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Going Forward in Reverse

IMG_0301Cue “something, something, whale noises.” Totally metal.

Things have been happy and healthy around here. And by happy I mean incredibly busy with school, volunteering, and the revelation that I will be moving in December. Where, you ask? Not sure yet. Ask Uncle Sam. He may know, but he’s not telling me yet.

Fair enough, and so it goes. Although the chart toppers were Honolulu, Washington D.C., and Virginia Beach, let’s face it: Wyoming or Oklahoma are the most likely outcomes with my track record. But you know what? I’d like to think there would be immunity from North Dakota… but nothing is written.

Man, I’m all over these quotes today.

Fotor148918534056038_99a3fbca-5c10-4251-a571-024ac835c2b5Anyway, staying positive over here. In fact, there has been too many episodes of “My Island Life” and “House Hunters” about Hawaii and Washington, D.C. going on in this house. It’s always fun to dream, but as the last 10 years of military moving experiences dictate, one must be aware of the gravity of 100 people duking it out Celebrity Death Match style for one placement at Honolulu… or any place not Kansas.

As for healthy, I’m back in the gym! I do lead a fairly healthy lifestyle, but there’s always room for improvement. I got a really cute exercise and food planner from Fox & Moon and am loving the organization of everything. It’s so calming to me to know my plan and stick to it. Takes out the guess work.

I’ve been updating my Instagram quite a bit these days. I know the feed shows up below, but most fashion and lifestyle pics will be displayed there.

I returned from Central Florida this past Sunday. My grandmother passed away recently and I flew over there for her memorial service. During the service, I played the piano and my sister sang. FullSizeRender-8I was very proud that she was able to do such a great job: my job was easy. I can concentrate on music and not have to look at anyone, much less talk or sing. It was a beautiful celebration of life ceremony and I’m so happy I could give a little music back to Grandma. I also got some great time with my extended family, including an early birthday celebration at the Chart House in Melbourne. Dolphin watching was beautiful, as was the sunset, casting orange and pink hues across the Indian River.

Funny thing is, each time I visit Florida with Larry, we have some amazing wildlife experiences. On his first trip to Cocoa Beach, we witnessed about sixty Green Sea Turtles hatching and crawling to shore. This trip, we saw manatees. He must think Florida is this idyllic place, chock full of unique flora & fauna. I guess it really is. Nothing like a few years—all right, a decade—in the Central Time Zone to help you realize your good fortune.

Continue reading “Going Forward in Reverse”

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Real Talk.

I’m ready to check in with some writings of value or importance to me.

A friend and I were discussing how the world as of late can weigh you down, especially during tumultuous times such as the recent US election season and inauguration. It’s easy to become swept up in the huge amounts of negativity that seems to be everywhere. I suggested a simple meditation, a loose form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or “brain retraining.” He remarked he hasn’t the time or money to make this happen. I remarked it cost me no time and $0. Here’s what I said.

I started with small steps… paying attention to what I was thinking and how I tended to react to things. I placed a large focus on keeping unforeseen events and feelings in perspective and organizing them based on real, not perceived, importance. I started cutting out all the extra bullshit from my life.

Once I cut out the distractions, I could concentrate by focusing and meditating (thinking about, relaxing) on what truly matters to me and the person I want to be.

Here is an example:

OK, I am in bad traffic and I am running late for a class (or work or whatever). Instead of my old reaction of some sort of road rage, I tried putting on music or podcasts I liked, breathed deeply, realized others around me were going through the same shit, and tried to think about something positive.

So, let’s plan. What are the consequences of being late? Don’t jump to the worst possible outcome because being locked out of the class and publicly ridiculed will likely not happen today. What is the true, realistic outcome? Being late to class means it will be embarrassing for one class session because I have to walk in late, and quietly shut the door. No one else will remember this in a day. Nobody else cares about someone walking in late. I know I wouldn’t care or judge. Everyone has different things going on in their lives.

And lastly, how can I not be late next time? Let’s be realistic: Being late was nobody’s fault but my own. I have to take responsibility for not sticking to my schedule; acknowledging it is my fault is confirming that I know I have control to change it. If I blame someone else for my problem of being late, I cannot change their actions (only my own), and thus take this mindset of helplessness. Nobody benefits from feeling helpless.

I started small with things like this traffic example, then applied it to other scenarios. Eventually, over time, I changed my entire personality simply by reframing how I reacted to challenges. I became less jaded and angry, depressive bouts disappeared, and my personal resilience increased. I can handle just about anything! So it’s actually a retraining of your brain, in a way. Your immediate reactions change, if you let it. I used to get angry very quickly and hold petty grudges. I no longer get angry and never hold grudges. It is freedom and release to reclaim the power OVER you (outside actions) and changing it to YOUR power (how you let it affect you). And the best part? It costs $0.

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Unpacking & Cracking.

FALL. So with Louisiana’s nine month gestation of mosquitoes, humidity, and 95°F oppression drawing to a close, it is almost time to unpack boots, scarves, and everything that makes me a white, upper-middle class coffee-drinking American female. Or whatever stereotype works. And by that I mean boots, scarves, and baller grades in graduate school. This semester is focusing on theoretical approaches to counseling, and we have to basically select our model we will be using… forrrevverrrr. The one I am most interested in is, of course, abstract and scares people. Let’s talk about how you feel about what you’re doing with your life… & death.

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Anyway, it makes the most sense to me, and seems pretty useful for counseling military, veterans, and couples, with an emphasis on remaining respectful. So many therapists seem condescending or frankly, insulting that it frustrates me to no end. Acknowledging independence and encouraging personal responsibility always seems like a fair bet.

tumblr_o8kz2jJAxn1qiuiebo1_1280.jpgPROGRESS. I really believe this dumpster fire of an electoral process should just be summed up by who has the most clever memes…because that’s really all you see around the internet anyway to sway voters. Hills allotted like $125 million to make memes. Trump and Johnson have people doing it for free on Reddit, although Johnson did allot funds to make hilarious viral videos like this one. Dead Abe Lincoln should win a medal. Anyway, I sent my ballot in absentee last week. Pretty sure Hillary will steal it and use it as kindling to light a bomb fuze to kill Syrian civilians. And Trump will try to steal it and somehow write it off his tax return to avoid taxes. I told Larry I want to be a psychologist on Mars; Earth’s problems would seem so tiny when you have to worry about your potato crop getting wiped out by one teensy Mars outpost explosion.

The last “debates” were a snark fest. If I wanted to watch two people hurl clever jabs at each other, I’d watch an instructional video on marriage counseling. There was absolutely no debating, just insane claims and the so much fact checking that it’ll be completed by next election cycle. The New York prisoners’ debate team that defeated Harvard’s would be great coaches for Trump and Hills. Maybe they can both be sent there for charity fraud and improper handling of classified, respectively.

This Sarah’s Scribbles comic makes me sad. So much progress was made, and a year later, so many steps back… into the burning inferno of uncounted 2016 Presidential Election absentee ballots.

Continue reading “Unpacking & Cracking.”