GentleSoul Arts

Living a Creative Life


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Travel Memory – Visiting my dad

When I was around 12, I would visit my dad and stepmom in Washington state.  I travelled alone, flying to Denver and switching planes, continuing on to Sea-Tac.  

I don’t remember having anxiety about travelling alone to my dad’s.  Being a minor, airport staff would help me making flight transitions and I never worried what would happen if I missed a flight.   This was well before 9-11 and the TSA checks so flying back then was a lot simpler.

I would stay with my dad during the summer, and fly back home to get ready to back to school. I had my 13th birthday there, with a huge Filipino feast.  No matter how much I try, I can’t make pancit like my stepmom.

I enjoyed these trips and visiting my family in the Pacific Northwest.  Nothing bad or stressful happened, other than the fact as I was heading home meant the summer was over.

Namaste


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Replacing Anxiety with Excitment

Sorry about my absence… I’ve been getting over a head cold and spent much of the last week resting.

In a few weeks I’ll be traveling for work.  My mom and I never traveled much when I was a kid so I never developed wanderlust or excitement to discover new places.  I joined Geocaching nearly 7 years ago, hoping that would inspire me to travel more and purposely travel. It really hasn’t.  All of my geocache finds have been in one state.

But, to help reframe my anxiety for my upcoming business trip, I thought I would blog about past travel experiences.  I’ll stay focused on the good, while acknowledging the bad experiences that have happened were not detrimental to me in any way.

I’m trying to recollect what my first travel memory was.  I can’t think of really any travelling until I was in my pre-teens.   My first airplane trip was to visit my mom’s friend in Independence Missouri.  We must have flown into Kansas City and I don’t remember changing planes. Maybe we had a short layover.  What I remember the most is my mom telling me to be quiet. I don’t recall being scared, but I must have been nervous. As a child, I was a chatterbox when I was nervous.

Our visit was short.  Just the weekend and I don’t remember the flight back home.   My mom and her friend caught up while me and her friend’s children, both older than me, played board games in the typical late 70’s basement rec room.   I also discovered Cup-a- Soup and thought it was one of the best tasting things I’d ever experienced.

Over all, I guess this trip was rather uneventful and unmemorable, even if it was out of the ordinary for my family.     My next trip by plane memory, I’ll be travelling alone.

Namaste.


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Lessons from the Mat

We’re approaching the end of the month and the last few days of Dedicate – Yoga with Adriene.   I’ve experienced some good days and more challenging days on the mat, but on “Drop” I couldn’t finish the video.

I have retrocalcaneal bone spurs that have caused bursitis.  A large one my right heel and a smaller one developing on my left.  Then 1 ½ years ago I broke my right foot. 6 weeks in a walking boot cast cause my left knee to get a bit weird.  And I have a bit of arthritis. I’ve never felt my age as much as I do with my ankles and knee.

Drop had a lot of standing and balancing positions.  I can do them for a bit, but one-legged downward dog, with my weight on my right foot wasn’t not going to happen no matter how much I peddled through my heel.

I stopped the video, frustrated with myself for being in pain, and cried on my yoga mat.  

The theme of the day was Drop something that doesn’t serve you.  I wasn’t dropping anything but holding on to it as my identity. The girl with the bone spurs, the girl who walks with a limp until I stretch out or my body no longer registers the sensation of pain.

I skipped the next day “Power” because I decided I needed to embrace self-care and give my ankles a rest day.   I returned this morning with “Dedicate”, luckily no downward dogs or balancing poses. I feel back on track again.  I guess I wasn’t technically off track, just pulled into a depot for a few days for repairs.

I don’t expect this to be the only lesson I learn on the mat.  Just the first of many.

 

Namaste.


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Everyday Mindlessness

The other day my husband asked if I’d stop by the store to get some butter, so he could finish preparing the meal he was cooking.   No big deal, I was near Target so I’d stop and pick up a few things.

3 things total, to be exact.   The butter needed to finish cooking, some vitamins as I was running low on my current bottle and some stroopwafels, because Target is the only place I can find them in Oklahoma City and they’re usually on sale.

I scanned the items with my Cartwheel app and discovered discounts for the butter and vitamins.

I go to the self check out and make my purchase, grab my receipt and bag, and start heading back home.

As I’m driving, I realised I had no idea how much my purchase was.  I didn’t pay attention at all when I finished my transaction.  I honestly had no idea how much these 3 items cost me.

How many times do we go through our lives without paying attention?   Have you driven some place and couldn’t remember anything about the drive?  Eating potato chips and realize you finished the whole bag.

Guess this is why it’s called Practicing Mindfulness and not Perfecting Mindfulness. 

There’s always an opportunity to practice.

Namaste.


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My First Diet

 

I went on my first official diet when I was around 13 years old.  Until this time, I wasn’t worried about what I ate or how I looked.   But my mom had other ideas. “Boys don’t chase after the chubby girls.” she told me and I was signed up for Weight Watchers.   

If I am remembering correctly, they didn’t normally take children my age.  I believe 16 years old was the youngest they would accept but my mom was a lifetime member. An exception was made.

I don’t remember much about the meetings.  A group of ladies in a shop in the City of Moore Shopping Center back in the early 80s.  I remember the large sliding weight scale like that was in the doctor’s office. I remember the books what how much and what to eat.  Cottage cheese, hard-boiled eggs, canned unsweetened peaches. The typical diner “diet plate”.  I remember hating it.

I didn’t really want to lose weight but I had learned to eat to avoid facing a situation that, as a preteen, frightened and confused me.   I had experienced sexual abuse, and was told that I had misunderstood the situation. “That’s probably not what was meant…” my mom told me.  I had been mistaken. That’s not REALLY want had happened.   

Stuffing my feelings with food along with being prepubescent girl, did cause me to get a little thick in the middle.  I started riding my bike regularly and I grew about 6” over the next few years so my body redistributed the weight to my hips and bust.   By the time I graduated high school, I was a healthy weight.   

That was a long time ago and I still eat my feelings.  I’ve learned to recognize when I am eating out of boredom, frustration or celebration.   I’m looking for other ways to express myself and not keep emotions and feelings stuffed down because no one wants to hear them.  Or they tell me my experience was wrong.

I can’t control how other people respond (or react) to me, but I can determine how I will handle experiences.  With food, with words, with yoga or meditation.

I choose self-care and love.

 

Namaste.


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Dedicate – Halfway

We’re just past the halfway point in Dedicate, a month-long Yoga With Adriene yoga practice.

It’s hard to believe I’ve stuck with this for over 2 weeks straight.  I’m still working on the best timing for me to meet the mat.   Mornings are better than evenings.  I don’t like getting up at 5:00 am so I’m going to work on switching up my normal morning routine.  Instead of taking care of the dogs, coffee and toast while browsing online and doing my DuoLingo language lesson, I’ll try taking care of the dogs, yoga, coffee while getting ready for work.  I’ll see if there will be time for DuoLingo before getting ready for work or I can do those after work or on my lunch break on my phone.

I’ve noticed I’m less sore in my ankles and knee but more sore in my arms and shoulder.  I think about my posture as I’m standing in line at the store, and how I’m moving as I walk through a store.   My flexibility is slowing getter better, but it will be months still before I’m as flexible as I was when belly dancing.

I feel more patient, content and less rushed through out my day.   I’m less anxious about things, I think.   Guess I’ll see how that is when I’m faced with something that causes me anxiety.

I’m looking forward to finding more of her videos and sessions to work on once January is over.   She has so many on YouTube, it’s just a matter of where do I want to begin!

Namaste.


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Hungry Vs Habit

The other day my mother-in-law was in town running errands, so in the evening after I came home from work we all went out for dinner.

I was fairly hungry at dinner and ate way more than I should have. I’ve been working on mindfully eating so I was aware of my indulgence and embraced it.

The next morning when I woke up, I was not hungry but started my normal routine of making coffee and toast.    Luckily my brain was awake enough to realize what was happening.

Brain: Why are you making toast? You’re so NOT hungry!  Why don’t you wait until you’re actually hungry to eat

Me: Well, I just usually make toast when I wake up.  It’s a habit.

Brain: But you’re NOT hungry right now.

Me: You’re right.  I’ll take some peanut butter crackers to work and I’ll eat them when I am hungry.   And I’ll take my left overs from dinner for lunch.

Yes, there were leftovers even after eating an enormous amounts of food.  American portion sizes are ridiculous.

Anyway… I caught myself in an eating pattern out of habit rather than out of hunger.   It’s a small victory although I did mindfully mindless eat a whole small (4″) chocolate cream pie while watching Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Today I have a geocaching group meet up at one of my favorite restaurants.  I’m not hungry right now and I don’t expect to be hungry at the restaurant.    Being aware right now is a huge accomplishment.

Doing daily yoga has helped with being aware and connected in the moment but I’ll save that for another post.

Namaste.