Monday, May 10, 2010

Ancient History

Just what does that refer to? Stuff that happened long ago and the temper is still lingering. The ‘hurt’ is still there, because the temper – the judgement of ‘that was wrong’ and ‘still is wrong’ in our minds (our thoughts).
The ‘long ago’ could be two months ago, two years ago, 22 years ago or even longer.

Here are few examples:
A teacher (let’s call her ‘Beth’) who finds herself feeling insecure in her profession knows her insecurity is rooted in an event which happened a long time ago. Back in third grade her grades weren’t the best. School personnel were concerned, and offered two options: either move Beth to the next grade, or have her repeat the third grade. Beth’s Mother decided the best route would be to have her repeat the grade.
More than 30 years later, when thoughts about this far away event come to mind, they still bring up shame (fear) and the idea (thought) that her Mother’s choice was wrong. Then of course, Mary’s insecurity increases.

Right now ‘John’ is having some money problems. Every once in a while he remembers the fact that right after high school when he got his first job and was still living in his parent’s home, they ‘made’ him pay rent. John still resents that rule his Mom & Dad came up with. Thoughts such as: "Paying rent in your own family’s home? That’s not right!" come to mind even now when he finds himself ‘short on cash’.

And here’s one from me, which is really where I came up with this notion of taking care of ancient temper. When I was seven years old I made my First Communion, had a party, and received some gifts of money. I wanted a new bike. My girlfriend’s had shiny two-wheel bicycles their parents bought for them. Me? I ‘had’ to spend ‘all’ my gift money if I wanted a bike. It’s the decision my Father made.

Every time that event came to mind – and it may have been only once every few years, it still ‘hurt’. Everybody else’s parents bought them stuff, why did I have to spend my money? I thought my parents were being mean to me. And that childish ‘thought’ stayed with me, that childish ‘temper’ stayed with me well into my 30’s.
Until, until one time it came up again, and I dismissed the temper. I released the judgement. They were not wrong, they were average. And, I was not wrong, I was average for not liking it. Done!

Yes, I still remember the incident (obviously, I’m writing about it). But, it doesn’t ‘sting’ anymore. It doesn’t bring up the resentment (temper). It doesn’t bring up the ‘that wasn’t fair’, it’s no longer connected with, ‘they didn’t love me as much as those others kids parents loved them’. I have to say, it does feel very good to be rid of the distress around that incident.

The point is – temper, is temper, is temper. And temper causes tension, and tension causes symptoms. No matter when something happened, no matter if the persons involved are alive or no longer on the planet, the temper can be and must be eliminated, or else the tension will continue – and escalate

Why go through the trouble of neutralizing that stuff from the past when it comes up? My reason –simply to FEEL GOOD … To be At Ease and In Control.
I’d rather be happy and at peace. Wouldn’t you?

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Saturday, May 8, 2010

.. .Taking Them Off Is Up to Us!

Recently I talked with a dear, dear Friend I met when I first started attending RI meetings. We had been out of touch for more than a decade, and it was so good to connect again. We reminisced about former days and our conversation was sprinkled with Recovery language.

During the course of our phone visit he mentioned something we had never talked about before. Early-on in his practice, he chose a goal - to be able to go out/be in a public situation for two hours – no matter how strong his symptoms might be. I thought WOW – that’s a really good target to strive for! He added: “You can do just about anything in a two hour time span – go to church, a movie, out to dinner, visit friends or relatives at their home, etc.” When he was talking about it, I thought – what a wonderful idea!!

The sad part is, 20+ years later, he remains at his two-hour limit. Two hours is the ‘most’ discomfort he’s willing to bear. He talked about wanting to fly pretty much across the country to see friends, and had been hesitating and in duality about it for more than a year. “I want to, but I don’t think I can bear that much discomfort.” The time it took to get to the airport, the extended time in the plane, then the ride to his friend’s home - when he calculated all that time, he labeled it ‘too much’. Plus, he would be in a ‘strange’ place for five days. Too much discomfort to bear!! He wasn’t ‘willing’.

For a person with high anxiety or panic, extending personal limits of how much discomfort to experience is how we operate at first. Little by little is the method of building up our nerve resistance. That’s how I did it. In fact, I called them ‘baby steps’. A little at a time. And I consciously chose to extend the time. Yes, I actually kept a written log. How else would I truly/accurately know if I had exceeded my last objective?

Dr. Low referred to taking off the limits, with this phrase: Take the ceiling off the amount of discomfort you’re willing to bear.
In order to be able to do literally anything, I learned in time that I couldn’t simply keep raising my ceiling inch by inch – or quarter hour by quarter hour – I had to take OFF the ceiling.
I had to take off ALL then limits I was setting for myself.
No one else was holding me back, but me.
I had to say: “I don’t care how uncomfortable I get – I’m going to do this”. (and for the record: I did say that aloud to myself)

Sooner or later, if we really, really, really want to reach the ‘final cure’ we all have to make that decision for ourselves.
Rather than “It’s soooo uncomfortable, we have to learn to say:
So! It’s uncomfortable.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Can’t Do Everything!!

That’s right. You can’t. None of us can. We’re people, not machines. Even computers have their limitations. We can’t be ALL things, to ALL people ALL of the time. This is especially important if you’re the major ‘doer’ in your household, or you’re single and there’s only you to do all the things that need being done.

When it ‘feels’ like we have ‘too’ much to do, it’s because we’re ‘thinking’ we’ve got too much to do. When we have scattered ambitions - thoughts about what should be done and where to start - often, nothing or next to nothing gets done. Then the self-blame sets in. The “I can’t do everything” is joined by “I can’t get motivated” or “What’s wrong with me?” or “I’m so disorganized” - thoughts with the theme of “I’m wrong”.

It’s important to know your limitations, and HONOR those limitations. And, it’s just as important to get moving.

The solution: Pick and choose – then move those muscles. Parts acts. Do this. Then that. When I follow that process, I’m always pleasantly surprise how much I can accomplish

Lots of experts tell us to prioritize first. That’s good advice, and sometimes necessary or wise, especially in a work situation. And here’s another suggestion: when there are many things to do, just do one. Then do another. Then do another. Then do another.

Resoluteness and determination come from our thoughts.
Think: “I CAN do this, I WILL accomplish something” plus move the muscles. The muscular action of ‘doing’ may be mechanical at first, but then you’ll get into the swing of things.

Move da muscles. Move da muscles. Move da muscles.
My motto: Maybe I can’t do everything, but I can do something.

© 2010 Rose VanSickle ~ All rights reserved