Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Kicking the Habit: Goodbye Caffeine and Nicotine!

Spring time has been a time of great change for me. I've been a caffeine addict for a while but now it's been over a week without any coffee the change has been amazing. I'm so much calmer and grounded that I cringe at the thought of how jittery I constantly was with caffeine flowing through my veins all day.

I also found that it has got me more in touch with my intuition. Being wired all day keeps me stuck in my head where thoughts start to flow out of control and I lose touch with my inner wisdom. One example is that at work I would be anxious throughout the day, and so whenever I had thoughts of finding a new job I would just say that it was fear distorting my perception of my job and that I just had to ignore it. After going to work without having any caffeine in my system, I was able to experience the day without any extreme anxiety but I felt that the job just did not satisfy me any longer and it is time to move on. One job that I applied for that involves helping isolated seniors and organizing activities for them and it looks amazing to me. I will put my full effort into trying to get this job for the summer. Exciting!

The other demon: nicotine. I've been addicted to cigarettes for about 3 and a half years now. I made a few effortless attempts at quitting for a few days but nothing serious. Today I am smoking my last cigarette and we will see where this takes me. I'll try to keep my progress here, I think interacting in the blog world will help keep my occupied in the evenings and help with the process.

I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and experience a day cigarette-free. I have the nicotine gum for when required but I intend to use this on a very short-term basis just until I feel a bit more comfortable. I look forward to being free from the cravings and obsessions and am curious what gifts will come along with this experience.

I hope all is well with everybody and you are enjoying whatever phase of your journey you are now on!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Letting go, moving forward

I haven't been posting much due to the stress of exam finals and watching my relationship crumble. Now I seem to have grounded myself so hopefully I can get back into the whole blogging thing.

After all my confusion, as can be seen in previous posts about my girlfriend, I finally decided to break up with her. I've had horrible breakups in the past that took me months to recover, but thankfully I seem to have grown enough to avoid the pain that I thought had to come necessarily after two people go their own ways.

I feel a new sense of freedom in my life, and am excited for the opportunity to explore new areas. I've experienced sadness as well, but my main feeling seems to be one of freedom. For this I am grateful. I choose to enjoy this new phase in my life and the learn whatever I can from my previous relationship. I will not get overly dramatic about it - we were together about 9-10 months - but for me this has been my longest and healthiest relationships. All my other ones were in my pre-rehab days , which were not particularly healthy to say the least.

I do feel an urge to jump into another relationship immediately, especially being at a big university where there is no shortage of potential partners. I hope that I let myself process the experience and allow myself time to get over the loss instead of jumping into another relationship before I am ready, but who knows when the right time will be. Relationships can be such an incredible learning experience - but they are far from being easy.

I love the feeling of entering a new phase in life. I'm in summer classes now so my schedule is different, and I can't wait to see what awaits me! Life is always changing so I choose to appreciate the novelty of new experiences instead of dwelling on how things were before. Things just get boring after awhile when they are always the same. I choose to be open to whatever this summer time has in store and to grow from the experiences that are to come.

I hope to stay more in touch with this wonderful blog community, now that I have more free time. And thank you all for the advice that you gave regarding my relationship, it is much appreciated.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Love Love Love

I really am cynical when it comes to the idea of love that most people have. I don't claim to know exactly what love is, but one thing I do know is that most people who do think they know what it is have a very distorted view.

This brings me back to my relationship issue with my girlfriend who once again was upset because I have trouble with the word "love" and prefer waiting until I am not so confused about what it means before saying it. I understand why someone would want to hear it, but I've explained ad nauseum why it is difficult for me and yet the same issue keeps coming up over and over again.

Here is the conclusion that I have come to:

After repeating many times that I do care about her and that it is the definition of love itself that confuses me, she continues to see it as me being directly confused about how I feel about her. I am sorry that she feels this way, but I told her that if she is going to keep get upset over something even though I explain that she is mistaken, there is nothing else I can do and it is up to her to change the way she is looking at things. She has the right to be upset if she wants to, but I will no longer hold myself responsible at all for her feelings. If I hold myself responsible for own, I will not put pressure on myself to deal with other people's feelings as well.

I don't want to go through another repetitive discussion like this. It is draining, leaves me with a headache, and doesn't get anywhere. I'm going to try to keep pressing the issue until we come to some sort or resolution or she decides that she can't accept the situation as it is. I don't want to continue with a partner who is constantly suppressing unhappiness about an issue like this, only to have it brought up every once in awhile and have the same unpleasant discussion every time. Obviously issues arise, but if this is something that won't go away then something must be done.

I choose to be responsible for my own feelings. I choose to come to some sort of resolution to this situation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Conscious Decisions

I'm enjoying the processing of seeing choice where there was no choice before. For a while I had been living completely blind, thinking of myself as a victim of circumstances and that I had been dealt a bad hand. Now I see more and more that there is cause and effect, with my choices creating the circumstances in my life that I experience.

Again I was feeling upset over something petty. I had plenty of reading left to do for my exam and I knew it would not be productive if I had lingering anger in the back of my mind. All my other fearful thoughts take enough place as it is! So all it took was one quick phone call, to tell the person that I did not want to say goodbye while we were unhappy, and all was well. Why should I remain in a negative state of mind over nonsense? There are more important things to use our energy for.

Another conscious choice I was able to successfully make had to do with work. My previous post stated that I was unsatisfied with work, and I was reminded that it is not the job itself but my perception that will decide the experience of it. After a particularly stressful day, I was so fed up with feeling that way that I told myself when I woke up the next time to go to work, I would have a good day. And I did. It was a complete shift in perception. Unfortunately it didn't last and I seem to have reverted back to my insane anxiety-feeding thought patterns, but I need only make the choice right now and experience my job however I want to.

Our minds are our own worst enemy. We are the ones who make ourselves suffer, nobody else. That means we are also the ones who make ourselves feel peace and joy. What do you choose?

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Living with Uncertainty

As much as I may not want to admit it, uncertainty scares me. "Figuring things out" gives me a false sense of security, convincing myself that if I can predict exactly what is going to happen so that I will be prepared for it when it comes. Unfortunately, this is never the case. My mind attempts to time travel into the future, offering me illusory glimpses in an attempt to calm my nerves, offering me some guess as to what tomorrow or next week has in store, but in the end these lies do not offer me the comfort that I seek

Right now my uncertainty has to do with finding a new job. I'm a student, so it is not even like I have to worry about rent or food or anything like that. I just need a summer job to pay for my education and to have money to go out. So why am I so stressed? My current job is unsatisfying and there will not be enough work for the summer, so I'm trying to figure out what to do. When I do not have a source of income i feel like I am missing a part of me, and financial worries cause me unnecessary stress. I don't get it...I'm living with my mother most likely until I what the hell is stressing me so much?

Besides my financial fears, I also worry about getting stuck in another job that makes me miserable. Most summer and part-time jobs are lousy - and maybe that is something I'll have to accept, but I keep wishing/hoping to find a job that is actually satisfying and makes me want to go into work in the morning.

It's amazing how not knowing what is to come can cause so much anxiety. I notice that I am always thinking one step ahead. Not far into my future, but always thinking about what my next action is going to be. How can this bring anything but stress? Really, trying to predict and plan for things that have not yet happened is impossible. No matter how much I try to convince myself, I simply can't have every single thing figured out and planned before I begin it. Some things I just need to surrender and let them happen like they are supposed to.

Today I choose to love uncertainty instead of fear it. I choose to find a job that satisfies me within the next week. Let's see if I really can create my reality....

Monday, April 2, 2007

So I really CAN choose how I feel

I've been having lots of discussions about the ability choose how we think and feel. While I can grasp this concept intellectually, that has done little to change my actual experience. This morning I was actually able to consciously decide that I didn't want to feel how I was feeling, and let go of it instantaneously. The situation was pretty insignificant, petty even, but the fact that I was able to immediately change my state of mind gives me confidence that this can be done no matter what the situation is.

I was getting ready for school in the morning, and my mother and I were both getting on eachother's nerves a bit. We get along very well but once in a while something small like this will happen. Anyways, I was about to leave feeling extremely irritated and I saw just how pointless it was to feel this way the entire day over something so small. Immediately I felt the urge to give her a hug and the feeling of anger literally melted away right that moment. Often I'll shrug these feeling off because in my head I'll convince myself that it is petty, but the feeling will still linger. This time it was completely gone and I felt extremely good for having been able to choose that I did not want to leave home feeling the anger.

A Course in Miracles describes a miracle as "a shift in perception from fear to love", and that there are no order in difficulties in miracles, so one is not harder or more possible than another. I really think this describes the situation perfectly, as my perception shifted and my emotional state changed with it. This also means that such a shift in perception is equally possible in any other situation, no matter how big or overwhelming it may seem. If the choice really comes down to our perception, then why should the situation matter? All we have to do is choose a different perception and the situation will improve as a result.

My story remains undramatic but it renews my faith that we really do have a choice. I love when I am able to actually experience the ideas that are often just stuck in my mind.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Trapped inside our own heads

It seems to me that we are victims of our minds. Our thoughts travel from one direction to the other and decide for us how we will be feeling. I know deep down that we can choose what we think and feel, but when the wheel starts spinning it seems to take on a life of its own.

One thing that confuses me has to do with what makes me feel good. When I'm on top of the world, so many positive thoughts are flowing through my mind and they all feed on eachother and lead to new wonderful thoughts. Although this is great, am I not still a victim of my mind, which just happens to be filled with positive thoughts now? The second a negative one comes in, can it not just begin to grow and suck me in with it? I don't think I am in the present moment if my stream of thought is still dictating how I will feel, without me consciously choosing the thoughts that come to me. The more I learn the more absurd our ways of thinking and perceiving seem but I can't honestly say I have done more than begin to chip away at my ego.

I don't want the bipolar ups and downs that come with relying on my thoughts. I seek the peace that comes from watching each thought rise and fall, observing them but not getting caught up in them. I'm so sick of thinking all the time. I wonder how many of the headaches and stomach aches that I get are from the stress of constantly thinking and analyzing and trying to figure everything out intellectually. It makes me think of those characters in movies who are very intelligent but insane at the same time, and I think that this is really what our mind can do to us. We value high intelligence but I think it often can be used against us to keep us further from the truth.

This moment I choose peace of mind. It is not "I think therefore I am". It is simply "I am".