A Lifeless Life

We live a lifeless life

When we forget to love ourselves on the hard days

When we lie about how we truly feel

When we go after money & things instead of love, beauty and art

When we enjoy less to work more

When we allow our ego define our friendships

& our insecurities to break our marriages

And when our loyalty turn into obligation

& our compassion into apathy

When our greediness blinds our hearts

& our need for superiority comes in the way of empathy and understanding

We live a lifeless life when we forget the good in people because they failed to please us on certain occasions, or because we chose avoidance over confrontation

When we become victims of our own addictions and fail to take charge of our inner powers

When we lie to avoid truth, when we avoid truth to escape consequences and when we escape consequences just to keep living a lie.

August Blues

There is one kind of pain that we chose to never let go of. It is a pain that grabs you by the heart and infuses a bittersweet venom into its vessels. It never lets you go…

Where do I go with this pain?
Do I take it in…Do I pull it out?

It is a pain that breaks you, heals you, a pain that shapes you and creates a new essence of you. It makes you who you are today.

A pain of tragedy, of soft agony, of malaise. A pain of missing home.

A Pain of a fractured little soul.

A pain of melancholy – a pain of comfort and somehow a comfort in pain.

A pain of anguish, of frustration, a pain of anger mixed with consoling grief.

A pain that is immortal, that flows in smoothly, that fills the void – an analgesic, paradoxically.

A pain of stuckness, a pain of change, a pain of moving on.

A pain of absence – and the presence of that absence is Everywhere!

A pain of permanence.

Of comfort.

Of solace.

A shaded pain of countless colors.

A pain of love.

Of contentment.

Of acceptance.

Of no separation.

You lose yourself in this kind of pain – You find yourself there too.

Grief never ends – It changes – It’s a passage, not a place to stay. It turns a pain of tragedy, of agony, of melancholy, into a pain of comfort, of love, of overwhelming peace.

It Is The Price of Love

PEN

 

Life Inside a Restless Mind

“SUDDENLY it becomes hard to BREATHE!” That’s how it sometimes feels. That’s how it usually starts. An event, a trigger, a vague or precise stimulus, an irrational or oblivious thought, an image, a word, or just nothing at all!

That’s when it starts feeling like the whole world is collapsing; space around you becomes narrow or it too wide! The air feels like it’s being sucked out, time no longer makes sense, rational cognition no longer intact, mind freezes, feelings start bombarding together, emotions clashing and almost everything is in complete dissonance.

And all of a sudden; rush of irrational and cloudy thoughts, a crowded mind, confusion, chest tightness, shortness of breath, tremor, nausea and sweating. Your system gets flooded with norepinephrine and cortisol and your body and brain becomes wired to be on the lookout for potential threats. It pulls you down, it shakes your mind/body/and soul, paradoxically it shuts down your system, and it withdraws your sense of peace, tranquility and clarity.

For those who experience this, a sudden and full-blown panic attack, it is quite debilitating and tiring. It feels like something is taking over your mind and body and crippling you. But what is underneath all of it ? The fear of fear. It is the fear of the unknown, the unpredictable and the unclear. It is your mind creating a draining and overwhelming scenarios in the future and living it in the present. It is your mind creating a series of unhealthy, untrue, invalid, catastrophic and inaccurate life events. It is preparing your body and mind to receive these events. It is coercing your body and mind to react to these events. It is absolutely hard to control…

Somehow, you think you are preparing yourself, you think you are anticipating, you believe you can’t control it and you convince yourself that what you are afraid will happen is inevitable and will absolutely take place. You convince yourself that the expected unknown catastrophe will befall. Thus, your body is always in the “Fight or Flight” response.

When all of this is happening and you feel your whole world collapsing and your knees are touching the ground, “Take this still moment to acknowledge the countless times that you have faced your worst fears, fallen down, stood up again, dusted yourself off, and found the strength to move forward” and allow it to pass. You will survive this.

PEN

 

Coping with Loss and Grief

The other day I was sitting at a Doctor’s Clinic and there were couple of people just standing there waiting to go in. After someone randomly asks me what I do for a living and I answered that I am a psychologist, a woman who was looking away turns her head and asks me in a clear and firm voice ” My husband recently passed away and I still haven’t shed a tear. I wonder what that says about me”. People who were hearing her speak looked at her with surprise and I could sense that they were somehow judging. It was painfully clear that this person had a lot of intense mixed emotions as her eyes gets watery. I could sense it in her voice and in the way she was talking; focusing on the words she’s saying and controlling her emotions. She went on to say that her husband passed away couple of weeks ago and she has not been able to express herself emotionally or through crying. As she was talking, I could feel how angry this woman was… how angry and how Broken. Underneath all this anger, there were a lot of defenses, a lot of rationalization, a lot of anxiety, a lot of emotions and much more ….

She kept on talking about how she is now focusing on solving some pending problems and controlling her emotional expression (Instrumental Grieving) and also wondering and asking me if this makes her “Abnormal” and “Different from anybody else”. What I am sure of is that this makes her  only human…this makes her a person who is going through an extremely painful, confusing, life-changing, troubling, heart-wrecking and immensely hard transitional period. Her coping pattern, in whichever way it is, makes her only human. Even though it might not make a lot of sense to other people, even though it does not follow the “norm of grieving” that we might be familiar with, even though it sometimes takes TIME for the person to let go of the emotions (rage, sadness, anger, guilt….) associated with the grieving, it is still a grieving process and this is still a person who is in need of support to get to the end of the tunnel and to see the light. Grief is not only experienced when we lose someone close to us because of the fact that we won’t be seeing them or be connected to them physically and emotionally. Grief is also experienced when the passing away of the person is also associated with the death of other life essentials – The death of Hope; hope that the person will change, will say things we need to hear …. – The death of Dreams; to share life experiences and life events with this person… -The death of Completion and Wholeness; feeling that you are whole and complete….and many many other losses. The person grieves many losses and every person grieves differently.

Accepting people’s coping mechanisms, and in specific their personal grieving experiences is important. Compassion, support, validation, empathy and accepting “where the person is” are all essential factors that can very much scaffold the person going through this hard and transitional period. No one way of grieving is better than any other. In such a situation, the human being acts in the “best way” he can, knows and is capable of, we need to respect that and be present to welcome and embrace the emotions when the person is ready to come in contact with them.

“The only people who think there is a time limit for Grief have never lost a piece of their Heart. Take all the time you need”

PEN

Impermanence

I have learned that nothing lasts forever…

It took quite some time to acknowledge this, but with the time I needed, I came to realize that nothing really lasts forever. Whether it was a situation, an emotion, some friendships maybe or even a state of mind. I learned that we can have expectations of how we’d like things to end up, but we can’t really attach our hopes indefinitely to those expectations. So yes, change does take place, and the sooner you acknowledge this the more accepting you become and the less you approach it with denial and resistance.

I approached change many times with resistance and it became overtiring and overwhelming. I resisted accepting changes in my thoughts, in my beliefs and in my relationships. Then, when I started acknowledging that change is inevitable; I denied it, I fought it, and also tried to change it – to REVERSE CHANGE. Well, Impossible

So, it is okay that it takes time to understand your emotions, to accept them, and to decide how to deal with them. At times you understand how you feel but you are not willing to do anything about it. You just want to bypass those emotions and continue doing what you are doing – what you do best, DETACH. You either avoid them or you try to overcompensate to fix what is going on. Both ways, you are compromising at the expense of your own personal needs. At times we do this because we think the loss might be too big for our minds and heart to tolerate and accept or because we do not want to deal with conflict or CHANGE. And Change, comes with loss most of the time. You may gain as well, but loss is always involved. When you change jobs, when you get promoted, when you move to a new country, when you get married, when you have a child…there is always something essential you are winning but there is definitely something valuable that you are losing. Let yourself experience the loss, process it, and find a way to compensate for it.

Sometimes we avoid change because we are afraid of conflict; we think that conflict will lead to destruction which will be detrimental and unbearable. Sometimes we think wrong… and that’s okay.

For us to move on and accept change instead of resisting it; there are few things to keep in mind. Of those things, you need to remind yourself that change is inevitable. It is the one thing that is constant and the one thing that you cannot and will not be able to run away from no matter how hard you try. Change is scary – in your mind most of the times – but not always in the larger scope of things. Change is inevitable and it is the only thing that is stable in life. Change in your thoughts, your emotions, your preferences, your tolerance, your pain, your perceptions, your convictions, your beliefs and your coping mechanisms.

Change to external things around us is sometimes only a reflection of the change that already happened within us. What happens on the inside creates a drive for us to change our direction, to shift gears and to move forward. At other times, change comes out of the blue, all of the sudden, without any prior notice/sign/or preparation. This is not the real challenge, this is just the event that will create the change that needed to happen, or was forced on you; and then comes the work…

Embrace it, don’t fight it. If it makes you angry, then allow yourself to feel the anger but let it happen. Allow the change to take place and have faith in the process and that it will get you to the place/state of mind/emotion that you need. Allow it to take place, to shape you/mold you and make you what you need to be.

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” – Alan Watts

PEN

Mind Auto-Destruction

How would you know if you had an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease is when your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake. It can attack different organs in your body. It is an immune response caused by systemic inflammation that leads your body to attack itself.

Nothing sounds more frightening than that, right? Your own being attacking your whole being.

Would you stop for a second and think about how destructive your body can be towards itself?

What if YOU had an autoimmune disease? Just not one involving your immune system. It’s an autoimmune disease that your mind created due to past interactions and experiences and activated. And what it does is it attacks healthy cells in your mind. In turn, this affects your entire brain and body system, your whole being and everything that makes you who you are.

Relatively, we all have the need to take care of ourselves, to do good for ourselves. Nevertheless, how could someone want – on some level of awareness – to do something good for themselves, and at the same time have this system of chronic self-hurt and self-sabotage?

When something external is perceived as potentially harmful or threatening, our minds sometimes misinterprets the signal and fails to recognize the difference between the intrusive stimulus (i.e., Hurtful reactions, disrespect, antagonism, hostility, grief, rejection, disapproval, judgment, injustice…) and parts of our being, and what our system does is start firing at its own temple – its own secure base – it’s “shelter”. Your MIND starts attacking itself! Your mind turns all of its antibodies against itself and it starts firing up, and mercilessly wrecking its own being. How would you be capable of doing something good for yourself now? You stagnate. This is what self punitive mode and self critical mode sounds like.

Why is it difficult for us to fire at the target?

Emotions are our most powerful inner drives. They are our weapons, our catalysts. They’re everything. As much as we would like to deny that, it is true. They are the inner forces that direct all of our outer behavior. When negatives emotions are scary or painful, and when we start feeling vulnerable and volatile, we shut them off, or mask them. This temporarily works at some level – at just a superficial level and destructs at a much deeper level, the core – this is cataclysmic reaction – a violent and hostile destruction. Why? Because when emotions are shut off, masked, denied their freedom to float in your body and soul, towards the intended target, these emotions get bounced back at you. Your mind misidentifies the original target and uses these negative emotions to fire at itself. You attack yourself and you protect the target. For example, anger towards an ill parent will get directed back onto you because on an unconscious level you want to protect the parent whom you love from your anger.

And this how we learn to revert into self-destructive behavior (addiction, emotional eating, self-doubt and self-criticism). This ultimately breaks our core and stunts our growth.

Remember, emotions are your inner drives. They can direct you wherever you want, the way YOU want. Most of all, they direct you towards acknowledging the reality. One thing, however, is that emotions are destructive if not allowed to flow naturally and if not allowed to take a seat next to you for a little while, Just for a little while…

Once you chose to face the reality as it is, you will be freed of this self-destructive pattern and mechanism of autoimmune attack. You are no longer a recipient of all negative emotions and hostility. You are deactivating the system you’ve created because you realized that emotions are real and they can be painful but pain is part of life and it is transitory. Suffering is a choice and it is perpetual. It doesn’t allow you to do good for yourself. It doesn’t allow you to move forward. Thing is; only you can do that. Only you, can take ownership, and chose to be responsible for doing good for yourself.

It is somehow a privilege. No one is entitled to your being more than you are. Thus, no one can make you want to do good for yourself or change. Only YOU can change you. That is the privilege that you have.

The first good thing you can do for yourself is to love yourself. To love yourself is to practice compassion and acceptance towards yourself. That is one thing only you are able to offer yourself. It can only come from within your core.

“Having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Pema Chodron

PEN