelled me to find better ways to manage myself, my disorder, and my life. Has it been pretty? No, fighting my way to this point hasn’t been pretty. I feel that’s why we are all built in this way. There is no way to determine which human will be placed in prime conditions and which will be placed in tough conditions. The emotional tools we are equipped with may not be dispersed equally, but we were all equipped with the ability to learn. I choose now as I am on the verge of entering my forties, to learn this higher order thinking. Working a portion of the brain more and more, so that my logical mind becomes stronger every day. My ultimate goal being serenity in this deeply maddening world.

I had a discussion with my students the other day about anger. One student said, “as a kid, my counselor told me not to show my anger, but to keep my anger to myself.” I felt that wasn’t a very healthy way to teach a young person to deal with such an intense emotion. I asked him, “How has that advice worked out for you?” My student responded with, “I’m still trying to find a useful method to control my anger.”

I then asked, “what if we started looking at anger differently?” A lot of puzzled stares looking back at me. I then said, “what if we started looking at the positive ways in which anger can be of use to us? Can anger be of use to us? Can we manage it? Or do we let that emotion manage us?”

What if we started looking at the positive ways in which anger can be of use to us?

What are positive ways anger has helped you?

Can anger be of use to us?

Can we manage anger, or do we let anger manage us?

Emotions indicate so many things for an individual, learning to understand our emotions and why we choose to respond in certain ways, increases not only our emotional intelligence but the control we possess over ourselves. Why then should anyone just ignore this emotion, anger? Especially, when anger is often the first emotion we go to when life gets confusing, or when we are afraid, when we feel threatened or rejected.

“Anger is temporary madness: the Stoics knew how to curb it” By: Massimo Pigliucci, here he states 10 ways to curb anger! Maybe one of these can help…

  • Engage in preemptive meditation: think about what situations trigger your anger, and decide ahead of time how to deal with them.
  • Check anger as soon as you feel its symptoms. Don’t wait, or it will get out of control.
  • Associate with serene people, as much as possible; avoid irritable or angry ones. Moods are infective.
  • Play a musical instrument, or purposefully engage in whatever activity relaxes your mind. A relaxed mind does not get angry.
  • Seek environments with pleasing, not irritating, colours. Manipulating external circumstances actually has an effect on our moods.
  • Don’t engage in discussions when you are tired, you will be more prone to irritation, which can then escalate into anger.
  • Don’t start discussions when you are thirsty or hungry, for the same reason.
  • Deploy self-deprecating humour, our main weapon against the unpredictability of the Universe, and the predictable nastiness of some of our fellow human beings.
  • Practice cognitive distancing – what Seneca calls ‘delaying’ your response – by going for a walk, or retire to the bathroom, anything that will allow you a breather from a tense situation.
  • Change your body to change your mind: deliberately slow down your steps, lower the tone of your voice, impose on your body the demeanour of a calm person.

My Conclusion: I thought about anger for an entire week. Oddly enough it kept me from getting angry. While I may not have answered the question for everyone here, my answer is… Anger, like all other emotions is necessary. It is neither a good or bad thing. To let it get out of control is bad. To see what it can do for us when we need it to survive, is good.

Have a great day! The end! 🙂

A game that could help improve logic… Chess

**Wanted to include a huge thanks to @dailystoic and @stoiccoffeebreak for wonderful podcasts! Thanks for stirring good thoughts and inspiring and motivating me to change the things I can control. Check out their podcasts if you are learning on the stoic philosophy.

How I Define LOVE…

I heard this week on a YouTube Channel that “Love is not an emotion or a feeling, but just the lack of hate.”  It was something I couldn’t let go of.  I kept the thought rotating on the spit in my mind like a huge chicken roasting on a rotisserie… A chicken I had just named LOVE.  Thinking, oh when I am done roasting this thought, it will taste so good for all who choose to eat with me.

The thing is the longer I think of it, ponder on it, the more love I feel.  The longer I get lost in my memories, the more I am directed to moments that I received care, received compassion and forgiveness.  These are all actions that have made me feel loved.  How do I show love?  Do I show love to myself, and do those I do love know that I love them?  Is love sacrifice?  Is love pain?  Is love just good feelings and happy thoughts?  Is love tears of joy or sadness? What if it were more simply described for all of us?  I can sum it up in three words.

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I believe I can be a caring person, a forgiving and compassionate person.  Can I be those things to someone who irritates, frustrates, or ignites anger in me?  Why do some people cause us to react negatively?  If I am a loving person, can I react like that to anyone?  I have to be accepting of everyone, no matter their background, political affiliation, educational level, financial situation, no matter what.  I have to accept everyone to show love.  So if I am to love everyone, I must hold judgement of everyone?  I must accept each and every person on this planet in order to LOVE.  I have to love murderers, and rapists, and pedophiles, and hookers, and white supremicist, and terrorists and even the boogie man, I have to accept ALL?  Oh my! No wonder there is so much hate in the world.  It is so much easier to judge and only accept the things we like in others.  What if we could heal all of those things with LOVE.  Thinking of this creates a nice picture and maybe my internal drive of perfection is taking over, but doesn’t it take you to a utopia?

Want to know love?  If God is love, here is the description of LOVE. Sounds like an unachievable perfection, doesn’t it?

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Anyone that has lived longer than 5 years has experienced an unloving moment, has learned not to trust, not to hope, to be rude, to be impatient, to tell a lie.  We were all born with a root of evil and a spirit of love.  How do we release ourselves with this entangled root of evil.  Where do we find the ability to release it from ourselves.  We have to know GOD.  I know most of us that chose to go to Vacation Bible School when we were younger or maybe even forced to go; had to learn a scripture.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

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If I dissect this one scripture, I can discover so much.  I have repeated it so many times in my life, and yet I have never actually looked at the scripture as a key to living forever.  “The WORLD” = each of us!  All of our sins, our misconducts, our flaws, all of us.  Every single one of us make up THE WORLD. He LOVES us (the world) so much that he sacrificed perfection, for us.  His SON = perfection.  The only perfect being ever made was sacrificed for our messed up, imperfect lives.  Once we believe in LOVE, we have EVERLASTING LIFE?  Wait, what?  What does it all mean?  He should have chosen quality over quantity, right?  We do! What am I missing, what have I been missing?

If God can give up his most beloved and perfect masterpiece, what is holding me back?  I want to love and yet I can’t even get over myself.  My insecurities keep me fearful.  I can’t speak the truth, afraid of others reactions.  I have built a prison and I should be living free in the spirit.  His Spirit.  Even now while I am mulling all of this over while I am writing I am considering the responses I might get from people who might label me a bible thumper, religious freak.  Honestly, I consider that an insult.  I believe in God, but don’t categorize me as one of THOSE people.  Look there it is, that ROOT.  Rearing it’s ugly head again.   I know everyone has an opinion.  Maybe we shouldn’t!  Once we require an opinion we should pray for the Spirit to lead us to the correct one.  I know that this sounds a bit like the rantings of a lunatic, but what if they aren’t?  What if they are from Him, and he is using some misfit teacher who has failed multiple times in marriage and who has had to fight to keep everyone that is close to her as a messenger of LOVE.  WTH?  I can’t even believe I just wrote that.

My brother and I throw ideas, revelations, scriptures back and forth to each other; through text messages.  He sent me one that said, “Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit.  Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness.  For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.”  I bring this up because I began writing a blog to vent my thoughts and to help others that might be experiencing life the same way.  I kept looking for something to make me feel better, something to make me look better, something to make me appear perfect.  All of those things were selfish and my actions were coming from the root of sinful self-interest.  I watered that root until it had nearly taken hold of every fiber of my being.  I saw nothing wrong with my endeavors, nothing wrong with what I was seeking.  It was for a better me!  Society tells us that is what we should all be doing.  “Don’t stop yourself, indulge!”  “BUY MORE! LIVE MORE! BE MORE!”

My message is this, That root of sinful self-interest can never get enough and it has been planted inside each of us.  Have you ever actually dug a root out of the ground.  It is quite the job.  It is not like we can just find it and pluck it out.  We must work it out, and realize why it had been planted there in the first place.  Without it, we wouldn’t have the need to look for LOVE.  I still don’t know how to rid myself of the thoughts or the shameful places this “root” takes me, but I know I can no longer feed it.  I must acknowledge that it is there and find the spirit that is of LOVE and water & feed it, to show this “root” there is no longer any room for it to dwell inside of me.

Do you know why I must accept this “root?”  If I can’t find it in myself to accept who I am and understand what I am capable of, and love myself in spite of all of that, my love for others is only coming from a place that only serves my self-interest.  I am only loving so that I may be loved.  I have to forfeit that idea of romantic love. My ideas of fairy tales can not be my description of love.  I must accept all the parts of who I am, the dark and gloomy parts, the weak and scared parts, the indulgent and insecure parts or I will never be able to have love for others.  It will all be artificial.  Be real with yourself!

I have heard from several people in my life that I am not judgmental.  Immediately, when I hear this I think… “Yeah, I know I don’t want others to judge me so I don’t judge others.”  People living in sinful self-interest, can’t handle shame.  I didn’t want to impart my honest remarks on how others chose to live their life, what if they decided to be honest about my choices.  That would bring shame and that would hurt my feelings.  My precious ego wouldn’t be able to survive.  Can we grow without honesty?  I think I cleared that up last week.  I believe no growth can occur without honesty.  Love rejoices in the truth. Start LOVING this week by being HONEST with yourself and be led by the SPIRIT, not grounded by the ROOT of sinful self-interest.  Teach others that it is ok to love the messy and messed up.  BE the change this world needs to see by spreading truth,   without judgment.239b2aeb45415859920af6834f9b22e6

My definition of love is this…  It is releasing your needs, and helping others.  It is accepting the mistakes and misfortunes of others.  Love is not about YOU, it is about His Spirit.  His Spirit is in each of us, so when we accept that we are all imperfect yet truly loveable, we are truly loving ourselves.

Do not SEEK love my friends, seek to TEACH everyone where it can be found.  We all have it, someone might need to water and nurture it a bit more than others.  I will leave you with this to think of as well.  A bit of wisdom spoken by my dad a few days ago.  When asked “What is the cause of human suffering?”  My dad said, “It’s real simple, we must love our neighbor!”  I think the world needs a refresher course on what love is, then we need to show love to each other.  Love does meet the requirements of a four letter word.  But this word isn’t dirty or shameful, it isn’t evil or self-seeking.  It is a word we all need to become better acquainted with, and it is a word that should most definitely be felt by each of us.  It should be felt growing inside each of us.

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Have a great day! Love, Michelle

How Comfortable Are We With Honesty?

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How many times have you been in a conversation that ended up in an argument because one of you was just honest? I have had many conversations recently where I had to hear truth, I mean hard to swallow, HONESTY! I felt like saying, “keep those things to yourself and lie to me.” My ego may be just a bit too fragile. I can add here that anything that is negative sounding honesty I say the person is just being mean, because I have an internal struggle with portraying perfection. I really had to take a good long look at myself and understand that while the truth is hard to hear, this is where growth happens. I know the difference of being mean and being honest. The person that told me these things was not trying to be mean. They wanted me to look at things from their perspective. Empathy is not a strength for a person that has BPD. Their is a liberating feeling that comes from accepting the truth about who you are, then realizing people do exist in the world that will love you for ALL that you are!

I have had to hear that I am “selfish, deceptive, cold, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”   I have also heard all of these things from one person, my husband.  He has been with me for 11 years, he knows me.  He would surely give me an accurate description of who I am, right?  An honest description of how he views me.  I can accept these things now, before accepting my disorder, I would try to defend these things about myself. Who wants to be seen like this?  I will tell you… No one, we all try to show the pretty side of ourselves to the world.  Our “Parade-ready, big smiles and incessant waving” self for the world and save the “Messy bed-head, no make-up, sweat-pants wearing” self for those closest to us.

I can not change these things unless I first accept that these are things that are also in my toolbox.  I can be selfish, deceptive, cruel, heartless, not able to love, irresponsible, unreliable, impulsive, brash, blunt, a procrastinator, unaware of myself and unable to see how my actions affect others, and last but not least, crazy.”  Just because I can be like this, doesn’t mean that I have to be.  The other side of this truth is that I have heard that I can be the most fun-loving person, too friendly at times, too trusting, non-judgmental, hilarious, imaginative, creative, and full of potential, I have been told that I am a great teacher, a great writer, a wonderful wife and mother, a good person.  I want to think these are the only things that people experience of me.  The truth is, it’s not.  If you have known me for some time you have seen the bright shiny parade, and you have also seen the dark and gloomy, couch potato.  img_0395

Of course we love having people tell us what we want to hear about ourselves.  To only reflect our “parade-ready” selves to help add layers of protection to our egos.  If you don’t have someone in your life to put aside the bull-shit and give you the full list of how they see you, I don’t imagine you will ever grow or evolve from the person you are now.  If you have someone in your life that can speak honestly about all that they see in you, tell them Thank You!  They are helping you become who you were meant to be.  I am writing this and thinking at the very same time that I have not been very thankful for honesty in my life.  I have been so good at deceiving others and had relied on the power of creating my own truth for so long that I have been depriving the world of who I truly am, plain and simply put… I can be ME and you can be YOU!  Enjoy looking into your tool box and picking out the best tools for the job you have ahead of you today.  You are the creator of your daily masterpiece, what will you create? Please remember that honesty works both ways, share your honesty with others not to impede their growth.

The old saying goes “Only a true friend would be that honest!”  I have been the topic of much gossip in the town where I live now, and my little hometown. Obviously the choices I have made in life, my journey including my mistakes have made my life quite juicy with erotic undertones and misunderstood obstacles.  The better the gossip king/queen, I assume the more my name has passed through their lips.  I know that my life may be interesting, but let me be a true friend today and tell you this.  If you aren’t accepting your own truths about your life and all the flaws that make you who you are, don’t attempt to share anyone else’s.  That is all!  Life is too short to only focus on the negative parts of our journey, learn your lessons and move on.  The struggles that lie ahead await your new found strength.  Let this be a lesson to others, that I have had to learn the hard way.  Be a true friend, everyday… and be the truest of friends to yourself!

This post was motivated by the last two weeks of my life and a couple of conversations I have had with some friends. I haven’t stopped writing, I just stopped writing in my blog to work on a life-long dream of writing a book. The words just started flowing the other day and I didn’t want it to stop. I have made it to the start of Chapter 3 with only 50 more chapters to write. I can’t wait to complete this project, one that I have always wanted to accomplish. I am a person that has always loved to get lost in books, and could travel to other parts of the world through pages in a book. I hope to provide this sort of travel to my future readers. Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you have received something from my words today.

I honestly hope you all have a wonderful day!

Neurofeedback… My Personal Experience and Research

I was going to do a podcast on this topic, and I may still choose to do one later on… Here is the information I have found to help introduce the therapy I am currently using to help manage my symptoms of BPD.

Video : What is Neurofeedback?

Website: Explains this very well!

I have recently started neurofeedback therapy.  I have had 4 treatments lasting anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.  The side effects I have noticed are feeling a bit more tired than usual, which is usually cured with an hour long nap. It has also caused me to be a bit more sensitive to situations that test my emotions.  More frequent mood swings, but ones that were short lived and easier to manage.

**I am not a medical professional and do not offer my experiences as general expectations for any person.  These are only my own personal observations.  I feel each person may have their own unique experience when dealing with methods to help cope with BPD.**

I have listened to several youtube channels of doctors trying to explain what a person dealing with BPD looks like.  What I have noticed, is that they have labeled us as individuals that are hard to work with.  This is obviously based on individuals that they have treated, that are hard to work with.  They blame this incompatibility on the client suffering from BPD because BPD sufferers have dichotomous thinking, We have a tendency to perceive the therapist to either be “all good” or “all bad”  I feel that if doctors are aware of our ability to think in this way, maybe they should try a little harder to be on the side of “all good”  in order to help their client achieve some relief of the symptoms of BPD.

I have been lucky enough to visit with two counselors that conduct each visit with care and compassion.  I don’t feel that is too much to ask from other individuals, especially those being paid to help you manage and better understand your mental afflictions.  I have read books that have been super beneficial with my struggle and I have started a treatment that I barely knew anything about, purely at the suggestion of a caring counselor.  I have noticed significant benefits and of course as with anything, there are some downside to it as well, but nothing I can’t handle or overcome.

I started this blog to help people who suffer from BPD find comfort in the fact that they aren’t alone, that we don’t have to wear a mask of perfection all the time, and that someone out there in the world appreciates that you are surviving each and every hardship that may hit you daily.  I also started this blog to help couples understand that relationships even those that aren’t dealing with mental health issues require time, attention, and hard work.  I feel that the outcome depends purely on the investment you are willing to make.

I was asked to try biofeedback after seeing my children’s counselor during our family therapy sessions.  I told her I was willing to try anything.  The very next counseling session she hooked me up.  The biofeedback helps read your brain waves.  I know they say that it doesn’t do anything to the brain, but I have actually left needing a nap like I had just completed a two-hour, mind-numbing test or something.  My brain must be doing mental gymnastics during my sessions… I am completely zapped afterwards.  The data that is collected is supposed to show some if any dis-regulation in the brain waves.

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I wanted to present this information early and track my progress.  I do feel that it has helped with my anxiety and I do feel a bit more focused.  My energy levels are still low, but this could also be due to the fact that my hormones are still out of whack. I am also working with my Nurse Practitioner to resolve those issues as well.

The thing that has been the best tool in managing BPD is self-awareness.  We may not be able to manage the emotions as situations arise… I know this is something I still struggle with, but we can choose to be more present and less day-dreamy to have control over our actions and how we interact with those around us.  It isn’t easy and I do understand the desire to get lost in thoughts can sometimes be overwhelming, but allow yourself to practice being present and it becomes easier.  This I can guarantee.

Good luck and have a blessed day!

Self Help Saturday: The Meanings of Life

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I know that most of us search for our purpose in life, hoping for it to be something worth bragging about.  A high paying job, maybe something that carries a title to remind you of your importance.  An incredible home or car, a hope that happiness can be held by obtaining material things. To fulfill a calling to a certain field of service, to preach or to sacrifice your life to a higher calling, like that of a nun or maybe even a priest.  I feel like these things yield insight to why we were really formed, and what all of us should seek to obtain in life.

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I had a moment this morning to be in the stillness of the day and realized that it wasn’t still at all.  I woke at 4:15 this morning and I made me a bowl of grape nuts, I enjoy the taste of this cereal now as an adult, but my decision to eat this cereal didn’t start with a craving for a healthy cereal.  My grandmother used to eat this cereal.  I would ask to have some of her cereal when I was a little girl and was perplexed as to why she would eat this hard, crunchy, nearly sugarless cereal.  I didn’t understand then that her reasons for eating this cereal was more for the nutritional value and less for the taste it produced.  I choose to eat the cereal now because it makes me think of my grandmother and it is a way to cherish her, savor her memory.  I then began to think of the other memories I had with my grandma.  She would keep us when we were little, and while the memories I have collected of time spent with her are not epic memories, they were and remain to be special.

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She had a little trailer house in a small town.  This small trailer was a special place for me, it consisted of 2 regular sized rooms and a small room that was more than likely meant to be a laundry room, but it was converted into a small spare bedroom.  There was one main bathroom and a half bath in the master bedroom, if you could call it that.  My grandmother’s house was always well kept and had a special ambiance produced by fluorescent lights under the cabinets that created warm swirls of light in the kitchen and it either always smelled of cleaner, or home cooked meals.  My grandma was a special lady.  She always made me feel safe and loved.

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I can remember waking up in that small bedroom or in rare instances waking up in her bed.  I wouldn’t always get to sleep with her, she said I would roll over her many times through the night or nearly kick her out of bed.  I am a very hard sleeper and apparently, as a child, a violent one.  🙂 I would wake to the smell of eggs and bacon being cooked to over-medium perfection, The aroma filling that small house to the brim, and reminding me of where I was at the first moment of waking.  I would clumsily jump from the bed and walk to the kitchen.

I would get a nice hug from her and a nice hot, plate of love sprinkled with the correct amount of salt and pepper that fell from the two white tall plastic salt and pepper shakers that I will always identify as the kind my grandma kept near her stove or on the kitchen table.  Before it would get hot, we would sit out on her front porch and watch life happen.  People driving in and out of town, and noticing the different colors and styles of the vehicles traveling down the town’s main street.  I didn’t care what we would do, I was enjoying my time with my grandma.  She was a very strong comfort to me as a child.  I don’t have a lot of strong memories of being a kid, and maybe part of the reason I hold onto these memories with her was my ability to relax in her presence, but these memories with her are vivid.  I know that they may not mean much to most reading this now, but one of the things I would do with my grandma was walk to the post office.  She would let me have the box key and find her box and grab her mail.  I don’t know why, but sometimes I can think of those events and miss the smell of that building.  I visit it from time to time just to inhale the fragrance of love letters and bills.  My grandma is still living in those memories, and it makes me feel calm, safe and loved.  I grew up and my grandma has been dead for several years.  I joined the military and while I had plans to come back from the military and start college near my hometown, I decided to buy her little trailer house that had been left to my uncle.  He had stayed with her, and was her caretaker for as long as I can remember.  I remember coming back to that place and feeling a little disappointed when it no longer held the charm that she gave it.  I am sure she didn’t really know how truly amazing I felt she was.

A unique and special human being.  My grandma didn’t have a special job, but her role as a mom and a grandma is one she fulfilled honorably.  She didn’t have a fancy house, or tons of money. Her wealth was in her gifts of cooking, cleaning and loving her family and friends.  She, in my opinion, had a rich life.  I have only given you a glimpse of this special women today, because that is where my prayers took me this morning, maybe it was a certain bird’s song this morning that triggered this memory or maybe it was the time of morning sitting out on my back porch, that was similar to sharing her front porch watching the buzz of the morning traffic. Whatever it was, her memory visited me heavy this morning and that is when it hit me.  She was a happy woman.  She didn’t have much, and she was able to still give to those in need.  She was a person that didn’t hold some special title, but still someone I admired very much.  She never told me when I was little that she had found the meaning of life, but she told me this morning.

Life is about love, forgiveness, and relationships.  All other things are trivial.  Love is something more than just a feeling.  It is in the food we make.  It is in the actions we choose.  It is in a sympathetic hug or a self-less sacrifice.  Love is in the way we adore something or someone.  It is our commitment and loyalty.  Love is a choice, a decision made to show the world compassion and understanding.  To truly love we forget our own needs, and begin a mission to meet the needs of others.  Be loving today!

Forgiveness, if we were not human, we would have no use for this word.  Do you think animals ask forgiveness?  Does the bird apologize to the worm for having it for breakfast.  Forgiveness, our need for acceptance, and appreciation set us apart from animals.  I realized that we must forgive ourselves first.  Before one can truly offer forgiveness we must first extend and accept it for ourselves.  No person is perfect, so all have felt some self-betrayal at some point in which forgiving yourself was necessary.  I thought I knew what forgiveness was, but I didn’t really understand it until this past year.  I received forgiveness from my husband.  He had no reason to forgive me, to give me yet another chance.  He made a choice to work on our relationship.  That decision grew from his first act of forgiveness. I wonder if he would have still made this choice knowing all that he knows now.  How difficult forgiveness can be and how incapable we are without God’s grace to provide complete forgiveness.   We are humans, still just a small step separates us from the animals.

When we decide to love and to forgive we open up our hearts to these amazing things called relationships.  If you want to truly be great, take time to build those important relationships with your loved ones.  When you depart from this life… What will be remembered?  I want people to think of me like I think of my grandma.  A special woman, that blessed other people’s life with love and forgiveness.  This may not be everyone’s equation of happiness, but for me, it all makes the reason we are here make a bit more sense.

Love your writer,

Michelle C

This entry is dedicated to my grandma, Maxine! I miss you so much, and so thankful for the wonderful memories you created with me as a child.  I hope that my life is half as fulfilling as yours.

Sunday A Day For The Soul: Part 7

A Fatal Cry

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Thousands of leaves hang from one tree.

Like the millions of people that make up society.

After one leave falls to our mother earth…

Does she notice it’s death, or only the rebirth.

A new awareness was born this week

As the storms shake off a few more leaves.

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They were in the worst parts of the storm, ripping their reasons to cling.

The roots of the tree offer more than just each leaf’s means to life.

It is what all the branches cling to as they attempt to touch the sky.

The stronger the roots, the easier the climb.

Establishing stronger roots takes more than just time.

It takes elements of the storms, and also the sunshine.

A leaf may start out sprouting from a seemingly weak tree,

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And the storms may prove to be too much for them to continue the journey.

But it is more than the storm, the sun, the roots that keep the leaves alive.

We must be open to catch those leaves that release a fatal cry

remind them of their beauty, their true reason for being.

that a world without them isn’t one worth seeing

without their specific placement in the tree, the shade is not at its best

You understand they are weary and in need of a rest.

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each leaf needs to realize that their season is not permanent

but to cling to their branch and boast that they can be resilient.

because seasons always change, and old leaves will pass away

Take time to be grateful for all the leaves today that provide you comfort

That all living things, even each small leaf , requires the support of others

This message was one derived at first from a dark place

a feeling of sadness, and how we should provide more than just whispers

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I looked to the sky requesting to see things clearer.

I was guided to set my sights on the leaves.

An overwhelming sense of peace overflows from me.

Too many leaves were shaken from a once golden branch during a severe storm.

We must discuss mental health, a subject that needs to move closer to the norm.

RIP those that have cried that fatal cry!

 

 

 

Mindful Moment

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I had a doctor’s appointment today, so I decided to put into practice a few things that I have been reading in the book I just started.  I will be writing my review on the book soon.  The book was suggested to me by my kid’s counselor, “One Minute Mindfulness.”  Did you know you could change your life in 60 seconds? Yeah… Me either. I have been trying to get a lot of things accomplished at home and Summer baseball is in full swing (pun intended.)  Organizing and such before school starts back for the kids & I in August.  That is correct, you heard me right.  I will still be working as a teacher.  Assignment pending, but most likely not with elementary students.  Praise the good and gracious LORD! He has been with me through some of the darkest times.

MINDFUL MOMENT

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The wind & small leaves work together, creating a small symphony.

Starting at the tip top of the surrounding trees, feel that breeze.

They create a sound similar to that of great applause.

They show their joy for this moment I took to pause.

I am present in this moment, I am aware

I hear the birds all around me, their beautiful song

And a greater presence joins, or maybe it’s been here all along.

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I feel the birds know that I envy their existence.

boasting their worry-free life, allowing me but a glimpse.

They swoop down for a quick breakfast on my lawn

As the glistening dew reflects the dawn.

The way they can see into each tiny hiding place

Makes me give a moment to this creature’s natural grace

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To fly above the world, a glorious view

warm rays of sunshine, brilliant skies of blue

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The working bird, yields a nest

picking up remnants of a forgotten mess

A small bundle of twigs, a few pieces of string

patiently waiting for the new life it will bring

The moment of listening to the leaves today

takes me to a place of gratitude, and I pray

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I pray for my family and for my friends

I hope they know the love I have for each of them.

Life is full of beautiful moments such as this,

Don’t let them pass you by, an always fleeting bliss.

Hold dear to those you love and tell them everyday

Sweet friends, in this moment I learned to never forget the importance of play.1040564_10200707385820949_648089819_o

Play relieves the pain and sadness of this world

maybe tomorrow I will take a moment to pretend I’m a bird.

Written by: Michelle C

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Once Upon a YouTube Binge

Mondays are typically my non-writing day.  A day of so called “research”  or rather a day of scrounging up a few edible bits to chew on for later use. My Monday looks similar to what a day of being stranded on a deserted island might look like to most. deserted island

The cast away (me) is left starving after surviving off a diet of pure coconut and decides not to eat another flake of the milky white insides of this deceiving nut.   The castaway desperately seeks an alternate food source.                coconut

searching high and low for a bit more insight on BPD.

I wanted to find something more noteworthy than just a fact feeding video (the coconut).

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Ok, that was only what I did today, I normally just live life on Mondays without scrounging for topics, but I was in the mood to do a little research today.  It was a long day of trying to understand myself better.  Looking for something that might spark my interest or provoke some deep form of thinking that I could translate into a relatable topic.  I was just browsing through loads of videos on YouTube.

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The only connection of all videos were of course those three little letters in the title; BPD.  Not true, there were blatant similarities.  One common similarity is the definition of borderline. People usually spout that off in every intro.  Which is fantastic, because if I had not been diagnosed with this disorder, I would not know of its existence.

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Most people making these videos give great information and are armed with many facts that address BPD.  I have learned the differences between a classic borderline and a quiet borderline.  I have learned that psychiatrists are more inclined to deny treatment of borderline patients.  I have learned that I have a lot of similar mannerisms to other exposed “virtual” borderlines.  I also found myself sucked into the rabbit hole and also having a faint desire to meet with these people and help them and in turn learn more about myself.

A doctor and professor from Yale University speaking on one of the videos I managed to come across today explained a great example of what the difference is between someone living with BPD compared to someone that isn’t.

the solid black line represents the working mind of a non-bpd brain. _________________________________________________

the line below represents the working mind of an individual with BPD.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

I think this is a great example. It is actually a viable and simple way that may be helpful to others when they try to imagine the differences.  I can still work normally most of the time, it just requires a little bit more work and mindfulness when I hit the moments that I am not a solid line.

I am letting a few other things that I found marinate until the podcast on Wednesday. I appreciate you taking the time to read the words I feel compelled to share.  Have a wonderful day.

side note- Technically it is Tuesday, so I am not posting on Monday.