Do you ever get the feeling that your brain is racing and won’t turn off or shut down so you can sleep? I sometimes suffer from what I call ‘butterfly brain’ where my thoughts flit here and there and never stay in one place long enough to form a complete sentence. I learned a long time ago that this makes it very hard to go to sleep at night; or I fall asleep and am wide awake just 15 minutes later with my thoughts still racing. So what to do? I hate milk so warm milk is out of the question; reading doesn’t work because if what I’m reading is that boring I won’t read it; I have been known to stay up half the night reading because I can’t put the book down. So here is what works for me:
First, I relax by tightening my muscles starting with my feet and working up, then relaxing them in the same order. Then I imagine a tiny hole in the top of my head and watch all the thoughts fly away. The next thing is to focus on breathing; I count every exhale up to 4 and start over. It is a lesson in mindfulness because if I’m not paying attention, I’m way past 4 and have to start again. It’s amazing to me how just focusing on 4 exhales over and over is relaxing. It also takes the focus off the butterfly thoughts.
Usually these techniques work for me. If they don’t, there’s always that book I want to finish reading!
I am grateful for my partner. He and I have been together for more than 15 years. When I think about it, I don’t know how or why we clicked; in many ways we are very different. But I think we complement each other. He is smart and funny; logical and creative. He keeps me on track. His strengths are areas where I am weak; my strengths are areas where he is weak. Isn’t that amazing?
I am thankful for my sons. In spite of the turmoil when they were growing up; they have turned out wonderfully. Both are married to strong, wonderful women, and have great kids. I don’t get to see them often enough as they live at opposite ends of the country. I am proud of them and what they have accomplished in their lives.
I am glad my life hasn’t been easy; it has made me who I am today. There were points in my life where I was so down I couldn’t tell which way was up. Those down times have made me much more appreciative of where I am now. My life is no bed of roses, but I roll with the punches much better now, and I know that things always get better.
I am grateful that I have a job, a home and a vehicle; for good friends, online and off, who keep me grounded and laugh at my jokes, who kick my butt when I need it, who support me no matter what I do.
I have started and discarded several blog posts this week but have been unable to complete one; my thoughts are still too scattered after last Saturday’s shocks. So I will merely say that I hope all of you tell your family and friends how much they mean to you now. And let us also remember the families of those killed and injured, as well as the family of the shooter. I can’t imagine the pain and shock all of those families are feeling right now. And let us also think about what we say before we say it; words can hurt and anger others when they are thoughtlessly thrown out. In other words, be sure your brain is engaged before you put your mouth in gear.
It’s that time of year when people make resolutions to be better in the New Year; lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more, and on and on. How many people actually keep all their resolutions? I suspect that some do, but many fall by the wayside. So this year I’m not making any resolutions. Instead, I am going to pick a few words to live by for the rest of the year.
This isn’t my idea; a couple of people I follow have suggested it and I think it’s a wonderful idea. So here are my words for the year:
Forgiveness. I will forgive myself when I fall short of my own expectations. I will not berate myself for failing; I am human and am allowed to fall. The trick is to keep getting up and continuing on my way. I will forgive others who hurt me. This doesn’t mean it’s okay that they hurt me, but that I will not hold a grudge against them. We are all human; we will all hurt someone at some time. Someone who hurts me, intentional or not, will still be my friend, unless s/he makes a habit of it then s/he is gone. I will forgive and not hold a grudge, but that person is out of my life.
Gratitude. I will be grateful for every day, for every disaster I experience, for every blessing I receive, for everyone in my life. No matter what happens, I will express my gratitude to others, to myself, and to the Universe and the Creator.
Patience. I will be patient with myself and with others. I will not hold people to my standards unless I am sure they can meet or exceed them.
Encouragement. I will use my daily affirmations to encourage not only myself but also others. I will encourage others to reach their full potential by helping them realize how much they are capable of doing.
Focus. I will keep my focus on the positive things and not the negative. I will not dwell on the bad things that happen because that will only invite more negatives into my life. By keeping my focus positive, I will attract more positives into my life.