I don’t know how to have fun…better work on this. (Or maybe I should just chill out).

I have been given an amazing insight by my long suffering mother today. I am actually one of those people who doesn’t know how to have fun – this is true. I think I know – but I don’t. That’s the problem. I think too much. For the first time in this life, I have admitted this to myself. I take everything so seriously (well, not everything but a lot) and ‘fun’ isn’t something I would consider myself being or having. I can have a laugh and a joke with friends and have a good night but my entire mindset is geared up to finding the point and the meaning within everything I do otherwise, there is just no point in doing it. Everything has to mean something.

I really do need to have more fun. Just for the sake of it! This feels weird to me…how sad!

‘Don’t you ever do things just for fun?’ ‘No mum, I don’t see the point. You have to learn something about yourself and the world around you and acquire new skills and a certificate in the process. Otherwise, you’re just wasting energy. What are you achieving?’ (Comparing me to close family members in the process…’you know you’re exactly like your sister, your aunt, your cousin…’

How did I miss this?

‘Is there a course I can do in ‘having fun?’ (Only joking…) No! That one is down to you… just chill! Not everything has to be a trial.’ I blame my training as a classical musician. ‘If you make one mistake in this audition, you won’t get in’ I made a mistake. ‘Yeah, that’s why you didn’t get in.’ So – I spend the early years of my life believing mistakes cannot happen and that everything is just that serious. For some people yes – but I am not one of those people obviously. I have a lot to unravel….or maybe not..I’m cool 🙂 I don’t have to understand why all the time…ahem! (Fighting every natural (or conditioned) urge in my body right now…

I came home from work earlier feeling a bit blue, bored and a bit tired. I decided to call home. I was preparing my negative monologue. ‘Ah there’s just no point to anything…this is a mad life. I don’t know what I should be doing.’ It is a mad life of course. Yes it is. So mad I can’t even begin to tell you. You know yourself what this planet is like.

I get uptight about silly things. I obsess about stuff I shouldn’t really – but then I think to myself ‘well if I don’t do this or if I don’t take this seriously, nobody else will and then something bad will happen or we’ll make a mistake.’ Yeah. Maybe. But…maybe not. Obsessive? Me? Ha! If I relaxed a little more, what harm could it do? I like to think of myself as someone who knows how to have fun. Why should I have to ‘know’ how to have fun? Why can’t I just ‘have’ fun?

I feel quite odd as I write this. I know I’m very structured, organised and I like my routine. I am a creature of comfort but I want to be different. I crave to be passionate, adventurous, more of a dare devil and an extrovert – but I really don’t think I am. I pretend I am and that pretense is what has been driving me crazy over the years. If I can finally accept the fact that I am actually quite wound up sometimes – (I really feel uncomfortable admitting this), perhaps I might be able to loosen up more as a person.

I mean – here I am telling people to make the most of every moment and enjoy life when I don’t do the same myself a lot of the time. If I took my own advice, it would be a good thing. I’m stuck in my head, lost in thought and neglecting the very basic fact that life is there for enjoyment – this includes myself.

(almost forgot about that).

© Christina McDonald 2014.

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The power of thoughts…..

You may consider a thought about something is nothing important. Something transitory and fleeting and in many ways, this is true. Thoughts are impermanent but their effects on our entire wellbeing can be quite extraordinary. The power a simple thought has can be found in our reaction to it.

When we begin to identify and react to our thoughts, we allow ourselves to become what we believe to be true. ‘I am positive. I am rubbish at this. I can do this. Nobody wants to be with me. I am worthwhile.’ The list goes on. How many thoughts do you have during the course of a day that you would say are useful and positive?

You can think about anything you like. You can choose what to believe, what to feel and what to say. You are in charge of how you react to yourself and the world around you. When you are aware of this, it becomes so much easier to see that there is a choice when it comes to how we feel. We can choose which thoughts to react to and those we ignore.

Emotions are a constructive tool we can use when it comes to changing how we feel. Instead of reacting to emotions without an awareness of why we are experiencing them, we can effectively learn to watch our negative thoughts without reacting to them.

A lot of stress and anxiety can be managed simply through becoming aware of our emotional ‘triggers’. Only you can know what they are. Is it a thought or a feeling? An event perhaps? It could be anything.

What you need to remember is that the thought or feeling itself is just what it is. Your reaction (or non reaction) to it is the key point that will either create a good or a bad day.

And we all want to have a good day. It is easier than you might think….

Just be aware of your thoughts and the choices you have…..:)

Feel good and be happy….

On love….

When you begin to love yourself, you start connecting with your own heart. As obvious as that sounds, not enough people spend time caring about themselves in the way they should. We spend so much of our lives searching for something to complete us but our quest to reach that destination is as simple as putting some time aside for personal relaxation.

What does loving yourself really mean? (That phrase really has lost its meaning I think! I sometimes hear people saying ‘Aww that guy really loves himself, what a loser!’) In other words, love has become lost in self obsession somehow -how things look. It doesn’t mean doing continuous selfies and posting them on social media),it simply means treating yourself well. Not beating yourself up for not having been good enough in your own mind, it means giving yourself a break.

If you actually think about it, we all put so much effort into the appearance of things without factoring our own happiness into the equation. Life then becomes a vacuous struggle to achieve the goal of having a perfect image rather than a fulfilling life and a less than perfect image. If you haven’t seen ‘American Beauty’, it is one to watch. It illustrates that brilliantly.

The way things look doesn’t actually matter at all. Reflections of who you really are go beyond your physical appearance. That is good to know. We are not being ourselves living up to someone else’s standards whilst at the same time compromising our needs. Denial tends to bridge how things look and how things really are. What are we in denial of most of the time? Who we really are.

If we have the courage to be honest with ourselves, we start living life from the heart. We start treating ourselves in the way we deserve. What do you really need?

To be yourself.

Christina McDonald 2014.

Forgiveness…learning to let it go.

Sometimes when we have been badly hurt and let down, we feel as though we want to lash out, blame and accuse those who we feel have done us wrong. Feelings are those of anger, frustration and pain. ‘Why me?’ Holding a grudge is not going to make everything better. It doesn’t justify anything. Will it make you happy? Not a chance! Anger and bitterness only serves to make you unhappy, twisted and miserable.

Who needs that?

It is so much simpler to allow yourself to see the truth…it is not your problem! The only thing that is your responsibility is how you choose to react to the experience. That is within your power and control.

It may feel like you have acquired some strength momentarily but it is actually a thief of what energy you have. The ego feels good for a moment (albeit briefly). If I feel angry and upset, I feel so distracted. I cannot concentrate on anything and I am not living in the present moment. I might as well stay in bed for the good I feel I am to anyone when I’m in such a state! Chocolate, angry music and punching pillows for me… oh wait no..that’s p.m.t 😉

Why is letting it all go so difficult sometimes especially when you feel someone has done you a wrong? You naturally want to feel that wrong righted and no matter how angry you feel, it is justified in your mind somehow. Playing over the events, the words spoken, what you said, what they said, what you would love to say had you the chance to go back…what would be the most hurtful thing to do and say in order to make them feel the pain you have felt?

All of this mulling and brooding is actually causing you pain. Nobody else is being affected. Your own mind is actually crucifying you slowly. Yes, perhaps you have been betrayed. Perhaps someone did something very bad to you and yes, you feel pain. Of course you would. It is only natural to feel upset to a point – you do have a choice though and that is what we can all forget.

‘Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out!’ (Robert Tew).

Don’t let someone mess with your mind and your feelings. You are in control at all times and can decide how you deal with everything. We give and abuser power when we allow them ‘in’ as it were, into our personal space. As soon as that happens, we not only lose a sense of perspective but we also lose ourselves eventually. Emotion takes over completely and before we know it, we are reacting to emotions that have no grounding in the true reality of things.

It isn’t actually your pain you are feeling though. It is their own pain and negative emotional state you are seeing reflected right back at you. Whether we choose to react to and continue that cycle of pain in our own mind is our choice alone.

When someone treats you badly, it is a reflection on how they have behaved. You may feel that person deserved punishment for what they have done. If they seem to get away with everything, it only seems to make everything worse. We are not judge and jury though. (Even though sometimes we feel we should and wish we could be, it is not our place).

Do people really get their karma in the end? They do. It isn’t a desire to see them suffer in turn. I personally want to see those who have caused me pain learn and eventually understand why their actions have caused so much disharmony. I don’t like to think of anyone suffering. They have a chance to grow in their experience of pain. It isn’t about watching another person suffer and enjoying the fact that they are. Far from it…

It is hoping that someday, that individual will see the error of their ways and karma is a transformative vehicle for that change. It may take a very long time (perhaps another lifetime even if you believe in reincarnation) but time is a matter of perspective only….from my experience, things happen when they are meant to do so.

Have faith in natural justice. We are all learning. What goes around, comes around…for all of us.

© Christina McDonald 2014

Understanding our emotions as a path towards personal growth

We have all been given the ability to express emotion. Having feelings are how we respond to this vast and amazing world we inhabit. This also includes more negative aspects of certain emotional tendancies such as anger and sorrow. Emotions can be a nuisance sometimes and very destructive if not tempered by an ability to control what we are feeling which is very important.

Controlling ourselves when we feel angry is difficult to say the least. Punching pillows is one option. Kickboxing at the gym is another. If you’ve ever slammed a door really hard in a ferociously bad mood and felt good after, you’ll know what I mean! Anything to get rid of that pent up energy!

Oh the memories of losing my temper with someone and regretting it afterwards…

I would not say it is bad or wrong to experience any emotion. When anger boils over, that is when it has the potential to become severely destructive and harmful towards the people around you. We need to be aware of bad feelings at the earliest stages before they escalate uncontrollably. Some feelings may not be very pleasant but they have just as much validity as positive emotions. All feelings are a reaction to what we are experiencing and if we are aware enough, we can harness them in order to gain a higher understanding of who we actually are.

Emotions are not who we are…they are just a gateway to discovering who we really are. Who we really are is beyond that and it is something that transcends any description. If we base our existence and who we are on the many hundreds of thousands of emotional responses we experience daily, we will become like a small boat at sea without an anchor being tossed around by a violent storm…. the storm represents our emotional responses – if we react to them we will never be grounded and secure within ourselves…we need that anchor to work!

We are constantly reacting to the world around us via emotional responses. Asking ourselves ‘why’ we do the things we do is the doorway to personal growth. We then start learning about ourselves. What we should try to avoid is repressing how we feel. Carrying stress, anger and ill feeling will drag you down further than you need to be – and who needs that?

Everything we are currently experiencing from an emotional perspective is a signpost to another destination and level of understanding in regards to the still hidden aspects of ourselves. These may be positive and negative but you have to look at both, even if you don’t want to know something negative about yourself – for example:

‘I can be lazy, selfish, arrogant, conceited’ etc. There is also the flip side of the coin – ‘I can be caring, loving, supportive and helpful’. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and that is important to remember. Nobody is perfect. You will of course, take frequent positive steps forward if you can change the more negative traits you feel about yourself…

and therin lies the challenge! (It starts with ‘why?’…)

© Christina McDonald 2014