Awhile ago I wrote an article “How I Deal With People Who Suck.” At the same time I started an article entitled “How I Deal With the Suck.” When I say started, I mean that phrase is all I wrote. I thought after the last week and a half in my part of the world, it might be a good time to write the rest of it.
I can’t remember the last time I was bored. If ever. I’ve always been quite good at entertaining myself and there’s always more I want to do than I can ever find time for. This is awesome because I’m never bored. Life is perpetually a grand adventure (Not all of it entirely desired but adventure nonetheless.) as I’m always learning and exploring.
But this can also come with the dark side of being too busy. Being too busy leads to feeling overwhelmed, anxious, sad, and angry. There’s also this weird side effect of not actually getting much done. Even though we’re “so busy.”
Here’s a special Tuesday mindfulness edition in honor of the midterm elections. Also, I didn’t have time to write a blog post on Monday so that may have also played a role in this.
As I prepared to vote, I thought about how important it is to make mindful decisions. And how difficult that can be. Many people only listen to their emotions when making decisions or refuse to pay attention to information that doesn’t fit their beliefs. Many also don’t do the research to see if the “facts” actually have any evidence to support them.
I've always been a people person. I grew up in a large family with a bunch of noise and activity. I make friends easily. I like to be out and about trying new things, going to new places, and chatting up strangers.
So imagine my surprise when (not too long ago) I discovered that I'm actually an introvert.
Running your own business can be hard. Working for someone else can be hard. Not working at all can be hard. Being in a relationship can be hard. Raising a family can be hard. Being alone can be hard. Training for a competition can be hard. Learning a new skill can be hard. Having an illness or injury can be hard. Freaking filling out a form can be hard.
Life can be hard.
Since Halloween is sneaking up quickly, let’s discuss something really scary today. Meditation.
I say scary because often when I utter the word “meditation,” eyes grow large and there’s an audible gasp, followed by some of those nervous giggles. “I can’t sit still.” “That makes my anxiety worse.” “The silence would drive me crazy.” “I’ll never be able to do that.” Some don’t say anything and simply stare at me like I’ve grown a second head.
Meditation can be super intimidating. And seem like something only for hippies or more enlightened beings. There are so many preconceived ideas that many are unwilling to even give it a bit of a try.
I really like people. Their eccentricities, their stories, their desire to connect, how we’re all so different and also exactly the same. I almost always have good experiences with human beings and I think it’s because I like them so much. Or maybe it’s just because I’m so incredibly awesome...
But enough about me. We’re here to talk about people who suck. Of which even with all my luck, I have encountered a few.
I’ve practiced mindfulness a long time. Which has greatly improved my ability to be present in the moment. I don’t experience as much attachment. I’m more quick to catch myself not being mindful and then bam, I’m back in the present. I’m even able to do this during more uncomfortable or painful experiences.
Nature is good for you. We’ve been through this before so I won’t bore you with the details. We know it’s good for us. Science has proven it’s good for us. So get your outdoors on.
But it isn’t that easy, you say. It’s cold where I live. I’m too busy with other stuff. I’m glued to my cubicle. I have kids. I hate bugs. I really hate bugs. And dirt.
Excuses. All of them. Even if you don’t identify as outdoorsy, there are still ways to get your vitamin D that are easy and enjoyable. And dirt and bug free. Mostly.
I try to keep it light (ish) here because therapy-stuff can be quite heavy at times and I don’t believe all healing and growth has to be so serious and weighty. But this is a day where I can’t do that. I started and stopped writing a number of other posts because they just didn’t seem right.
Societally, the division keeps growing and growing. Loneliness seems more common than deep connection. There’s very little actual listening going on. A lot of people don’t feel heard, understood, and supported. The powers that be or want to be need to make an effort to do this. Not just alienate those who don’t agree with them for a supposed win. You aren’t winning. No one’s winning.
Last night I went out. On a school night. To watch Bey and Jay tear it up on the OTR II tour. I have zero regrets. It was a life experience beyond words but since that isn’t what this post is about I’ll keep it to myself for now.
Last year I was introduced to the word “hygge.” I almost wrote concept but since hygge is essentially Danish for “living with a mindful appreciation,” the concept isn’t new for me but I like that the Danes have a specific word for it.
Regardless, chores are an awesome way to practice mindfulness. They’re something you have to do so you might as well get something out of them other than cleanliness. They also involve repetitive actions that make it easier to bring your mind back to the present moment over and over, as many times as you need to.
I didn't start out running to make a statement. That’s still not my primary purpose. I do it because it’s fun. Usually. The rebellion part is simply that I run where I want to and when I want to. While, wait for it... being female!
Mindfulness and meditation can seem really overwhelming to some. Oh the irony, since they're supposed to help us feel the opposite of overwhelm.
I tell most people that I moved out to southern California for grad school but really the surf was calling me. Grad school sounds like a much more reasonable explanation for traversing across the country to a place I knew no one. But I paddled out into the waves before I even started classes.
That’s why I have to remind myself to be mindful of my electronic use. When I recognize that it’s a problem, I consciously unplug depending on what I need at that time. It isn’t always easy (Especially when I have work to do that requires some sort of technology.) but it’s necessary so here’s how I make it happen:
Gray is my spirit color.
Some of you might be scratching your heads. Especially if you know me in real life. I lean toward optimistic and energetic (most days). I love color in my clothing, in my art, in my life. And blue is actually my FAVORITE color.
“Just breathe” is more than the refrain in the Anna Nalick song “Breathe (2AM).” Don’t worry if you don’t know the reference. I’ve had this hook stuck in my head for years and still had to Google who sang it.
“Just breathe” is probably the advice I most frequently give when someone is freaking out. And it’s definitely the advice I take most often when I’m freaking out.
I’ve always lagged a bit behind the social media trends. I’ll blame that on a childhood without much technology. We didn’t have a TV until I was in late elementary school and rarely had cable after that. There wasn’t a computer until I was a high school senior and it was essentially a fancy word processor. No Internet. I swear to you I hand wrote letters until I went to college and then had to set up an email in order to attend.