Friday, August 29, 2014

Letting Go of Judgments

September in Leo's Sea Change program (Zen Habits), is letting go of being judgmental month.  Wow!  That's a challenge for me, for sure.

I really learned at an early age that criticizing everything was a nice change from my constant internal criticizing of myself.  I've spent most of my adult life with judgments taking up most of my mind.

In recovery I've learned that a judgmental mind is an unhappy mind and have worked at changing my thinking.  The first step was just to notice it.  Then I worked on substituting acceptance which was a whole lot harder.  But...then...recently...I noticed that it's likely most of my judgments are incorrect.  Wow!  that's really scary. 

I had thought I was probably correct in most of my judgments of other people and myself, but that I probably shouldn't do it and should accept instead. That's what a nice, spiritual person would do. But then I noticed that when other people judged me, they were doing it on the basis of what they thought they themselves would be doing if they were me and they were so far off base that it was actually funny.

Of course, I then realized that I was doing the exact same thing - basing my judgments of others on myself.  If those other folks are totally wrong in their judgments of me, I'm probably just as incorrect in my judgments of them.  That really helps with letting go of judgments.  Why would I want to keep them if they're basically bullshit?!

For example, I've judged myself harshly (and I think other people have also), for sleeping and resting too much.  I have trouble keeping commitments because I am likely to suddenly need to lie down.  Some have hinted and others have said outright that they thought I was undisciplined and basically a lazy person.  I thought so too and felt like a bum.

It wasn't until in recent years that I was diagnosed with PTSD and one of the symptoms in my case is that my nervous system is just used up so to speak.  When my ability to process incoming information is used up (and that happens with very little input), my body just shuts down and I have no choice but to stop functioning for awhile.

The whole thing annoys me and other people as well.  I finally decided to quit kicking myself for being impaired.  I don't know if anyone else will change their minds, but it's okay if they don't.  I'm working on not judging them for being judgmental.  (By the way, that's a subtle joke.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why I Sleep with the Television On

A very long time ago - probably about 20 years ago - I discovered that if I fell asleep with the T.V. on, it helped me sleep better.  Instead of having to listen in the dark silence to my mind remind me of all the tragedies of my life, whatever story was on captured my mind instead, allowing me to slip quickly into sleep. 

I have been plagued with a disturbed sleep pattern for most of my life - waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to go back to sleep. My mind woke me up with many terrible thoughts - fears, painful memories, grief.  When I woke up and the T.V. was on, whatever was on immediately grabbed my attention and wiped out the crazy thinking.

If I watched for awhile, I almost immediately got sleepy again and fell back to sleep.

Of course, anyone in their right mind would think I was crazy to sleep with the television on.  I have heard many folks chastising me for doing it.  I don't even bother to defend myself, because I realize it still won't make sense to them.

I still hope that all my relaxation methods, guided visualizations, meditation, mantras and affirmations will allow me to sleep without the television.  I'm not going to give up because that would be preferable. 

I've progressed now, to leaving the television on to a recorded program to go to sleep.   I'm recording programs that might be soothing to sleep to.  When the recording ends, I usually continue to sleep.

Progress, not perfection.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The End of My ToDoList Life!

I spent the greater portion of my life in a rush to finish my to do list.  I started making todolists when I was a teenager because somehow I had gathered the impression that I was supposed to accomplish stuff in order to be a good person.  That's about a 60 year run of the todolist life.  Only one time did I actually finish a todolist and I had to stay up without food or sleep for over 24 hours in order to do it.  You would think I would have learned something from that experience.  I did think that I should make my todolists smaller but that was all.

Later in my 30s I had become so overwhelmed that I was downright crazy with everything I had taken on that I had to just stop or fall apart.  I was already a little disintegrated.  I stopped long enough to notice that there was a part of me that knew what was what and that could guide my actions and I was excited because I felt strongly that I had found the answer.  However, some terrible tragedies came along about that time and I totally let go of what I had discovered.  Some part of me connected the tragic things that happened with the discovery I had made and I became terrified to go back to that.

Finally,  at my now advanced age, I have arrived at a place where I am brave enough to stop again and renew my search for that part of me that I now know is intuition.  So my new practice is to ask that part of me for guidance and attempt to follow instructions.  I hope I will get really good at this sooner rather than later.  So far, I am delighted with the peacefulness I have.

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