15 Steps To Moving On After Loss

Loss

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” 

Martin Luther King Jr

 

 

 

 

So.

I think it is over a year since my last post. In my defence, there has been some personal stuff I have been ‘busy’ with. My marriage ended. My Dad died. I, however, am still here.

The tears, anger, bitterness, resentment, guilt, confusion, loss and sadness have faded, and life goes on. I would like to share some things that helped me through what has been a very difficult time, and who knows, they may come in useful to you at some point in dealing with loss.

It went something sort of like this:

1. Get help!

I went to a counsellor. I needed a safe place with no connections, no judgements and a freedom to talk about whatever details I needed to without worrying about how people may react. There are always some things that people you know don’t need to know.

Talk it through

2. Vent

In the past I would have suppressed my anger so this was a challenge. This time I turned to an unlikely source for assistance. Ha Ha! It was Marilyn Manson’s second full-length album. I played this for about 4 weeks every day in my car at an unhealthy volume and sang, barked, screamed and cried my way through the album over and over. Funnily enough I haven’t listened to the album since. But boy, did it help with the release! Whatever works, right?

Get it out

3. Trust again quickly

This was a hard one for me. When life gives you the enema to end all enemas you tend to tense up for a while. It’s a natural reaction. But something inside me urged me to break away from a habit of not trusting. In a weird sort of way it was easier to do from a place of despair because I didn’t believe I could feel any worse! So I ran with it and it opened up a whole other world for me internally and externally.

Trust in life again, quickly

4. Rely on real friends

Real friends have no agenda, no judgement, aren’t attached to the advice they give, or don’t give advice at all. They are just there for you. I had to allow myself to rely on others and would quite possibly still be stuck without them.

Identify friends, and hang on to them

5. Look for the positives and be grateful

Looking each day at what I was grateful for helped so much. Some of the bigger things were my kids, my family, friends and the genuine caring and generosity of people. And smaller things we sometimes take for granted like the taste of good food, a warm coat on a chilly day, a really good pot to cook in, and laughter when it came.

There is always something to be grateful for

6. Take baby steps, but take action

Small little steps each day took me a long way. I have a really good friend that helped me through this. Little tips like, “just get into your gear and stand on the treadmill. If that’s all you do it is more than yesterday”. And bloody hell, it worked! I progressed to running 30 minutes pretty much every day.

Keep moving forward, no matter how hard

7. Exercise

This was my saviour through the anger stage. I put everything into it. The angrier I was the harder I ran: until I ran through it, every day, until it was gone. Having that outlet allowed my body to release it while I worked through the head and heart stuff through other means.

Do anything to make you feel physically stronger

8. Allow time to heal

There are stages to getting over ‘shit’. After the wallowing, self-pitying, woe-is-me phase came impatience and anger with myself for not getting over it quick enough. I had to learn to accept the reality and the feelings I had. To accept that this was here and now, that it would eventually pass, and that it was Ok to just sit with it. I learned that all of that was true.

Be patient

9. Avoid TV if you want to move on. If you don’t watch more

I took refuge in TV. Too much TV numbs me. It drains energy. It leaves me feeling slovenly after it. Trying to move forward and lift my mood after hours in front of the TV was like trying to get clean bathing in grease. I stopped.

Don’t hide

10. Journaling

Just getting stuff out of my head on to paper was cathartic and cleared my mind. It is a similar feeling to walking for miles with a backpack on and the relief when you finally take it off and sit down.

Get out of your head (no – not with alcohol)

11. Look gently at the part you played – and learn

I knew there were lessons there but I couldn’t see them at the start. I had to take the other steps above before I was ready to accept the learning. Looking for them at the start was like finding a stick to beat myself with.

Be gentle with yourself

12. Forgive

I think that I had to forgive myself first before I could forgive others. Forgiveness really does mean letting go. The memories remain and I don’t forget, but the feelings of loss and hurt are gone. A poignant sadness is all that remains. That is when I knew I had let go and that I had forgiven. The intention to forgive came before the forgiveness and my friend Vishnu talks about intention in a great post on forgiveness.

Let it go

13. Find a purpose

It was important for me to find a reason to move on again. One of the things I did was start to read over my bucket list every morning. I can’t understate the power of this. It gave me purpose and restored hope. I can’t tell you how, I just know that it worked. The idea of a possible life ahead of me where dreams were possible was fuel that I desperately needed. I started to feel an enthusiasm for life again that had eluded me for a very long time.

Dare to hope

14. Don’t worry about the future

There were many things about the future my circumstances could justify me being worried about. However, being in a place where it felt like there was no future made not worrying about it easy. It was quite liberating when looked at in a different way. That has stayed with me.

Believe that whatever happens, things will be OK

15. Dream

Dream again. Like a child, without responsibilities and without limitations. The pictures I painted in the mind brought forth life and opportunity. All that exists is now and what I choose to do with that is entirely up to me.

Dare to dream

How have you dealt with loss in the past? Is there anything you would do differently?

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Can “The Game of Thrones” theme music change how you feel?

 

 

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” – Plato

 

 

The Game of Thrones signature music is one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever heard. And that is saying something.

When a piece of music is good enough, or even transcendent, it bypasses all you ever thought about music… and life: the genre, the trend, what’s cool, what isn’t, what you think you should feel, etc.

Music has a way of capturing things that words cannot, which makes what I am about to say ambitious: I hear this piece of music and it touches my soul.

This is what is says to me:

  • Life is hard
  • There is always death
  • There is always cruelty
  • Life goes on regardless
  • People are simultaneously the most beautiful and horrid thing we will ever encounter
  • Pain is what makes love real
  • Never stop fighting
  • Believe in yourself and be true to yourself, no matter how hard it gets
  • Learn to live and move on
  • Enjoy every precious moment that is dear to you
  • Hold that moment like it will last forever, but don’t hold too tight, because nothing lasts forever
  • Feel every emotion, let each one live, this is your life
  • Every pain releases some kind of joy
  • There is magic in the world if you believe
  • Never, ever, let go of hope, whatever pain it may bring you
  • Fight for what you believe in
  • Never give up

Overall, this piece of music gives me hope.  Not lies. Not delusion. Not escape.

A trust in the goodness of life, no matter how brutal it gets.

The music grabbed me before I even saw one scene of the show. Listen to all of the different versions here (with the possible exception of the “floppy disc version” – which although clever is too much for my ears), and feel how music can transcend your thoughts, your mind, and the reality around you. In particular versions 2, 6, 7 and 9 really do it for me. Or you can just jump to the actual theme music.

Just stop thinking for a second and let the music take you. Listen. Close your eyes and feel it. Feel the passion. Feel life.

Music has the power to bring you closer to your soul, and further from the despair that befalls those who have lost sight of their joy and hope.

Take a moment. Forget everything you think you know and listen with your soul. Make it a habit to spend time with it. Alone. Without your thoughts. Let it consume you. Even if it is painful. Because the joy of music always finds a way through even life’s darkest moments.

It’s a habit worth cultivating. Listen. Feel. Surrender.

 If you truly listen to this music and turn off your mind for a moment, I know it will touch you. Share your thoughts on how music influences your life. Do you have any particular music pieces that impact you like this?

 

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Scared To Reveal The True You? 12 Reasons To Take Charge Of Your Representative

 

“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.” – Albert Camus

A Guest Post On A Blog About Suicide

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my absence. I have had some personal issues to deal with that have taken priority over everything else in my life, including my blog.

 

This week’s post is a short one. As much as I like to ramble on, life is sometimes more important. However, things sometimes touch you in a way you don’t expect. Even in the midst of a crisis.

 

Why would someone contemplate suicide?

Have you ever considered it?

What gives you hope?

 

I would like to direct you to a guest post I have written for the wonderful Bri over at Down From The Ledge. My guest post started as a comment on her blog in response to two of her articles, but mutated into something much bigger. My response is entitled Scared To Reveal The True You? 12 Reasons To Take Charge Of Your Representative. Just click on the link to read.

 

Generally, Bri writes about the taboo subject of suicide. Even though you or I may never have considered this as an option, Bri courageously shares her thoughts with us, and I believe we can all learn from her brutal honesty to appreciate and understand our lives more.

 

The reason why I bring this to your attention is that, even though she has been on the brink and many of us haven’t, she has a way of looking at life that can make you think about what is important.

 

The fact that she is still with us is what is important to me. I have never met her, and I don’t really know her. But the fact that what she has written has touched me proves that she has managed to impact at least one person by staying alive. And I am 100% sure I am not the only one.

 

I would like to thank Bri, firstly  for sharing her personal experiences with us all (and I believe that some people that read her posts will change direction), and secondly for giving me the honour of writing for her website.

 

My guest post is a response to two of Bri’s articles about how not being ‘real’ with ourselves and others can lead us to a place of isolation and despair. You can read the article here. Please do leave a comment over on Bri’s blog or on here. I am interested in your views and whether or not YOU have a representative.

 

I hope to be back on track with my weekly posts now and I look forward as always to hearing your comments, so please do share your thoughts.

 

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Is TV stealing your life? 3 ways to kick the TV habit

“So why do people keep on watching? The answer, by now, should be perfectly obvious: we love television because television brings us a world in which television does not exist. In fact, deep in their hearts, this is what the spuds crave most: a rich, new, participatory life.” – Barbara Ehrenreich

How much time do you spend in front of that rectangular box?
How many favourite T.V. shows do you have?
Are they adding value to your life or stealing it?
Have you ever really wondered about the impact TV has on your life?

 

How much TV time is unhealthy?
My TV Habit over the last 2 years is unhealthy.

A grand total of 865 hours in 2 years!  This is not a healthy amount of TV time!

[Editors note] -  I excuse The Big Bang Theory from the above list because it makes me laugh out loud. And because laughter is healthy, 20 minutes of laughter here and there is a good thing.

 

How much time do you have?

Yours will be unique to you, but below gives you a rough idea how much time I have.

So with only 28 hours a week free time, the T.V. time above means I have spent approximately 31 weeks watching T.V!

If it wasn’t for T.V. I could now be a qualified Yoga instructor

I have recently started a bucket list. All of the things I would like to do in life. One of the items on that list is to become a certified yoga instructor. The total time to do this is 660 hours. Instead of watching all of that TV I could now be a qualified yoga instructor. I would be healthier, more flexible, have met new and interesting people, and have a new skill that could make me a bit of extra cash if things get tough. I would also not have had to endure the pain and disappointment of that bloody awful ending in Lost!

 

But we all need a break from reality you cry!

Of course we do: if we aren’t living. But if life has focus and purpose, if you are enjoying quality time with loved ones, doing something that fills you with passion and you feel alive then why do you need a break from that? This is the big deception we have all bought into. An unconscious thinking habit!

 

Look at it this way. You are watching a movie. It has you engrossed. It is past your bedtime. But you continue to watch. Enthralled. You don’t feel like you need a break from that, do you? Why? Because it is engaging. Why can’t your life be engaging?  It is time to snap out of it and be excited by your life and its possibilities. Make your life the movie.

 

3 ways to take charge of your T.V. habit

There are some questions you should ask yourself before continuing to allow T.V. to be the centre of your life:

1.     Do I really need to watch this?

I see a need as something that either sustains your life or adds value to it. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to breathe. You need love and affection from others. Do you need to watch T.V?

Even if you spent only an hour a day doing something like the suggestions below, I guarantee you would feel better (and less guilty) than if you watched TV. You can take small steps towards your more engaging life:

  • Exercise
  • Learn about something you have always wanted to know more about
  • Do those things around the house you have been putting off
  • Talk or write to friends and family
  • Learn Spanish because you are going on holiday to Spain next year
  • Research one of your dreams
  • Cook  – rather than eating processed foods
  • Do a budget

 

2.     Am I going to feel better about myself after watching T.V. or by doing [insert action here]?

It is OK to escape sometimes. The thing is, the longer you spend escaping, the less time you have to change what you are escaping from!

 

If you are honest with yourself, you will know there are other things you wish you had done rather than stare at the TV. How often do you say, “I didn’t have the time” after spending time in front of the box?

 

Just asking this question and answering honestly has made a difference to my T.V. habit. Try It. See if it makes a difference to yours.

 

3.     Am I looking after my future self by watching TV now?

Tomorrow, the next day, a week or a month later, are you more likely to thank yourself for watching that T.V. show, or for doing something that added value to your life. Something that maybe gave you less to escape from?

 

This is another question that has helped me change my habit. An hour or two here and there used as recharge time does help the future me. But I know the slave habit doesn’t.

 

Is TV Evil?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that TV should be banished to the depths of hell. All I am saying is that when you look back from your death-bed, do you want to say ‘I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time watching TV and done [insert something you always wanted to do] instead?’

 

Being selective in what you watch, avoiding the channel surfing, not staying up late to see the end of a bad movie (or worse – one that you have seen before),  and being conscious of why you are watching the TV means you can get some enjoyment and R&R from it. Hey, you may learn some stuff too. I am not for throwing the baby out with the bath water. I just ask that you have a look at it. I did and it scared the bejesus out of me!

 

This is about the unconscious habits. Are we present or have we switched off? If you have asked the questions and considered the repercussions and consciously decide that yes, this is what I want to do, then fine. One last question though – are you really being honest with yourself?

 

I know it isn’t all as black and white as that. The numbers are not an exact science. But it makes me think about how I am using my time. And I am shocked. We don’t get TV time back. The hours have gone. Kaput! History!

 

How much time do you spend watching TV? What else would you like to do that you haven’t because you don’t have the time: your TV does? Leave a comment below with your views on your TV Habits.

 

And don’t forget to order your free weekly updates by subscribing here.

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72 Things I Don’t Want To Regret On My Deathbed

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”
Kurt Vonnegut

 

It is all too easy to forget our dreams and get caught up in the routine of non-life. The habit I want to look at today is that of ‘drifting through life’. This life has been given to me to love; to nurture; to care for; to challenge; to grow and to enjoy. If I were a plant, I would be dead by now.

 

So what do I want?
I want to live. I don’t mean survive, I mean really live. Embrace this wonderful gift of life I have been given and feel completely alive. Be amazed at things in the world. Re-awaken that awe and wonder I had as a child. Do things I thought I could never do. Be inspired and allow that inspiration to change me.

I want to inspire people. Why? Because I have done it in the past and it makes me feel alive. That is the feeling I want every day! To feel so much gratitude for life and for the people in it that I could cry tears of joy. Am I asking too much? I used to think so and tell myself, ‘Be sensible now’, ‘You need security’, ‘What about the future?’ and I would talk myself out of it. F&%# the future. It doesn’t exist. There is only today, and as cliché as it is, I could be dead tomorrow.

 

What is a bucket list?
Is it a list of wishful thinking? Is it something to do when you are bored and then lock away in a drawer? Or is it a list to inspire you to live?

My Bucket List is not a checklist to impress other people. Nothing on it is because that is the thing to do or because someone else said so. I have actually thought about everything on my list and asked myself, “Is this really what I want to do? Will my life be improved in some way by this experience?

 

Leaving a Legacy
I want to show my kids how to live, how not to be afraid. To show them through how I live that things are possible. I can’t do that just by talking to them. I can’t do that playing safe all the time. Yes, don’t be reckless. I need to use my brain AND my heart, but never just one. It is important to set goals, research, plan, but not to accept that this is all there is.

 

Make life happen.
I have achieved certain things in life after I decided to do it and I made it happen. The thing is it isn’t a habit yet. I still have that struggle where I am constrained by fears and self-imposed restrictions. I know I am capable but I haven’t let myself free. I have allowed time to pass. I have wasted it watching TV. The heavy TV schedule is gone and I have a plan (albeit vague).

 

My Bucket List
(In no particular order – in fact I deliberately messed up the order)

Critical
1. Reach one of the top ranks in Toastmasters
2. Earn €50,000 in one year from public speaking
3. Share a Shamanic journey with a Peruvian Shaman
4. Walk the Inca trail and see Machu Picchu
5. Skydive
6. Write a book
7. Have a book published
8. Get a degree
9. Speak in front of 500+ people about a subject I am passionate about
10. Develop an online business that earns over €4000/month in passive income
11. Build a blog with 5,000+ subscribers
12. Achieve 100% debt freedom
13. Take my kids for a camel ride in the Sahara desert
14. Sell 100 copies of my album
15. Become a Life Coach
16. Become an NLP Coach
17. Take my daughter to Alcatraz
18. Leave a legacy
19. Grow old satisfied, content and happy with my wife
20. Take my son to Japan (He is fascinated by all things Japanese)
21. Write and publish 52 blog posts
22. Write 52 guest blog posts and have them published
23. Walk my daughter down the aisle (if she wants to get married , of course)
24. Go on my son’s stag night and make it to the wedding (as above)
25. Have enough skills to be able to make money in lots of different ways doing things I enjoy
26. Achieve fluency in Spanish
27. Achieve fluency in Chinese
28. Para-glide
29. Raise a dog
30. Watch Liverpool play at Anfield
31. Take my son to Anfield
32. Organise and do a 2 week UK Tour with my band
33. Finish and release my album: composed, performed, recorded and produced by myself
34. Meet on-line friends from around the globe in person
35. Become a Yoga instructor
36. Teach my grandchildren a value that improves their lives that they never forget
37. Teach my kids a value that improves their lives that they never forget
38. Make my grandchildren laugh
39. Create unforgettable memories with my kids (although I can add to this)
40. Start a blog
41. Quit Smoking

Semi-critical
42. Perform on stage in front of at least 1,000 people
43. Live in an Ashram in India for at least 1 month
44. Live on a Greek island for 6 months
45. Hang-glide (anywhere)
46. Learn to Tango and Salsa to a proficient level
47. Go on a protest march for something I believe in
48. Be a guest on a prime time talk show
49. Perform at a stand-up comedy night
50. Live in a Spanish speaking country for 6 months
51. Take cold showers 100 days straight

Nice to have
52. See The Northern Lights
53. Visit Stonehenge
54. See the pyramids in Egypt
55. Visit Uluru (Ayers Rock)
56. See the Mona Lisa
57. Learn archery to a proficient level
58. Visit the Great Wall of China
59. Visit Athens
60. Visit either the North or the South Pole
61. Spend a night sleeping in the Amazon
62. Drive a left hand drive car
63. Read every Shakespeare play in one year (including the ones I have already read)
64. Live with monks for a month
65. Swim in the Infinity Pool in Singapore

Whimsical
66. Scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef
67. Ride a camel in the Sahara Desert
68. Appear in a Shakespearean play
69. Appear in a movie
70. Become a black belt in a martial art
71. Walk into the airport and randomly buy a ticket to somewhere I haven’t been
72. Get a 6-pack stomach (Just to have a photo proving I had one!)

As you can see I have crossed off some already. The plan now is to cross off more. I may add more or change some of the ones that are there. All that matters is that I am aiming at and experiencing more than what my day-to-day life will give me. I will update this at least once a year.

 

And here is a picture of me on tour with my band in 2010 (no. 32)

 

What things may you regret on your deathbed? Do you have a ‘bucket-list’? Is there anything listed above that you have already done? Leave a comment below to share.

And don’t forget to order your free weekly updates by subscribing here

 

Band Picture by Jane Hoskyn

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5 Ways to Stop Your Future Self Hating You

“A man who gives his children habits of industry provides for them better than by giving them fortune” – Richard Whately

 

Could the way you are treating yourself now be a reason for your future self to look back and hate the current you?

 

The actions you take or do not take today are a reflection of how you value yourself tomorrow. Any time that you procrastinate or you make decisions without thinking of the consequences. Any time you avoid situations because they may be too painful now could cause you more pain in the future. This openly says ‘this is what I think of you tomorrow’ and  ‘So what if you are now going to be so over-loaded – I really can’t be bothered with you today’.

 

You can find yourself looking back at yourself with anger and disappointment because of what you have done to yourself. And then the big-beat-the-crap-out-of-myself-stick comes out. And you don’t like yourself.

 

Don’t get me wrong here. There will have been situations where you knew no better. Where you protected yourself through denial or you tried your best to do the right thing at the time. You made the best decision you could have made at the time with the knowledge you had. I am not talking about those times. Those are bigger and deeper issues than what I am talking about here and need to be dealt with in a totally different way.

 

I am talking about those seemingly small things that are a lot easier for us to have a grip on. It is those moments of cowardice or laziness when we make small unconscious decisions to avoid something simply because we just don’t feel like doing it.

 

Some of mine are: I will just watch one more episode; I will just play one more game; I will just have one more biscuit; I will just have one more drink; I will cut the garden tomorrow; I will fix that leak when I am not as tired. These lead to me being tired or wasting time I could be doing something useful and the next day I have more to do and less energy to do them!

 

The first few times I do it I am consciously telling myself a lie. And over time I create a habit process, where I am longer thinking about it consciously. I go through the process of thinking I am thinking, but good old auto-pilot says, “Oh you leave that with me. I have got this. I know exactly what to do”.

 

So, what can we do?

1.       Make a conscious decision not to treat your future self so badly.

This is the most important step. This is the commitment part. Without this step, nothing else is going to work. To do this it may help to actually take some time out and think about all of the times you haven’t looked after the future you. Start by identifying as many as you can. Once you have 5 to 10 things, you automatically put this on your minds radar, and you are likely to start noticing more.

2.       Catch yourself each time you are doing it.

This is the moment of action, where you become conscious again. You know absolutely what you are doing. You have caught yourself in the act and it is time for a bit of tough love. You have to say, ‘No’. And if you remember Step 1, you will make the right decision.

3.       Imagine it is a child you are looking after

See the decision you are making as one for a child right now, not about you. This changes your perspective. The thing about seeing yourself as a child is that we are never as hard on a child as we are on ourselves or another adult. There is more gentleness. The firmness is still there, but it stops it turning into a self-flagellation contest.

4.       Keep a journal

By writing things down you are committing these to your memory and your focus. It reinforces what you are working on. It is also good to then look back on and see your progress.

5.       See your future self happy and thanking you for making things easier

We all feel good when we are thanked for something. Even thinking about someone smiling at us and being grateful can create a sense of well-being and a feel good factor. These are motivating in themselves. Another way to reinforce this is to actually thank yourself for what you did yesterday that made your life easier today. Even if it is only for making sure you went to bed early so you feel less tired today.  We are brought up to be grateful and say thank-you to others, but not to do it for ourselves. Often we neglect ourselves the most. It is a “give yourself a pat on the back” time and “Well done”. Gratitude, a sense of achievement, and feeling good for doing something kind for someone always gives us a lift.

 

What things do you know you do that make life difficult for yourself tomorrow? What have you come up with to change this?

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Self-Sabotaging Fears, Kevin Spacey and Cold Shower Therapy – Part 1

“Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct…” -
William James

We all have fears. Some are critical to our survival and some are not. I would go so far as to say most are not. The majority of our fears are like little prisons of our own devise. We have built up ways of dealing with these fears over the years and they are now ingrained habits in our thinking that can actually sabotage our way of life.

 

So, what has this got to do with Kevin Spacey and cold showers?

About a week ago I came across The Blog of Impossible Things and a post on Cold Shower Therapy (CST). The premise of the post was that taking a challenge of having cold showers for 28 days straight could help you get unstuck.  I signed up straight away and I have braved two days so far.

 

The first day and a visit from Kevin Spacey

I went to bed the night before D-Day all pumped up thinking ‘Yes, I can do this’. Bear in mind I have had this pumped feeling many times before going to bed and it was wiped out first thing in the morning before I even opened my eyes.

 

Next morning my first thought was ‘What the F*%&, what was I thinking? Why the hell have I signed up for this?’  I went downstairs and turned on the laptop. I lit a cigarette (and, yes folks, smoking is high on my list of habits to break.)  My internal dialogue went something like this:

‘Ok. I can do this. I’ll just have one more cigarette.’

‘God, if I can’t even do this, just 5 minutes of discomfort, how can I do anything?’

‘I really will do it in a minute. Check my emails. Ok. Just one more cigarette and then we shower’ (I did actually say ‘we’. I obviously felt that I needed more than just me to accomplish this!)

‘I need to get a fresh towel and have a drink of water.’

‘Have I watered the plants?’

 

I finally went to the shower and turned it on. I stood and looked at the shower head for about a minute, as if I had never seen it before. I looked at the time then tested the water with my hand. It was ice cold.

‘OK, it’s 06:47. I will get in at 6:48. Shit! 6.48. I stepped into the cubicle and waved goodbye to my family and friends.

 

I put my arms under. It feels cold, but not too bad. Then my legs and this is a little worse. You can guess at this point that although I was in the shower cubicle, I wasn’t directly under the shower. My head was next, but this is surprisingly OK. Then my face and ’God, I can’t breathe!’ Once I get the ability to breathe back I turn around and back under the shower.

 

The noises I make as the water hits my back are very scary. God knows what the neighbours think.  ‘Oooh – Ahhh – Agghh – Oooh – Ahh.’ Suddenly, without warning Kevin Spacey pops into my head uninvited, and I think that any neighbours listening will wonder if I am doing a ramped up version of his scene at the start of American Beauty :)

You try this and you will know that was the furthest thing from my mind!

 

I turn around and it is time for the nether regions. I am now singing Phantom of the Opera in a falsetto. Well, it’s some form of operatic vocalisation but I don’t think it will be getting a run on Broadway. Shower gel. Rinse off.

‘Shit, I forgot to set the alarm.’

‘ Is that 5 minutes yet?’

‘ OK. Make sure my whole body is in’

‘Hold a little longer. That has to be it.’

‘It is probably only 2 or 3 minutes. This sucks’

 

I stop the water, open the cubicle door and look at the time on my phone. Wow. 6 minutes! I grab the towel and start to dry off and I am actually laughing out loud. Damn, I feel good, both physically and mentally. I feel very, very proud!

 

Self-Sabotaging Fears

What is interesting so far is my thought process. Doing CST is increasing my self-awareness. It is making me pay attention to my thoughts.  And this raises the question – How often do I have the same thoughts about other things? What other things am I not doing because of how I deal with little fears, things much more important than a cold shower that could actually be good for me.

 

The drama I created in my head all over a cold shower is actually quite phenomenal. If I am applying the same habitual thought processes to other areas of my life where there could be any element of fear, like relationships, work, social occasions, hobbies and dreams, then what is the impact of this on how I live my life?

 

After a few more showers and some more reflection, I will write more in Part 2 of this post. For now though, you know what Kevin Spacey has to do with all of this. I don’t know why Kevin Spacey paid me a visit in the shower, and quite frankly, I don’t want to know why. He just did so let’s leave it at that.

 

Are you prepared to take the Cold Shower Therapy challenge? What seemingly harmless fears do you have that could be a reflection of how you think about more important matters?

 

Photo Copyright (c) 123RF Stock Photos

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A Brave New World (for me anyway)

Welcome!

 

I am half-way through my life, and I have finally realised that I am not living the life I could be living. Through collected habits and fears, and doing what I felt like I should be doing to be accepted by others, I have been living  life based on a paint-by-numbers system given to me by family, friends, society and media (all with the best intentions of course). But guess what? It isn’t working!

 

I believe that how we are on a day-to-day basis is an accumulation of habits we have developed since birth. Things that worked for us in the past, which at the time were useful, are no longer helping us. In fact they can now hold us back from flourishing as the person we truly are. Habits are not who we are. They are what we do.

 

So Breaking The Habit Of Me is not about rejecting who I am. It is not about creating the person I think I should be. It is about allowing myself to be me, by removing those habits that are getting in the way. Well, I believe it is never too late to change, and I also believe that everyone can change. So here goes.

 

I will be sharing thoughts and musings that I hope will inspire the right kind of thinking for both me and you. Through my own experiences I aim to explore and break my bad habits. I aim to help you and I approach the different situations and problems we come across in life (big and small), by trying things out and sharing my results and thoughts with you. These will range from the philosophical to the spiritual and the downright practical.

 

Anyone interested in finding out ways to improve their lot and live a life according to who they really are, I hope you will join me on my journey. I also hope you will allow me to share in yours. I want this to be an interactive experience, where everyone has the opportunity to meet new people, vent some spleen, and learn a few things along the way. Life is a truly wonderful thing when we don’t get in our own way :-)

 

So I look forward to getting to know those of you that will join me on this journey. Do ask questions. Do leave comments. As these will be my ongoing inspiration on what to write. One thing I have learned is that any problems I have had, someone else has had them too. And as messed up a species as we are at times, we can also be truly amazing in our resourcefulness, compassion, and ingenuity. And when that is shared, wonderful things can happen.

 

I plan at the start to write at least one post a week, while I cautiously tip-toe through this new terrain. As it gathers momentum I will increase this. So thank you for joining me on Life’s Journey Shared. Let’s make some changes and some new friends.

 

Keith

 

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