I’ve spent the last few weeks coming to the realization that I have almost completely lost any mindfulness I had acquired since starting to read Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance.  I have not been meditating, have not been aware of my inner feelings or any of the things I believe will most help me in my desire to truly accept and love myself.

I went so far as to take a “mental health” day off from work last Wednesday because I realized I was getting too wound up at work, unable to do anything but fight the stress, frustration and inadequacy I was feeling.  That day was nothing special in and of itself.  I had no great epiphany or internal shift.  But I did outline some things I will do to prevent that kind of day from being necessary in the future.

First, I will exercise.  I burned a DVD of 10-minute pilates-based exercises a while back.  I can certainly spare 10 minutes each morning before breakfast to help strengthen my “core,” and if the rumors are true it should also help my emotional wellbeing.

I will get to work early enough that I can sit in my car and meditate for 10 minutes before starting the work day.

I made a couple signs to put around my desk.  One, on the bottom of my monitor, simply says “PAUSE.” This is in reference to Dr Brach’s technique of pausing in moments of overwhelming or intense feeling and simply allowing myself to feel what is going on in my body and mind rather than trying to push the feelings away.  It’s supposed to help in the long run if you do it regularly.  The next I taped just inside one of my drawers.  It is a reminder that being imperfect is part of existing and not something to beat myself up about.  The last is actually a quotation from Rainer Maria Rilke — it may have been part of a poem, I don’t know — the essence of which is: what if all the things we are deeply afraid of are really just helpless and alone, needing to be embraced & nurtured?  It’s a reminder that those parts of me that I dislike are really just disguising the deep unhappiness and pain I have felt throughout my life, and in order to allow the wounds to heal I will have to face those unpleasant characteristics and embrace them.

So far, so good.

I have also made an appointment with a homeopathic doctor.  I am both extremely skeptical of and very intrigued by the philosophies and methods of homeopathy.  Really the only reason I am trying it is that Mom has received treatment from this woman for a while now and has been very satisfied with the results.  Homeopathy, as I understand it, tries to address all facets of personal health, the mind as well as the body.  And since I have long suspected a link between my physical ailments and my emotional problems, it seems like it might be worth trying.  She confirmed that it was OK to continue taking my antidepressant until I get to a point where the homeopathic treatment has started to make a substantial difference.  We shall see.

Lately I have also become more interested in being more careful in my diet.  Eating smaller portions, cutting back the dairy and sugar I consume, etc.  Moosewood’s Low-Fat Cookbook has a lot of helpful information about nutrition and fat:carbohydrate:total calorie ratios, so I am using that as a jumping-off point, but I intend to gather data on the types of foods I generally eat and what kind of fat/carb/protein/calorie intake I am getting from them.  Due to my GI issues I am also looking to bolster my fiber intake and drink lots more water.  I think part of the reason I have avoided drinking water for so long is that I have to pee a lot more, and I’ve always hated having to go pee when I’m in the middle of something, and if you drink a lot of water, you’re very likely to be in the middle of something the next time you have to pee.  But it’s a small price to pay for getting a little healthier in mind and body.

 

My main concern is that I tend to get on these “kicks” for a while, then the energy surrounding it fades and I eventually stop applying myself to such degrees.  My goal here is to make these changes lifestyle changes and not just “diet”-like things that I will not keep doing.  We shall see.

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