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Mindfulness training

14 years ago 0 1044 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Pete, I didn't realize my post got cut off.  I was just saying everyone's grieving process is different and has different components.  The section on grief helps.  You don't necessarily have to be angry to write something for your father.  And it may be a work in progress, that lasts your life time, a way of continually honoring your father.  I think your admiration for your dad is obvious in what you wrote below.  I hope you can use that as a starting point.  I am sure it a very small part of the many selfless things your dad did. 

The other thing I said in my post that was so long-winded it got cut off - was that (i've got a secret).  I write letters to mom and dad.  Noone knows it.  I sometimes just need to express my grief, my great memory, my admiration and respect.  I also have to express some of the emotions I felt toward both of them as a result of my dad's alcoholism.  I'm just saying both the negative and the positive.  You know just getting those admirable and loving things your father did and represented to you on paper is a great place to start.  You can do it, will do it, when the time is right!
hmmm, meditation is tough when we awaken those monsters - but most of them I've awaken though painful to work through weren't as frightening as they first appeared.  One monster at a time Pete! 
I don't see meditation is just relaxation either - though I do relaxation meditation too.  I would like to experience what you describe, it does sound like a very powerful experience.  I would have to drive many many miles from my rural home to find such a place. 
Reembracing a spiritual practice is a big step Pete.  And that is exactly what you said you are doing.  However, you find guided meditation in a group, in a beautiful room, to be very powerful......I can't wait to hear how you feel after you've been.
The thought of guided meditation in a beautiful room sounds awesome to me as well. 
So how often, when can you go to the centre? 
I know there is no consolation for the pain you experience with your dad.  just know I'm hear to listen if you need to talk.
14 years ago 0 3043 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Buddhist meditation absolutely does not require attendance at a centre. I want to do it almost a symbolic act, as a proof to myself that I'm re-embracing a spiritual practice (and I do see meditation practice as more than a relaxation technique). Plus I find guided meditation in a group, in a beautiful room, to be very powerful.
So, I know I want to go back to a centre, but I'm nervous about doing so. I know I shouldn't be - after all, when I first stepped inside one all those years ago it really was a venture into unknown territory. I expected the people to be self-righteous, pretentiously 'spiritual' and rather precious. They were none of these things. I had the courage and motivation then to overcome my SAD and do it, so no real reason for me to back off now. But.......I'm still working up the courage. Silly me.
I'm a bit frightened to meditate, truth be told. There's monsters down there that I'd rather not awaken. The shadows of all my own wrongdoings and mistakes are liable to rise up and get me!
I've not felt any anger with my Dad for leaving us. I'm fairly sure he made the decision to give up several days before he died, because he knew that my mother was very worried about how she would cope with looking after him if he was back home and very ill (and if he had survived, he would have been dependent the rest of his life, probably on dialysis). He was a generous, loving man, with a good grasp of the realities of life, and he showed how loving he was by dying as he did. Dad was deeply religious, and I have no doubt he was certain that he was headed for a better place.
He left all his financial and other affairs in perfect order - all the paperwork organised and labelled with instructions when necessary. Made the family'slife as easy as possible in the hectic days right after he passed. I can remember how grateful I felt and thinking "I'll have to thank Dad next time I see him..." before catching myself.
14 years ago 0 1044 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Pete, I am so happy to hear about your progress on your goals.  It's time to celebrate!  One step at a time and you've made great strides.  Happy to hear you are eating, buying yourself new clothes, working on the coffee (is it helping at all with the anxiety yet?).
Hmmm, the meditation - excuse?  I don't know alot about spiritual beliefs with Buddhism.  So if I may, I'd like to ask some questions.  Can you start with your meditation at home or does it need to be in a centre?  Maybe take 10 minutes of your alone time at night to meditate?  I am a Christian but don't attend church.  I have my spirituality and don't like man-made legalism that occurs in a church environment.  I do have my daily meditation and spiritual studies at home.  It is important in my life and in my recovery from depression.  I also don't feel comfortable in thet social environment of the church(list of reasons available upon request lol).  I know there are lots of variations in Christianity called denominations and some would say I am a hethen.  I'm not hear to discuss religion or religious beliefs, but to use the practice of my spirituality in a way in which I am comfortable and is consistent with my belief system, as an example of how one MIGHT be able to maintain that with out attending a centre or church. 
I am so sorry to hear about your dad, I lost my dad  November 22, 2008.  I can totally relate to the dreams, thinking during the day I'll call him, and the difficult times around family gatherings.  I can also relate to being stopped in my tracks and right now is a very difficult time.  I keep replaying what I was doing this time last year (preparing to go to the funeral home).  I have replayed everyday since Nov. 11th when he went into the hospital to the day we found out he had days to live, to the days we got to spend with him before he died and his taking his last breath.  I did this when mom died too, though she died suddenly, at work, without warning - 2 1/2 years before dad.  I have a little memorial ( a small corner) in my house set aside to honor them.  My friends say it is time to let go, I say, I will when I'm ready.  I try to celebrate the good times and there were so many.  I try to forget the bad times (there were some as dad was an alcoholic).  Right now I'm not doing very good at that.  However, everytime I think of him and how much I miss him, I try to think of all the funny things, the good times, the lessons he taught me, the time we had together and how closely we grew together after mom died.  Those things I cherish.  Someone gave me a plaque that said "when someone dies memories become treasures" and it's those memories that help me to move through the grief.  Right now the memories aren't so positive and the American Holiday of Thanksgiving is coming up Thursday.  I don't want to get together with family, it is a reminder there are two empty seats at the table.  It's a paradigm shift as well.  And I resist. 
There is a section on grief in this program.  It did help some.  I think one of the things we go through in the grieving process is anger, not anger at the person, but anger at the person leaving us (though it's inevitable for all of us).  That anger doesn't come at a specific time frame, doesn't come the same time for everyone, we all grieve at our own pace.  I think when the time is right (you can't rush it) you will write something in honor of your dad whom you hold so close to your heart.  The time will come, be patient, cherish the memories, the good dreams, the blessings you had in a loving father.  Oh, and the time might not be when you are angry that he left you....that you wri
14 years ago 0 3043 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
So how are the goals going?
Hmmm, a bit of mixed bag:
  • I'm still going to bed at 2 every night - I just feel I need the alone time. It's hard to give up.
  • Still smoking like a chimney.
  • Apart from the other day, which I documented below, I've been eating quite well. Even breakfast, which is usually coffee and a cigarette, is involving some food as well.
  • My appearance? Well, I bought some new clothes on Saturday. Only two pullovers, but I usually only buy clothes when the old ones fall apart.
  • I'm alternating coffee with green tea and sometimes plain water.
  • The physical contact hasn't happened again yet. 
  • Meditation? Not yet. Not sure whether to go back to my old centre (which I left after a small argument) or find a new one. Sounds like an excuse to me.
So we have a little bit of progress. And in my new paradigmatucally-shifted world, any progress out of stasis is something to be proud of.
What I really want to achieve is to create something in memory of my father, who died in March. I've not been able to write any words for him,  or make a piece of music for him. I so much want to create something worthy of Dad, but I'm frightened to try, and fail. I'm good at expressing anger and darkness and hopelessness (I think) in poetry and music, but not love. I still mourn my father. I may go for days without consciously thinking of him, then - bam! - the grief hits me like a truck and literally stops me in my tracks. And I just have to sit and let the helplessness and sorrow wash though me. I dreamt of Dad for the first time since he died two nights ago. It was a lovely dream. He appeared at my dinner table and assured me that, no, he hadn't died. He looked older, but well and happy.


14 years ago 0 1044 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Pete, I think you've got some great insight into what may be going on with your eating.  You weren't that aware of "why" you weren't eating when we discussed, I think earlier in this post.  I think that is great information to take to your therapist.  Awesome what become aware of some insights and thoughts about what we are doing - someone said (I can't give credit because I don't remember) Awareness is control.  I think that's a bit of a stretch, but awareness is the first step.  If you don't know there's a problem then how can ya fix it. 
I would like to know, if you wouldn't mind sharing, what your therapist might say to this insight or mindfulness. 
Keep on posting Pete, I look for them daily.!!!
14 years ago 0 3043 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
I got a bit mindful with myself yesterday evening around the eating thing. Let a little bit of me sit back and just observe the way I was thinking.
Last night, my partner and my youngest son went out to a concert. They left just before I got home from work, so the rest of the family had already had dinner. There was some left for me to warm up. Chicken fajitas.
Pete enters kitchen, gets food out, looks at it.
  • She's out tonight. That's cool. I won't have to eat.
  • Food doesn't look bad. Would be a shame to waste it.
  • Don't eat it. Throw it away. Don't be weak.
  • Try for the whole evening.
Food goes in the bin, Pete has a strong coffee and a cigarette. He feels a satisfying little tingle go through him.
Half an hour later, Pete is in the kitchen again, cleaning up. He sees a banana in the fruit bowl.
  • Banana looks nice.
  • No. be strong.
  • You eat that, you'll ruin the evening.
Banana remains in the fruit bowl.
Seems what I'm doing is deliberately not eating as a little test. So many times I feel weak, like I can't achieve, can't control, but these little tests are something I can succeed at. I can feel strong, like I have self-discipline. And I know I shouldn't do it, so feel a bit naughty as well, which can be a fun feeling. After all, I'm not hurting anyone else. Or even myself really.
I have been known not to eat when we go out for a meal as a family. That feels really good.


14 years ago 0 1044 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Lost, so glad you find our conversation as valuable, please feel free to join us.
And also agree with Pete on finding out we are not alone makes things so much easier.
so glad you had breakfast and lunch.  Gkas that you are taking care of you!!!! Herbal concoction - hmmmm, sounds interesting, if it's good share the recipe.
I love good old southern sweet tea - the old lipton tea bag boiled, sugar added, add ice- my favorite; but recently started trying some of this blackberry tea - and I think I'm in love, it's to drink hot; though I drink hot lipton tea too, lol.  I need to get off the sugar though.  Hoping I can get through with more hot tea this winter as I am working outside and avoid the sugar.
14 years ago 0 3043 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Thank you. We're not so alone as we thought we were, are we?
Really glad you find our conversation valuable  - I get a lot out of these exchanges, they help me learn and understand and, like you, feel less isolated. And pain shared is pain lessened.
I had breakfast and lunch today! And drinking strange herbal concoctions instead of coffee.
14 years ago 0 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
I suppose it may sound a bit absurd, but thank you for your discussion.
I can relate to so many of the issues you discussed.  I'm not as lucid to write and point out one by one.....
I know it's painful for the both of you because it is painful for me.
I appriciate your openness.  I don't feel so alone.  I don't know what else to say.
14 years ago 0 1044 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0
Pete, I wish I hadn't changed my "goals" on this site yesterday or the day before, can't remember when I did it.  I wish you could have seen one.  It said "accurately assess my current level of depression."  I don't think I could either.  I think I would assess things according to what I wanted it to say.  So yes, there is sense to that or at least we have another thing in common.  I don't do the mood tracker either now.
The goals, well, mine were outdated.   I had to change them from a year ago.  I've got goals and so do you via this exchange I know what some are, I've got other goals too.  I think they are what keep us going even if not on paper.
I also found that some of the exercises or information was not something which could help me.  Later, I found I could.  Some I never did.  I guess what I am saying is use what you can/will - Read through the sessions, it opens up tools and if you can use them do, if not don't.  I think reading about CBT (if you haven't) is very interesting.  And if you have as I had, seeing it in this format, in this media is eyeopening, instead of reading about theory.
Having worked in the field I had a basic understanding of this type of theory and wanted it in my treatment.  The closest certified therapist was 1.5 hours away.  It wasn't very practical nor feasible.  This is the next best thing.  I heard we have a certified CBT therapist 30 minutes away but I am established with my therapist and don't want to change.  I talked to the pdoc about it and he recommended that I not change - that I stay where I am and continue to use this program.  He strongly endorses it. And even with setbacks he can see a difference in how I handle them - recognize them more quickly and seek assistance, as well. 
Cognitively I am more aware about issues with my depression, the emotions behind the crying, the issues with self-worth, role transition issues relating the recent death of my father, etc. At first, I as usually wanted to rush through it and get the answers NOW.  Then I went back and tried to, now I think I've found balance.  But just like your time for your self is important to you, this has become very important to me.  lol, it's like I have company without having to deal with the fact they are here.  I am not alone in more ways than one.  I guess that is why I come here alot and I post alot. 
I was curious about the emotions in the family, I did grow up in an emotionally naked family or at least one that never expressed any emotions.  I knew my family loved me but it wasn't verbal expression.  We didn't cry - it was a sign of weakness (my mom so stoic with her emotions) but laughter and fun not being one that hid.  She was so funny.  The other emotions like anger and frustration ( could make lists and lists) just weren't exhibited.  I am trying to learn what I feel about issues and put emotions with thoughts and feel them as they occur instead of trying to sort them all out later.  It is pain-staking (pun) work.  My brother is stoic  as well.  My dad was rather stoic until mom died and then the emotions of mourning, he could not hide until his death.  I've become the feeling one in the family and lol, they don't know what the heck to do with me (like they think they need to do something - surely, there's something wrong if she shows any emotion but happy).  I think I raised my son a bit different, though my parents were involved in raising him as I was a young single mother.  He is an attorney and that stoic face he uses in the courtroom.  But outside work, he shows his love and frustration and anger, etc.  How

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