RECOVERING A SENSE OF SELF-PROTECTION ~ WEEK X OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back dear readers, I am a little on a roll currently and that is why I did not do a break week anymore. Sorry but I just love what I am doing and couldn’t stop myself 😉

This way though we are finished with “The Artist’s Way” on December 31st and can start the new year with something new. I find that very exciting. And nothing stops you from doing the tasks and reading the posts that cover the book later on. You are welcome anytime!!!!

So with no further ado over to the check-in questions

Check-In

taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 9

1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? Regarding your U-turns, have you allowed yourself a shift toward compassion, at least on the page?

2. Did you do your artist date this week? Have you kept the emphasis on fun? What did you do? How did it feel?

3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?

4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

Self-care Explorer’s experiences

Where are you????!

Bee’s Experiences

Well, I have started to look back on 2018 and to plan for 2019. For the first time, I actually take the time to break my yearly goals down to monthly and daily goals in advance. This will probably take the rest of the month but that is fine. It was one of the tasks of last weeks post and I was surprised that I started it before the book suggested it.

Also, I found several of my old “The Artist’s Way” posts and will re-post some of them over the next couple of weeks. It is so interesting to see how I have changed within 6 years and where I am choosing to head now.

One big change in 2018 certainly is that I allow myself to actually achieve my goals. Not all have worked out but the majority has and I can say I truly am happy and feel more healed than at the beginning of the year. Still lots of work to be done but I get there one step at a time.

My music choices for last week were on two ends of extremes. I was both listening to Disturbed songs and Pentatonix’s Christmas songs. So I made a little playlist with my favourites for you 🙂

 

Video sources: Disturbed and Pentatonix via YouTube

Recovering a Sense of Self-Protection

Yes, we are in week 10! How time flies. But I am excited that we have come that far and I hope my posts and Julia Cameron’s words and tasks have given you some insights in the blocks that hold you back both in your creativity but also in your self-care.

So let’s get on with it. Julia Cameron promises us to figure out dangers on our creative, self-care and spiritual path by looking at the toxic patterns that we love to cling to.

Dangers of the trail

Julia Cameron points out that we all have “poisons” we use to block our creative and in my opinion also self-care development. She mentions love/sex, workaholism, food and drugs. But I believe deep down we all know which actions and things make us feel like victims and make us abandon our creative and self-care dreams.

Mine I would say are my mental health issues, my traumatic experiences and workaholism. But I am self-aware enough of recognising them and have started to work around them. what do you think are yours?

Workaholism

Julia Cameron explains here the workaholism is a difficult “addiction” to deal with as in western society “I am working/I have a job/ I have an income” is an important part of “being grown-up” and a good member of society. And I definitely know what I am talking about… Just in case we think we are not overworking she offers a workaholic test. I quote from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter 10

The Workaholism quiz
  1.  I work outside of office hours: seldom, often,  never?
  2. I cancel dates with loved ones to do more work: seldom, often, never?
  3. I postpone outings until the deadline os over: seldom, often, never?
  4. I take work with me on weekends: seldom, often, never?
  5. I take work with me on vacations: seldom, often, never?
  6. I take vacations: seldom, often, never?
  7. My intimates complain I always work: seldom, often, never?
  8. I try to do two things at once: seldom, often, never?
  9. I allow myself free time between projects: seldom, often, never?
  10. I allow myself to achieve closure on tasks: seldom, often, never?
  11. I procrastinate in finishing p the last loose ends: seldom, often, never?
  12. I set out to do one job and start on three more at the same time: seldom, often, never?
  13. I work in the evenings during family time: seldom, often, never?
  14. I allow calls to interrupt – and lengthen – my work day: seldom, often, never?
  15. I prioritise my day to include an hour of creative work/play: seldom, often,  never?
  16. I place my creative dreams before my work: seldom, often, never?
  17. I fall in with other’s plans and fill my free time with their agendas: seldom, often, never?
  18. I allow myself downtime to do nothing: seldom, often, never?
  19. I use the word deadline to describe and rationalise my workload: seldom, often, never?
  20. Going somewhere, even to dinner, with a notebook or my work numbers is something I do: seldom, often never?

She also says that “overwork” is different for everybody. So we need to find our basic line: The line that stands between work and creativity/self-care at which we stop working and start playing creating, self-caring.

She suggests changing our view of work from building block to block. A block that stops us from creating and self-caring.

Drought

Here Julia Cameron explains that in every creative/self-caring life droughts emerge out of nowhere where we suddenly can’t create anymore. She says these times are terrible and feel like we will never create again but serve a purpose if we allow ourselves to keep on doing the morning pages. There we will find clarity and a new path to follow.  Just like moving through a desert one step at a time we emerge at the other end. And insight will emerge and guide us the right way.

Fame

Julia Cameron considers fame another drug that distracts us from our creative work. When we look at famous peoples work it leaves us feeling not worthy of anything because we do not have fame. We just have our work. But the creative work is what counts and what gets us through the times when we feel we haven’t achieved anything because no one knows about our creations.

Competition

This part of the chapter links in with the previous about fame. The need to gain acknowledgement first and over others is in her eyes another poison. If we concentrate on how our work can gain over someone else’s we might often abort a piece of art because it is not “in style” or “en vogue” and no one seems to be interested in it. However, I have watched a lot of programs about musicians and filmmakers lately and their greatest hits and what most of them said was: “I did not think it would be a great hit. I did it anyway because this person or that person said to go on with it but I never expected it to last that long”

This is amazing in my eyes because we always think that great artists know what works and what doesn’t but it looks like Julia Cameron is right: They just do the job. They do their work, the work their souls long for no matter how their ego’s rebel and how out of date their work is. They just do it. They allow themselves to do crap work too. they move on and use that bad work to learn and create more and master that masterpiece.

I quote Julia Cameron from “The Artist’s Way” chapter 10:

…Never, ever, judge a fledgeling piece of work too quickly. Be willing to paint or write badly while your ego yelps resistance. Your bad writing may be the syntactical breakdown necessary fr a shift in your style. Your louse painting may be pointing you in a new direction. Art needs time to incubate, to sprawl a little, to be ungainly and misshapen and finally emerge as itself. The ego hates this fact. The ego wants instant gratification and the addictive hit of an acknowledged win.

The need to win – now! – is a need to win approval from others. As an antidote, we must learn to approve of ourselves. showing up for the work is the win that matters…

Tasks

(quoted from Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”)

  1. The dead lies: Take a piece of paper and cut seven small strips from it. On each strip write one of the following words: alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money, food, family/friends. Fold these strips of paper and place them in an envelope. We call these folded slips the dead lies. You’ll see why in a minute. Now draw one of the dead lies from the envelope and write five ways in which it has had a negative impact on your life. (If the one you choose seems difficult or inapplicable to you, consider this resistance.) You will do this seven times, each time putting back the previous slip of paper so that you are always drawing from seven possible choices. Yes, you may draw the same deadly repeatedly. Yes, this is significant. Very often, it is the last impact on the final list of an annoying “Oh no, not again” that yields a break, through denial, into clarity.
  2. Touchstones: make a quick list of things you love, happiness touchstones for you. River rocks worn smooth, willow trees, cornflowers, chicory, real Italian bread, homemade vegetable oup, the Bo Deans music, black beans and rice, the smell of new-mown grass, blue velvet (the cloth and the song), Aunt Minnie’s crumb pie… Post this list where it can console you and remind you for your own personal touchstones. You may want to draw one of the items on your list – or acquire it. If you love blue velvet, get a remnant and use it as a runner on a sideboard or dresser, or tack it to the wall and mount images on it. Play a little.
  3. The Awful Truth: Answer the following questions: ~ Tell the truth. What habit do you have that gets in the way of your creativity? ~ Tell the truth. What do you think might be a problem? It is. ~ What do you plan to do about the habit or problem? ~ What is your payoff in holding on to this block? ~ If you can’t figure out your payoff, ask a trusted friend. ~ Tell the truth. Which friends make you doubt yourself? (The self-doubt is yours already, but they trigger it.) ~ Tell the truth. Which friends believed in you and your talent? (The talent is yours, but they make you feel it.) ~ What is the payoff in keeping your destructive friends? If the answer is, “I like them,” the next question is, “Why?” ~ Which destructive habits do your destructive friends share with your destructive self?
  4. Setting a bottom line: Working with your answers to the questions above, try setting a bottom line for yourself. Begin with five of your most painful behaviours. You can always add more later. ~ If you notice that your evenings are typically gobbled by your boss’s extra assignments, then a rule must come into play: no work after six. ~ if you wake at six and could write for an hour if you were not interrupted to look for socks and make breakfast and do ironing, the rules might be “No interrupting Mommy before 7:00 AM” ~ If you are working too many jobs and too many hours, you may need to look at your billing. Are you pricing yourself appropriately? Do some footwork. What are others in your field receiving? Raise your prices and lower your workload. …
  5. Cherishing: 1. List five small victories. 2. List three nurturing actions you took for your artist. 3. List three actions you could take to comfort your artist. 4. Make three nice promises to yourself. Keep them. 5. Do one lovely thing for yourself each day this week.

Music Choice

I think for the rest of the course I let you choose which song, playlist or instrumental support your recovery. Go on…

JULIA CAMERON “THE ARTIST’S WAY”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ I’ll share a round-up & invitation post with a self-care activity & suggestion on what sort of music to share on Monday Mornings.

 

NOW MY DEAR READERS,

GO, FIND A SENSE OF SElf-Protection

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice from a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.

I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help.

To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.

Please look here if you need further guidance:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

RECOVERING A SENSE OF POSSIBILITY ~ WEEK V OF JULIA CAMERON’S “THE ARTIST’S WAY” ON MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

Welcome back ladies and gentlemen, how has your week been? I hope it was full of discoveries and synchronicities. Not many questions from me today. Without further ado, I lead over to Julia Cameron’s check-in questions.

Check-In Questions

  1. How many days this week did you do your morning pages? (Tantrums often show up as skipping the morning pages.) How was the experience for you?
  2. Did you do your artist date this week? (Does your artist get to do more than rent a movie?) What did you do? How did it feel?
  3. Did you experience any synchronicity this week? What was it?
  4. Were there any other issues this week that you consider significant for your recovery? Describe them.

taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” at the end of chapter IV

Fellow Self-Care Explorers Experiences

Both Emilia and JoAnna answered to last weeks suggestions in the comments that you can find here. Emilia and her family had to go through a loss. They got a kitten a couple of weeks ago but unfortunately, Misha the resident tomboy isn’t compatible with other cats. So they took the difficult decision to let Sasha (the kitten) go. Still, she took the chance to work on her self-care as far as she felt it was good for her. Reading deprivation was not good which I can fully understand. I answered her in one of the comments that I think books like “The Artist’s Way” are not written with mental health issues in mind. That is why it is so important that we take responsibility for our own personal good and do not do any exercise that feels wrong. And I encourage everybody to follow that rule. You can always come back to an exercise when it feels safe and you can do the course several times like I do. You can find Emilia’s music choice here which I find very soothing and calming. It’s gone on one of my music lists.

JoAnna has found that reading a sci-fi novel is her way of an artists date. She also discovered the creativity of putting photos in an album. It seems to me that working through her parent’s house and things allows her to take stock of her own life and her creative dreams. It feels very challenging but also as a healing experience. It was good that Julia Cameron made her laugh: About the “low-self worth outfit (you know the one)” that we were supposed to chuck out. It makes me chuckle every time I read it but I don’t have many clothes so I can hardly chuck anything out usually. And we found a common experience: for both of us dancing comes up in the things we would like to do. Such a shame we live on different sides of the Atlantic. We could meet up and dance our souls out 😉 . You can find her music choice here.

One of the skills I would like to have is being able to dance. That would be cool even though I sometimes dance when no ones watching so it doesn’t matter if it looks good or not. It’s fun and that’s the main thing. Otherwise, I have taken more steps for my dream to earn a living as a blogger to come to pass: Last week I finished a download that I want to add to the sign-up for the newsletter of my new page The Bee Creates. For the first time, I was courageous enough to send it out to friends to get some feedback both on the download and the page and it was so positive that I am rather humbled. I also got some helpful tips what does and doesn’t work. I was so scared when I sent them out but I am so glad I did. I feel so much more motivated to get on with the new page and the ideas I have. No, sorry, the newsletter isn’t set up yet. A challenge I need to master this week 😉

As for my music choice. I was 8 at the end of the 70’s and a rather curious group called Dschingis Khan was very successful in those days. I loved their music and chose one of their songs and hope it makes you laugh as much as it did me.


video credit: Dschingis Khan via Lord Oswald on YouTube

So here we go to chapter V! Can you believe it?

Recovering a Sense of Possibility

I think this week can be challenging because we have to dig deep and find out what payoffs we have from staying stuck and not following our dreams. While reading the chapter, I realised that this year I did some really courageous steps to get unstuck. I will come back to that later on in the post.

Limits

This part of the chapter mainly tackles our supposed inability to believe that God/the Universe/The Power really wants our best and supports all our crazy dreams and that they are actually possible. Just try to imagine you could create that novel, that painting, that dance no matter your education, income or fear of what other people think. It just seems incredibly crazy, doesn’t it?

Julia Cameron tells us that, however you want to call this creative power, it offers you an unlimited bank account of possibilities but it is us who unconsciously put limits on what we can receive. My usual limits are “I can’t create a successful blog without a proper domain (have no funds to buy one)”;  “I have tried before and failed” and “I am not a good enough writer/blogger to interest anyone”.  But I have been working hard on these limiting thoughts throughout the year to learn a more open attitude to gifts from God.

Julia Cameron also writes about the fact that while God will give you your dreams you still have to take the necessary steps to get there. It is just that if you do not align your work with your inner creative power then all your hustling might be for nothing. To her being creative is a spiritual experience and those “gifts” only appear if you are open and have an unlimited belief that it will be so. I have read a lot about successful people in the last couple of years and it strikes me that many of them had huge setbacks to their dreams but they never lost the faith that it will work and that they can achieve it. And that they are inherently spiritual people. So I gather there must be something to her way of thinking. I also gather that they are able to let their dream manifest itself in a way: It doesn’t always work the way they try it out first but they keep going and in the end, it comes to pass but often in a totally different way than expected.

I quote from “The Artist’s Way”: We have ideas and opinions about where our good should come from. As a Hollywood screenwriter, I had many rueful conversations with other screenwriters about the fact that while our agents were often invaluable, we seemed to get an awful lot of breaks from places like ” my next door neighbour,” “my dentist’s brother, or somebody my wife went to college with. Those break sare God the source in action. ”  and later on” If this still sounds airy-fairy to you, ask yourself bluntly what next step you are evading. What dream are you discounting as impossible given your resources? What payoff are you getting for remaining stuck at this point in your expansion? “ Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V

photo source: Picture Quotes. Description for visually impaired readers: Image of the sea and sky in a yellow tint. White writing says: The only limits that exist are the ones in your own mind

Finding the River

In this part, Julia Cameron makes clear that this shift from “it is impossible” to “it is possible” is a gradual one and you often do not realise that things are changing. But then comes a point where you look back and you realise you achieved a lot and changed entirely.

In Julia Cameron’s mind, the daily habit of stream of consciousness writing in the morning pages creates that gradual shift. But it also opens yourself to what she calls “the flow”. “The morning pages, a flow of stream of consciousness, gradually loosens our hold on fixed opinions and shortsighted views. We see that our moods, views and insights are transitory. We acquire a sense of movement, a current of change in our lives. This current, or river, is a flow of grace moving us to our right livelihood, companions, destiny. ” Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V.

She also gives many examples from her work as a creativity teacher which I usually skip as it would take too long for a blog post to bring them in. But I think today it is important to read one of those stories: Michelle, a hard-driving, dressed-for-success lawyer, enrolled in flamenco dancing lessons and loved them. Her house-formerly a sleek, careerist’s high-tech showcase-suddenly began filling up with lush plants, plump pillows, sensuous incense. Tropical colours bloomed on the once-white walls. For the first time in years, she allowed herself to cook a little and then to sew again. She was still a successful lawyer, but her life took on a rounded shape…” From Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way” chapter V.

Becoming more self-caring and more creative doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down. It means you bring more happiness into your life with little changes that make all the difference. Julia Cameron explains that with a light curious attitude of exploration we can discover what is good for us and what we, in fact, can do. The rest is going to fall into place as it often does.

photo source: Picture Quotes. Description for visually impaired readers: Black background with a white rectangle and black writing in it saying: Energy comes not from your muscle neither from your heart. It comes from your inner source. Amit Ray

The Virtue Trap

Now, this chapter resonated a lot for me because that is one fear I am dealing with: “How can I do this to my husband? How can I make him work so  much harder while I “flounder” around?” Well, I could not be the virtuous employee anymore because of my mental health becoming so bad. And I also do not “flounder”: It takes a lot of work and concentration to create a succesful business. But I still struggle with letting the payoffs of being virtuous go.

So what is it all about? Julia Cameron writes that artists need downtime where they can be alone and recharge. But we so often rather take care of others than allowing ourselves to do what our inner artist child asks us to do. It is so nice to be known as “the lovely lady who is always there for me!” no matter the cost to that lovely lady. We think it makes us feel good to help others and have the people around us be happy but does it?

Or isn’t it rather the case that we often feel depleted and unmotivated and need downtime and in fact are losing ourselves and what we really want to stand for? Of course, it does not mean we never do anything anymore for others and become egotistic arseholes (sorry for my language). But it means to listen to that inner voice that says: “Go watch that film instead of babysitting for your sister.” When you are exhausted. Of course, you could watch a film too when you babysit but it is not particularly relaxing when you need to keep an eye on children.

The trick is to learn to take that inner voice serious because it tells us about our needs. When we can fulfil those needs we are even more able to fulfil other peoples needs too. A win-win really!

Julia Cameron also says that being virtuous is, in reality, a form of self-destruction. The understanding is that we destroy our “self”: if we do not give it what it needs it will eventually vanish.  Another quote from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” explains this further: “Are you self-destructive?” is a question that the apparently virtuous would be bound to answer with a resounding no. They then conjure up a list proving how responsible they are. But responsible to whom? The question is “Are you self-destructive” not “Do you appear self-destructive?”. And most definitely not “Are you nice to other people?” Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way” chapter V

But to answer that question we need to know our true self. Julia Cameron says that to come close to that ask yourself: What would I do if it weren’t too crazy? and then speed write 5 answers. If your list looks too exciting to be true she says you are on the right track. These crazy notions are supposed to be your inner voices guiding you the way. Another question is: ” What would I do if it weren’t too selfish? She then goes on to the Virtue-Trap quiz (taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” chapter V)

  1. The biggest lack in my life is
  2. the greatest joy in  my life is
  3. my largest time commitment is
  4. as I play more, I work
  5. I feel guilty that I am
  6. I worry that
  7. if my dreams come true, my family will
  8. I sabotage myself so people will
  9. If I let myself feel it, I’m angry that I
  10. one reason I get sad sometimes is

still a quote: Does your life serve you or only others? Are you self-destructive?

List ten things you love and would love to do but are not allowed to do.

Wish List, an exercise

  1. I wish
  2. I wish
  3. I wish
  4. I wish
  5. I wish 
  6. I wish
  7. I wish
  8. I wish
  9. I wish 
  10. I wish
  11. I wish
  12. I wish
  13. I wish
  14. I wish
  15. I wish
  16. I wish
  17. I wish
  18. I wish
  19. I most especially wish

I have done that list a couple of times and it always astonishes me how difficult it is to fill it in.

Photo source: Quotesgram. Description for visually impaired readers: White background. Black writing saying: Respect for self is the beginning of cultivating virtue in men and women. Gordon B. Hinckly

Tasks

The following tasks explore and expand your relationship to the source

  1. The reason I can’t really believe in a  supportive God is.. List five grievances. (God can take it.)
  2. Startin an image file: If I had either faith or money I would try… List five desires. For the next week, be alert for images of these desires. When you spot them, clip them, buy them, photograph them, draw them, collect them somehow. 
  3. One more time, list five imaginary lives. Have they changed? Are you doing more parts of them? You may want to add images of these lives to your image file.
  4. If I were twenty and had money… List five adventures. Again, add images of these to your visual image file.
  5. If I were sixty-five and had money… List five postponed pleasures. And again, collect these images. this is a very potent tool. I now live in a house that I imaged for ten years.
  6. Ten ways I am mean to myself are… Just as making the positive explicit helps allow it into our lives, making the negative explicit helps us to exorcise it.
  7. Ten items I would like to own that I don’t are… And again you may want to collect these images. In order to boost sales, experts in sales motivation often teach rookie salesmen to post images of what they would like to own. It works. 
  8. Honestly, my favourite creative block is…TV, overreading, friends, work, rescuing others, overexercise. You name it. Whether you can draw or not, please cartoon yourself indulging in it.
  9. My payoff for staying blocked is… This you may want to explore in your morning pages.
  10. The person I blame for being blocked is… Again, use your pages to mull on this

Taken from Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”  chapter V

Blimey isn’t that an intensive chapter? Well, we can do it and so we will 🙂 but always in line with our wellbeing in mind as I said above.

Music Choice

Choose a piece of music that helps you connect to your inner self. That might be just instrumental or a song you like to sing or any piece of music that gives you that “spiritual” edge.

Julia Cameron “The ARtist’s Way”

As I said in the first post I wrote to “The Artist’s Way” I am just giving you a short rundown of each chapter with my thoughts added plus the tasks she suggests. However, I believe to understand her way of thinking it is important to actually read the book. Many libraries have it on offer but you can also buy it here or at your prefered bookshop and bookseller. And you can also take part in her video course on her page.

And just to remember how to take part

SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO TAKE PART IN MUSIC MONDAY CARE & LOVE

  1. ~ We invite you to appreciate yourself with a cup of your favourite beverage at the beginning of each week!
  2. ~Additionally Music Monday Care & Love offers exercises and ideas to increase self-care and self-love
  3. ~ We invite you to try them out and do this with music.
  4. ~ Feel free to write a blog post about your experiences and link them to the weekly Music Monday Care & Love posts.
  5. ~ But it is perfectly fine if you just explore our self-care suggestions for yourself and/or share your experiences in the comments
  6. ~ Go and visit your fellow self-care explorer’s posts & blogs and cheer them on so they can come and cheer you on too
  7. ~ I’ll share a round-up & invitation post with a self-care activity & suggestion on what sort of music to share on Monday Mornings.

 

NOW MY DEAR READERS,

GO, FIND A SENSE OF POssibility

AND HAVE LOTS OF FUN

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

I am not a health professional. My posts describe my thoughts, my experiences and my conclusions about life, mental health and self-improvement. My described actions always go alongside therapy and do not substitute professional advice from a health professional be it a doctor, therapist or counsellor.

I invite you to try out self-care tools, however, if any of these make you feel uncomfortable please stop and do not go further ahead. Also, if any of the tools suggested bring up issues that need dealing with do not hesitate to reach out for professional help.

To recognise when you need to stop and when to reach out for professional or any other help is one important part to learn when it comes to self-care.

Please look here if you need further guidance:

UK:

Mind

NHS

USA:

MentalHealth.gov

Canada:

Government of Canada

One Approach to deal with critics, self-doubt and fear

Critics, self-doubt and fear are topics that occupy me a lot and I have always felt that my vulnerability and caring for others are a bad thing. But maybe I am wrong about that. Maybe the critics and my self-doubt and my fear are actually teaching me something about myself.

I’ve never heard of Brene Brown before but her talk seems to hit a tone with me. And that quote certainly does:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

 

Video Credit: Brene Brown via YouTube and TED

I see you, I hear you but I do it anyway…

 

The BIGGEST challenge I have yet to overcome

I have published this post for the first in March 2018. I am still working on the issue:


In February I let you know how I had planned to develop more self-esteem in this post: How I am going to achieve more self-esteem.

Turns out this is the BIGGEST challenge I have yet to overcome. I’ve never been that aware of how badly my self-esteem has been affected by the challenges life has thrown at me. Since that post in February, I had a lot of time to ponder though where I stand in life and what I would like to change.

Don’t get me wrong: No matter how bad my mental health gets at times I am in a good place. I have a husband and family that fully supports me, this blog allows me to express myself and do what I love, we have a beautiful home and I live in the country of my dreams (despite Brexit and all 🙂 ).

However, for the last 10 or so years, I have allowed myself to do something I never wanted to do: just have a job to make a living. When I was a teenager that was something I really despised. Of course, then I did not have the responsibility to pay bills and get something to eat. The outlook on things changes radically when you have to do that or at least it did it to me.

I have been of the opinion that working in a job that I don’t really want to do is the price I have to pay to be able to stay here, to keep writing and to give my husband and myself some sort of security. But I had to pay a price in return which is my sanity. I never had to be off work for my mental health before I started to work in the supermarket and I have come to the conclusion that it’s making it worse. Working somewhere that I do not really believe in is not the reason for my bad mental health but it adds. It adds too much.

I know this for a long time. But I never believed I could get out. I never believed I would be good enough to write, disciplined enough to be self-employed, healthy enough to go back into social or community work. For as long as I was working at that place I had been self-sabotaging myself and my life because of a lack of self-esteem.

It hurts to see that. It hurts to admit that. It hurts so much to realise I did “the sensible thing” and did so much therapy work to heal my wounded souls but it is all wasted energy. In the end, you cannot live against your values and do something where you sell your soul.

But guess what? Knowing that and having taken radical action to get myself out hasn’t magically erased those hardcore beliefs that I am worth nothing. It eased the burden of working somewhere I do not belong in but it just makes those beliefs working much harder to keep me where I got stuck.

That is why it is my biggest challenge yet to overcome.

I’ll keep at it. I keep journaling, practise gratitude and mindfulness, use positive affirmations, be more open with my family and friends and wait for therapy as I had planned in February. I do all that despite my fears because that is the only way out. And I trust the universe that it will lead me to the place I am supposed to be.

This was a hard post to write and I am wondering if I am the only one who struggles with this topic. If you struggle with your self-esteem too what do you do to gain more self-love and respect? Are you interested in a collaboration to get there together? What could we do on our blogs to get there? I am looking forward to hearing from you.

 


Fellow Bloggers Write about self-esteem:

When Women inspire: As Women, What Can We do to Gain More Confidence and Self-Esteem?

JoyPassionDesire: To sooth you and strenghten your self-esteem


The Bee Creates

 

Luxury (L for #A2ZChallenge2018 )

Today I allowed myself a luxury. I had a coffee with lots of hot chocolate and vanilla sugar. Usually, I would have some spices too but we are running a little low and I haven’t found an affordable source yet outside of supermarkets.

Hadn’t planned to use this word for the A to Z Challenge. In fact, I actually missed poor “L” and would have gone directly to M. No I am not telling you what I am going to write about tomorrow. There must be some suspense even in my often predictable blog 😉

Should really have planned this topic thing a bit better. Right at the end with the x,y & z it gets rather tricky when it comes to words that could connect with self-love. Freewheeling would have been much better. Maybe I’ll go for greek words next year. Then it’s not such a problem to find words at the end of the alphabet. But I digress.

Where was I? Oh, luxury. The coffee.

Yes, I write often on Twitter that I need a coffee but I am rather a tea drinker. Tea in all its forms beside camomille. Last time I had one I needed to throw up. No not because of it. Camomille is a herb that helps against tummy problems and that’s why I drank it. Just was too late. Never liked it much anyway but now I can’t stand it.

Coffee is a luxury for me. A treat. I had times when I drank a mug or two in the morning because the best husband (Jeremy Clarkson voice) in the world is a coffee drinker and I just liked to share it with him. But my stomach can’t stomach ( 😉 ) it so I went back to the luxury thing.

Are you someone who enjoys luxurious things?

Well, we could, of course, debate what “luxurious things” are. But some people have no calms to enjoy a weekend in a 5-star hotel or buy themselves those expensive shoes or perfumes. I’ve never been like that. My luxuries are simple. A morning at the beach with the husband and the dog. Family. Friends. A cup of chocolaty coffee. Books. Homemade bread and gelato.

That’s enough to make me feel blessed. But lately, I have started to wonder if it would be helpful for my self-esteem to splash out a little more. Well, I need to earn a little more first. Or earn at all for that matter.

Surely there is nothing wrong with going to the hairdressers? Or get more than two pairs of jeans and shoes?

I always thought that I just don’t need that sort of stuff. Being a frugal Swabian and having connected myself with a specific conservative branch of the Protestant Church in Germany it was just not hip to go for anything luxurious or anything material at that. However, I have started to wonder if this kind of thinking is either also or primarily born out of my feeling of not being worthy of anything. Maybe this Aschenputtel (Cinderella) hasn’t found her dancing shoes yet? And interestingly Cinderella’s mum passed away too when she was young.

Well, what’s a woman to do?

Not thinking about it for the moment. You can overthink things a lot and I am certainly one of those. So I just breathe and let these thoughts pass and go and have another coffee 😉

copyright: Kaleo via YouTube
Find more brilliant A to Z Challenge blogs here  and info about the A to Z Challenge here

I try to visit all the participants at least once and leave a message and if possible even more often 🙂

Kindred Spirit (K for #A2ZChallenge2018)

I am coaching myself to manage English verb tenses properly. I suspect most of them I use sort of ok automatically because I am so long in the country however when it comes to explaining them my mind goes blank.

Unfortunately, for me, I have dedicated myself to getting it right and that course I am doing is, well, not going too deep into the grammar. I started a Future Learn Course from the British Council parallel and also read several grammar pages and books and I seem to be getting there but it needs time.

Time I would like to have to write about kindred spirits. Time I would like to have to write a post for the “Blogging from A to Z 2018” Challenge. Time…

… well, now my mind even goes blank when I write a blog post. Looks like I need to leave it there. No point in forcing something that can’t be forced.

But no need to hurry away my dear readers. I leave you with some soothing music that hopefully gives you some joy. And guess what? It’s called “Kindred Spirit” 🙂


copyright 2002 via YouTube

 

Find more brilliant A to Z Challenge blogs here  and info about the A to Z Challenge here

I try to visit all the participants at least once and leave a message and if possible even more often 🙂

 

Joy ( J for #A2ZChallenge2018 )

Have been pouring my heart and pain out a little lately. Am not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe a little bit of both. Most people don’t like it I suspect when you pity yourself too much. But especially here in the blogosphere readers are very understanding and supportive. And I appreciate that.

I changed my mind about what to post about today and the reason is the walk I did this morning with our dog Sherky:

She is a rescue greyhound and we have her since January. I used to be a hardcore Dachshund fan but she has converted me fully. Besides that Mr Skipworth does really funny greyhound doodles (he owns one and you can see that 🙂 ) greyhounds are just sooooo so elegant and quirky. Ours gets her five minutes every now and then: She just starts jumping around, plays with her toys and makes all of us laugh. Five minutes later and she is calm and elegant again:

It has been raining a lot and the field path we usually walk her along in the morning is really mucky. So I thought I am clever and drive us to Paston Way which goes along an old railway line to avoid getting too mucky. Yea, that worked!

Never mind 😉

I had that idea for quite a while but never got myself around to do it. Then so enjoyed it this morning. It was foggy and rather cold but it gave Paston Way and the surrounding area a rather mysterious appearance:

We’ve only walked the small part around Knapton. The path itself starts at Cromer and ends in North Walsham and takes its name from a wealthy family who has owned most of Norfolk in Medieval and Tudor times. Their name was Paston. Close by is a village with the same name and North Walsham’s Six Form College has the same name too. Some of you might know it because Horatio Nelson (yes the guy with the column in London) and Stephen Fry (yes the guy who did QI) went there. The village is nothing much today but the thatched church and great barn are quite a view.

The Paston Path is known for leading you along many of the often impressive and ancient churches of Norfolk one of which is the one in Knapton. The Council page says about it:

At Knapton, the church of St Peter and St Paul dates from the 15th Century and has a very impressive double hammerbeam roof decorated with a large number of medieval wooden angels. Outside, the cockerel and flay-piece weather vane is said to be designed by J S Cotman while giving a drawing lesson at Knapton House.

Also note the flint with dramatic domed cover, inscribed with a Greek palindrome: NIYON ANOMHMA MH MONAN OYIN which loosely translated reads ‘wash though, not only my face but my transgression’.

And Wikipedia says about the village:

Knapton is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 where it is listed under the name ‘Kanapatone’.[4] The tenant in chief was William de Warenne[5] who was a Norman aristocrat who fought at the Battle of Hastings and became great landowners in England.

And if you are a fan of butterflies you should consider visiting Knapton Cutting. It is a Butterfly Nature Reserve along Paston Way and the old railway line between Mundesley and North Walsham. There are many flower species that support butterflies for example primroses.

More about it later in the year when we have a chance to actually take some pictures of the beautiful creatures.

Have you wondered what all this has to do with my A to Z topic of self-esteem and self-love? I really enjoyed reading up on the area and much more go for a walk on this mysterious morning. That raised my mood enormously because I woke up with rather dreary thoughts. Doing something you enjoy is a form of self-love and I feel much better now.

But enough said. Here are some more photo’s of the side path that I took to do more of a round with Sherky than just walk back and fro:

And last but not least a ruin 😉

We assume this was a little hut to keep the railway going. It was two years ago when we saw it first but then it still had a roof. Unfortunately, I did not keep the photos.

So here we are. Hopefully, this post is giving you some joy too and we’ll see each other soon!


Find more brilliant A to Z Challenge blogs here  and info about the A to Z Challenge here

I try to visit all the participants at least once and leave a message and if possible even more often 🙂


Sources:

Paston Way on Norfolk.gov.uk

Paston College on Wikipedia

Horatio Nelson on Wikipedia

Stephen Fry on Wikipedia

The Old Friary of Stephen Fry

Knapton on Wikipedia

Norfolk Wildlife Trust on Knapton Cutting

 

 

This pictures shows a yellow background with the new Blogging from A to Z banner. The background of it is red on top yellow on the bottom. In front of the red it says A 2 Z and in front of the yellow it says: Blogging from A to Z April (2018) Challenge a-to-zchallenge.com. Underneath the A to Z challenge banner is turquoise writing. It says Inner Critic Day Nine

Inner Critic ( I for #A2ZChallenge2018)

It is rather ironic that I re-posted two posts this afternoon from 2015 which are about Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way” (You can find my earlier posts here & here) on the day I chose “inner critic” as my topic for my Blogging from A to Z Challenge post.

Julia Cameron’s book has large parts that deal with the inner critical voice as it is called in the later video. I prefer “Inner Critic” because I can give it a personality and can deal with it in person so to speak.

My inner critic is a ferocious person. She leaves nothing out and calls me names and throws untruths at me every minute I am awake and I assume also when I am asleep. The PsychAlive video, later on, suggests to figure out what he or she says and where these statements come from. This is a technique I know from CBT and other therapy forms and I have been working with them a lot. However, she doesn’t seem to shut up.

No matter if I imagine her as a monster and throw her out of my life or I imagine her as a hurt child and sent her love and light she just clings to me for dear life. I have fought her in Roman style Amphitheatres with a huge sword in my hand, I have put her into a prison cell in the rocks over the sea and I have just ignored her. She is JUST as stubborn as I am and doesn’t seem to give up.

Well, she must have lost a little bit of power over me because I am able to actually accept a compliment and even realise that there are things that I do pretty well. But underneath all that, she stands with a huge grin on her face winding me up with every tool in the book.

That part of me drives me nuts. Literally.

Mind you, right now she seems rather scared. Writing so openly about her and showing her her own face doesn’t seem to amuse her. I wonder why!

Might that be the trick? To put a mirror in front of her face showing her what an ugly hag she is? Maybe. I have to admit I rather pity her now. She seems to have gone through a lot of crap herself. She has soaked up all the negative talk around us growing up. It needed to go somewhere after all. And she took it. She took it in her stride and made sure we could grow up. Don’t you think she has a right to let it all out every now and then?

Well, that’s not how it works, is it? She doesn’t just throw these things at me “now and then”. It’s always. continuously. harassing. harrowing. endless…

Who can live with that and thrive?

What do you think? How do you deal with your inner critic and have you found a solution?

copyright: PsychAlive via YouTube

Find more brilliant A to Z Challenge blogs here  and info about the A to Z Challenge here

I try to visit all the participants at least once and leave a message and if possible even more often 🙂

 


Fellow Bloggers writing about Inner Critics:

Crissy’s Fab 50’s: Figuring Out My Inner Critic

Author Misty Harvey: Inner Critic

 

Harbour ( H for #A2ZChallenge2018)

My blogging enthusiasm is suffering a little since a couple of days. Not only what happened in Muenster but also the huge changes in my life occupy me more than I have thought they would. Never mind. I have taken some time and found an H for today’s “Blogging from A to Z” post and hope you enjoy it:

For this post, I have imagined how a life with healed self-esteem and self-love might be.

I imagined it like a harbour, that you reached in a boat to find security in a storm.

There are many different challenges in our life. They are more or less stormy. But if your self-esteem is a healthy one then you can always come back to the love for yourself and regain strength and resolution to master them.

The harbours of your self-love could be a pampering day, journaling, doing something creative or just snuggle up with someone or your duvet. Anything really that keeps you from occupying yourself with the storms of your life.

There is, of course, also the meaning of “harbouring feelings” towards someone or something. I usually harbour not particularly positive feelings towards myself. When I consider what I am doing it always feels like it is not enough, just badly executed or nothing special.

I don’t usually get the same feedback from others though. Usually, I don’t get any feedback and can make up my own mind which, of course, doesn’t go well. Or I get positive feedback and that’s not something I believe easily. Even though I have made it my habit a couple of years ago not to say something like “Oh, it’s nothing!” when I get a compliment. I have made it my habit to just say “Thank you very much!” and leave it at that. Not quite sure how I manage that but I suspect it mostly works.

I most certainly will keep that habit up and actually try to keep my eyes open for how I really deal with compliments. If I have fallen back into the “Ah it’s nothing”-mode then I certainly have to adjust my behaviour.

Am wondering how you deal with compliments and if self-love and self-esteem as a harbour is an image you can relate to.

Am looking forward to finding out 🙂


copyright: Caitlyn Roux | TEDxYouth@CapeTown via YouTube


Find more brilliant A to Z Challenge blogs here  and info about the A to Z Challenge here

I try to visit all the participants at least once and leave a message and if possible even more often 🙂


Fellow Bloggers writing about self-love:

Life with LaToya: The Importance of Self Love

Niki Meadows: Fear of Failure & Self-Love

 

 

Guilt (G for #A2ZChallenge2018)

I know my theme for this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge is self-love and self-esteem and I originally wanted to write about how much of a problem feelings of guilt are for survivors of abuse. However, what happened in Muenster this afternoon changed my mind.

As an explanation: I have studied and lived in Muenster from 1992-1997. I know and love the city centre with its quirky little shops, beautiful restaurants and its ice cream parlours one of the few things I really miss about Germany. Some of my friends live close by and I just hope all of them have been far away from Muenster this afternoon.

What really pissed me off were people on Twitter this afternoon who used this horrendous crime as another reason to spread their hate tweets. They directly put the blame on one of the refugees taken in by Angela Merkel. They also blamed her directly. No one knows yet (it is 19.22 GMT when I write this) who the perpetrator is. It is only known that he killed himself and that the van is full of explosives. I just checked the local Newspaper in Muenster to find out what the police so far lets out. So that is all that’s known.

But at the same time, I was touched by what a woman from Muenster tweeted:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I do not know what to say or think about people who think that this “us and them” thinking will make life easier for anyone. Growing up at the end of the cold war with nuclear weapons stationed all around the area where I lived and seeing the wall come down did give me hope. I was 19 when the wall came down and I hoped that the humans in this universe, at last, could manage to come together in peace and leave the racist shit out.  A couple of months later Germany saw racists hunting immigrants down with torches in their hands.

Walls come down and go up all the time it seems and it doesn’t seem to change anything. I can’t stop thinking (and I know I am repeating myself here) that ultimately humans still sit in caves and hunt and gather. We have not managed to get over tribal thinking and that you need to defend your tribal area from those who invade.

And to be honest I doubt it worked then. I doubt it works now. I doubt it will ever work. I cannot get my head around that it should be a better way to hoard riches and not share. After all we are one species no matter where we were born and what colour our skin has.

Haven’t we ……. learned anything from Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela? I really, really, really want to swear right now but I am fully aware that Blogging from A to Z is family friendly so I don’t.

But that anger about anyone who rather wants to shut other humans out than use their brains and creativity to create a world that is worth living in for all of us burns deeply. It has always annoyed me and I just wish I would have found a way to do something creative with it and change something. And even if it would only be one mind.

Well, looks like I have to listen to my own advice and send blessings out to all those who believe that hate will give them a better life. That is hard today. That is hard a lot of times. But I know I can do it. And it would a blessing if you could join me.

copyright 4K Travel via YouTube