you know nothing, jon snow

 

anigif_enhanced-23497-1459773333-2

 

I recently had an appointment with a doctor who is known for thinking outside the box and getting to the root of an issue rather than simply addressing an individual’s symptoms. After I spoke with the nurse he came in – or rather, was visible on the screen, as this was a Skype appointment. One of the first questions he asked was if I drink Spring Water. Yes…all the time…constantly. “Your joints,” he explained, “are loaded with minerals. We need to pull them out of your body.”

I was kind of incredulous. First, okay this is easy and I am fully on board. Second, are you kidding me right now? I drink this water because I thought it was good for me, even though it’s a bit expensive and even inconvenient. Are you telling me that my actions are not only unhelpful but also damaging?

Healing is a humbling practice. You are constantly growing and evolving and learning and begin to get the I-think-I’ve-figured-this-out feeling, only to realize that you don’t. Well,  maybe that’s not entirely true. Perhaps what you were doing was exactly what your body required at that time, but no longer fits your needs. What may feel like hitting roadblocks might be no more than changes in direction.

Part of this [this = healing] is not viewing these shifts negatively, and actually anticipating them. As we change and our bodies change our needs have to adapt. Maybe today I need to sit at my kitchen table and write for hours, but maybe tomorrow I need to be outside in the sunshine surrounded by friends. The trick lies in finding that level of self-awareness that allows you to constantly gauge where you are and what your body, mind, and soul require. If anyone figures out how to do this, please let me know!

Until then, I’m going to try to find comfort in my ever-changing quest for healing, and not view anything I’ve done in pursuit of this goal as a failure…or as me knowing nothing.

 

____________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Meme courtesy of Buzzfeed.

oral hygiene and deep thoughts

I brush my teeth with an electric toothbrush. It runs for two minutes and every thirty seconds there is an obvious pause in its vibration to signal it’s time to move on to another area of your mouth. It’s supposed to help you clean your teeth equally instead of spending too much time on some and too little time on others. [Please bear with me; I promise this post is about more than the detailed workings of my toothbrush.]

Recently, however, I’ve been missing the not-so-subtle change in vibration. The toothbrush shuts off and I’m not done. The first time it happened I was brushing my teeth while making coffee; I assumed I missed one of the pauses because I was doing too much at once. After this happened several consecutive times, however, I grew slightly frustrated.

How am I not getting this? I wondered. Am I too focused on other factors that are causing me to miss more obvious signals? Am I trying to focus on so much that I am missing everything? Am I thinking that I’m being mindful when in actuality I’m oblivious? Have I made any progress at all???

Then it finally hit me. The battery in my toothbrush needed to be replaced. I couldn’t feel the change in vibration because it was practically non-existent.

I complicated this simple issue by reading way too deeply into it. As a result, I had an abundance of information, yet couldn’t reach a solution because I was incapable of separating what was useful from the clutter. I also created a narrative which caused me to doubt myself and the progress I’ve made, further derailing any potential for meaningful action. But, when I finally stood quietly in front my bathroom mirror while I brushed my teeth instead of simultaneously scrolling through my Instagram feed, I understood the situation and just how simple the solution was.

Does this add up, or am I stretching this “metaphor” beyond what it really is? Whatever, I don’t need your validation [except that I definitely do]!

a look back at annoying clichés

A little over a year ago I wrote about different expressions that I found aggravating. It was a very uplifting post. At some point between then and now I’ve become a much slightly less cynical person who no longer believes that the universe is placing obstacles in front of me for its own amusement.

Nevertheless, I find myself being tested daily. Let’s say I sit down to a guided meditation and I’m really into it. I’m lying there, completely at peace and feeling like I’m amazing. And then I am suddenly aware that the speaker is dangerously close to one of those dreaded clichés. I’m ripped from a state of bliss and forced to either fake my way through the rest of the meditation or confront my discomfort. This has obviously never happened, but let’s just say it did…

Below are some of the phrases that maybe bother me from time to time :

You are exactly where you need to be. While this platitude still frustrates me because there is no way to argue it, I now believe that it is true. Life is about big picture stuff that we simply cannot understand in the moment. I need to stop worrying about where I am and how far it is from where I’d like to end up, and this is a reminder that I’m on a longer journey.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  This one never made me feel better about the struggles I faced. I was tired of these “opportunities” to become stronger and felt that I deserved a rest. But who would I be without my trying experiences? Would I be a better person? I’m not sure that I would. Would I be a happier person? Maybe, but it would be a reactionary happiness and not one that I created. I need to be grateful for these opportunities to look inward for strength and joy rather than letting my mood or self-worth be secondary to what happens to me.

Everything happens for a reason. I have a much easier time accepting rules, ideas, or anything, really, when I am privy to the logic behind it. I like to assign explanation to what happens. Still, I struggle with this one. The problem occurs when I think I’ve identified the reason and feel that it’s unjustified. In those situations, however, it’s highly likely that although I’m convinced I know a reason for something I don’t actually have all the information.

You wouldn’t appreciate the good times if there weren’t bad times. Is this really true? I’m not entirely sure. One thing I do believe, however, is that the “bad” times aren’t ever all “bad.” There is beauty, peace, and opportunity in those moments when everything seems to be going wrong. So, while I don’t believe that I’d undervalue the good if I didn’t experience the bad, I think that there’s a labeling issue and we need to alter our perception of those “bad” days.

Life doesn’t give us things we can’t handleOkay, I get this. If you believe you are exactly where you’re supposed to be at any time then we should be able to handle our set of circumstances, right? What is it, then, about this that I find so frustrating? I think this phrase to meant to empower us [a You can do it! sort of idea], but it kind of makes me feel like I’m being told to suck it up, which I find unhelpful. Wording issues aside, I do have a better and slightly more positive reaction to this phrase than I used to.

Sometimes people rely on clichés because they don’t know what else to say. It’s easy to get our feelings hurt and draw the conclusion that they don’t understand, are uncaring, or are belittling our experience. I can’t blame people for this. The real issue concerns why these phrases get to me. Do they pick at the idea that I look to others to validate how I’m feeling or the fear that I am not strong enough to handle this alone? Is it something else that I have yet to even consider?

So much room to grow! How fantastically daunting is that?!