Tag Archives: gratitude

Happy Thanksgiving, happy way of life.

Lately, my posts have had a recurring theme, finding freedom from stress, regret, remorse, depression and anxiety, instead I’m living my life as a grateful being. It’s really amazing. Today was my first major holiday since I attended the Heart Math class and learned the tools they taught. Typically, I would be very concerned with the meal, planning meals sometimes weeks in advance and making numerous trips to the grocery store. This year, my husband bought a white-meat-only-turkey. It only had breasts and the legs and wings had been cut off. I could NOT fathom this deviation from the tradition of a whole turkey with lots for left overs. I do recall that when he told me he had an idea about this new, weird, turkey, that I told him it was blasphemy. (What he didn’t tell me at the time we were “discussing” his idea that he had ALREADY bought it and it was at our home.) After he told me that he had purchased the fresh turkey and had it at our house, I said that we wouldn’t need to get the right turkey. I agreed that we could try the one he got. For such a control freak as I am about food and special meals, this was a really big deal. I made lots of jokes about the turkey and most people I talked to about said turkey, also found it strange. Instead of listing recipes and their ingredients and demanding that we needed all the stuff long beforehand, I gave the list to AJ and he went on Wednesday night after work. I am learning that I don’t have to do everything and being a martyr is b*llshit and does NOT suit me.

In addition to wanting to make Thanksgiving dinner, I knew that after work on Wednesday, I would need to drive 170 miles to my parents house where our younger son had spent 5 nights so I could drive him 200 miles home on Thanksgiving day. There was no anxiety or paranoia about getting all of those things accomplished. I did not overplan or obsess about checking the road conditions. It was enough for me that I know the road really well and have my winter tires on my fun & comfy car. This is like a whole new life for me! If someone would have told me that this would be me and my behavior, I never would have believed them. I made it to my parent’s house before 9pm and was relaxed and happy when I arrived, despite having worked 9 hours and driven 3.5. I had great snacks and sang a lot along the way. I kept checking in with myself to see if I was really as stress free and comfortable as I was. It was so strange. Typically, under those conditions, I would have a neck or head ache, maybe a gurgling stomach or be angry about the inconvenience of such a drive. Believe it or not, I enjoyed myself. Knowing that I was going to fetch my son who was really looking forward to seeing me, was a treat. I drive long distances with two comfort items. One, my One Touch snuggle pillow, tucked underneath my left arm and the two, Sniffy, a soft piece of fabric draped over my right shoulder. I’d be lost without my music. Living and driving much of the time in a rural area, I’m thrilled to have my satellite radio. Now that my self reflection doesn’t include berating myself, feeling guilty or being angry, I am almost giddy after these check-ins with myself. Some of these check-ins I share with you here on my blog and others are just for me.

Logan and I left Beaverton before 7 am this morning and made it home by 1030. I was looking forward to being home and getting on with the day so we kept on the road, only stopping for gas and make great time. AJ had gone to the grocery store as promised and had gotten the items needed for the menu I had planned to go with the weird turkey. I think I had been home about 15 minutes we had discovered that our turkey roasting pan was undiscoverable. AJ looked everywhere. I had mild panic at this point. When I stopped rambling on about it, I had a great idea. I asked AJ to ask our neighbor/family member, Owl, if he had a roaster and if he’d like to come to dinner. Fortunately, he did have an electric roaster that had belonged to AJ’s grandmother that we had given him. We didn’t think we would ever roast anything small enough to use the pan! Not only did Owl have the roaster, he did NOT have an invite anywhere for Thanksgiving. (This made me realize I was a JERK for not inviting him sooner.) An electric roaster saved the day. The turkey injector broke but I found a way around that. AJ and I had great teamwork and ironically, the only thing that didn’t turn out well was BOXED STUFFING!!! That makes me want to laugh my ass off. Hey, I am the chick that burned Jell-O once upon a time so it’s not that big of a surprise. The turkey was amazing and we will have plenty of leftovers.

Is there a point to this post? I think so. I think my point is that I’m not standing in my way anymore. I’m not carrying around anger and fear and letting them live in my body as depression and anxiety. Learning the Heart Math tools and then getting out of my own way to let it work for me, is the single biggest thing I have ever done for myself and my family. I’m not saying I was a pathetic loser, but this positive impact is huge and will have long and far reaching effects for my children. I can finally model the behavior of what I want for them. Telling them “don’t be like me” is ridiculous. Showing them how to not be like the me I was, is vital.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my God, health, family, friends and the many luxuries in my life, including this blog and the opportunity to connect with others. May God Bless you, today and always. Happy Thankful life…Rebecca

Hey…HEY! The children are away and I’m not worried.

(Disclaimer: This hasn’t been proofread. I’m tired.)

The first 35 years and 11 months of my life, I perfected worrying. I was so good at it that my body learned to pour on the adrenaline with relatively little external provocation. From the September of 2012 until September of 2014, our family went through some very difficult times. Well, really the tough times improved in April/May of 2014 but it took me 4 – 5 months to start to unwind and stop living in fear. This post isn’t about all the sh*t that went down. Just believe me when I say I had plenty to worry about. The scale of worry went from sheer terror involving life-saving to the underlying hum of worry that was constantly present with a buzz that never went away. Even my nerve endings seemed fragile. I didn’t suffer without trying to curb the crazy. I see a mental health nurse practitioner that helped manage my severely disordered sleep and anxiety with medications. (Can’t tolerate SSRI’s. I have horrible side effects.) However, in addition to the medication I take for sleep, she prescribed a beta blocker to slow my heart rate, chop my adrenaline response down to side and thus, rid me of panic attacks. I’ve seen her at various intervals for therapy. Right now, I’m seeing her weekly. In looking back at the past few years, I know that I would have had to have a “Sageview (local psych unit) vacation” without her help. I did plenty of work, too. Don’t get me wrong that I am touting her as my hero. I’m not. Despite her intervention, I was still worrying and experiencing daily anxiety. That’s not happening anymore and it’s a new way of life for me. I mentioned a few posts ago that I had attended a Heart Math class that taught me about coherence and transforming stress. It explained positive emotions, negative emotions, cortisol and DHEA levels. I love the science but now, I love my life. I can’t say that I felt the hand of God reach down and shake me, but He sure got my attention. Since I’ve embraced the concept that I am going to be gratitude and have lived this new life with the intention of being grateful, several toxic things have left my life. Worry and resentment are two the toxic things that are gone. As the days pass by, I find that this new me is enjoying herself. I am happy and this person feels more like me than the person I was. If I want to be angry, resentful and anxious, I have to concentrate on conjuring those emotions. If I’m going to expend the energy, I might as well do relaxation techniques instead. I have more space in my brain now for other things. My focus and recall are better. I have more patience to offer, even to myself. I decided that I wasn’t going to beat myself about who I was and how I behaved before. It’s in the past and none of it has anything new to say. Rather than bash myself, I’d rather offer encouragement for who I am becoming and where I am going.

My children are the dearest people in the world to me. For years, Preston has gone to his dad’s house and I have made myself suffer. Every holiday that wasn’t mine, I’d be upset about him being gone. I would worry that something would happen while out of my reach. My frustration and anger and resentment and disappointment would overshadow everyone’s holiday. Well that’s just crap and I’m not doing it anymore. I am thrilled beyond measure that Preston is on this Earth to celebrate any holiday, I don’t care where he is. I can love him just as much from 200 miles away. The biggest gift that I can give him is the peace of mind knowing that I am just fine at home, doing my thing and I’ll be happy to see him when he gets back. It was the strangest feeling to drive him to the mid-way point on Saturday and not feel down or damned or depressed. We sang along to the iPod, some Christmas carols and songs and other songs that we enjoyed. Since little brother was riding along to hitch a ride to Grandma and Grandpa’s, we also listened to his audiobook. Even though I was driving to Detroit Lake over the snowy, mountain pass, it was an enjoyable ride. Logan was more relaxed about going away from home for a few days than I have ever seen him. (He’s had a few pouty moments since he got there but homesickness happens.) I wasn’t anxious when we talked to Preston’s dad. I found it much easier to be polite to him. We gathered up all their junk from my car, put it in his truck, they gave and got hugs and were on their way. It was amazing. I watched them drive away without a single negative thought. I turned up the radio and went on my way. I recall being grateful for my winter tires, iTunes, satellite radio and a fun, comfy car to cruise home in. I didn’t ruminate about them leaving or count the days until they will be back. I’m here for them if they want to text or talk but I’m going on with living my positive life until they are home. They don’t expect me to be sad because they are away.

I’m so blessed to be changing my life at 36 and not counting my regrets at 56 or 86. My biggest struggle now seems to be making sense of these positive emotions and expressing myself clearly. I was a Negative Nellie or Toxic Tess for so long, living a joy-filled life will take some getting used to. I pray that those who knew me, or think they know me, can allow me the room to be different. Already my boss has made assumptions about things I’ve said or done, while truly not understanding or appreciating my motivation and how I’m changing. I will remind myself that everyone is fighting a battle I know nothing about, and I don’t need to bash them over the head with my own quest for freedom. Thanks for being patient with my quirky post. It’s time for bed.

Love and hugs, Rebecca