Tag Archives: self awareness

Don’t Hate – Meditate

Hello friends!

Yes, it’s been approximately two million seconds since I posted last. I’ve been spending a lot of time with myself.

It started when I got sick after conference, and was lying around recovering and thinking. I realized that I’d been spending less and less time on self-care, and it had been wearing me down and making me a miserable brat. So I resolved to return to doing things to help me feel better and be healthier. Here are a few of them:

Mindfulness Meditation

The first thing I knew I had to do was get back to meditating every day.

For the last 21 days, I’ve been using the Headspace app – and I really like it. It was created by Andy Puddicombe, and I  actually found it and used it briefly a few years ago when I read his book,  Get Some Headspace: 10 Minutes Can Make All the Difference 

Perhaps I was impressed by the fact that he actually trained to be a Buddhist monk, but I really felt like his intentions are to help people learn to meditate. It is a paid app, but it’s less than $100 for a year, whereas I looked into doing Transcendental Meditation and was disappointed to find that it’s like $1500. Namastay away from that one.  

Over the past several years, I’ve read a ton of books about mindfulness and meditation – mostly while flying somewhere on a plane. (Planes are perfect places to meditate!) Some of my favorites are:

Michael A. Singer’s  The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Dan Harris’s 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness 

Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion

Taking Sleep Seriously

Since I’ve been using a fitbit, I can see how many hours of sleep I’ve been getting each night. I’ve always known that I’m a night owl, and if left to my own devices, I could easily stay up until midnight or the wee hours of the morning. Which would be fine, if I didn’t need to get up and function the next day. My fitbit was telling me that on average, I wasn’t getting more than 6.5 hours a night.

For some people, that’s probably a decent amount of sleep, but for me, I know I need at least 8 hours to really feel refreshed. I have spoken with others who have ectodermal dysplasias and found that they too need nice, long sleeps, or else they feel sluggish, have more eye problems, and get sick easier. 

So now, I make bedtime a priority, knowing that anything that’s not life or death can just wait until the next day. I’ve also made arrangements to go in to work a little later, which gives me some more time to sleep in the mornings, and also gives me more time for my next life-improving activity:

Getting my walk on!

I truly love taking walks at the beginning and end of the day. Morning walks are nice, because everything and everyone is just waking up. It’s quiet and calm, and you’ll see wildlife – deer, rabbits, tons of birds, squirrels and chipmunks, turkeys – and even the occasional skunk.

I like evening walks even more, because the light after the sun sets turns everything into a Monet painting.  All of the colors and shapes soften and blur – it’s very calming. Plus, I like looking in people’s windows when their lights are on. (Just in passing – not in a creepy way!)

For a while a tried running, but I felt like poop half the time, and I decided that since I don’t actually need to lose weight, and have no plans to run a marathon, I should quit suffering and just go back to walking.

Eating like I give a damn

I have a bumper sticker on my car that says “Eat like you give a damn”.  I’ve always meant for it to remind people to think of where their food comes from, and that you should give a damn about it and not eat crap, and not support factory farms and not eat animal products. Yet, I tend to get lazy about the vegetarian food I eat… I will eat salads for lunch every day for a week, but not really pay attention to whether I’m getting enough of what I need. I will eat bagels for breakfast, because they are easy to throw in the toaster and heat up – but deep down, I know they have very little nutritional value. I will eat more carbs and veggies for dinner, but again, whatever is handy for me to just throw together quickly. I love vegan chick’n and veggie burgers because they are easy to make, but I know that even though it doesn’t contain meat, it doesn’t equal healthy food.

So, I’ve resolved to make a better effort to buy healthy stuff in the first place, and take more time to prepare my meals in advance. It’s going to be the hardest thing for me because I really don’t enjoy food prep. But I have to make the commitment if I want to be healthier… otherwise, what’s going to fuel all that walking? 

The end!

Let’s see how long my resolve to do all of the above lasts. Most of it is normal daily routine stuff, but I tend to fall out of these habits and make excuses about being too busy to be able to fit them in. But that’s just foolishness. I’m going to MAKE the time, baby!

Pro tip:  Not being Facebook is a totally rad way to gain more time in a day. 

You’re Beautiful, It’s True.

On Friday, I sat down with my boss to discuss how things have been going since I transferred into her department earlier this year. We talked for 2 hours, and probably could have gone on longer if it hadn’t been 5:30 on a Friday afternoon. I won’t detail the whole conversation, but there were two things that stood out and that I’ve been contemplating all weekend.

First, I mentioned how I enjoy writing and working on the communication pieces we do for work. I also mentioned how I wanted to go back to Toastmasters and finish doing that. So we decided that I would take on more communication-oriented things for work, and that I would continue doing Toastmasters as part of my professional goals. Sweeet. (Look out TED, I’m gonna be talkin’ for you some day!) I’m pretty excited about this, as it ties in with my personal goals of being a writer and eventually becoming a public speaker. I mean, I’ve got a lot of stories to tell.

Second, we talked about psychological things, like people’s levels of self-awareness and behavior. One thing that came up was how people perceive themselves, and how these perceptions can sometimes be so horribly askew from reality. I mentioned to her that I struggle with my self confidence because I perceive myself as being unattractive and awkward. She practically fell off the couch. She said that people don’t see me that way at all and that everyone thinks I’m really nice and she even said I was gorgeous. What?

So anyway, I was thinking a lot about that over the weekend. I wonder why it is that people can be so off about themselves? I mean I’ve known several people (usually guys) who think they are just so awesome, and in reality they are awkward and smelly and make people uncomfortable. Meanwhile there are people who are amazing, smart, funny, sensitive and caring and they hate themselves. Why is this? Honestly. It is so frustrating. I wish I could go out there and fix everyone, myself included. I’ve spent the last 5 years learning to love myself. And really the last decade forcing myself to go out and not just stay in my house and hide all the time. I know in my situation there are plenty of reasons I learned to dislike myself. Deep down I have always loved myself, but it’s been such a rocky relationship! And to this day I am taken back when someone tells me that I am interesting or amazing or gorgeous. Gorgeous. Really?

Yesterday I got together with some of the family and went for a walk. Here’s my brother and I riding in the truck with the dogs humping each other in the back. That’s a typical get together for us. Awkward? Yes.