Breathe…and Share

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You will notice that I’ve added a new category: “Shared Posts”. There are a lot of wise people out there, who have some really great blogs along the lines of “Balance the Circle…” and I’ve decided that I should share them with my own readers and do my part to promote their efforts. “Balance the Circle…” will still have original posts, but to not share would be just self-centered, which in turn, is completely counter-intuitive to the whole concept of this blog and the way of life so many of us pursue.

This week I would like to share the blog with the goal of promoting “science-based practices for a meaningful life…” “Bay Art“. Now, while this is a blog that is attached to a business, there are such wonderful posts and articles about learning how to meditate, breathe and calm the turmoil in your life. I will not be making a habit of promoting any business, but because I enjoyed the non-promotional posts that I found I will, this one time, make an exception!

Glass Half Full?

I’m really tired of moving.

I mean, where’s the “glass half full” part of life when you have a combined 120 years worth of stuff to deal with?

Well, the moving part itself isn’t so horrible as a general rule…except when it comes to packing that 120 years of stuff and considering that as a broken-jointed, ruptured disk, cartilage-less knee’d, 60 year old, old fossil I had to climb up and down steep stairs twenty times each day for six days, carrying boxes that weighed 30-40 pounds, on average. Of course, my disabled husband helped, as well as my two youngest sons and youngest daughter, all of whom work nights, who spent two days (when they should have been sleeping) doing the really heavy lifting and carrying.

Either way you look at it, though, by the seventh day I was completely worn down to the bone, physically. But, man, oh man! I’m so happy to finally be able to give up living in a second floor apartment and going into a single story house!

I think the worst part of moving this time is the unpacking. Who would have thought that finding places to put your stuff in a larger house would be more difficult than when going from a larger home into a smaller one?

Which is to say…I’m really tired of moving.

It’s easy enough to get discouraged when you’re exhausted. You want to simply kick your feet off…er, up…and put a cold cloth on your head, lay down in a cool, quiet dungeon somewhere, step off the world for a week or so and ignore that there’s anything you have to do. But you can’t, because some things just have to be done whether you’re tired or not.

Like unearthing your kitchen boxes that wound up in the bathroom, or your bathroom tissue that somehow, at the most inopportune time, wound up in the shed. Almost makes you want to break down into tears.

Really.

But even with all the aggravation, frustration and physical discomfort one suffers during a move, you want the experience to leave you with the positive feeling. This is a new beginning after all and how often does someone advancing in years find themselves in the possession of such a treasure?

So, I see my life as half over but the other half is ahead of me. Therefore, still, is the glass half full.

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“Sticks and stones…”

Whoever coined the phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me,” must never have loved anyone…or had anyone love them.

When it comes to criticism by our peers, just acquaintances or people we interact with as ‘ships that pass in the night’ carry only fleeting influence on us. Oh, we may question ourselves, our actions or our motives if we hear some stranger “hating on us”, but unless it’s a glaring observation of a shortcoming, their words really don’t hit us where it hurts.

If, on the other hand, someone whom we love dearly even hesitantly brings up an issue, past or present, that they have with us…well, now…that’s an entirely different story.

Parents get this a lot, once their children are grown. I will hold myself up as a prime example.

I have always tried to watch my words and would never hurt someone’s feelings on purpose (it has happened, but only a few times in 60 years…I’m not saying that makes it acceptable), but apparently I have failed more times than I thought, and not with just one or two of my kids, but with all of them. And not just intermittently, but often enough to warrant them bringing it to my attention.

It hurt for them to bring this to bear, but my pain was nothing but just a faucet drip compared to the downpour of horror…the awful feeling I had that I’d hurt my own childrens’ feelings, whether it was when they were young or now that they are grown. I mean, I’ve never tried to convince my kids I was perfect…that would have been foolish…and I’m well aware that I’ve made some pretty bad mistakes. I had just hoped the ones I made were not bad enough to turn them into awful people.

I always felt so blessed with the children I had that the few times they gave me grief are hidden behind the cobwebs of time. As a matter of fact, between the ages of 5 and about 13-14 years old (each) I really don’t recall any issues. And each child only gave a year, if that, of rebellion!

It often bewilders me how my many children grew up to be such great men and women. I always credit God for giving them better sense than me…or even their daddy. I just hope that the few really good things I did will one day be remembered more so than the bad.

My children know that I love them and I know that they love me and that’s important. But more important is for the younger generation to always be aware that once a word is spoken, especially to those who love you, it can never be retrieved. Trust me, sticks and stones may break your bones but words can certainly harm you.

My family and I can vouch for that.

Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues?

SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder Isn’t Only for Winter

For the past two years I’ve been able to control that “cabin fever” that usually comes with mid-winter, even in Florida. I know all about SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and so tried to spend as much time outdoors in the sun as possible. But for some reason, even though I escaped SAD in the winter, I have been miserable come spring and on into summer.

Every year on the first morning that you can actually taste springtime, I will wake up, get dressed in gardening clothes and take a cup of coffee outside to sit and anticipate the relaxing activities of re-potting and planting for my annual “herb garden”. This ritual is one that I use to transition from the low activity levels of winter to increasingly higher levels, beginning in spring and reaching the “busy bee” peak for summer.

But this year…this year…

One morning on my way to work, there was just the least, residual hint of chill in the early air, the sun was beautifully hot and a chance breeze blew across my face and whispered, “Spring…” softly in my ear.  I smiled, planning in my mind how I would be spending the first day of the coming weekend.

Saturday rolled around. I had been having a hard time getting to sleep and an equally as difficult time trying to wake up.  Trying to get organized was next to impossible and I’d wind up with this excess of energy, running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off. It looked like today would be no different.

Regardless of waking up on the wrong side of the bed so to speak, I was determined to keep my date with the first “real” spring morning and took my coffee out to the patio table. My husband joined me a few minutes later with a cheery, “Good morning, sweetheart!”, for which he received a disgruntled frown and growl.

“Why are you so depressed? SPRING HAS SPRUNG!”

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“Don’t make me come out there!”

I probably shouldn’t post my response on a “No Adult Content” blog.

You get the picture.

It was time to study the phenomenon called “Seasonal Affective Disorder”…in depth.

Nearly everyone knows what Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is. Common SAD occurs during late-autumn and winter and generally lets up come spring. Studies indicate that the primary culprit is lower levels of natural light that cause sufferers to become depressed, lethargic and generally out of sorts. The usual treatment includes light therapy and the use of Vitamin D supplements (because Vitamin D is absorbed through sunlight). The most common symptoms of SAD include:

  • depression
  • hopelessness
  • anxiety
  • weight gain
  • oversleeping
  • trouble concentrating

But not that everyone knows that there is an opposite to SAD.

Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder occurs when the sun is brighter, most times beginning in early spring and lasting all the way through summer. the symptoms of Reverse SAD are similar to common SAD but there are definite exceptions. Depression and anxiety are common to both; the exceptions include:

  • insomnia
  • agitation (jitters)
  • weight loss
  • irritability
  • loss of appetite
  • increased libido (sex drive)

3204_398_583-scn-pineal-melatoninAs a little FYI for Dummies, light, or sunlight, follows a path from your retina to a group of cells in the hypothalamus. These cells send signals to the pineal gland, telling it how much or little melatonin it should produce (if you click on the image at right you can view a full sized illustration of how this process works). The maximum amount produced aids sleep while the least amount results in a depressed desire to sleep.

Along with other chemical signals, the schedule of production of melatonin falls into a type of pattern that can be altered or interrupted by outside stimuli, such as the change in the direction from which the sun shines, or its intensity, depending on the season. This pattern is what is referred to as Circadian Rhythm, or one’s Circadian Clock. When the stimuli are imposing enough to knock your Circadian rhythm off, your brain’s chemical balance is thrown off; too much melatonin at the wrong rate of production: Winter Seasonal Affective Disorder. Too little at the wrong rate/wrong time: Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder.   Not strictly scientific, but close enough to get the idea, right?

Well, that’s about enough of the scientific explanation anyway. Suffice it to say that there is an explanation at all, and if I can understand the logic of it, then it must make sense!

Before you decide whether or not you are suffering from either Seasonal Affective Disorder or Reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, keep track of the symptoms you are exhibiting.  Sometimes these symptoms can indicate something more serious, such a Bipolar Disorder. If you notice that you (or someone you know) have symptoms like extended periods of mood “highs” and “lows”, extreme enthusiasm which is out of context with a given situation or show signs of rapid thoughts or speech, you should consult a doctor immediately to consider making an appointment for testing.