Tools Of The Trade
Thursday, April 10, 2014
The weather has been great - sunny and warm, but not so warm that I sweat and not so chilly that it slows me down like the lizard I'm becoming as I age. It's been perfect weather for getting outdoors and getting things done, and we have.
As spring and summer progress, I will probably spend less time online. Not because I don't want to be on SP, but because I want to be out living while the living is good. I've got fences that need fixing (always more pleasant in good weather) and fields to weed and dogs to train and horses that need some work, and a zillion other things that all need doing on a farm while the sun is out.
But that doesn't mean I won't be thinking about things, and I hope to keep blogging for the duration. I really enjoy it, as it helps me sort my thoughts. I'm often told that I think too much, or that I "overthink" things, or that I make everything way too complicated by analyzing them to death, etc, so blogging has been a nice outlet for all of that mental, uh, processing. Think of what I do as kind of a brain smoothie - all the facts and observations and thoughts go in and the blades whirl around for a while, and pretty soon it's ready to start pouring out... I've always been like this. My mother said it was a wonder that she wasn't suicidal after I'd hit my toddler stage and learned to ask endless questions...
Blogging hasn't been the only tool that I've come to appreciate deeply, but it's been like a fortune cookie of sorts insofar as I never know what the little note at the center of it is going to tell me. Sometimes I'll start to write about one thing and end up writing about something completely different, but that's ok. It's what I needed to think about and say. I like to draw or paint in the same manner, at least on those days when I'm brave enough to do so. Writing is just easier for me because I can't shock myself with color and form, and it's easier to edit out what makes me uncomfortable. Hard to explain...
I think the real issue with me and blogging is that it helps me to know myself better so as to form a better relationship with myself, which in turn is helping me to forge a better relationship with food. There are days when the keyboard beckons and I can't wait to sit down and start typing. Those are the fun days. Then there are the days that you'd think that this is the electric chair and that I'll be strapped in once I sit down and jolted to death with a gazillion volts - those are the days when I really need to slow down and search myself and make myself deal with whatever is eating me.
I can't claim to understand the ins and outs of life, which I think is why I'm so fascinated with them. I've graduated from "Mommy, why do people wear shoes?" to trying to decipher more complex things - the magnetic field that makes chocolate the most powerful force in the universe for some of us, for example. The power that other people's opinions exert on us that make us do harmful things to ourselves at times. The ability of sunlight to enable us to break winter's hold and emerge like hibernating moles from our burrows to shed our worries and play like children for a while in its warmth. Why it is that simple things are too complex to understand, yet complex things break down into simple parts.
Yeah, that's what I do best. I haven't changed since I was two years old in this regard.
What I'm trying to get at is that it's ok. Through this blog I have come to no longer feel like I've got a swarm of angry bees in my head all the time. Letting some of my thoughts out are very pacifying to those bees, and when they're happy they (hopefully) start to make honey.
Which brings me to the point, which is feeding those bees.
I made a very simple discovery months ago, one that has made a huge difference in my life ever since - the goal board.
When I first got on SP and scoped out the tools, t first I just looked at the pictures that were scrolling on it. Later I decided to see how I could personalize it and chose from the other images that were available. That changed it up a little bit and made it more interesting, but that was as far as it went for a while.
Then I started to add my own thoughts to it. I did a lot of juggling of sayings and phrases, motivational messages and such until I began to see a pattern emerge. At that point I started to delete some of what I had put on it before, which created some blank screen images to rotate through the loop along with the messages.
Finally I began to better understand what I needed to put in those messages, and then filled it up with dozens of short sentences that were exactly what I needed in my head to feed those crazy bees
But then came the really amazing part. One morning, since I was no longer modifying the goal board and didn't feel right clicking on the button to get my 5 points for reviewing it if I hadn't actually reviewed it, I went through the loop and read every one of those sentences aloud.
You're probably thinking, "Well *DUH*! That's what it's for, silly!" and I will confess that I am pretty dense at times. (I blame it on those distracting bees)
At first it was just a morning routine so I could claim my points, but one day I was talking to a neighbor and in response to something that was said to me, I opened my mouth to reply as I usually did in such circumstances, but one of my messages suddenly flashed in my head and altered my response. I ended up confidently declining to sell myself short as I have for so long been expected to.
I began to tweak my goal board again, and continue to do so from time to time. I still recite them out loud every morning, each and every scrolling phrase I've put into it, and have gotten to the point where if I see a situation coming, I'll recite one of the messages to myself in preparation or just to remind myself that my health is worth anything that it takes to build and preserve it. Sometimes find myself mentally worrying one of the messages, and if I stop and think, I always have an issue that it pertains to, which tells me that another mad bee has been caught in the net of improved attitude and positive thinking. Other times I repeat them in my head at random, which always makes me smile when I realize I'm doing it. I imagine it as the bees memorizing their lessons like good little bees should.
The goal board has made it possible for me to change the contents of my thoughts, the patterns of my beliefs, and even my self-concept. It has helped me forge better thoughts about myself and my control over my own body and my life. Through it I've traded in my doubts in exchange for positivity, put down my self-reproach to take up self-confidence, and have laid self-judgement to rest in favor of self-acceptance. I don't know any other tool that would allow me to make these swaps in thinking so quickly and effectively. That's one dynamite fortune cookie, one that makes it possible for you to rewrite your own fortune...
I do it every day - the reciting of my messages to myself. They are, after all, no more than affirmations, but those never worked for me before I began to work them through the goal board. I might have said them for a day or two, but then I'd forget and never start again. Now I am reminded to say them every morning.
They have become a part of my day to day life. An important and irreplaceable part.
Today is a good day. Today I added the one message that I could never have hoped that I could claim a year ago. Today I added "I am well", and I recited it aloud and meant it because it's true.
I fully intend to keep on saying it with feeling every morning, day after day, rain or shine...for the rest of my life.