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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Photo by Vera Arsic on Pexels.com

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!

Literature Review: Choose The Life You Want (The Mindful Way to Happiness)

I am nearly finished reading this book.  It has provided a lot of useful information. I am happy to have found it available at my local library.  So a choice piece of literature for free.  Bonus!  And for a person that hasn’t been able to complete a book in a very long time I am feeling very good about including one of my old cherished past times of reading back into my daily routine.  That word “routine” seems funny for me to even write.  I have very few things that are routine.  However, I seldom perform these “routine” tasks at the same times each day. Is it still considered a routine? The definition describes it as a “fixed program.”  One fixed program that I must stick to is making a cup of coffee in the morning.  Each morning a wonderful little invention called a Keurig creates a bit of magic in my kitchen.  It dispenses a perfectly made cup of motivation.  I don’t know what I would be without it… probably still  asleep.  🙂 Thank you Keurig manufacturers.pexels-photo-888992.jpeg

On to the highlights of the book.  I get carried away sometimes with my thoughts.  It is my inevitable “squirrel” moments.

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Chapter 88 is a chapter every living, breathing person should read.  And possibly revisit several times throughout their lifetime.  The title says all that needs to be said, “Experience your mistakes as catastrophes -or- Treat your mistakes as valuable feedback”  As a teacher it was very easy for me to remind my students that mistakes were part of the learning process.  Inventors do this and learn from their mistakes.  We know that mistakes are inevitable.  The fact is no one is without their faults… The trick here is to find the value of every mistake made.  Remember the lesson that you learned from your mistakes and then avoid making the same mistake again.  Consequences are valuable teaching tools, but they aren’t nuclear bombs.  You can LIVE and LEARN and continue LIVING.  If we were meant to learn without mistakes, erasers would not exist.

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One of the final statements made in the book is this, “Choice unleashes the potential within each moment.  As you become MINDFUL of the potential within this moment your life gains momentum, becomes momentous. When a moment matters, LIFE MATTERS.”  I really hope to remember the meaning of this statement for the rest of my days.  We are the directors of our lives, each and every day plays out the way we choose it to.  For the longest time I have always told myself that someone else was in charge or controlling parts of my life and this would always stifle my personal growth.  I now take responsibilities for myself and my decisions, staying mindful of this will help me continue with making progress.  pexels-photo-103123.jpeg

Have a wonderful day being in charge of your life!

 

Friday Self-Evaluation

A question I have always had an immediate response for is “are you ok?”  I know because my answer is always one given without much thought at all.  I say “yeah!” or “Uh-huh!” I say this without really checking myself to see if I am actually doing ok.  It’s more of a reflex, really. I should be more mindful of this response when people ask, right?  I want to give them honesty.  A true response, but I just give the short, quick answer because I don’t feel that anyone wants to really hear my thoughts on if I am truly ok.  Does this say more about me, than the person asking the question?  I think so.

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I have asked people this question before, with the expectation of getting the answer I usually give… The reflexive “Yeah!” or “Uh-huh!” When I actually meet someone that wants to divulge their personal problems to me or dives in a little deeper than I am comfortable with, I usually mentally check out.  The occasional head nod and eye contact usually works incredibly well for managing a conversation without really having a conversation.  Then, I start wondering how many times have I done this to someone?  How many times has someone used this “checked out” strategy with me?  charlie-chaplin-copy-circus-white.jpg

It is very scary to be vulnerable and honest with people. I just said these words yesterday. “I have been dissecting myself for all the world to learn about this disorder.” I have no end goal for this forced transparency shown through my blog… Except to practice transparency. In hopes that being mindful and transparent one day becomes automatic. I also utilize blogging as a system of accountability and as a log to refer back to later on in life.

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To answer the question, “Are you ok?”

Yes, I have been doing ok.  I have noticed that mentally and emotionally I am not ok with my weight gain right before the summer months.  It emphasizes my need to be smaller and to look more toned and trim.  I will more than likely limit my eating or invest in a cute bathing suit cover up.  Random-Funny-Picdump61

 

I am physically drained everyday.  I feel as though I have accomplished something worthy of mentioning when I complete laundry or put the dishes away.  Lately, just making sure I have sent my son off to school with a good breakfast and a lunchbox full of food is equivalent to working a full 8 hours.  I know it doesn’t make much sense, but I feel that if I have done that than most of my work for the day is complete. The other half of the day I only need to take care of my daughter’s physical needs.  If I am having a good day, I will add a little more excitement to our day by going to different places or just letting her play outside while I lay down on the patio furniture.  These days are rare.

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I am hoping to add more to our day today.  I am resting on the couch now and it would be fine with me if someone could come in and take over for me today.  Lethargy has taken residence inside my whole being.

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I woke up at 6 am, made my son breakfast, made sure he was well equipped to tackle the day on his own and dropped him off with his baseball team for a tournament.  I then made it back home, served the baby girl breakfast and started the Keurig.  I was able to get a cup of coffee down. I still feel that I need 12 more to get to a level of “just woke up”  Does anyone else deal with this?  How does one overcome this? I want to work efficiently throughout a day, I would take one day.

So maybe I am not ok… I am realizing I need things to get me there.

on to cup #2.  Have a great day!  I will most definitely use up all of my energy, trying.