The (non) rational mind

logical mind

How I think I think vs actual reality!

I tend to think of myself as a reasonably rational and logical person. I generally believe I have a good grasp of reality (most of the time) and I have insight into my thinking and way of being. I have struggled with concepts around how one reacts to situations i.e. the belief system that one can ‘choose’ how to react to a situation. That our thoughts govern our responses good or bad. If we only harness our thoughts, then we can choose to respond positively to any negativity in our lives.

I still have difficulty with that concept. I find it intrinsically unfair. Sometimes things are tough and challenging and to force oneself to feel positive is a big ask. However, I have realized that I can quite easily stitch together my own version of reality depending on circumstances and my thoughts at the time and that stitched together version can be absolutely and totally incorrect. I find this somewhat alarming. Here’s a story:

Stitching together reality

I started dating a guy a few months back. We messaged each other regularly and saw each other on weekends. In one of those messages he asked me when was my birthday. I responded with 10 September and asked when his was, he replied with 30 November. I duly put that date in my calendar. I recall thinking at the time how nice he was asking about my birthday and that it meant he would keep the date in mind. I also felt it was a good early sign in this newly minted connection.

Two weeks later we were chatting over a glass or two of wine and he asked me if I had been to Bali (for Aussies Bali is practically in our backyard and it’s cheaper to go there than travel within our own country). I said I had but some years ago. He said he was planning a trip mid September and would I like to go with him? Well, my gooey heart just melted. I thought it was lovely to be invited, albeit a little early on in a new romance. So throwing caution completely to the wind I said I’d love to go with him.

My brain also decided that perhaps it was connected with my birthday (as the dates aligned) and it would be a lovely way to celebrate. I was convinced this was correct and that this lovely man was thoughtful and considerate and oozing romance (you can see where this is going, right?)

Bali
Bali – where I am not!

However, over the next few weeks there was no further mention of Bali or any trip together. I felt puzzled and wondered if he had forgotten or perhaps he would mention buying flights and accommodation a little closer to the time (I would be paying my own costs). I felt hesitant about bringing it up. Then I found from a conversation with his friends that he had planned a ‘boys trip’ to Bali for mid September. And it hit me that I had been ‘uninvited’ but without him actually telling me. That kinda stung.

This week it was my birthday. I waited all day for him to text, call or post something on my FB. He didn’t. Well, he did text me late in the day saying he’d been busy working all day and how was my day. I responded with fabulous – seeing as how it was my birthday. He told me that he is f-ing bad at remembering things like that. Really? No kidding!!

The next day he flew to Bali for his boys own adventure with his mate.

 

 

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George the Therapy Dog

Some weeks are like that – yes?

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks at work lately. Things have been happening that are beyond my control and I’m left feeling like I am hanging from a trapeze wire by my fingertips. This sense of helplessness makes me go a bit inwards and lose my sense of self. The world becomes narrow and grey and I find it hard to focus.

To keep connected to the world, I have to keep doing all the things that feel good and right. I need to keep going to dance class and laughing with my friends. I have to keep going to the gym, no matter how grim I feel on first wakening. I have to eat healthy. I am an emotional eater aka when I feel crap = I will eat that whole pack of cookies and wash it down with half a bottle of wine. Then I feel even worse.

I have to go to work everyday, smile and behave like everything is fine and dandy!

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But most of all I need to hug my dog  George . He’s a therapy dog. I’ve written about him in previous posts here and here and also here. We have volunteered at aged care homes; childcare centers; schools and universities. George has worked with Psychologists to help children overcome their fear of dogs. He is a lovely, gentle and beautiful dog. He absolutely knows when things are not right with me and he will just quietly snuggle up with me and make sure I am ok.

image of my heart
so true!

Therapy Animals

BlossomAre the best. There is a lot of research on animals and their positive impact on people.  I read an article  last week about a prison in Indiana having inmates look after shelter cats. This was hands down the best thing I read all week and helped pulled me out of my funk. If nothing else, look at the pics – those cats!! If prison is to be rehabilitative as well as punitive, having programs whereby inmates can participate in something that connects them back to the world, that is a good thing.

 

 

I think I’ve been orange-flagged, maybe.

single orange flag CC

Warning flags and dating

After years of dating and some spectacular relationship fails, I think I’m a bit of an expert on red flag behavior. I can pick up on player tactics, commitment phobes, gas-lighters, bitter & twisted-haven’t-gotten-over-their-ex guys and hustlers that want to push you into a full-on relationship before their sketchy façade slips right down. One guy I was seeing earlier this year kicked my dog. Yep, he kicked my dog. So that’s a hell no right there!

I’ve spent many hours with my girlfriends (and guy friends) talking about red-flag behavior. People who lie about their age (men & women are equally guilty of this), that always baffles me, for sure you’ll be found out. For my guy friends their red-flag issues are women who not only lie about their age, but also their appearance – usually pics on dating sites, you know the photo of you that was taken 15 years ago? Yeah, that one. Just don’t.

Me – flagged? No. Really?

However, I did not consider that I would be flag-worthy (or should that be un-worthy?). I tend to see myself as a reasonably nice human being, with some (minor) failings, but generally good relationship potential. Seriously, I am so convinced that I would not set off anyone’s flag radar, that it came as a shock on the weekend that maybe I do! Yeah, I know – get my ego back in check. Ouch!

Family of Origin

big sis and I
Big sis and I

And it’s funny (not laugh out loud funny, but peculiar funny) because it’s a flag that I think of as amber/orange too, but had never applied it to myself. It’s not enough to stop seeing the person, but something to keep in mind. And that is family of origin issues.

I have found that guys who have had fraught relationships with their parents and/or siblings can be tricky to deal with, mostly if they have not resolved and moved on from childhood issues. Research (here & here) indicates that family of origin conflict may impact on future relationship behavior.

The guy I am dating at the moment did mention early on that he considered women as ‘orange-flag’ if they have issues with their family. That made me prick my ears, pause and think “huh…” So on the weekend I thought I’d talk a little about my family of origin with him (issues abound for sure, well not issues, more like the definition of ‘dysfunctional’ was invented for my family!)

talk about it - don't talk about it

Before starting in on the convo, I did ask him about his ‘orange-flag’ comment. He clarified that in his experience it was definitely a warning flag, however he did not get a “bitter” vibe from me. Nonetheless, I shut down the conversation at that point.

There is no bitter vibe, I’m not even sure that there ever would have been, it’s far deeper than that. Plus, I feel I have dealt with things as much as I can and I have a reasonable amount of self-awareness. However, I thought maybe another time we can talk, but for now and until he knows me better and understands who I am as a person, I’ll keep my orange-flaggedness to myself for a little while longer!

orange flag CC

…sure has been a while y’all

UPDATE, can’t believe how long it’s been!

I was chatting with a friend over messenger and we were talking blogs, she asked for the link to mine and that’s when I realised that oh my gosh, I have not written a post since last year!!

Lurve (aka loss thereof) update:

So definitely time to update y’all on what I’ve been up to and how life is chugging along. Firstly, that relationship? Yeah, nah. It’s gone. This time I ended it and maybe sometime I will tell you why. Suffice to say it was the best decision for me and I am in a really good place emotionally now that it is done and dusted!

in a good place
love coffee, love where I am right now 🙂

Dating – online and offline

I have ventured into the world of online dating. It’s been an interesting journey so far. There was the teacher who criticised my clothing, my face (I know right? he said I look vague – pfft), he ridiculed my job (well the one I used to have)… so that was a definite “no!” He then messaged to ask me why not and for me to list out exactly where he went wrong. Nope, that’s not my job Mister, if you have no insight into yourself and how you relate to people, I’m not about to start teaching you. Then there was the guy who looked quite nice judging by his photo and he seemed pleasant in written correspondence. When I turned up for coffee, I walked right by this very old fellow, I glanced his way and thought ‘no that is not date-guy’ then I sat down. The guy then came over, asked my name and then asked why I had walked on by. I said “because I did not recognise you”. I swear his photo was at least 15 years out of date.

Then the man who lied about his age. He dropped 5 years off and then “confessed” when we met. He said if he’d put his true age I would likely have not responded (true that) and he is interested in younger women as women his age are “boring” and yeah, that was a nope too. Now I know women can also be deceitful on these sites, my stories are my experiences as that’s all I’ve got to go by.

Health and fitness – my favourite topic 🙂 Running, Swimming and Dancing

Healthwise all is good. I am still running and have joined a #ParkRun group, we go out for a 5km run every Saturday morning and I am loving it! I usually run alone, so having a group of people to run with is a lovely change. There is often cake at the finish line (not sure that is a good idea!) and usually a few of us go for coffee/brekkie after the run.

running image
just closing in on the finish line 🙂

And I am swimming a couple of times per week at the local pool – 30 laps of the 50 mtr. I’m not super fast, but I persist! I find it relaxing and meditative and a good all over body workout without any stress on the joints. Makes a nice counterpoint to the running.

I am also taking dance classes twice per week. Pub jive – I still astound myself that I am not too bad at dancing. Jive is new to me so I’m starting from the beginning, I’m heading into week 4 of a 6 week course. I’ve got all the basics and now the teacher is adding in new steps to form a routine. I also found out my teacher’s birthday is on the same day as mine which made me smile. Oh and in my first class he hauled me into the centre, asked my name and announced it to the group and I was first up as an example, luckily I managed to recall the steps and not stomp on him!

Writing

The other thing I have started is a creative writing course. I enjoy writing, I have spare time on my hands (ya know, that whole unemployed thing) and I like to have some structure around what I am writing. I am working towards a Capstone unit whereby I will write a short story and I would eventually like to write a novel. I have a story idea and I have thoughts around character development. Feedback I am getting so far is really positive – so I will tell you more in my next update, which will not be as far down the track as this one is from the last.

Take care y’all – until next time xo

 

 

still running, not stopping

Running

…and lots of it lately. Some excellent events and some awesome training runs and some that were kinda meh! First up was the Bridges Fun Run 10k way back in April (ok, yeah I know that’s only 2 months back, however I have been a teensy bit tardy in my blog updates lately!) 

fun run
Running the Bridges with Nick!

Then there was the Mother’s Day Classic 8k on, you guessed it, Mother’s Day 🙂 That one is a fundraiser for breast cancer research and one of my always events. It’s such an awesome atmosphere, both joyous and sad at the same time, many runners run in memoriam of lost and fighting family members. This one I am always head to toe in pink, it’s the race theme color and I aim to comply right from my pink hairspray, pink tutu and pink socks!! Here’s a pic of me with my new running BFF Carolena… 

My last run was last weekend – the HBF Run for a Reason. Again another one of my always events. It was awesome, over 35,000 people ran!! It was an icy start to the morning, but a beautiful crisp, sunny day and you surely do warm up once you start hoofing it along the course 🙂

And… Nick ran the bridges and the HBF with me. We ran different distances in the Bridges as he joined a couple days out and I still had my head around running the 10… but the HBF we both ran the 4 – together – the whole way and we ran across the finish line together and it was awesome!!

Motivation

To be honest, I am not that big on motivation. I don’t think it’s what keeps us committed to health and fitness, but it is a good starting point for your fitness journey. So what motivates you? Do you exercise to reach a goal? To lose weight or to get healthier or to keep up with your kids or your partner or to enter that fun run or to take up dancing or to improve your mental health… 

Motivation – gets you going, but it doesn’t keep you going. It is really just the first step in your whole health journey. That’s why people get so baffled when they can’t stay motivated to exercise and eat healthily I often hear “I just can’t get motivated”. There’s this assumption that motivation is an ever renewing inner resource, but it just is not. It is the beginning, but not the journey nor the destination.

Persistence (or tenacity or sheer bloody-mindedness) – that’s what keeps you going. That is what gets you out of bed on cold winter mornings to go for a run, swim or to the gym or even just a brisk walk. 

Lifestyle – is the end point. That is what you are aiming for, a healthier and more active lifestyle that then becomes your life. The goals are the milestones along the way. Persistence is what keeps you going in spite of yourself. And lifestyle is what you become. 

Quick Fix – sorry, there isn’t one. It sucks right? I know.  That diet that you read about online that some vacuous celebrity endorsed won’t work and is likely unsustainable.  All those books and magazine articles of “how to lose weight in [insert unrealistic timeframe here]” will not work, not in the long term. Any diet that restricts your calorie intake will result in weight loss, but can you keep it up and should you? Is it healthy or just restricting your food intake until you can’t handle it anymore. 

What can you do? – Exercise every day in one way or another and make sure that some of it is hectic enough to leave you a bit breathless – that’s your heart and lungs working and they will be happy! Eat fresh if at all possible – most of the time – if fresh food is not readily available or too expensive, try frozen veggies, they actually are fairly nutritious. 

Keep up the good work, keep moving, keep eating well, nurture yourself, be the best you that you can be. You are awesome; you are wonderful; there is only one of you – remember that and believe in yourself – I do! 

be yourself

 

 

health, emotional well-being and love (of course!)

First up – health

Physical health and emotional health are intertwined. As humans how we eat, how we exercise and how we feel are all connected. Most people know that having a sugar binge will lead to a sugar “high” and then you crash back down shortly afterwards.

cat and sugar crash
pretty much me in a long arvo at work!!

For sustained energy you’re better off having a handful of nuts or a banana (yes there is sugar in fruit, however there’s lots of other nutrients and fiber too!!). 

Food can affect our emotions and our emotional well-being too. How many times have you overindulged on the weekend, either a junk food binge or too many wines out with the girls? (mmhmm hand up guilty on this one…) Then come Monday morning you drag yourself awake feeling terrible and promising to eat healthy, drink more water and haul your ass out the door for a walk/run/swim/hit the gym?

But what can I do?

Good question. What can you do? Everyone talks about “everything in moderation” and for sure that cliche has some merit. However, what does moderation actually mean? And how do you ensure you are being “moderate” in what you choose to consume? Here’s one simple tip:

Keep a food diary – it really does help keep track of everything you eat and drink on a daily basis (including that one, sorry two or was that three glasses of wine each night?) try it for a couple of weeks and you’ll surprise yourself for sure!!

image of a food diary/journal
food diary

Then you can use your food diary outcomes to change up what you eat and how you eat and you can easily spot things that you can swap out or cut down. For example, if you find you have a choc bar every arvo, swap it out a couple times/week for a small handful of nuts or piece of fresh fruit. If every morning you have a super large full-cream vanilla coffee latte – swap it out for low-fat coffee a couple of times/week. Glass or 3 of wine each night? Aim to have a couple of wine-free nights, swap it out for mineral water with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Making small changes makes you feel less deprived and more likely to stick with them and maybe even increase the changes over time! And remember:

create the change you want to be!

Love and Emotional Health (for me)

ok, this one is surprisingly tricky. It’s all very well for me to say that you need love in your life to improve your emotional well-being. It’s a loaded concept and far too easy to criticise. Many of us have been or are alone without a significant other in our lives – so it’s always painful to hear that love is important and necessary to stay emotionally healthy, but it kinda is…

But you know and I know that love is not just from the husband/wife/partner in our life. It’s also our family, friends, child(ren), pets  whether that’s a dog, cat, goldfish, goanna (an Aussie lizard, go google it, I’ll wait…).

Animals and small children give us unconditional love and that’s the kind that makes us feel wonderful and that all is right with the world even when it really is not. My daughter is just as loving and adorable at 26 as she was as a tiny child, I look at her and am amazed at how awesome she is and how lucky I am. So, go hug your child/children or your fur-baby, whichever, whatever – it’s all good.

I also have my therapy dog George and I share his love with the students and staff at work, with dementia patients and with random strangers I meet out walking him (love and exercise – mmhmm, I’m in heaven!!) Here’s a pic of George for y’all to make you smile.

Get on over to his fb page Georgie-boy on fb for more joy and happy, then come back here for my final comments on love.

Therapy Dog
George the Therapy Dog and my best friend 🙂

 

Love – that is all

child with balloon
don’t let go!!

So, now for my final comments on this blog post. Y’all know I’ve been in a relationship that has had some serious stops and starts and it’s caused me a fair amount of anguish and my living it all out in social media means everyone pretty much knows my business, so I have no secrets – not sure if that’s a good thing, but that is how it is for me.

Yes, we are back together. Yes, I know some of my friends worry about this. Yes, I know what I am doing. Yes, I know how the story may end (hey I’ve been living it for the last year!) and No, you don’t have the right to tell me how I should live my life. I love my friends, but you cannot make my decisions for me. You can choose to question my decisions, but I’d truly appreciate you keeping that to yourself and having respect for my choice, even if you think it is not the right one. 

And me? I always choose love and you know what? That is my happy. He asked me if I had put this photo on fb and I’m like nah, but it’s killing me and he laughed coz he knows I put it all out there – so here, this is us…

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Running, PokemonGo, more running…and just a touch of dating!!

Favorite people and Pokemon!

I just read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess and found she is playing PokemonGo and so am I (along with a gazillion other people around the world!!)… here’s a link to Jenny’s blog just in case you’d like to read more… and she is absolutely correct – this game does help with anxiety 🙂

the bloggess
The Bloggess

 

…and I totally get her comment on the rats… why on earth are there so many Rattatas wandering about? Here’s one sneaking up on George my therapy dog

image of George the Therapy dog with a PokemonGo Rattata
…wha? is there something behind me?

…on being sick 😦

Now, back to staying fit and healthy… well that’s a bit easier now. It’s winter over here in Australia and of course I’ve had all my work colleagues sneezing, snuffling and coughing up a lung all around me. And one by one, we have all succumbed to the dreaded bug/virus/plague from hell!!

I’ve managed to catch it twice in a month, both times I had to take time off work because I was so sick. Seriously, wtf is it with colds these days? I’m sure back in the day you had a runny nose, sore throat, bit of a cough and then you’d be right as rain within 7 days. Now it seems the cold has mutated into an evil demon that causes all of the above, plus fevers, crashing headaches, doing weird things to your voice – well, more like losing your voice and squeaking like a demented mouse!! and keeping you out of action for weeks.

Running, because, running…

Anyway, I’m all better now, thank you for asking 🙂 and back to running. I ran in the Swan River Run on Sunday and managed a really good time. I’m so glad I’m back to being fighting fit… more pics on the run soon… for now, here’s a pic of one of my morning running routes – it’s so pretty!!

Canning River
The beautiful Canning River in Perth Western Australia

Love and romance

…and on a final note – I haven’t updated y’all on my relationship lately, suffice to say it’s had a few ups and downs, which is normal (although it never feels that way when you are going through it, does it?)… this morning Nick sent through a text of a saying he’d found: “we come by love, not by finding the perfect person, but learning to love the imperfect perfectly” …and you know what? I think that is just perfect!! 🙂

cute couple holding hands