Monday, January 11, 2021

Positive Changes in the Personal Sphere #MondayBlogs #Mindfulness #Meditation

 It's four in the morning and I can't sleep, so I'm reflecting on some of the positive things I've accomplished over the past year.  I'm weaning myself off my habit of ruminating on everything I'm not satisfied with, in my life.  There's a positive, right there.

I wrote some books.  That's something.  It's something I don't customarily acknowledge as an accomplishment, now that I've been writing books for 15 years. I need to work at celebrating each new book I write.  I'm a work in progress, in that regard.

For well over a year now, I've been posting daily to my music blog. That's something I'm proud of.  Doing anything daily is hard work, and there have been many times I've considered throwing in the towel. I kept at it, though, and I'm pleased to share music and memories with the reading public every day of the year.

The things I'm most proud of are personal.

But not too personal that I won't share them with you.

Since the start of this pandemic, I've enrolled in three free online courses that focused on personal growth. I completed the ones on happiness and relationships, and I'm currently working on a course in mindfulness.

One thing that came out of the happiness course was a commitment to meditation practice. I try to do this daily, but it doesn't always happen. Every time I meditate, I feel like I've done it wrong. I don't think I'm getting results or seeing effects.  But I keep hearing about all these studies showing the positives that come out of meditation, so I keep at it, and I see those positives manifest in my life. 

Even if I don't feel like I'm doing meditation right, I'm still seeing benefits.

The most significant course I took this year was a course of therapy.  This is something I've needed for decades, but I've never had the resources. The pandemic changed that, for me, because the province I live in made free therapy available to everyone.  

I went through an extremely intensive twelve weeks of CBT combined with the support of an excellent therapist, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that it changed my life.

Honestly, the reason I sought out therapy was that I looked at my behaviour, my mood swings, my midlife crisis, my perimenopausal rage, and I saw that I was being very unfair to my partner. Unpredictable. Irrational.  Out of control.  I was so afraid of losing him. Our time together has been the best time of my life.

I wish I could have sought out therapy for ME instead of doing it for my partner, but I guess I never valued myself highly enough. I never thought I was worth it. 

Looking back, I realize therapy would have been worth any money--even money I didn't have. But I can't change the past, so I won't bother saying I wish I'd done this decades ago. Because I did give therapy a shot decades ago, the last time I had access to free therapy sessions. Unfortunately, there therapist I was paired with wasn't a good fit for me.  The three sessions I had were not terrible helpful.  Certainly not life changing. 

These ones were.  

The work we did led me to insights about my personality that were truly mind-blowing. And they were the kinds of things where you're like... how did I never notice that about myself? Why did I never connect those dots? They're the sorts of things you see in someone else and go, "Oh, well, she behaves this way because of that thing that happened to her." 

Easy to see in someone else, much more difficult to see in oneself.

When I did that happiness course, I found out that my overriding positive personality trait is gratitude. 

But I could have told you that.  

I am deeply grateful for this career I get to keep because of readers like you. I'm grateful that book sales provide a roof over my head and put food on the table. I am grateful to have a loving and supportive partner who welcomes personal growth rather than being intimidated by it. And I'm grateful for all the resources I've been able to access that cost only my time and effort.

The other day, I said to my partner, "This time last year, I thought I was going to lose you. With all my hormonal changes and mood swings, I didn't think you'd stay with me--and I couldn't have blamed you, if you'd left. But with all the therapy and meditation, I feel so much calmer. Is it just me, or have I changed?"

He assured me that the change has been tremendous. I guess I didn't need him to tell me that, but it's always nice to get positive feedback from someone you hold in high esteem.

Now I just need to work on being one of those people I hold in high esteem.

The work is never done.