11 June 2018 Control, Ant politics and Mindfulness vs Mindlessness (Laura Chang, M.A., LPC)

Hello to you from where and when you are stopping by.  I’m finally able to sit down here and have a moment.  Kyle picked me up some light auburn hair coloring and now I look a bit more like myself again.  I knew better from past experiences than to go blonde but ah well.   What happens with us girls, at least this girl, is when I don’t feel like I have control over things going on!  When I’m feeling powerless, in a mindless versus mindful sort of way (there is a difference), I will do a couple of predictable things.  I will start moving furniture, trying to organize and clean out stuff (very productive this one) and ultimately I will start fussing, then cutting and color my hair.  Depending on what is going on, it can take quite an effort for me to get to a mindful state of being.  It’s in those weak moments that going blonde,  or in my case going orange happens!

Don’t I look stunning?! LOL! I saw this and had to share. Pink haired Spock, had to have it in my life!

Now for something completely different…..

10 June 2018 – These pretty little flowers were from a $1 seed packet at the Family Dollar!

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.
Cynthia Ozick

10 June 2018 – I took this lying on my cot. I thought it was so cool all the elements that could be seen in one view.

We had another major ant siege this morning.  It’s dry and hot and that’s when they make their move.  They have surrounded the house and were even trying to set up shop in a window.  I can’t blame them for fighting to survive these elements but damn I wish they’d go someplace besides my house to do it.  I spread some Diametrious earth around the house and we fought them back from the inside with a mix of white vinegar and Dr. Bonner’s Peppermint which seemed to work.   We try not to use the traditional poisons mainly for health reasons with the dogs and ourselves.  Most of our neighbors use exterminator services like we used to and or spray the toxic stuff which chases the ants from their place over to ours.  With ant politics that’s really all we are doing.  You don’t really kill ants, you just move them from one place to another!   Until the next battle!

24 April 2018 ants on the side of the house looking like they are making a nest in the walls. We’ve had them get into the house and into our laundry basket before!

If there is meaning in life at all, then there must be meaning in suffering.

Victor Frankl

13 9 14 4 12 5 19 19 14 5 19 19

M I N D L E S S N E S S = 152/8/4/2/1

13 9 14 4 6 21 12 13 5 19 19

M I N D F U L N E S S = 135/9 divided by 2 = 4.5 = 9 cycle

https://www.mindfulnessmuse.com/mindfulness/mindfulness-vs-mindlessness

Mindfulness vs. Mindlessness

“Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.” – Montaigne

We are mindful when we are in a “mental state characterized by nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment experience, including sensations, thoughts, bodily states, consciousness, and the environment, while encouraging openness, curiosity, and acceptance” (Hofmann et al., 2010, p. 169).  This state of mindfulness is flexible, open to novelty, and sensitive to both context and perspective (Langer, 2005).

When we are operating in life from a mindful position, we are willing to open ourselves to all of the possibilities and nuances of our internal and external worlds.  We feel willing to invite whatever thoughts and emotions may come, because we are not rigid in fear that thoughts or emotions will overwhelm us.  Through this open stance, we allow ourselves to bear witness to thoughts, emotions, and external events without judgment.  Paradoxically, when we allow potentially negative thoughts or feelings to simply “be,” we take away the power that they have over us.  It is when we resist and deny our thoughts and feelings that they grow stronger.

A mindful stance welcomes whatever thoughts and emotions arise, examines them with curiosity and openness, and then lets them go.  There is no need to hold on to the disturbing thoughts and emotions.  From a mindful place, we are willing to experience them, calm in the knowledge that we are in the driver’s seat.  Thoughts and emotions have no power over us when in a mindful place.  When we experience fear, anger, or sadness mindfully, we take away the power of those emotions.  We do not deny or invalidate them, but we see them for what they truly are: feelings.

When we choose to adopt a mindful view towards our daily experience, we release the need to evaluate every thought, feeling, or action as “good” or “bad.”  Ellen Langer, author of the chapter “Well-Being” in the Handbook of Positive Psychology, notes that while “evaluation is central to the way we make sense of our world, in most cases, evaluation is mindless … A more mindful approach would entail understanding not only that there are advantages and disadvantages to anything we may consider but that each disadvantage is simultaneously an advantage from a different perspective (and vice versa).  With this type of mindful approach, virtually every unpleasant aspect of our lives could change.”

Much of what we are taught in Western societies involves the idea that when bad things happen, we just need to “hold on” and wait for them to pass.  Imagine the tension and fear involved in this mindset – knuckles white, breath held in, muscles tight.  When we shift into a mindful stance, we can begin to view the bad things that happen in life as being context dependent.  There is a deep awareness that with everything, there are both good and bad aspects, depending on our point of view.

When we are operating in a mindless way, we are choosing not to take in all available information – we select that which we pay attention to, even when it only increases fear or anger.  When living in mindlessness, we go through the day reacting to internal thoughts and feelings and external events, rather than responding. Mindlessness results in unawareness – we are limiting the full range of what we can experience.  There is understandable fear involved in the idea of “inviting” seemingly negative thoughts or emotions with open-minded curiosity.  We are taught to reject and suppress such negativity.

Reflect on how your own experience changes when you practice mindfulness in your daily routine.  The next time that an unpleasant thought or feeling arises, rather than stuffing it down and rejecting it, allow it to be. Practice sitting with discomfort. When we learn how to tolerate discomfort and distress in this way, we are providing ourselves with the chance to be freed from suffering.  Our emotional suffering persists when we deny it, ignore it, or rage against it.  Notice it, welcome it, observe it, and let it go.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Hofmann, S.G., Sawyer, A.T., Witt, A.A., & Oh, D. (2010). The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 78(2), 169-183.

Snyder, C.R. & S.J. Lopez. (2005). Handbook of Positive Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Featured image: welcome new light by AlicePopkorn / CC BY 2.0

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17 Sept 2016 Making things and a sky like stone…spending time with the clouds and thinking about our family finances

Hello there.  It’s Saturday afternoon about 4:52 pm as I write to you.  I just wanted to pop in and show you a couple things I made and talk about something that came to me today as I was outside earlier this afternoon and yes, talk about….bleck….finances lol!

When I initially went outside earlier today, the sky was mostly blue.  Not much for clouds.  Well I started to listen to my music, dance and sing and gradually I noticed the sky began to get these interesting clouds across it.  They reminded me of something….the texture of stone and even kind of like when you dip a fan brush in heavily diluted white paint and run it across a piece of paper that’s already got a layer of blue on it.  When you see the pictures may be you’ll see what I’m talking about.  What struck me the most was how much the texture of the clouds made me think of the new Red Jasper Egg I bought and also other rocks, stones and minerals I have!  A sky of stone…I even asked the clouds (yes I talk to everything) “Are you crystals? are you stone? Are you sentient?  Are you heaven?  Can you speak?”  Then I held up my Red Jasper egg, so they could “see” just in case you know lol (it’s ok if your laughing with or at me, I understand lol), and gradually all those clouds started to disappear.  Weird right?!  Yeah I know you must be thinking I’m weird talking to clouds but to me, everything is energy and if everything is energy to include us, then clouds might be “alive” in some sense.  Water remembers…just like in our bodies.

Looking up at this sky laying down on the cot Kyle bought for me, I even ran my hands over the lines and could feel different sensations in my hands….sometimes even pain.  One of my favorite things to do after I listen to music and dance is to lay down and just spend time with the sky, especially those days that have lots of interesting clouds in them!  I even  got a treat today….I saw and actually capture two birds that were flying WAAAAAY up there!  I always imagine what it must be like to have wings and to be able to fly next to the clouds like that….it must be so cool and quiet.

Changing gears.

In light of what I know about what’s going on in the financial world, Kyle and I are having to start thinking about what our role is in all of it.  We don’t have a lot of money, he’s not working right now and is going to school until the next outage comes up so we don’t have any additional income.  This said, we do have money set aside in a Roth IRA….(Roth-child anyone?).

A couple of years ago I started to realize that I didn’t want to be a “cog in the wheel” that is our global financial system.  Our broker, bless his heart, Seth wasn’t too pleased with me when I told him this (with Kyle’s support) and we closed our mutual fund account and “cashed out.”  Kyle didn’t want me to pull the Roth because we needed it “just in case” so we kept it.   We are revisiting this issue again in light of recent revelations with world banks financing things like the Bakken oil pipeline and other “things” to which we are opposed.  We don’t know, and I’m going to be writing to Seth about this, if our Roth has investments in fossil fuel or other corporations etc. to which we are opposed.  I had asked him before if we could divest specifically from these companies and still keep the Roth and he said that wasn’t possible.  If this is still the case, we are seriously considering paying the penalty and closing the account.  I hate to do this to this man as he has been really good to us, but I just can’t stand the thought that I am a hypocrite!

We are currently saddled with Wells Fargo that used to be Wachovia when we first started using our local bank back in 2009.  Our mortgage is through them and they screwed us when we refinanced about 2 years ago.  Instead of paying less a month after refinancing, we are paying more and it keeps going up.  We stayed with Wells Fargo because they are right here in town….they are convenient and there is no guarantee if we went to a smaller bank we’d be any better off! Heck they would probably get bought out eventually like Wachovia did.  When I was in the military I used the Credit Union and we currently have a lot of stuff with USAA – both affiliated with the other organization I’m not happy with….the military!!! UGH!!!  I will say though, the Credit Union and USAA at least try to take care of their members and I didn’t see them as one of the banks financing the Bakken!

So we are doing some soul searching.  Part of me says this, and it’s probably the part of me that doesn’t know shit about money (or care that much), is saying to stay put, to stand firm.  Why?  Because running away from the problems isn’t going to solve it!   The banks of this world need to be held accountable for what they do with the money they are entrusted with and if they “fuck up” they need to REALLY be held accountable.  The heads of these banks needs to answer for their risk taking….their crimes and not just pay penalties and get a slap on the wrist….”don’t do it again” type shit.  This article I saw today gave me hope, one of my favorite Elizabeth’s of our current time (my mother-in-law is of course is my first favorite), is hard at work trying to get some accountability with guess who?  Our bank!!!

http://www.wesh.com/money/wells-fargo-drumbeat-grows-louder-house-hearing-next/41695440 (excerpt)

And on Tuesday, Stumpf will be in the hot seat as Elizabeth Warren and her colleagues on the Senate banking committee hold a Wells Fargo hearing. Warren has already suggested she’s skeptical Wells Fargo management was unaware of the illegal activity of this scale.

“This was a staggering fraud,” Warren told CNN recently. “Come on…this went on for years and they didn’t smell anything in the air about fake accounts?”

If Wells Fargo senior executives were truly in the dark, Warren also said that means “this is simply a bank that is too big to manage.”

and meanwhile in Alabama:

http://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2016-09-17/us-agency-orders-corrective-action-after-gas-pipeline-spill

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — Fuel supplies in at least five states are threatened by a gasoline pipeline spill in Alabama, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered the company responsible to take corrective action before the fuel starts flowing again.

Colonial Pipeline Co. must conduct testing and analysis on the failed section of the pipeline, according to the department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Agency, which is investigating the spill in rural Alabama.

The company has acknowledged that between 252,000 gallons and 336,000 gallons of gasoline leaked from a pipeline near Helena, Alabama, since the spill was first detected Sept. 9. It’s unclear when the spill actually started. The pipeline section that failed runs from Mississippi to Atlanta.

The agency said the spill is “within an unusually sensitive ecological area” and it ordered Colonial to take action “to protect the public, property and the environment from potential hazards.”

An interesting list, as with anything, I’m not taking this as “gospel” but I do appreciate that someone took the time to put this list dating back from 2000 to the current spill in Alabama together.  I would need to fact check each entry to truly trust it and I haven’t….so be forewarned.   This shows us why people don’t want these pipelines running across their land.  This whole thing is like how most of us get our meat.  We don’t see any of what happens until we go to the grocery store and buy the meat.  The same used to hold true for oil natural gas.  When it was “just there” we were fine with it, it “wasn’t in our backyard.”  Such is no longer the case….it’s in all our backyards!  Something I don’t understand is why aren’t there sensors in these oil pipe systems so these types of disasters can be averted?  I explained to someone today it feels like these leaks are like when a water pipe bursts.  Until the customers call and complain, the companies have no clue there is a problem and that doesn’t make sense to me especially with something so volatile as fuel!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pipeline_accidents_in_the_United_States_in_the_21st_century

Anyhew.  I’m praying for everybody and everything right now because everybody needs a little….well some people need A LOT of help right now.  It doesn’t matter what walk of life, what has been said or done or continues to be done.  We are all in this together.

Warriors of the Rainbow prophecy is being fulfilled right now! -tzo-yazzie-navajo-art-from-warriors-of-the-rainbow-william-willoya-vinson brown book

Warriors of the Rainbow prophecy is being fulfilled right now! -tzo-yazzie-navajo-art-from-warriors-of-the-rainbow-william-willoya-vinson brown book

31 May 2016 Heavy rains in Texas and drawing as a tool to calm myself in times of bad weather…”Don’t Worry!”

Good evening to you.  Least it is here and because of the weather we are having I am using tools in my mental health toolkit to help me get through it! We have electricity (it did flicker a couple hours ago) so I will take advantage of that!

As you can see by these pictures, Lake Wygant ak.a “lake temporary” has returned to our  backyard.  The pace of the rainfall has slowed as I write and the water is flowing out to the drains so I’m keeping my cool about it as best as I can.  With all the flooding and deaths from it down South in the Houston area, I am grateful to still have a clear view of my back door step!

For those of you in our area of the country who are going through similar or worse , especially in Houston, with this weather,  my prayers go out to you.  Remember, since there is nothing you can do to calm the storms outside of yourself, focus on calming the storm within yourself!   What can you pull out of your mental health toolkit to soothe yourself?   Peace within, peace without.  Much love to you!  Thank you for visiting me.