Racing Mind – Peaceful Mind
February 4, 2018
I struggle with a racing mind; thoughts, worries, questions, imagery, stresses, sadness, and fears run riot in my head – during the day, but especially at night, when sleep is impossible because my brain is in overdrive.
At such times I might seek out the comfort of a good book. The transcending splendor of music. The tranquility that comes when walking in nature; hiking the nearby countryside and hills. Trekking a leaf-strewn path in Yosemite Valley. Lightly treading the bubbling surf at the ocean’s edge on a sunset beach.
But such options are not always feasible. And sometimes they do not appease my troubled reasoning. So I search for the release using a combination (a hybrid) of meditation and self hypnosis (which are very similar, in my mind’s eye) to shift to a better mindset. By employing breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques I learned while listening to self hypnosis tapes and prior, while undergoing sessions with a hypnotherapist. For me, I do better learning on my own.
It works best if I am lying down, comfortable, and free of distractions. I then begin the steps to relaxation and becoming aware of my body from toe, to head. First, I tense my toes and feet, then relax the muscles. I move on up to my calves, tensing and relaxing. To my thighs, my buttocks, my stomach, my chest, my fingers and hands, my forearms and uppers arms, my neck, my face and head – tensing and relaxing; and all the while I am silently reciting to myself “relax, relax, relax…”
Any undesirable thoughts that enter my mind, I acknowledge them and let them go. I do not grasp out to them, I release them. I do this with any detrimental ideas that pop into my head. I concede their presence, but I don’t dwell on them – I let them drift away, keeping my thoughts clear and open.
While doing the above exercise, I am also controlling my breathing; steady, deep breaths in through my nose and exhaling through my mouth. Feeling the flow of each breath as it begins to rid my body and mind of barriers and negative energy. Visualizing, as I do this, a warm golden light enter through my feet, rising up and filling my torso, running through my arms and shooting out through my fingertips – moving higher, to my face and head as the golden energy pours out through the top of my head. This living, healthy, golden energy is cleansing and healing me from the inside – out. My body and mind have been reawakened and re-energized.
Now, while floating in that peaceful place, I imagine the most tranquil, magical and mystical place to go to. For me it is a sun-drenched meadow, surrounded by high, old thick stone walls. All is encircled by an overgrown forest of pine trees and redwoods, spanning out as far as the eye can see. The lea is filled with flowers of every color and ryegrass is softly bending in the wind that moves through the meadow, over the stony walls, and on to wend through the bordering woodland.
In this place, I am sheltered. All the negativity and the hindrances that imprisoned me have been thrown out on the other side of the tall rock walls and try as they might, they cannot enter my paradise, my haven. They are carried away on the wind that cleanses, then moves on; into the darkening woods.
I am safe. I can slow down. My mind is at peace. And I can relax.
Sadness Like a Wilting Rose
For us to feel sadness, there must be something
that touches us in a positive way
Something good, or the potential for good
those are the essentials for the emotion of sadness
For were it not for the favorable and beautiful in life
or for the potential for something grand and wonderful,
we would feel no sorrow
Sadness is the counterweight to joy and insight
It is the balance for that which inspires and lifts us up
The beauty of the rose which fades in the wilting
The fragrance of its life’s breath which lifts the senses
Are missed more as the rose’s petals wilt
and the perfume ghosts away
It is the same when we are missing that something,
someone, or someplace special
Or that missed opportunity, a wasted moment,
or the chance for a blessing to be accepted
That is sadness…
For us to feel sadness there is that which is good
in thought, desire, intention, providence, opportunity,
and experience that must go before
So, in retrospect, there is light and beauty in sadness
We grieve for what was, or could have been
And, knowing that, sadness is a reverberation of something grand;
an echo of that which is sterling and precious
A different way to look at it… A brighter hindsight!
© K. Pippig
February 5, 2018
Well, today was my appointment for my butt-shot boosters, gotta inject some humor, (double entendre) otherwise I’m just trending water while wearing a lead vest. I also had an appointment with my oncologist.
My doctor advised me I will need to have a PET Scan every two months, indefinitely. I will need blood tests monthly, indefinitely. Along with the shots I’m getting monthly and the pills I’m taking (both indefinitely). I was informed, the doctor who drained the fluid from my chest had it tested, and they found cancer cells in the fluid, which will further the need to have my chest drained whenever the fluid accumulates and impairs breathing and causes pain. Optimistically, this will be necessary only until the medicine regimen eliminates the need for continued draining.
She reminds me to stay positive… During the visit my oncologist handed me a piece of paper, with the direct phone number for Interventional Radiology (for draining my chest) on the back. As she passed it to me, she said it was her favorite cartoon. I want to share it here. I really like it!
Life goes on, and I intend to do the same!
Moments of Peace – Of Being Transported to a Gentler Place, a Fond Memory
How to be transported to a gentler place, to clasp onto that moment of peace, or that fond memory.
First we might enjoy the moments that touch our spirit-souls and speak to us where no voice can be heard.
Wherever you can find it, grasp on and savor it thoroughly. The vehicle that will take you away can be diverse; ephemeral or eternal and endless.
That late winter day’s air, with that golden hue so thick, like it had been filled with gold dust and you feel you can pierce it if you moved your arm through the glittering motes of rich amber.
For me, Psalms is a book I love opening and reading whatever passage I set eyes on first. The verses have the power to set me free, lighten my heart, bring peace and answer questions I have no answers for.
Sometimes it is as simple as hearing a melody that takes me back to another moment, a certain experience that will always tether me to that slot in time.
Scents are a strong conveyance to a gentler place: the heady aroma of fresh brewed coffee, the redolence of new mown lawn, the woodsy smell of a crackling campfire, the delicious odor of fried onions and potatoes, and the unmistakable smell of meat sizzling over the flame of a barbecue, puppy’s breath.
Sound also lifts us up and away: the squeaky song of a hummingbird, the whistle of a train, the burble of a water fountain, the murmur of the surf, the “who-who who-who” of a Great Horned Owl, the wind in the treetops, the crunch of snow underfoot, or a robin’s song,
And lastly, it could be the sense of touch: the feeling of soft fur ‘neath your fingertips as you stroke an animal you love or hold dear, the velveteen down of a rose petal, the cool bubbling rush of a creek as it flows over stones, the sturdy and ancient feel of the bark on an old oak tree.
One final thought:
You won’t believe how something so simple can make such a difference. When you are stressed. When you are trying to sleep or just take a relaxing moment for yourself – Open your hands, uncurl your fingers! Feel that unlock a corridor for stress to depart and calm to enter. Weird, but true! The magic passageway to serenity. (smile)
February 11, 2018
Another Day – Another Clumsy Exploit
Maverick, my large, one year old Golden Retriever, is enrolled in Beginner Agility Class. Sunday was our last session and it was toward the end of the class. We were both a bit tired. I was winded and finding it hard to get a full breath. And Maverick was just plain burned-out, wanting nothing more than to lie down, close his eyes, and relax.
During this last class, the instructor had placed weighted bags, reminiscent of sand bags, on both sides of the tunnel, at each end. These are used to keep the tunnel stable and in place as each dog passes through.
After completing the A-Frame, we were approaching the long yellow tunnel, which Maverick is a bit too large for, so, as a result, he has to more or less army-crawl through it. Because of this, I have to enthusiastically urge him into the tunnel and encourage him to continue through to the other end.
I was bent down and stretching forward, pointing to the tunnel and verbally directing Maverick to enter the tunnel. Somehow, I caught my right foot on that bag and because I was jogging at a good clip, I was thrust quickly forward and more or less belly-flopped on the ground, which is concrete covered with indoor/outdoor carpet.
My glasses were knocked off my face and jettisoned a distance away. I had my fairly new and expensive cell phone in my pant’s pocket, which I had forgotten about. And I hit hard. My first thought was hoping my glasses were unharmed. My second consideration was for my own well-being. After a quick inspection, I felt pain, but nothing was broken. I did land firmly on my left knee, taking some skin off and leaving it bruised and swollen. Cell phone and glasses survived, unscathed. All things considered, I felt fortunate, but embarrassed.
Maverick continued on through the tunnel, came out and trotted over to see if I was okay. What a good boy!
I waited until after the class to approach the instructor. A fellow classmate was chatting with the trainer. When I got the chance, I asked them, “Please tell me I am not the only person who has fallen in class?” The instructor and the other lady both answered at the same time. “Oh no, not at all. That’s normal! It happens all the time. I broke my wrist after one fall,” said the trainer. The other lady commented, “When we were in Obedience Training, putting our dogs in a sit-stay and leaving them off-leash; as I was walking away from my dog, I fell backwards, wham!”
That’s normal. And what does that mean? I had a normal moment, a normal day. YAY! And now I’m having a normal, after-the-fact, buttload of pain. Feels like I hyperextended both arms and shoulders. I also landed on my left knee, the one that’s been operated on twice and has sustained the most damage. Took some skin off and left my knee swollen and bruised. I couldn’t raise my arms past my shoulders the morning after. Even lifting a coffee cup caused my arm to throb. But, you know what? I forgot about “dark notions” and my mind moved away from, and out of, that nightmare it sometimes dwells in.
Occasionally I feel I am in a nightmare. It is a bleak place to find oneself and if I could only wake up, I’d be back in my normal world, where I lived before my diagnosis. But living in a nightmare sucks! I need to wake up and live in what is now my normal world.
I’ve learned “normal” is not the same for every person. And a person’s normal does not stay the same, ever. But whatever your normal is at the moment, is what you must live in. And, living in the new normal now is far better than living in the nightmare. The nightmare seems stagnant, but it isn’t. It deceptively seems to remain the same, but it festers and poisons your perception and drains the life out of you, literally.
When you have a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer: You can “Live in Death” or you can “Live in Life” Your choice. Death, usually, is a one-time deal. Life is a day, a week, a month, a year, or years. What do you choose? I choose life.
I choose to gaze up into the night sky with wonder and awe, and dream of what was, eons ago, and of what may be, in the far, far future!