Journal Entry #8- Live Now

Katie Willden

YTT III

Journal #8

 

Live Now

 

            The only day that we can truly have any control over is today.  There is no point in looking to the future except to set goals and there is no point in looking to the past except to learn from it.  So many people in our society get so caught up in holding grudges from the past and not fully moving on.  Constantly looking to the past keeps us from truly moving forward in our lives.  I see this so often, but it is in front of my face constantly because of my little brother and his struggles.  He has suffered from major depression in his life and the common thing I noticed about his thinking cycles was that he always got hung up on something in his past.

            I have struggled with depression in my life as well and still struggle with it.  It has been a constant thought in my head and it wasn’t until the last year or so that I got really committed to getting through my depression.  In getting serious, I had to look at the way I think and really decide which methods were not serving me in my mental health.  I noticed that there is a common denominator in the way I think and the way my little brother thinks.  We have a habit of looking in the past rather than just living now.

            Once I made this realization, I have been trying really hard to correct the thought pattern.  It is difficult because I have to be aware of myself at all times.  I have to remember to not think that way.  It has been getting easier as time has passed, though, and I’m dealing with my depression much more effectively than I ever did before. 

            One of the hardest things in life is to not get hung up on what happened in the past or what could happen in the future.  When I find myself in a depressed state, I just need to remind myself to just live now.  The past has already happened and there’s nothing I can do to change anything from it expect for learn from it and move on.  The future has yet to happen and there’s no reason to stress myself out about it unnecessarily.  Life can be so overwhelming for me and I really have to be conscious of my thinking so I can always live now and keep my depression at bay.

Journal Entry #7-Awareness

Katie Willden

YTT III

Journal Entry #7

 

Awareness

 

            I tell my kids to be aware all the time.  Be aware of your surroundings.  Be aware of what your little brother is doing.  Be aware of your time.  But, what does being aware really mean?  Awareness means being aware of something, acknowledging something, paying attention to something.  In terms or relating awareness to mindfulness, being aware or mindful is acknowledging your true self.  When a lot of our truths remained buried in the subconscious, awareness becomes learning about where the buried truths lie and how to overcome them.

            I have been practicing bringing up my subconscious programming for years.  It hasn’t been an active practice, but I have been trying to recognize what could be subconscious programming as issues come up.  For example, I find myself comparing myself to others quite often and I have noticed that these comparisons make me feel worse about myself than I need.  I don’t need to have the same things as someone else in order to feel good about myself, but the subconscious programming of appearing a certain way always comes up when I’m with certain people. 

            Subconscious programming holds me back from achieving what I want in life because of major part of my programming comes from a place of shame and worthlessness.  I know that this comes from a very traumatic experience that I had as a very young child, but it affects what I do every day.  This programming makes me question myself on pretty much every decision I make.  Subsequently, I have been holding myself back from my true self for pretty much my whole life.  I have been stuck in the place of uncertainty and true mindfulness because of my fear of actually being aware.  Being aware will bring true clarity, and for someone that worries about shame and worthiness, clarity can be too much to see.

            This subconscious programming has affected my true actions and beliefs for many years, contributing to my lack of awareness.  I am trying to reprogram these deep seeded beliefs so that my true self can come through and I can be truly aware.

Journal Entry #6-Reunions

Katie Willden

YTT III

Journal Entry #6

 

Reunions

 

            Reunions have a funny way of really messing with your mind.  When I speak of reunions I’m not referring to high school reunions or family reunions, although both of those reunions can mess with your head big time.  Today I had a little reunion of some friends/acquaintances to see a mutual friend that was in town for Thanksgiving.  We have all known each other for years, although the majority of them were friends from high school.  I left that three hour coffee date feeling like the scum of the earth.  Why is it messing with my head so badly?

            As I reflect upon my experience, I’m trying to figure out what I’m projecting onto the situation and what bugged me so bad about it.  A lot of what I fall back into after these experiences is the “keeping up with the Jones’” mentality.  Because of the way I was raised, appearance is a big part of my parent’s life, specifically my dad.  My dad wanted to appear that we were successful, even though the majority of my life was spent with money being a concern.  Even though envy is something that we shouldn’t have, being raised with the concern of appearance, I have always found myself feeling envious of others.  I have always compared myself to others and felt that I was less than others and that I didn’t measure up.  I think this way of thinking comes rushing back to me when I reunite with these friends.  I see them wearing cuter clothes than me, they are thinner than me, their husband’s are more successful than mine, they don’t have to worry about money as much as I do.  I walk away just feeling like crap.

            I don’t know why being surrounded by women of the same age as me makes me feel so insecure.  I can go into a new job and become friends with women of all different ages, I feel confident in who I am and I don’t feel the need to prove myself to them.  But, when I get around those women, I can’t do anything but compare myself to them.

            Ultimately I know that I need to not compare myself to them and remember that each of us have our own issues that we’re all working through.  I need to work through my own hang ups with feeling that I have to be a certain way to be accepted. 

Journal Entry #5-Hope In Uncertainty

There is Hope in Uncertainty

            There is hope in uncertainty.  I heard that line in a movie last night and it provoked some thoughts.  Is it true?  Is there hope in uncertainty?  Or is it a disguise for just not making plans or for allowing uncertainty?

What is being uncertain?  Not knowing the next action to take or is it just not knowing?  With the thought of there being hope in uncertainty, we allow ourselves to recreate the feelings surrounded by uncertainty.  Generally when I feel uncertain, I equate that with discomfort.  There is great power in uncertainty as well.  Imagine the power we can take back in our lives if we change the fear in uncertainty to hope.

When I am uncertain of my future, I fret and I dwell.  I stress and I constantly think.  I make myself crazy with thoughts going round and round in circles with no real destination or end result.  I lose sleep.  I literally lose hair. This is the epitome of discomfort from uncertainty.

If I take the power back from the situation and look at all the hope that I can have from this uncertainty, it reminds me that I am in power of my future.  It puts the power back into my hands and removes the unknown.  Looking at all the hope that can be found in the unknown, I realize the infinite possibility that is life.

Life is truly limitless.  We all have the power to make the change we want to in our lives, yet uncertainty can hold so many of us back from moving forward.  The fear of the unknown literally paralyzes people from moving forward.  The fear of the unknown holds us back from our dreams.  Looking for the hope in the unknown can help catapult us forward again.

I didn’t realize that I was allowing the unknown to hold me back, but I had been.  I had wanted to go back to school for years and I knew I wanted to do something that was truly mine that I can share with others.  I decided to go back to school for passion rather than for the promise of a career and more money.   I realize now that I was finding the hope in the uncertainty of going back to school.  Once I decided to do something that was purely for me, I have been able to see more and more to hope for within the uncertainty.  I’m meeting different people that have connections in the world I want to live in.

For me, I didn’t have to have the conscious thought of finding hope in the uncertainty.  But, if we can find a way to help people to see the hope in uncertainty, we can take back the power from fear and put the power back into our individual hands so we can really make the progress we need to change.

Journal Entry #4-Viewpoint

Viewpoint

            Viewpoint and perception have become a big realization in my life lately.  One of my dear friends always told me that perception affects everything and I agreed with that for the most part, but I didn’t always really believe it.  For a long time after my divorce I as depressed and I was comfortable there.  I wanted to stay depressed and I didn’t want to admit that, so I stayed in my victim mentality by keeping my perception and viewpoint in the victim viewpoint.

I didn’t realize how strong my mind is and how capable I am of changing my life by changing my perception.  Once I realized this and decided to be grateful, my life has been changing.  My viewpoint is now from a place of gratitude for what I do what and my ability to change my life.  I now know that my mind can be strong and that my circumstances don’t make me happy; it’s my attitude that dictates my feelings.

I am finding that since I’ve tried to come from a different viewpoint than I had before I have less patience for some people.  I have a good friend that always seems to be miserable and that if something bad is going to happen, it’s going to happen to him.  I have realized that it’s not that crappy stuff happens to him, or that it happens more to him than others, it’s that he finds the bad in everything and he dwells on it.  I’m realizing that is’ not that bad stuff happens to him and not other people, it’s that he makes a bigger deal out of everything, so it seems that more negative comes his way.

For people that have a different viewpoint, they can have a bad situation happen, but it resulted in a learning experience instead of a negative one.  The other option is that they don’t dwell on the situation and don’t even bring it up to those around them. It appears that they don’t have the same issues that others have, but it’s just that they have a different perspective on it.

I keep finding myself come to the same conclusion on everything since I’ve started my teacher training.  My mind is stronger than any emotion and I can fight through my depression by changing my perception.  I am strong and I deserve to be happy.  I will continue to stress about money, my children, my relationships.  That is what life is.  It’s a series of stresses that can either make or break you depending on your viewpoint.  I will not let life get me down and win this battle.  I will be stronger than my circumstances because I know that I am powerful.  I know that my life holds a greater purpose than what I see in front of my face.  Choosing to change my viewpoint has been the greatest gift that I could ever be given.  It’s the greatest gift that my family could be given.  My husband no longer has to worry about me and what my next action will be because of my depression.  When I get sad or depressed, I honor the feeling and explore it, but I don’t allow myself to wallow and I look for the good in what is happening.  If I find that it’s truly an unnecessary feeling, I change my viewpoint.  It’s not always easy, and it’s taken a lot of practice, but I believe now that perception is reality.

Journal Entry #3-Risk

Risk

            Without risk you cannot grow.  That statement provokes so many thoughts in my mind.  Many people tend to act in the least risky way possible, but are they just taking a variation of a risk?  Other people believe that there is no reward without risk, but is this mindset just a justification for making risky decisions?

When I think of risk, I automatically think of something that is scary, that I have something to lose and that it’s generally best to stay away from it.  However, I wonder what has been lost because of this thinking?  Also, is there anything truly to lose from risk because regardless of what decisions are made, you’re inevitably going to learn something from it, right?  At least that’s what most of us would hope.

Whenever we are faced with making an important decision, the risks of that decision should be weighed out by asking certain questions like what is gained by taking the risk.  What is gained by not taking the risk?  What are the consequences by making each side of the decision?  What is the end goal and does the risk really accomplish this goal?  Will the risk result in a growth experience?

Weighing out the pros and cons of taking a certain risk can also become troublesome because it is often difficult to really know what the consequences of the risk will be.  For example, if a couple is making the decision on whether or not to have children, the pros and cons are difficult to weigh because there are so many unknown factors.  It would be hard to really say how having children will affect your life until you’ve had children.  It would be even harder to know how not having children will affect your life because the repercussions can be so vast.  The couple could choose to have children and end up having a multiple birth, which was more than they could handle.   The couple that chooses to not have children could feel a great loss because of it.  Or they won’t and there in lies the risk.

I’m learning more and more to take risks as I’ve gotten older, which seems contradicting to society.  I took risks when I was young that resulted in me being a young mother.  Because of that experience I took fewer risks in the years that followed.  The main risks I’ve avoided taking where those involving school or my career.  I didn’t have a set plan on what I wanted to study in school or what career I wanted to have; I’ve felt that I have too many interests to pin down just one direction to go in.

Because of my fear of making a bad choice for my family, I didn’t make any choices.  I continued working in a job that I didn’t love, but making a decent living for my family.  I did that for years until I was shaken to my core by my husband leaving me.  As many people do, the divorce propelled me into taking a risk I was avoiding because I no longer had a choice in the matter.  I decided to go back to school and try for a better career.

That didn’t exactly work and I have been stuck in the same type of jobs that I had before, not making any more money.  Because that risk didn’t result in exactly what I thought it should, I’ve decided to risk in another way.  I’ve chosen to take the risk of doing what I’ve always wanted to do, which is become a yoga instructor.  I have been so scared to take this path because I knew it would unravel feelings that I haven’t had in awhile or may not be ready to have yet.  But, I haven’t been happy by not taking the risk, so now the risk becomes not following my dream.

The result of taking this risk so far has been positive.  Even if I stopped at this point, which I won’t, I have already gained so much.  I’ve found a better way to think and a better way to look at myself.  I handle stress more easily, although I still have a long way to go.

I have come to the realization during this semester that it is true that without risks there is no growth.  I have grown so much in the last four months and I am so grateful for this growth.  I am going to continue taking risks because I want to continue to grow.  I want my children to take risks so they grow.  I want to continue to take risks so that I will continue to learn about myself.

Journal Entry #2-Karma

Karma

 

            What is Karma?  Many people would quickly define it as what goes around comes around.  That is the most simplistic way of looking at it.  I see panhandlers on the side of the road with signs that say “Need Cash for Good Karma” or at coffee shops, tip jars that say “Tip for Good Karma”.  I have to admit that I have a negative reaction to signs like these and I find that it is a direct misrepresentation or what Karma truly is. 

            I don’t necessarily believe that using a sign like that would “undo” the good of what Karma is, but at the same time, begging is not good Karma in my opinion.  Based on the teachings I’ve had during my training to this point, Karma is the result of any action, good or not.  So, based on these teachings, choosing to give or not give in ways of tips of cash to the panhandler, I can either have good or bad results of that action.  I don’t disagree with that theory, because I believe that every decision we have is going to result in something different down the road.  But, how do we really know what is the right decision and what is not.  Perhaps Karma can be the direct result of how you as the person feels?  Perhaps Karma is what you can live with rather than what someone will dictate will be your punishment down the road? 

            To play these theories out further, I will go back to the panhandler example.  I live off of a very busy freeway exit and entrance and there are several regular panhandlers in the area.  Because of their regularity at the area, I wonder if these people have chosen to make their career out of panhandling instead of choosing a more forthright way of earning income.  I don’t make it a habit of giving money to panhandlers because of the unknown aspect of what is truly driving their decision to beg on the street.  I also don’t want to judge their decision to beg either.  I don’t want to contribute to laziness or addiction, but I also don’t want to stand in the way of someone getting back on their feet.

            Will I experience bad Karma because I don’t give to these beggars?  Will I experience good Karma because I don’t give to them?  As I said above, I don’t want to contribute to addiction or laziness, but I don’t also want to contribute to them not getting back on their feet.  Where does Karma come into play in this situation?

            In this situation, I choose to act with what I can live with.  Since I see the same beggars on the same streets daily, I believe it’s not because they can’t get back on their feet.  It seems very apparent to me that it’s a choice they’ve made and I’m choosing to not contribute to that.

            On to the other question of what Karma is.  Is it true that neither God nor anyone else creates your suffering, only you?  I believe that many of us, most of us, don’t want to admit that they are the ones to blame for their own suffering.  It’s so much easier to blame someone else for being miserable.  I’m miserable because my boss sucks.  I’m unhappy because my parents made the wrong decisions when I was a child.  I’m sad because I don’t live in a fulfilling relationship.

            What is wrong with those statements?  What I see wrong in them is that they are all from a victims mindset.  What would happen if the first thing that followed a victim statement was an affirmation of how we will change it?  Could it be instant Karma?  I’m miserable because my boss sucks, so I’m going to find a position with much more fulfillment and a boss that better aligns with me as a person.  I’m unhappy because made the wrong decisions when I was a child, so I am going to proactively work on working through those issues so I don’t recreate them for my children.  I’m sad because I don’t live in a fulfilling relationship, so I’m going to be honest and communicate and look for a more fulfilling relationship with myself and someone else.

            There is so much power in changing the language of those statements.  Of course making those changes can be easier said that done, but I truly believe that changing the language and verbalizing it can change the energy surrounding it, and it can karmicly change the direction of your situation. 

            Karma is a term that many define differently, but I ultimately believe that what it means can bring out the best in us all.  Even if the action is selfishly based, it still brings out good in us.  Giving to the beggar may be contributing to addiction, but if the person giving feels that they are doing good, more power to them.