Category Archives: emotions

Flowing with the Seasons

Here in Wisconsin spring is a fickle maiden. One day she tempts us with the promise of summer, teasing us with warm whispers and the scent of new blossoms, an alluring perfume. The nest day she is cold, snippy, she spits rain in your face contemptuously; the date you made yesterday is off, no picnic for you, stay at home and find your own source of warmth and comfort.
Is it no wonder then that those of us who are sensitive to nature and her moods find ourselves grappling with our own rollercoaster of emotions.
I have always been subject to the whim of the seasons.  The winter blues or cabin fever can plunge me into the depths of an existential crisis. Summer brings a sense of freedom and joy, but by August I begin to feel like the party girl who has had a bit too much to drink, I just want to go home and sleep.
Spring typically brings a renewed energy, a sense of hope, and inspiration.

Therefore I feel a slap of disappointment when little miss Spring decides to withdraw her affection and warmth, such a tease! But like most sassy girls when she’s good she’s good, and today she was kind and flirty. I was lured by her charms to my little garden plot to pluck some weeds, I reveled in the nostalgic aroma of her Lilac blooms and my dogs trotted along happily as we walked to the co-op to buy some early greens.
 Life can’t always be like a perfect spring day just as we can’t always be happy, hopeful or inspired. We have our rainy days, our own fickle moods and throughout life we have our seasons. Nature is authentic, gritty, beautiful, terrible and yet she moves with grace through her changes. She makes no apologies for the sudden thunderstorm, but she brings renewal and growth in it’s wake. Every mood serves it’s purpose, to cleanse, to nourish and sometimes to destroy in order for healing and renewal to take root. Like Nature we can flow with the changes and seasons of our life fully alive in the expression of of the moment and  aware of our purpose.

© 2010-2012 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Ditching the Critic

As some of you who are clever enough to read between the lines may have deduced, my recent posts addressing issues like self acceptance and such have at least partially been a reaction to my own frustration at not having been 100% true to my commitment to a daily blog post. I knew in the beginning that I was presenting myself with a challenge; and challenge is good, especially when it comes from within. I also knew that there was a good chance I was going to end up pissed off at myself for skipping a day or becoming too repetitive and so on. Some of us become quite well versed in the language of self criticism, a little Joan Rivers voice in our head ripping at us with catty commentary. Many of us do learn to overcome this self defeating habit, to silence the Joan in our brain and replace her with someone far more kind and forgiving. I think everyone, to some degree, has an inner critic, not to be confused with conscious. Our conscious is reasonable, she is the little Angel on our shoulder reminding us to think before we act. The Critic is more like the Devil on the other side. She rarely satisfied with one nasty comment. She nags and simmers and prods and goads until, “wow I screwed up” becomes “I can’t do anything right I may as well not even try”. That’s the kind of thinking that not only stagnates our creativity but, if unchecked, can lead us into some self destructive behaviors.
As you can tell I enjoy personifying moods, beliefs and thought patters. It makes it easier to identify when we are caught in their trap. So I’m not perfect, I may miss a post here and there, but if I do I’m going to tell Ms. Rivers to take a hike…after all she has much more important people to insult!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Peace,
Jenny

© 2010-2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


Feeling Funky, Feeling Fine

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Hello
everyone!

Friday is supposed to be the fun free for all day, and yet today I’m finding it challenging to maintain that state of mind. The good news is, I just realized that if I am to walk my own talk, I have to accept that fact. More than just accept it; but honor, it respect it and stop trying to fight it.
The harder I push back against feelings, the harder they resist. For many years after I got sober I was “The Eternal Optimist”, always looking on the bright side. The recovery community is big on Gratitude, and for good reason. What some people tend to overlook, or forget, or fail to recognize at all is that one can angsty, fed up, tired, disenchanted, crabby and all sort of other “bad moody things’ and still be Grateful.
I know I’ve written on this topic in other posts, but is an issue that continues to cause problems for individuals, families, and entire cultures. The myopic and undiscerning frame of reference that fails to take into account the wonderful capacity we humans have for complex thought and emotion. When you think about it, it’s pretty cool really, to take a moment and explore all the thoughts, feelings and moods we experience throughout one day. We are constantly evolving, even day by day, hour by hour. This is one reason I like to keep a journal, to observe the cycles of mood and process of thought that weave a pattern in and out through my day, my week, my years…
But as much as I find it fascinating, puzzling, frustrating and beautiful many people are not so comfortable with complexity. Our culture tells us to be even keel, reliable and cooperative. Those of us who dare to express our swings of mood, our frustrations our extreme joy are often labeled as eccentric at best, bi-polar at worst. I’m not denying or discounting that for some people there are symptoms and thought processes that can be disturbing, disabling and even life threatening; but let’s look at how many people (especially women) are on some sort of anti-depressant or mood-stabilizer. The very phrase “mood stabilizer” makes me chuckle if only a bit ironically. Are we only supposed to have one or two moods at best? Why is it not ok to feel sad, angry or depressed? Face it there are plenty of reasons to feel that way, just as there are reasons to feel grateful, content or joyous. How can we truly experience one emotion without having experienced a full range of emotions?
I encourage anyone reading this to take some time at the end of the day to reflect on the thoughts,feelings,moods and physical energy levels you have experienced in just one day. Are there any that are uncomfortable for you? Are there any that you may have struggled to repress? I’d love to hear your feedback about this and I think it’s a topic that can generate endless discussion.
Have a fabulous weekend and enjoy the wonder and beauty of the medley of moods you are capable of experiencing!
Peace,
Jenny
© 2011 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard


>Isn’t life Ironic?

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Hello Everyone!

Last post I addressed the sense of Victimization that some of experience when faced with challenges. For some of us, yes me, the Victim role is like an old comfy piece of clothing. It’s comfortable, but out of style and threadbare; it’s no longer flattering or particularly useful. And yet, you can’t bring yourself to throw it away.
When I got the news yesterday that my end of treatment date is Feb 11th naturally I was relieved. Finally an end to this crazy sick fever dream I’ve been living in for most of the past year. And yet I found myself feeling, well, a little afraid. I realized that when treatment ends that means I have to venture into my proverbial closet and find a new outfit and it can’t be the comfy cloak of Victimhood that I have, quite honestly, donned too often throughout the past year.
After freaking out about that for a while I realized for the 100,00th time that panic has never made any situation more manageable. I don’t have to have all the answers yet. I still need time to recover, to (hopefully) get my thought processes a little more clear and if I keep following my heart I will know what’s right for me.
I also realized that I’ve been feeling a little pressured by others, some well meaning, others critical and judgmental, that there is this expectation that I will return to work and life will be normal. Frankly I don’t see myself working full time, but I may have some opportunities for flexible work. Disability allows recipients a certain number of hour’s employment, and if I could supplement my fixed income a bit, feel useful and still have time for my writing and self care. I think I’d be living a pretty sweet life. It’s an empty page, not empty but filled with notes, scribbles and ideas. I like to think of myself as an explorer, an adventurer seeking to discover my own passage, my own path to the next chapter. When I look at it that way, as opposed to the confused, frightened Victim I realize I can take that little girl by the hand and say “hey kid, it’s gonna be ok, I’m gonna show you the world and you’ll never have to be afraid again.

© 2010 Jennifer Hazard
Image Courtesy of The Graphics Fairy


Self by Definition

self 

noun, plural selves, adjective, pronoun, plural selves, verb
–noun
1.a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality: one’s own self.
2.a person’s nature, character, etc.: his better self.
3.personal interest.
4.Philosophy .
a .the ego; that which knows, remembers, desires, suffers, etc., as contrasted with that known, remembered, etc.
b. the uniting principle, as a soul, underlying all subjective experience.

In recent days I’ve been making a solid effort to keep myself moving in a positive direction. I had a bad couple of days last weekend and found myself slipping into old attitudes and thought patterns that are no longer comfortable. Like a pair of damn stilettos, sharp, spiky and binding. I needed to put those shoes on, just for a bit, and to be angry, just for a bit. There were valid reasons for my anger, and many of them beyond my direct control.
Anger gets a bad rap in our society. Just as money itself is not the root of all evil, but greed for money that causes all the problems; anger is not a “bad” emotion. It’s what we choose to do with anger that becomes a problem. It’s the belief that we attach to the feeling that gets us all wound up. The biggest troublemaker is the belief that anger is “bad”…”don’t be angry” “stop pouting”, “Be Nice”. The vast majority of us have had those words tossed at us, sometimes gently sometimes harshly, since we first learned to crawl around and assert our will. Is it any wonder that we will do just about anything to avoid it. We will drink ourselves into a stupor, stuff our faces with food, ingest drugs and chemicals and don’t forget sex and rock and roll and compulsive shopping and get on that hamster wheel and keep running. Keep running and it won’t catch you.
But it does. Our emotions always win in the end. They are not going to let us off the hook, no matter how hard we may try. So why does our culture tell us not to feel?
I guess if I knew the answer to that I’d be writing a Doctoral Thesis. I do know a few things about feelings, a few insights I’ve picked up along the way in my endless observations and analysis of Human Behaviour.
First off, we are lazy. We like things to be easy. We like simple answers, solid evidence based solutions, and we want them to work quickly. Personally, I see this as kind of cheating in the game of life. Sitting on the sidelines pretending to have your period. Fact is, feelings are messy and complicated and they get in the way and mess up and complicate our “self directed” lives. And God forbid, sorting out feelings takes TIME!
Another thing it takes is Honesty, and we aren’t so good at that either. Especially not with ourselves. We lie to ourselves more than we lie to anyone else, we’re so good at it most of the time we don’t even know we’re lying! We are amazing creatures!
One last thing we need to do in order to know our emotions is feel Pain. ouch! You don’t have to watch more than an hour of television to know how much we hate pain. The alleviation of pain and worry is a multi-billion dollar industry that sells us happiness in a pill.
But wait, didn’t we learn in school that drugs are BAD? Hmmm this leaves us in quite a conundrum. Apparently drugs are only bad if you buy them from someone who is not authorized and licensed to sell them to you. And by all means don’t even think about growing your own drugs in that back garden.
So let’s summarize…don’t be angry, drugs are bad, anger is bad, take some drugs so you don’t feel angry. Oh and if you do decide to be some whacked out Hippie nut-job who wants to explore your feelings…don’t expect insurance to cover it. It costs far too much money to spend all that time getting messy.
Now I propose that we replace the last set of assumptions with a new one.
Feelings, including anger, are a natural part of being human. They are our bodies way of communicating with us. If we don’t listen to the voice of emotions how do we really know what’s going on? Especially given that we are so good a deceiving ourselves with our brains.
Once we accept that our feelings, even the “bad” ones are really our friends trying to tell us something, we can stop running away with our hands over our ears screaming…”lalalalaaaaa I can’t hear you” when really what were are saying is “Go away! You scare me!”
Once we stop all that nonsense, we can LISTEN without judgement, without defending our Ego, to what those feelings are trying to tell us. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while (remember time is a factor?) Be patient and listen. Do some art work, or write some words, give your feelings a name, a persona a character. Get to know that person and ask her what she needs. Trust me, this CAN be fun, although it probably won’t be painless. You will survive the pain, I promise, you have survived the pain of repressing those feeling, of denying your true self (remember, we lie to ourselves). You wouldn’t want to lie to someone you love, right? And you certainly wouldn’t want someone you love to lie to you…so what are you doing lying to yourself?
Ha, look what’s happening, you are beginning to develop a relationship with your Self! Go slow, don’t worry if it’s awkward at first. Take your time, be honest and get messy!
Next time: Taking your relationship to the next level (no not that, silly!)
Peace,
Nana

© 2010 Nanakoosa’s Place, authored by Jennifer Hazard
Definition of “self” courtesy of http://www.dictionary.com


>When Your Mind Has a Mind of it’s Own

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Looking back at my last post stirs the kettle of emotion for me right now. Part of me feels almost embarrassed at the dark self indulgence and misery. And  yet, I know that is part of the process. I know myself well enough to know that Hep C or no Hep C, if I find an emotion is becoming an annoying presence, like a pimple forming, that I need to indulge that feeling, to give it it’s due attention.
There have been  so may times in life that I have held back my feelings, pushed them aside and pulled myself up by the bootstraps to carry on as the Brave Little Soldier. Some of us learn to do that at a very young age. There were things going on in my family, growing up that as the oldest I felt it was my duty to “pull it together” and carry on in order to protect my siblings. And besides, focusing on them was easier than experiencing my own fear and confusion. That response may serve it’s purpose in the short term, but it comes with a high price tag in the long run. Fortunately I’ve learned a few things along the way and one of them is that those buried feelings have to come out and be acknowledged somehow.  Ironically, being on treatment, sitting at home most days, I am immersed in the “opportunity” to experience my emotions, whether I like it or not.
To quote my fellow Hep C blogger Eva, 


Yet the mostly painful and disturbing thoughts or distorted fixations continued regardless of whether I wished to turn attention to more healing or cheerful possibilities” http://evaday.blogspot.com/


This is so accurate, our minds have a mind of their own, so to speak. There are thoughts and emotions we really have little, if any, control over. It frightens me to remember that some people become delusional and /or suicidal on this treatment. It’s one more reason that we really need each other, and our friends and families, our medical providers, anyone close to us to try to understand that we need support, we need understanding and feedback.

I am so incredibly grateful for the people I’ve met along this crazy timeless path through the mist.  I’m grateful for the others who write and blog and share their stories with courage and honesty. We’ve got a pretty good community going here. I guess we could say “it takes a village to raise a Hep survivor” I hope that new readers will find welcome and comfort in our little “village”.
Peace,
Jenny

© 2011 Jennifer Hazard
Image courtesy of the Graphics Fairy


anger, triggers and the whole Big Picture

wow, as I read over my last blog entry I was struck by several emotions pretty much all at the same moment. This is kind of like being the odd kid out in a snowball fight; you get pummelled from every direction at once. It takes a moment to clear the ice out of your eyes and re-orient yourself.
The primary and most disturbing emotion, was anger. Now I’m not saying anger is bad. There are times it is necessary to spur us into action. As we all have heard probably more times than we cared to, “it’s not the anger, it’s what you do with it that matters” in this case the anger drove me to take action to examine my patterns of interactions with others and the remainder of the bombardment of feelings. We often hear that at the root of anger is sadness, grief or a sense of having been betrayed. Once we begin to figure this out (somewhere around middle age for most of my generation) we are faced with the challenge of acknowledging sadness, grief and betrayal. Ow. The Hell with that you may say. That stuff hurts, and it makes us feel vulnerable. Worse yet, it may make us admit to ourselves how we may have contributed, at least passively, to the situation that got us so angry in the first place. In my case I overlooked a lot of warning signs in this guy. I helped him out financially and even when it started becoming obvious that he was taking advantage of the situation I tiptoed around the subject, because always had an excuse, an idea, a plan. So much like my ex-husband…and this wasn’t even MY boyfriend. Oh this is even less fun isn’t it? Can’t we just stomp around self righteously and demand justice. Can’t we just punch someone in the eye? Sure we could, but then guess who we have become? We have become the abuser.
And yet, we cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand and passively expect that it will all blow over. Maybe it will. my daughter hasn’t heard from this man since he found out the police were looking for him. It would be easy to say, “ok that’s done with.” The problem is, even if he never crosses paths with my daughter again, there’s always the next woman. If we are ever going to put even a dent in Domestic Violence as a social issue, we have to start looking out for one another. We have to be united in declaring that we will not allow this to happen to anyone. in order to reach the point of maturity and self understanding we have to muddle through some of those uncomfortable feelings like grief, sadness, betrayal and guilt; then by knowing and respecting ourselves we choose to respond, rather than react, in a way that will both resist participation in violence and will create an atmosphere of safety for ourselves and others.
Peace and Blessings,
Nanakoosa