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Posts Tagged ‘epsom salts’

All my life I have struggled with naming my emotions. As a child I was not allowed to be angry. Raised voices were a “no-no” in my house. We were to be bright, happy yet silent as children, an interesting combination.

As a child I learned to be a pleaser, and if my Mam or Dad were angry/upset, I would do everything I could to make them happy; overachiever, overworking, entertaining, being the clown, etc.

Growing up, if I was presented with an angry or upset person my first instinct was to make it better for them. Recently, I’ve found myself feeling a heightened sense of outrage at the injustice I see around me. I am experiencing emotions, without really understanding what they are.

For example, this morning I was driving in the village and as I approached one of the two intersections with traffic lights, I had the green light, so continued through the intersection. At that exact moment an elderly man was making a right hand turn against the red light. He did not see me. Thankfully I was able to stop before we collided.

As I sat in the intersection he gave me a disgusted look, yelled “bloody women drivers” and waved me through. I had stalled my car on an incline, so it took me a few seconds to get the car running again. Instead of waiting for me, he continued on his way, making a sharp right turn at the next street.

I was fuming, and felt that I had every right to be angry. But it wasn’t until several hours later that I could actually name the emotion of anger. I had every right to be angry. But I also had every right to be grateful that we did not collide and nobody was injured…other than egos and pride.

Lately I am realising that the predominant emotion I am feeling is anger…almost to the point of rage. By nature I am a caring person. I take satisfaction in doing for other people. It is in my vocation to give emotionally, spiritually, etc.

I believe part of the reason I am now on a medical leave is because I am feeling such great anger and frustration. I feel that many of the people in my life, especially in my immediate family, are taking much more than they are giving. Instead of seeing that I am doing for them because I want to, I am feeling anger that they are not reciprocating and/or they are not appreciative.

I am not supposed to do things to receive thanks. And yet, right now, it is something I need.

Why is that?

I am, by nature, an optimistic, balanced, happy person. But not lately. I’ve been surly, miserable and downright snarly. I raise my voice much more often, I feel an emptiness inside and I’m looking for something to fill it. Most often, it’s chocolate. But the thing is, the chocolate isn’t filling the void. It’s expanding my waistline.

Slowly it is dawning on me that I am looking for everyone else to make me happy, instead of seeking to make myself happy. I want everyone to behave the way I feel they should; instead of accepting them for who they are.

One of the most destructive enabling behaviours is the phrase “It’s just the way s/he is”. There is a parishioner who is a bully. He shouts, insults, bangs his fist on the table, in order to be heard and to get what he wants. It is hard work to deal with him. And when I challenge him on his bullying behaviour I am taken aside and told “It’s the just the way he is”, or “he’s much better than he used to be”. Neither of which are acceptable.

I believe that everyone should be held accountable for their behaviour and that everyone should do their best to understand how the other person is feeling. Seldom is this behaviour extended to me and, I have to admit, it upsets me.

Slowly but surely I am realising that there are very few things I can control. The only emotions I control are my own, especially once I name them and own them.

The Canadian Mental Health Association came out with this great chart meant for children, to identify what it is they are feeling. I think I need one for my office, so I can identify what I am feeling. It’s strange to be 46 years old and unable to identify basic emotions.

Life is a learning curve and lately the curve has been steep.

If I were to make a list of the things that make me happy they would include taking a bike ride through the village; walking the dogs; doing yoga outside; yoga inside; dancing around the house like a fool; writing letters to friends; reading a novel; writing in my journal; taking a warm, soothing bath with epsom salts and baking soda; blogging.

As I look at this list, I realise I don’t do any of these things as often as I should.

I will do more things on that list on a more regular basis.

Starting now.

Some realisations that have come to me are: My happiness does not depend on anyone other than me.
I have every right to be angry and express that emotion. Further, I can express anger without guilt. I can disagree with someone without being a bad person. And if that person thinks I am a bad person, that is their emotion to own; not mine.

I do not have to be held hostage by a crippling fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. It never stopped Jesus. And aside from the crucifixion, it worked out alright for him (in the end).

I have been mired up in anxiety, angst, frustration, anger and rage. It’s time to do, say and live in a way that makes me happy.

That’s not selfish; it’s self-care, and self-loving.

So that will be what I focus on for the rest of 2014…and perhaps longer than that.

Starting now.

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My ankle that is. It’s pretty bruised, as is the big toe on my right foot. Today I bought a brace for my ankle so I can continue to be barefoot in Church.

We have had two evening services for Holy Week thus far and there is another one tonight.

The services for Monday and Tuesday I was able to sit for them, which was good. Tonight will be a different thing. The service begins in the sanctuary, moves to the back of the Church (the baptistery) then moves back to the altar. So there will be walking, but I reckon if I take my time I should be okay.

I’ve had to rethink how I preside Maundy Thursday as I used to kneel when I washed feet. This year I’ll need to sit on a stool. It will be awkward, but it should work.

I got a call today from a lady whose husband just died. She’s originally from this community and has family here, but she lives out-of-town. She’s made arrangements for cremation and his remains will be interred, on Saturday. I am meeting with her and her sister on Friday.

Holy Week is meant to be a week of reflection and preparation. And yet, every single year I have had a funeral and all the pastoral responsibilities that go with it. So even though I try not to over-plan the week or over-fill it with responsibilities, there always seems to be “one more” event.

Having a sprain this year has really taught me about pacing myself. I overdid it yesterday and had a horrible night last night. Today was supposed to be an easier day, but then the phone rang and I needed to go to the hospital to see a parishioner, as well as preside a service at a nursing home.

I have a service in an hour and a half and my left ankle is swollen and throbbing. I was going to do some work tonight after worship. Instead I am going to do that work tomorrow morning, and tonight, after worship, I will have a long soak in a warm bath with epsom salts.

I changed the bed last night, so it will be comfortable, soft, clean sheets I sink into, well before midnight tonight.

Thanks be to God.

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Today is day 4 of the 30 day juice challenge. I went to the grocers on Monday and picked up the produce I need for the week as well as a few other groceries. I gasped when I saw the total for the groceries, but then, I did have nearly 8 lbs of apples alone. Three of the four juices have been quite good; one, not so much, but at least I did drink all of it. *urp*

I’m feeling about the same thus far. We have eaten dinner at home every night this week, and that, in itself, is an accomplishment. I am making something different for dinner tonight, lentil soup. The recipe sounds interesting and I have everything I need to make the soup at home. I’ve also got a loaf of crusty artisan bread to heat and have with the soup. Yum!

This entire week has been filled with running from place to place, errands, hospital visits, home visits, urgent telephone calls, and today I’m finding myself feeling anxious and run down. I have been sticking to my meds and vitamin/mineral schedule so that is helping me feel somewhat better. I am not drinking as much water as I should. But I am drinking tea (herbal mostly) and when I want coffee, it’s decaffeinated.

Last night I soaked in the bath. It was glorious. I lit some candles and relaxed, letting the water soothe me. I concentrated on my breathing and let the day wash over me. All in all it was a good day.

Today has been relatively productive. All my administrative work is caught up. The pile that needed to be filed has been done. Once we get one more T4 for my beloved we can file our taxes.

Tomorrow I have a breakfast meeting, a hospital visit, a lunch meeting, a massage and then I am heading to pick up my Mam for the weekend.

This is going to be a hectic time with lots to do, but I trust that it will all get done. And if I can’t recruit help for what I don’t have time for, it will remain undone. And that’s okay.

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It’s the time of year when so many people say “I can’t wait for this year to be over, next year is going to be so much better”. And what does that really mean?

Yes, 2013 has been a tough year for the community in which I live. There have been so many deaths and looking out at the congregation on Christmas Eve at 7:00 pm I had a catch in my throat through nearly the whole service. Looking out and seeing the families who are at their first Christmas Eve service since their loved one died. And feeling lost. I understand that feel very well.

On the radio and all over the internet, there are top 10 lists and “Best Of” lists and montages of 2013. Many people find it necessary to make Resolutions, as though the new year isn’t really a new year unless there is a list of often unattainable resolutions. THIS is the year I will run the Boston Marathon (and yet, getting up to the fridge during commercials makes one winded). THIS is the year I will lose 100 lbs (and yet not change eating habits or exercise in any way). THIS is the year I will meet Mr or Ms Right (and never leave the house) etc.

For me, resolutions are a recipe for disaster and I refuse to make them. What I do, instead, is look at my lifestyle from time to time, usually every 3 – 4 months and see where I am physically, spiritually, mentally, etc and decide if there are changes I should make or new habits I should incorporate. And then I do them.

Putting pressure on one night, New Years Eve, is crazy. It’s too much pressure. And it sets us up to failure. How many gyms has fantastic “resolution” specials, and by the first of February they are back to near empty? How many people have gym memberships that are virtually untouched? How many of us have exercise equipment that collects dust or holds unworn clothing?

This year I refuse to bend to pressure to make and share resolutions. I will live my life as healthy as I can. I will continue to reduce stress and to put myself higher on the priority list. I will be more diligent at taking care of myself and my family. I will continue to stamp out negative talk and self-shaming chatter, in my head and in the mouth of my daughter. There will continue to be no room for H8 in my house, and plenty of room for LOVE.

I still struggle as a food addict. I still have days when I hurt. And yet, these addictions and abuse do not define who I am. Or what I do. They are a part of my life, and likely always will be. And the living will be in the tension of finding the correct balance. Some days will be easier than others, just like always.

Live your life, love who you are. Make adjustments because you want to, not because of society’s pressure to do so. Eliminate H8 and love with all you are and with everything you have.

THAT is how we will change the world. Not with resolutions, but with love.

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I have a confession to make…I don’t juggle. I used to be able to juggle two tennis balls if I concentrated really hard. But I don’t think I can do that anymore.

The new school year is upon us and the juggling game continues. My Mam has been visiting for the past week and while I enjoy having her here, she doesn’t seem to have the ability to spend more than an hour alone. It’s a litany of aches and pains, constantly checking her arms and legs, “does this look different to you?” and on and on.

My “job” is a vocation, which means on call 24/7, 365. I have to fit in other parts of my life around my job. It should be the other way around, but it’s not. Most of the time I handle all that stuff pretty well, but lately, it seems like it’s been more work and harder than it needs to be.

For example. My daughter by marriage and I had a conversation before the start of school about what she wanted for breakfasts and lunches. She’s a fussy eater and it takes some cajoling to get her to try new things. So we have a list of foods that she will eat for breakfast and/or lunch. She makes her own lunches and I usually take care of breakfast. The first day of school she left her lunch bag at school. So we had to scramble to find another one when she overslept this morning. By the time I got her lunch packed and her out the door she made it with only a couple of minutes to spare before the school bus came.

Then there was laundry. I wanted to do my laundry, and there was my husband’s work laundry in the dryer. He’s great at starting things, but seldom finishes them. I could leave it for him to finish, but I don’t because I need to get my laundry, or bedding for the house, or towels, etc., done. So I finish his before I start mine.

Then there’s my Mam who wants to go visit her friend. I told her I had to go to the office first and would take her afterwards. She gave me an hour at the office then she walked over to see when we were going to see her friend, and should we go out for breakfast first. So I stopped what I was doing and we went out for breakfast.

So now I’m hours behind in my housework, hours behind in my office work and not enough time to prepare for a meeting tonight because I still have to get dinner ready. Where’s the rest of my family? Husband is at work, daughter is doing homework and mother is sleeping.

So, I will go to a meeting tonight only partially prepared and it will bug me far more than it does anyone else. But that’s how I roll. I like things to be finished. I like things to be prepared and ready.

Juggling? I don’t think so.

BUT tomorrow is another day. I am hoping that the kitchen will be cleaned up while I am at the meeting. I am hoping I can come in from the meeting, have a long soak in a hot bath and then go to bed.

The reality may be very different. But there is always hope. I live in a little place called Hope. I like it there and they know me.

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It was a great time on vacation. I spent the best part of the first week sleeping. I knew I was exhausted, but I had little comprehension of just how exhausted I was. I look rested, I feel rested and at the same time I’m feeling quite overwhelmed.

I have had difficulty keeping focus since I got home. The house is in a perpetual state of disarray, and I’m trying to get laundry done, as well as organize the next couple of weeks. I will be very glad when school starts and swimming lessons finish so I can return to some kind of routine.

Being away I had a lot of time to think. About who I am and what I want. I have realised that I don’t have the physical strength to do many of things I really want to do. I wanted to take up running again, but I don’t think my joints will handle it. I wanted to do all kinds of things, and yet I didn’t get many of them done. And I guess, that’s okay.

So right now I’m dealing with a full-blown CFS flare. My body aches, my joints are warm (which is not good), my sleep is interrupted, not restful and I’ve got more verbal and cognitive confusion than usual.

I likely could have used one more week, but the reality of the parish means it’s not possible. I came back to a massive pastoral issue that needed to be dealt with and still needs to be dealt with. And there is the joy of an out-of-town wedding on Friday/Saturday, then another wedding the weekend after.

So it simply never ends.

I’ve had a houseful of people since I got home and I can’t find a moment’s peace. And it doesn’t seem to matter. So, I need to breathe, remove myself, and try to be gentle with myself.

After two more emails I will. Honestly.

I am glad to be back. I am.

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The past week has been a crazy, busy week with appointments, meetings and pastoral calls. Add to that the usual busy-ness of a household, laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc., and there’s just not enough time to get it all done.

I struggle with a condition called CFS or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s a rather mysterious and mis-understood illness that affects the immune system. I’m fortunate that my type of CFS is considered mild. To give you an example of what it feels like to have CFS, think of how you feel when you have the ‘flu…the aching, tight chest, dragging feeling. That’s how I feel on most “good” days.

But being the type of person I am, I push though it, I “ignore” the pain and get on with doing what needs to be done.

And on occasion, when I’ve overdone it for too long, and under-appreciated my body I get a stern warning, usually in the form of overwhelming exhaustion that makes my body shut down until it gets itself rested. On Wednesday night, this happened. I had “just one more” thing to do and I went upstairs to put some laundry away. Suddenly the horizon vanished and I had no idea if I was right side up or upside down. I don’t LIKE that feeling.

I called for my husband and he helped me find the way to right myself, and get me into bed. Yesterday, after a particularly grueling morning I left the unfinished things at the office and came home to lie down. I slept most of the afternoon away.

Today I feel like I’ve been put in a bag and beaten, but at least with epsom salt baths and early bedtimes, I’m beginning to return to some semblance of better. I wish I didn’t have this disorder and yet it helps me (as strange as this sounds) to better care for myself. Because when I ignore the longings of my body for rest for too long, my body fights back.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make a cup of sleepytime tea, and retire early tonight.

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