Mind pollution

image

This morning I woke up thinking about work.  Every Sunday I get a familiar knot of anxiety in my tummy as I get closer to Monday.  I seem to hold this tension until I actually start working and realise its not so bad after all.  Looking back I realise I’ve experienced this my entire working career.   But in hindsight its nothing to do with work.  Work is just the catalyst and anxiety is a learned response when Sunday rolls round.

False Expectations Appearing Real

The real fear is around being seen – of being on a stage.  Fear of failure…or is it fear of success?  Fear of not being good enough.  Of being judged unworthy.  Of being seen as fake.  Of being vulnerable.  Fear of not being liked.

All unfounded of course.  Because fear is not real.  I am not in danger from any of the above.  I will not die from not being liked.

But if I give into these anxieties, fears, stress…will I LIVE fully?

I’m particularly interested in the root of this  anxiety because I still have an issue with high cortisol levels.  It could be one of those hen and egg scenarios – is there some imbalance in my body that started it OR is it my life – my mind

From a conscious theory perspective, anxiety is living in the future you see.  And anxiety is having a gap between where you are and where you want to be.   As I tender the question to myself, I agree with my higher self that yes, there is a gap.  There’s a gap in knowledge and experience.  I love my job, I love the people and love how its unfolding.  But I don’t feel like I have the necessary tools yet to do my job to the level I want to operate at.

I’ve always adopted a ‘fake it till you make it’ strategy.  As long as I have confidence and maintain authenticity in the moment, it’ll get me through any situation.  But then in creeps that seed of doubt…

I reflect on a visit to a revered medicine man I visited in Ubud with my friends Jules and Nige. When it was my turn, he went through the usual motions of checking out reflexology points in my feet, then points in my neck and head and announced, ‘theres nothing wrong with you (physically),  you just have doubt’.

I’ve always been very mind-y.  That is, I overthink to the point of not doing.  This affliction seems to commonly affect females.  (See this hilarious youtube clip on how mens and womens minds work).  How have I managed this in the past?  Usually with nutrition and exercise.  Early morning cardio works.  Eating less and eating well works.  Amazing benefits like increasing seratonin, alkalizing, oxygenating, circulation in the body ensue.  But what about the other benefits?  Well, it takes my mind off other pressing matters – work, money and all things that cause anxiety, doubt and stress.  It puts me firmly back in control. 

It wasn’t until I experienced grief that I realised that exercise and nutrition only get you so far.  I had experienced 6 months of loss of appetite and little sleep.  I was running on fumes.  I thought I was ok, until my hair started falling out..in patches.  Nothing I did physiologically, worked. 

Nothing worked until I quit my job and undertook a serious reevaluation of my life and the gaps in it. 

Nothing worked until I took time out to smell the flowers and push the reset button. 

Nothing worked until I learned the tools to live my life from a different perspective

I didn’t learn about the benefits of managing my mind until Bali.  I learned to love myself and love my life again.  Yoga, meditation, the embrace of a likeminded community.  The safety cocoon of being unashamededly authentic in who I am and what I’m feeling right now.  Nutrition and exercise aren’t the foundation.  The mind is.  It is an amazing, complicated tool.  But its not meant to work at turbo speed on aimless pontifications, fear mongering and pointless exercises.  Its a tool to be engaged when learning, doing and working.  But at other times it needs rest.  It needs time in the nothing box.

So now I return back to my Sunday morning affliction.  Here are my top tips for managing mind pollution:

1.  Write.  I journal and blog my way out of insanity. 
2.  Arm myself with tools.  I’m organised.  Prep for the week ahead.
3.  Ground.  Get into nature.  Hug a tree. Go for a bush walk.  Feel the insignificance of my problems fade as I take in the majesty of Mother earth.
4.  Breathe.  Breathe in for 4 secs, hold for 4, breathe out for 4.  Repeat.
5.  Dance, listen to music, affirm, listen to inspiring podcasts.
6.  Get perspective. Do NOTHING.  Do something I love. Have fun.  Be silly.  LAUGH.  Watch mindless comedys.  Stay in bed. Eat dessert for brekkie.
7. Treat myself.  Massage.  Facial.  Sauna.
8. Find purpose.  Bury myself in a project that I’m passionate about.  Get creative.  Draw a picture of the big picture.  Bluetack it to my mirror.
9. Yoga, meditation.
10. Connect with people.  Physically and mentally.

I’m a f*cking unicorn

You are a fucking unicorn.  You are a fucking unicorn and all this time, you’ve been trying to be a horse.  You very carefully hid your horn everytime you popped into a room, pretending you were more horselike and able to do more horselike things and repressing the best parts of you.  Unicorns are unicorns and horses are horses.  When you hide who you are, truly, madly, deeply, at the core of your being and try to fit into some other idea of you, you start to dull, you shine less.  Your horn starts to lose its power because its not infused with everything it needs to stay alive and before you know it, your heart is crumpling in your hands.  Bryony Wise, Elephant 1 Dec 12

Well I don’t know how ponicorns fit into the equation, but I had to smile tonight when my brother in law rang up because the unicorn in Despicable Me reminded him to call me…Then as I was reading from my favourite website – elephant journel, an article popped up.  It was entitled ‘I’m a fucking unicorn (or 10 things to do when you get fired for the first time).

It’s hard to have a sense of humour when you arrive back from a tropical island into the depths of winter, joblessness and homelessness.  This is the valley of the integration period I had anticipated would occupy me until October this year.  It’s been really important for me to find a sanctuary from the burdening weight of the matrix … a home, a job..the desire for a safe haven.  In any period of upheaval or stress/anxiety, I’ve found it necessary to escape  from external reality.  But also to escape the noise of my own mind telling me stories.  The slightest reminder of anything mythical, magical, freaky and anti-western has a special way of distracting from the less magical places I find myself in.   I love how I can disappear into unicorn blogland and instantly reconnect with myself.

The container and the ritual

I was first introduced to this concept by my friends who dabble in tantra.  Yes, you read right.  I just mentioned tantra.  Yes, I also know a little bit about tantra…but that story is for another day…!  The container is a safe space.  It can be physical.  It can be metaphysical.  It can be emotional.  It can be all of these things.  But in tantra, its a place where there is a clear set of rules of engagement.  Communication is key.  Mutual respect, admiration, respect, fun, affection and pleasure are all incorporated.  But most importantly, containers represent safety.  I use this term in my head all the time and I find myself relating to it more and more as I travel.  I have designated safe spots or containers.  They are places where surroundings are familiar, people are familiar.  Roads, shops and ideologies are the same.  They are easy to just arrive at.  I like them, because I tend to find that it takes me about a week to settle into a new space.  I thought about the reasons why.  It appears that due to a lack of consistency in ANY area of my life, its hard to remember what my daily schedule should look like.  I literally wake up and have to figure out what I should be doing when I get out of bed.  This, of course, is not a problem for most people…the grind of alarm, brekkie, job, dinner, bed is all too familiar.  Grass is greener and all that.

Its interesting that I find myself dislocated most from the people and institutions that I first ran away from.  I say interesting because I wasn’t sure how these encounters would unfold.  I yearn for odd people, odd food, odd pastimes and a life less ordinary…and when I can’t have it…I retire to my container.

Sometimes I’m surrounded by  the despair created by other people.  I find that I’m particularly sensitive to this if I’m not feeling particularly positive myself.  Sometimes, however, I find I can create this dark space all by myself.  I can be in a perfectly happy space with perfectly happy people.  In the past I’d use all of my energy to put on the happy face….now…I just can’t do it.  Its not authentic.  And it drains my energy even more to have to do so.  So again…it feels more fair to retreat to my container.   I don’t think its very cool to bring others down continually with a never-ending diatribe on the shittiness of life or dispel awesome energy with one foul prick of offending sullenness.

The best way I’ve found to block out the bad vibes is to put my earphones in and literally turn my brain off for a bit…and then…write.

Interestingly, as Tino (amazing balinese shaman masseuse) always used to say to me, ‘a womens brain ceases self chatter in 2 situations, 1. when I (Tino) give them a massage, and 2. when they orgasm.  I can’t argue with his opinion 😉

Disillusionment and Perception

What happens when you want to spend more time in fairyland than in reality?  Its a tough question.  Its easier to be less aware.  To question less.  To know less.

Sure there are plenty of people around that perceive life to be optimal.  Whether its optimal or not is not important.  Its the perception that is important.    The way that we look at our situation is EVERYTHING.  How many times have I just decided to look at a situation from a different angle, and found my energy to shift to a higher vibration?  It’s uncanny.  But it takes awareness and a concerted effort.  And it takes considerable stamina to reinforce the habit.  Small pleasures are key.

I still find I’m a huge culprit of glass half empty syndrome.  The worst part is that I recognise my fallibility and it absolutely kills me that I still return to that space, because now not only am I in it, I’m also observing myself being in it.  Its torture when I can’t operate the STOP button!

This is when articles like this are handy.

I’M A FUCKING UNICORN!!

It makes me smile.  It makes me realise that I’m a little kooky.  A little special – sometimes in a retarded way.  It helps me remember all of the amazing people, places and memories that helped this little horse to grow a horn.