Posted by: eliseanne | January 24, 2011

on vulnerability, and the whys

Do watch this.

About why vulnberability is so important to being a healthy person.

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/1042 (thanks Richard)

Posted by: eliseanne | January 14, 2011

weekend reading

Some links for your weekend reading -

Peace.

Posted by: eliseanne | January 11, 2011

releasing stress’ hold on me

2011 is already a different year than 2010, and I have clearly grown. This time one year ago, I didn’t know how to deal with stress. I struggled with anxiety, a lot, and in that vulernable position I was taking too many things personally. I felt overwhelmed, and the hope and possibility of life as a whole, balanaced person – or an energetic one - was beginning to disappear.  I sadly watched it slip away as the effects of poorly managed stress and repressed anxiety closed in.  My mindset was one of survival, instead of one of overcoming.

If you’ve ever been there, you know how exhausting and depressing this struggle is. I needed hope, and I needed help to learn how to overcome. I wanted a healthier way to live, and thanks to a supportive husband and examples of prioritizing self-care, I made the choice to believe in and to pursue a healthier life. I took proactive action to learn how to overcome, to go through stress in a healthy way and to release the debilitating hold that anxiety and depression had on me. I might spend the rest of my life with anxiety or depression trying to pull me down (heredity, personality, life experiences), but that doesn’t mean that it will pull me down to the pit all the time, or that I can’t learn how to move through it in a healthy way. 

The first thing that I did was sign up for counseling and a support group. Now don’t get all uppity on me. Somewhere inside of you, you know that the stigmas against both of those are distorted. Through the group’s workbook and discussions, I’ve been able to explore my predispositions to anxiety, codependency, and legalism. I’ve discovered that a lot of my instinctual reactions to situations are unhealthy – which means I had some deep habit changing ahead of me. Counseling helped me to further what I was learning in the group, on a more personal level.

Next, I learned how to set boundaries and stand up for myself. I started setting boundaries for myself (how I would receive things that people said/did, how I would talk to myself, etc) and for others (how people could talk to/treat me). I also started speaking up for myself – I know, I’m generally thought of as loud and assertive. But I often don’t stand up for myself with boundaries as well as I stand up for others’. It’s that old ingrained habit of not saying or doing anything that might make waves, and just taking the hit - which is not healthy!

Then I started to pay attention to my phsyical body. Massage therapy is not pampering. It has helped me to release the physical tension that was transferred to my body from emotional/mental tension…which causes less pain, headaches, and moodiness. So does my new breathing techniques and improved eating habits, and the chiropractor helped several times as well. I’ve re-started walking to work (still working on this one!), I’m playing broomball, and stretching (also a work in progress). When my body is ready, I will probably join yoga.

Lastly, I started to express my new self-confidence. I cut my hair, with a bold short & edgy cut. I have to get up early in the mornings now to style it. I pay attention to my appearance more regularly, with clothes and some makeup. I used to think that doing that only came in extremes – either you obsess about your appearance and become dependent on it for self-esteem, or you don’t care about it and have good self-esteem. So I chose the latter for most of my life, and it worked, and I liked it - except that I was afraid to ever become “high maintenance,” or even any daily maintenance, thinking it would cause me to lose my positive self image. Now I am learning that these things can affect my mood or confidence, but that it’s not dependent. In fact, I love it when cute clothes, a good hair day, and some makeup cna help me feel prepared to take on the day in healthy ways.

And of course, it’s always the little things. Reading a novel every now and then. Lighting scented candles in the bathroom instead of using overhead lights. Light therapy with a sun lamp. Those microwavable bags of rice, corn, etc for warmth. Spontaneous date nights and fun, like going to the Zoo. Doing something for others.

The end of 2010 / the beginning of 2011 began difficultly and horrifically for my family, but thanks to the hope and support I received and sought after, I feel healthier than I have been in a long time. I’m reclaiming the internal balance that is necessary for me to live a deep, holistic life.

What are you doing for your own self-care, whether you are in crisis-mode or not? How do you bring the relaxing spa experience home?

It’s my prayer that each of you find your own networks of support so that you can experience peace, calm, healing and hope as well.

Love. and Peace.

Posted by: eliseanne | December 20, 2010

discounted memory, christian book stores, & veterans for peace

Not only does racism result in racist actions, but it also silences the voices and discounts the memories of the people of color on the receiving end of those actions.

Because although you may hear white people claim that people of color make mountains out of molehills and exaggerate racism and look for racism under every rock, the reality is that people of color deny more racism in a year than white people will acknowledge in a lifetime.  It’s a coping mechanism.

Because what I did was try to convince myself over and over that I did imagine it.

 

Read the story here

*************

Here is a great post by Shane Claiborne about christian bookstores. What a fantastic, hope-filled perspective. I admire his writing because he so often doesn’t “write-off” so many things within christianity that I find problematic. He uses his Jesus imagination to see a new creation view of possibilities.

When I became a Christian, I learned I didn’t have to stop buying stuff — I just had to start buying Christian stuff. An entire world of retail spending possibilities lay before me: the Christian industrial complex. There were Christian t-shirts, bumper stickers, even Christian candy — “testa-mints” — peppermints wrapped in a Bible verse.

I hope the Christian bookstores continue to sell things like the Bible, good books, and stuff folks need like communion plates and candles. But what if, alongside those things, you could buy a book on how to make your own candles and communion plates. What if next Christmas you went into a Christian bookstore and saw gift cards for digging a well in Africa, or buying a flock of chickens for a family in Guatemala so that they can start their own microbusiness?

****

This is a reflection on a rally of veterans asking the President to end the war in Afghanistan.

as I watched these veterans strap themselves to the White House gates, I remembered the individual. The unnecessary sacrifice made by these men and women has been forgotten. Fiscally, war is impractical; emotionally, war is destructive; spiritually, war is immoral. God is our greatest advocate.

Posted by: eliseanne | December 14, 2010

What I’m Reading (Online)

As you may know, I read a lot of blogs, though some I read inconsistently. Here are a few tidbits from this week in my blog world -

Hackathon - A gathering of computery people and aid organizations – putting the computer skills to work to help organizations respond to disasters. (NPR)

The two-day competition gives software developers a chance to “hack” or ply their skills to solve problems that arise during humanitarian crises.

Millions for Millionaires - A response to the tax-cut extensions (Sojourners)

Love the Soldier, Hate The War - A conversation that ends in questions, on the conundrum of loving people, but hating violence and destruction. (Richard Daley)

Shock  - Provacative piece looking at life in capitalism from a different perspective (Aurora Levins Morales)

People in Cuba spoke to me with such compassion about USers.  They said, “We know how much the people of the US must suffer.  Is it true, “ they would ask, “that people don’t know their neighbors?  I heard that no one meets your eye when you walk down the street.  Is it really like that?” 

More to come.

Peace.

Posted by: eliseanne | December 6, 2010

God Is Not A Man

Thanks Richard

Posted by: eliseanne | November 24, 2010

Thankfulness

I was all set to come back to blogging with a semi-political post on a fiery issue (you’ll have to wait and see on that one), but I’m not feeling it today –  the day that I finally have the time and mental space for blogging. 

After reading my cousin’s blog post on what she was thankful for, I had to pause.  That’s a really good exercise, especially when avoiding cliches and doing it from the heart. In the midst of holiday stress, there is joy. I know that.  As I unexcitedly think about the rushed atmosphere & logistics & dramas, I also think about the joy in simple traditions, comfort food, and coziness.

So thanks cuzo for the reminder to pause and set aside the difficult in my life, and to instead better spend my energies reflecting on the good.

Here’s what I am thankful for (in no particular order), in this moment -

  1. Deep Breaths
    I learned recently that breathing from your chest (so your shoulders rise & fall) releases the fight-or-flight signals in your body, causing muscles to tighten and the brain to be stressed.  This happens naturally when we are stressed, and if we are in prolonged stress (as I have been), it becomes an always habit. I am learning to breathe from my diaphragm/stomach, which releases relaxation signals, and will phsyiologically cause me, my muscles, & my mind to relax.  If my neck muscles relax, my headaches stop or are avoided all together. It worked against 5 threatening headaches in a row my first week of trying to change my breathing.
  2. Microwavable Bags of Warm Stuff
    I’ve accrued a bit of a collection of different sized pouches, I guess, filled with corn, rice, or another type of seed-like thing, that I microwave and then rest on my head, eyes, or neck to warm and relax my body. These are also lifesavers for my headaches and tight muscles. They are also great for warming up the cold bed before bedtime!
  3. TV Room
    Just this week husband and I moved our TV into our spare room and out of our living room. We used to rarely watch TV because a) we didnt really care to watch it, and b) it was in a different room. In this new house, we had it in our main living room right across from the big couch. We’ve found ourselves watching it way too much. Now it is in the spare room, which is colder & will take effort to go to. We are looking forward to more reading and conversing, and less staying up late and wasting our brains.
  4. Support
    Counseling, care groups & certain people who can help me to see what I cannot, & to grow.
  5. Mud Removed From My Eyes
    To not see life as I used to, in a narrow, defined box, but to see its complexities, dimensions, and its both/and situations.  To learn to embrace the uncomfortable, the unknown, the seemingly-but not really-contradictory, and to love those inbetween spaces.
  6. Love
    I have joy in celebrating the new and growing love that several of my dear friends have found in/with the significant people in their lives. (RD/KT, JA/SMG, others). I also have joy in the love I have with others, that deeply binds us together, whether we be family, friends, acquaintences, or simply in loving the humanity of other humans.
  7. Reality
    Though reality often hurts these days, I am thankful for knowing it and now seeing it so that we can deal with it.
  8. Quinoa, Onions, and Other New Ways to Cook (aka The Co-Op)
    Cooking meat only a few times a month, eating hardly any processed foods, and expanding our base of grains, vegetables, and other foods, has given me a new appreciation for food itself. So has understanding the politics, economics, & privileges surrounding food.This also makes me think of sister. I love her and am thankful for her and our relationship.
  9. All Fruit Smoothies (aka Liquid Sunshine)
    Nuf said.
  10. Massage Therapy
    Yes.
  11. 2 Consistent Paychecks
    Husband and I are both employed. Full-time. No fear of lay-offs or contracts ending. This is rare.
  12. Our Home
    Despite the rocky start with the landlord, we love it. Even with its quirks. We love our neighborhood.  I wouldn’t trade it for a different house in a different neighborhood, even if it had a perfect landlord and no maintenance issues.
  13. Connection
    Bonding. Like-mindedness. Reminders that we are not alone in our journeys.
  14. Traditions
    I am excited about cutting down our Christmas tree, decorating it, and sitting under blankets in front of it. It’s not the tree or the dorky ornaments that warms me, it is the traditions. They remind me that I have a family with husband, that we have created our own lives, and that we love each other. Nuclear family traditions bring joy as well.
  15. Husband
    I love him. Who he is. It amazes me.
Posted by: eliseanne | October 12, 2010

some day…

I’ll be back to blogging regularly.

:)

Posted by: eliseanne | March 23, 2010

On “Chivalry”…

This article from the CBE blog has a great description of the problem with “chivalry” as it is tied to men’s and women’s worth and value.

I believe in caring for others and loving other people. So I open doors for others if I get there first. If they open a door for me, I am appreciative and go through.

I have found that some men cannot, or will not, go through a door that I open for them. It is also awkward when I dont want to sit down, if a man offers me a seat.

An excerpt:

I appreciated his gesture, and told him so. I also assured him that I really, truly wanted to sit where I was. A lively dialogue ensued, with him practically begging me to take his seat, and me insisting that I was sure—yes, really sure—that I would much prefer the floor. After more verbal tug-of-war than I care to recount, my friend looked at me helplessly and finally protested, “But… you’re a woman!”

And another:

The issue can be confused sometimes, seeing as chivalry and biblical servanthood can outwardly look the same. But in my observation, the problem with chivalry lies not so much in its actions as its intentions. For instance, it is one thing to be asked, “I see that you have X need; may I do Y for you?” It is another to be told, “I see that you are a woman. I have been well-trained in how to treat women. I shall therefore do Y for you.” The first makes me feel honored and blessed. The second makes me feel embarrassed and a bit put upon.

 

Your thoughts?

Posted by: eliseanne | March 13, 2010

on a different note…

To lighten the mood, I am providing something purely for entertainment and laughing. I promise to not add any social critique!

I watched this twice and laughed out loud so hard I cried.

Just Enjoy.

:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnQw-ZsEaek

Sorry if the video embedding didnt work. I am not cool enough…either that or my siphoned internet is too weak.

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