Do you live in the moment?

Living in the moment is hard when you mind is a time traveler.

When I have to make decisions, my mind takes my future on Living With Little Chicken 140 x 140 worry of the future 01.11.1351fantastical scary adventures where I am most certainly not the hero, more like the Star Trek red shirt, doomed!!! I am not a person who decides something by gut feelings. Contrary to this my gut is always uncertain. What if I decide the wrong thing?

This comes about because when thinking about the future, instead of working with a clean slate or past successes my mind likes to use past (perceived) failings to draw conclusions of a negative nature. This as you can imagine cause me unnecessary stress and has in the past stopped me from doing things that I wanted to do.

So, what do I do to temper the time traveller in me? Through mindfulness practice I can now step back and see what my mind it doing. Rather than trying to shut the uncomfortable feeling down such as fear I will…

  1. I acknowledge what is happening, that I am not in the moment and making up stories.
  2. Take a moment to investigate my thoughts and see if I can find the trigger. This can help to work out where the fear is coming from.
  3. I ask the question, is the situation in my control or out of my control
    1. In control means that I can take action. I will put together a and do it, because I know that I am scared, I can push through this fear and do it anyway.
    2. Not in control will be that my action is to sit with inaction – this is very hard but with practice can be done. To do this you may have to sit with feeling very uncomfortable for a period of time, so talking to a friend or writing in a diary can be a good option. Externalizing your fear is a good way to see it for what it is and help you get through a tricky time.

On good days I can do this quite quickly however sometime I don’t and I have a little chicken moment. But you know what that is OK because I get through those moments too.

The bottom line is the future is going to come and we need to participate in activities that will make this place a we want to go.

 

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Uncomfortable with Feelings!

To really live is to allow yourself to feel exactly the way you are feeling….

Learning to accept all emotions no matter what they are, is  very very difficult. We are conditioned by society to believe that we should be happy all the (freaking) time, which quite frankly is impossible and not a way to live a life.

This beautifully simple philosophy “let all the emotions have their moment”, really is key to a fulfilled wonderful life. Feel everything and let these feeling wash over you like water, and sometimes they might be a hail storm but all storms do pass. This philosophy changed my life.

The thing is that if you take Marge Simpson’s advice (which is the exact advice lot of people / parents give) below, you might fit in and divorce yourself from your true feelings for a while but believe me they will explode to the surface and can make big mess. BIG mess!

It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, you know. It’s what shows up on the outside that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow ~ Marge Simpson

Practice being in the moment, when you are feeling a strong emotion check in and see what is going on in your body and mind. Are they connected or are their messages mixed up. Breath and gently investigate what is happening without judgement. Also when you don’t connect with emotions you can react in an unconscious way.

I have found that sitting with difficult emotions means they move along in a timely way. Rather than fighting them with all my mental might, which seems to be an invitation to stay longer.

The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris is a great read and has wonderful tools that can help you learn to accept that being happy is not the only indication of a good life.

https://thehappinesstrap.com/

And Rumi poem is perfect to print out and pop on the mirror or fridge or anywhere. It will help you keep connected to the moment and remind you of the importance of a emotional life.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks

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Why are we so average adverse? 

Average is not a dirty word and does not indicate failure and don’t let the size of your dreams be dictated by what other people think. Just as a dream can be BIG, a dream can be a small precious thing.

It seems to me that one of the biggest struggle I face is the feeling of not been good enough. Personally I always feel that I should be doing something more – Dream Big!!!. I feel that I live an average life, while I understand that this is my perception the biggest concern is that I am dissapointed by this feeling. On the other hand I have never had the desire to be famous (lol, I hate having my photo taken to much for that!!) however my end goal is not clear, I don’t know what my expectations are but I have a nagging feeling that I should be more than I am. It is an interesting conundrum, not being satisfied because i think that I should not be.

Why do I dislike the thought of being average?

I blame this state of affairs squarely on the fact that I and society don’t think that being average is ok. I am not letting my judgemental mind find joy in my life as it is right now. And I don’t think that I am the only person that feels this way.

How did this average adverseness come about? I think that it is predominantly because of the way our fame obsessed society is, either people are famous which makes them worthy or they are not. They are just average.

We can do things that we love and are passionate about but unless you have one or more of the following you are considered average:

  • a gold medal of some description; or
  • a Oscar; or
  • selling out an entire stadium; or
  • getting 1 million plus subscribers to your youTube channel, instagram or facebook; or
  • have a successful tv show, etc.

This is such a shame as none as the above makes you a better person, it just means that things, for what ever reason worked out well for them. And no, I am not taking away from their hard work, but I truely believe lots of people who are considered ‘average’ work really hard too and a great people. And what of the brilliant customer services people, the farmers, wine makers, accountants, house mums and dads, business analysts (yea, that is me), cleaners, zoo keepers and the such, people that do everyday work that keep the world ticking away? These people are awesome and they do an awesome job, they may not be famous but they sure are neat and should totally feel great about what they do. You don’t need to be famous for self worth.

So what can we do to combat this?

  • Stop looking outside ourself for validation, look within.
  • Do things because they bring you joy, and not because you think that it will make you matter. You matter already!
  • Having an average life is a blessing, there is a special kind of freedom in an average life. No paparazzi for one.
  • Stop putting expectations on yourself, expectations only leads to stress and the feeling of failure if they are not met.
  • It’s ok to be a 9 to 5 person and live a simple life. Go to work and enjoy your time off, keep your house in order and relax.
  • If you are not working, look after yourself it can be a hard time, but it does not make you any less of a person. Seek help if it gets to tough!
  • You don’t have to love your job, just be your best at it.
  • You are allowed to rest, this does not mean you are lazy just means you need a rest.
  • Get back to basics, enjoy the small simple things… practice mindfullness, live in the moment. Go on make a cuppa and enjoy it!

Ps: yes do as I say not as i do! This is my 2017 goal.

Love and hugs Nena xxx

Getting lost!!!!

I have Been a bit lost lately. A number of years ago I wrote and illustrated a book about living with anxiety, self published it and even got it into a number of book stores across Australia. And then I panicked, and did not follow through. Instead of promoting by book I let ‘Living with Little Chicken’ gather dust.

Why?


I think there is a few reasons to this; and you might relate if you have lost your way.

One: I forgot why I wrote the book

I lost my vision and purpose which made it hard to find the energy to promote it e.g. Blogging and facebook.

I wrote the book to bridge the gap between the big hitters such as Eckhart Tolle and Jon Kabat-Zinn. These guys are wonderful however when I was going through a very difficult time their books were overwhelming and would often leaving me frustrated or feeling like a failure.

During a very difficult time I needed to get back to basics, simplify how I saw my emotions and feelings. I have never accepted negative emotions and as a young person I was often told to get over it. So as part of my therapy I started to check in with how I felt and created doodles to represent these feelings. This really helped, I was able to connect and sit with these emotions, no matter how bad they were.

The amazing this is the more I sat with my feeling the quicker they were able to flow over me. This was huge epiphany for me, I would have a horrendous time but it would pass quickly.

The book is about reminding people to connect how they felt and giving them tools to sit with these feelings.

Two: Hope

I was really hoping that the book would just take off and that it would get picked up by publishers. A bit delusional you might think, perhaps so. But is it rather a neat book. I was hoping for a successful outcome such as the likes of the Blue Day Book: A Lesson in Cheering Yourself by Bradley Trevor Greive. You can read about this inspiring, generous guy on his web site. http://btgstudios.com/

I think that this plan also means that I would not have to face rejection if I actually sent my book to publishers. Not a partially useful business plan… wait for the universe to pull some strings. I know it can happen but more the exception to the rule.

Three: Crappy stupid book (A contradiction of two)

I am not worth anything, my book is worthless and I am just an average person who has nothing to offer anyone*

I worked for two years on the book while working full time, and I worked hard. But if you asked me if I have ever sent my book to a publisher the answer would be ‘Nope’, and then you might ask why?

To which I would reply in abject Terror, ….’that they would reject me’!

* I have a blog in mind that will talk about ‘it is great to be average!’

HuGs and love

Nena Anne

Why I HATE before and after pictures!

Before and after pictures are a special type of self loathing hell that are disguise as self help.

The pretext to a before and after picture is that it shows how amazing and wonderful you are NOW. You did it, you reach your goad and you are awesome. You can tick that self worth box as you now fit into the preconceived social view that being slimmer than you were will make you feel GREAT. You are now OK.

But what about the you before, the ‘before’ you. Was this you less than, a inferior model? The reaction to the after picture would indicate this, clearly the ‘before’ you was not as good as this ‘now’ person. This is reinforced time and time again by peoples positive comments on how great you are now.

This interesting thing is that you are most likely the same person in the inside, you are you, know matter what you look like. So all this so called positive action is actually rather negative. It supports the notion that you are a better person when you are thinner and I loath it.

I have put on weight over the years for a number of reasons, and when I was thinner I could not see it. I have always hated the way I looked, probably because I teased as a child…fat and ugly and this has stayed with me! BTW it is really good to look back at photos because most often you will find that you were just a normal kid. Children it seems like to have someone to pick on for something. In the past I have able to lose weight by going on very restrictive diets but as we all know these really don’t work long term. So I decided to get fit and be active so I started yoga and walking which I loved, but it did not love me. I ended up with knee injury that resulted in double knee surgery that failed. And since then I have not been able to find exercise that did not result in further injury until recently. Yay!!!!

So now my goal is to slowly get fit again without injuring myself…. I am the un-fittest i have ever been and I am not happy about it. My other goal is to try and love my body regardless what it looks like, not to waist my time looking in the mirror or at photos and being disgusted by what i see (historically this has happened if i am a size ten to size 18 – never happy with what i see!)

You might be wondering what the above has got to do with my loathing of before and after pictures. It is because of a number of reasons, when i have lost weight people seem to feel it is OK to comment about your looks and for me that has left me feeling:

  1. That they clearly did not like the way i looked before and this really hurts.
  2. That I don’t understand why it matters what I look like, I am me regardless of how my skin bag is looking.
  3. Horrified as I have had men I work with say I looked so sexy now that I had lost weight, and that I looked like a whale before… yup a whale. And this was from a married guy that i worked with, not sure why my weight was something that needed to think about let alone comment on.
  4. That when i have put wight on that i am a failure and that people will notice because they were so focus when i lost weight.
  5. That I am the sum of my weight, the thinner I am the better I am!

My recommendation if you are going on a health kick (which is awesome if you are doing it to get fit and strong not because you think being thinner will make you happier) is to focus on how you feel.  Being unfit can cause you to be fatigued, and this can limit the things that you can do. So get get yourself fit and don’t participate in the before and after …you are just as great before as you are after.

Love and hugs

Nena Anne xxx

Better Late Than Never!

I wrote a 2016 vision board, it was not things that i wanted but things that i wanted to do. There were a lot of things in there, not all encompassing per se but they were things that i really want to do. I think perhaps that i am a bit of a slow starter, as I think that got about 30% pass mark. Not that life is an exam but sometimes it feels like it.

I have decided upon un-perfection. I shall blog and it shall not be perfect. I shall try and get fit but I will not be perfect, I shall create and not be perfect… you get the picture.

Anxiety is a great one for demanding perfection and never feeling good enough and always living in fear.

So I am starting a new 2017 vision board, but I will be slowing continuing with the remainding 70% 0f 2016.

Feel the fear and do it anyway!

While this is cliche, it is a truth that resonates with me. There is something about not feeling ok about something and still doing it. I believe most of my procrastination is caused because of fear. I hold myself bad because I might stuff it up… but you know what, who the hell cares. Not me, not now! Perhaps I will later on, as these sorts of emotions are like a roller coaster but you know what this year I will keep on trying not to give a shit about what I think about myself, or others for that matter. I will take my time and enjoy the damn journey even if it scares the hell out of me.

I wish you all the best for 2017, take is slow, be kind and understand the while years are a kind of milestone they are not deadlines!

Love Nena Anne

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Living with Little Chicken is easy ~ when everything is going OK but…..

…What happens when things become out of your control and don’t go as planned, does the relationship with LC sour!

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For me I return to old behavior and stop living in the now and think excessively about the outcome (which I cannot control) or I look to the past and work out all the reasons why things won’t work out ~ resulting in a deep sadness. Little Chicken just starts running around in my head and looses touch with the moment.

And you know what, it is at this time that I really need to dig deep and practice what I preach! For me I turn to friends who understand the mindfulness process and are firm but fair in reminding me what needs to be done, they check that I am doing my daily practice:

  1. are you writing in your diary?
  2. are you catching your negative thoughts when they happen?
  3. what can you learn from this?

There is no quick fix to feeling this way, and I need to sit with it no matter how much I want to swash these feeling down. Feel, be and accept.

And like all feelings, this too shall pass.

Nena xx

What do you do when you are outside your comfort zone? I build a wall.

Somedays it is very difficult not to build walls around you

What do you do when you are outside your comfort zone; fear of being hurt or failing can be quite a terrifying thought and instead of moving in a forward direction we can stop and build ourselves a wall.

Here are some thoughts on this matter: Think about something you have been putting off and then work out all the reason why you should NOT do it. I am sure that there will be a lot, so you might need to pop these reasons on paper so you can keep track of them. Then, wait for it. This next piece of advise is priceless….

DO IT ANYWAY!!!

The interesting thing about life is that we are all under the illusion that we are in control of the outcomes. If we do this, then that will happen.

This might be true some of the time, but not all of the time. By building walls and not moving forward we might be protecting ourselves but are we living in that little cramped space. The only thing that I can guarantee you, is that by putting up walls you will continue to sit with fear and not go anywhere.

I don’t know about you but to be honest, I am so sick & tired of being under the illusion of control.

  • I am going to try to keep moving forward and make the most of what comes my way.
  • When my life provides me with a unexpected “scary” PLOT TWIST, I am not going to flail around waving my arms in the air, yelling woman and children first (NB: I don’t actually do this, with the exception of in my head)
  • I am going to change the way I make decisions on what I do and not do
  • I am going to be BRAVE (yes I am a bit teary while typing this) and there is a possibility that I will get hurt or have feelings of failure…

…but I know that if I keep these walls up nothing will change and I will never really live. I will be trapped inside my comfort zone, particularly with the things that matter to me most.

A final thought on this: There are behaviors that you might be participating in that are not healthy, you KNOW what they are. These are not the “do it anyway” something. Perhaps you have developed these actions because you are afraid and you then act out from that fear. These unhealthy habits can be quite challenging to break, we know what is best for us but we carry out the negative behavior anyway. Next Blog I will cover breaking these behaviors.

Love Nena x

Someday you just want to hide away – Helpful self-talk time!

For days when you don’t feel like doing anything at all!

There are days when you will not feel like hiding a way and you desperately want to be left alone. You are not FINE, and would like to just sit with feeling this way. And because we know all feelings will pass this can be the best thing to do, just sit with yourself and your mood. Investigate your thoughts and feeling, what is going on and perhaps you will find that there is a part of you that requires attention.

But what if your circumstances do not allow you to take the day off, in a perfect world you would but as we know the world does not always feel perfect to us. So what can you do? For me this is a time of helpful self-talk, that little power mantras can get you through the day. Mine is:

  • Just keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other.

I love this very simple helpful thought, I read it in a book many years ago (unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the book or find it again) in the past it has really got me through the day. As soon as I know that I need to participate in the world, and I am not feeling up to it I start looping this in my head.

Just moment by moment keep moving forward, get out of bed, have a shower, make a cup of tea just keep moving forward. Once you get the momentum up you will find that you can make it out the door. And let people know you are not at your best, so you don’t have to put on an act. You like everyone is allowed a bad day.

However do be mindful that there is a difference between getting through the day and masking to pain with denial. So when you do get a chance take some time out and have a look within.

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Am I lonely? …

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Am I lonely?

So the other day my 8 year old niece who is visiting from Victoria, asked me am I lonely living alone.

I did admit that just sometimes I might feel a little bit lonely, but my life is so full of wonderful people and things to do that most of the time I am content with how things are. She seemed to sort of accept that, I guess it is because her house if full of her Mum, Dad and little sister… so no loneliness there.

But I also know you can be lonely in a crowded room.

So this is for you out there who are not quite there yet begining conformable on your own.

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/08/16/how-to-be-alone/