Keeping It Real

serenity
serenity (Photo credit: dragonflaiii)

So I was watching the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) this morning and there were all these fascinating episodes that dealt with “self.” Like, how we treat the self, how outside events impact the self and so much stuff I went out and bought a book by one of the people Oprah was interviewing.  “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer.  The book is to liberate us from a contained self-image.

Based solely on the interview, the information I gathered from the show and snippets of the book I scanned, I have hope that this book will break me through my final barrier… me.

I have always tried to keep it real.  I’ve tried to remain grounded in all I do, say or feel along with trying to be there for anyone who crosses my life path. But there are these things, these feelings, that get in the way on a consistent basis.  And when I let my head get the best of me, I am no longer keeping it real per say, but getting sucked into a myopic array of disillusionment which takes me back to that dark room of self-loathing.

Yeah, pretty messed up stuff.  The more messed up part of all this crap is that I project this putrid bile onto other human beings.  Instead of just being in a moment or looking at things for what they are, I tend to read deeper into whatever is going on and then I project my thoughts, insecurities and the like others.

This leads to:

  • self-doubt
  • self-loathing
  • insecurity
  • feeling less than
  • depression
  • self-sabotage
  • resentment

That is a pretty hefty list of awful feelings, ideals and all around yuckiness.

Lately, I have been way up in my head.  This is a tough place for me when I am trying to live a life of peace.  My head is not peaceful.  It is constantly chattering, whispering and telling me rotten things.  I believe these things.  I give my thoughts weight and that is when the horrible list above comes into play.  I used to drink and drug to get rid of these thoughts and feelings.  Drinking and drugging is not an option for me.

This is why I bought the book.  My thoughts (and yours) are so automatic, I never question them.  You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.” UGH!!! How awful is that? I certainly do not want to be what I think!  My twelve-step program helps ( a lot!) but lately I just feel like I need an added tool.

As I go through this book (highlighting sentences and paragraphs like I always do) I will be updating my blog with what I have learned and if any of it is making sense.  It made sense on Oprah’s show, therefore, I am sure it will make sense.

Also, I signed up for 21 Day Meditation Challenge.  It is free and looks like a lot of fun.  Check it out!

How do you battle your demons?

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Surviving A Brain Injury

National Brain Injury Awareness Month
National Brain Injury Awareness Month (Photo credit: Army Medicine)

So, March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month (I just found this out yesterday).  Let’s add that to the seemingly endless list of “celebratory months of awareness.”  This one hits me at a personal level, however, because in 1996 I suffered a brain injury as a result of an overdose and almost died.

Now some people would say, “big freaking deal, you od’d!”  Well, the thing about it is that I did not want to wake up from an intentional overdose that I told no one about.  There was no letter, no teary-eyed phone calls.

I was twenty-three years old, frightened and disgusted.  I did not want to wake up.

But I did wake up.  I woke up and have been a different person since then.  I am not sure exactly what day I woke up as I have no recollection of any events immediately preceding my overdose, my hospital stay or my journey home.  I only know what my family tells me and then the snippets of flashbacks that float into my head from time to time.

My family told me it happened on July 19, 1996.  My 6-year-old daughter Sarah found my dead body.  911 was called and EMT’s worked on me for thirty minutes before they felt a pulse.  I was rushed to Frankford Hospital in Philadelphia and apparently was in a coma.  I don’t remember. Sometimes I think I remember, but then I realize that I remember what people have told me over the years, and in some warped sense those stories become twisted false memories.

I have a brain injury.  So at times I have issues with differentiating fact from fiction.  I have issues remembering things period.

When I overdosed (and died) I was not getting oxygen to my brain.  This affected the part of my brain that holds my short-term memory.  My long-term memory is intact, but my short-term memory is forever scarred.  If I can get information from my short-term to my long-term, I have it forever.

But that is the trick.  Getting from the short to the long.

I can’t remember:

  • people’s names.
  • directions.
  • what I read.
  • what people said.
  • grocery lists.
  • how I got where I am.
  • how to get home.
  • and tons of other crap that I forgot.

Now, this is par for the course for a lot of people.  But not for me.  It was never for me.  And now it is and some days I am fine and other days mortified because I feel like an ass.

I once wandered around the parking lot of the Willow Grove Mall for an hour because I could not find my car.

I once wandered around the floor of the Pep Boys Headquarters for almost an hour because I couldn’t find my cubicle.

I once drove around aimlessly for two hours because I got lost, stopped to ask for directions, and got lost again.

The list goes on and on, like I said.  But of course I forget all that stuff and I don’t remember anything unless it’s in my long-term memory or by association.

These days, I am a little better.  The doctors told me to do brain strengthening exercises like puzzles, reading, writing and stuff.  I write a lot and the other stuff I do, well, when I remember.

Do you know anyone that survived a brain injury?

Talk About It Tuesday – Beached Dolphins & a Burger Thief

Welcome to another edition of Talk About It Tuesday.  This segment starts of a bit more serious than prior weeks.

Dolphins are said to be some of the smartest, social mammals in the world.  They are similar to humans in that they are social creatures and are known to have sex for pleasure rather than for reproduction alone. Learn more about dolphins and marine wildlife at www.vettechschools.org.

In Cape Cod, over a hundred dolphins have stranded themselves on the beach.  They were checked out for any health related issues.  After determining the dolphins were in good health, they were tagged and sent back out to the ocean.

msnbc.com
Image: Michael Booth/IFAW

As a dolphin (and all around nature/animal/mammal) lover, “dolphin strandings” fascinate me.  It is interesting because Dolphins are smart – which I already stated.  They communicate, use tools, have sex for pleasure, get into fights with other dolphins and travel in social groups.

Back to the stranding of the dolphins.  So it’s not one or six, or even twelve dolphins.  129 dolphins have stranded themselves in the last three weeks.  92 of these dolphins died.  More dolphins keep coming.  And no one knows why.

Me being me (without a degree in science), I think the worst.  I have read about animals fleeing a region or area shortly before a natural disaster hits. Check out this Discovery article.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like two flamingos are chilling down in Miami and then suddenly:

Fred Flamingo: “Ya feel that?”

Frank Flamingo: “Sure did, Fred.  Storm’s coming.”

Fred Flamingo: “Yeah, I felt it two hours ago.  Got my stuff packed and ready to go.”

Frank Flamingo: “Same here.  Last time I got stuck in migration traffic. Damn near had one of my legs ripped off.”

Or maybe it does go that way. Sometimes I think that animals have mental telepathy and actually do communicate with their minds. Like when my cats sit and stare at each other from across the room.

Ooookk… I’ve said too much.

Back to the dolphins.  The amount of beached dolphins in recent weeks is alarming and I feel like it is the beginning of a super creepy movie.  You know, kind of like The Happening when all the birds dropped dead?  Yes, that story is absolute fiction

Do you have any theories on the beaching of the dolphins?

In quirkier news, James B. Summers walked into a Madison, WI Denny’s and straight into the manager’s office.  James told the manager that he was now in charge.  James then cooked himself a cheeseburger (and fries) and ate almost all of it.  Authorities came to arrest the “Burger-ler”  and as he was about to be led out he shouted “This is why you don’t dine and dash kiddies,” to the perplexed patrons.

Ah, just another addition to my “reasons I don’t eat fast food” list.  Have you ever encountered a looney character in a public place?

Thanks for joining me for this segment of Talk About It Tuesday! 😀